Don’t bomb Syria

I woke up this morning to hear the news that British aircraft had been involved, along with US and French forces, in bombing targets in Syria. In one of the interviews the interviewee said something about getting back to their regular bombing raids after today’s attacks.

So how often are British aircraft involved in bombing targets in Syria? A quick Google and I found the British Gov website had all the answers – well some of the answers since this is a list of “British forces air strikes to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against Daesh”, a “British forces air strikes in Iraq and Syria: monthly list”. To find out how many were on Syria I would have to wade through the reports and know my geography well.

This war has been going on for years now and has left towns, cities and the countryside devastated, killed or uprooted huge numbers of people and seems to have achieved nothing other than giving some countries the opportunity to try out their weapon systems and the manufacturers a fat profit. When are the politicians going to agree on a way to stop all this waste and destruction? Do we need to take them and make them sit around a table in Aleppo until they come to a solution?

Posted in Arms Trade, Peace, Politics | Leave a comment

Rip out that hedge

I’m sat this morning reading Peter Cooper about silent fields and also Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World”. Catherine, just back from walking the dog, is inspecting the front garden, no doubt planning some changes. And I look at the privet hedge that has been there since well before we moved in nearly 25 years ago. Shall I rip it out and plant a mixed hedge of hawthorn, blackthorn, etc like we have in the back garden? Can I make it more friendly to birds and insects? All I ever see in the privet is the odd sparrow, spiders webs and the cat!

A short time later and a colourful movement catches my eye and I look up to see a pair of bullfinches cautiously searching in and out of the hedge. Absolutely beautiful! Have I underestimated the privet hedge?

Posted in Birds, Environment, Garden, Permaculture | Leave a comment


Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations.

– The Great Law of Peace, Constitution of the Haudenosaunee (Iriquois) Nation

Posted in Environment, Inspiration, Peace, society | Leave a comment


This week is the Week of Prayer for World Peace. Here are some thoughts from John Dear in his book “The Beatitudes of Peace”

Governments, militaries, weapons, and the unjust global social, economic, military system kill tens of thousands of struggling people each day through poverty, corporate greed, guns, warfare, weapons of mass destruction, the unnecessary spread of disease, and systematic environmental destruction. If we sit back and do nothing to save our brothers and sisters from this violence and death, then how can we claim not to be complicit in their murder? The heartbreaking recognition that we are one with every human being pushes us into nonviolent action for justice and disarmament, for an end to the killings and wars, so that all our sisters and brothers might live in justice, dignity, and peace.

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A dragon in the garden

It is on evenings like this that I am reminded one of the reasons that I love being in our garden. While picking raspberries I disturbed a dragon fly that was drying and stretching it’s wings, presumably it has recently emerged from one of our ponds or from a neighbour’s pond. After taking a few photos with my phone I nipped inside to call our new lodger out to meet our other new resident, he was impressed!

Posted in Environment, Insects, Inspiration | Leave a comment

Mysterious residents of Meanwood Park

Walking Charlie in Meanwood Park we came across a series of doors to some of the residents. Here are a few pictures:


Posted in Humour | Leave a comment

Critical Mass 2

Last October I posted a blog about the Leeds Critical Mass cycle rides around the City centre on the last Friday of each month. Well, sadly, I missed a few over the winter months. I did make this month though but it raised a new question:

“What constitutes a critical mass?”

I ask that question because only four of us turned out yesterday – myself and three amazing post-grads studying for their PhDs in various areas of biodigestion. Anyway, we decided to do the circuit as two of them hadn’t been on a Critical Mass cycle before. Our circuit allowed us to have some very interesting discussions and also generated the question above.

I’ve been thinking about it since and realised that only one person is really needed to constitute a critical mass. It’s not really the number but the effect it has – one act of kindness, one voice speaking out or even one vote in an election can make all the difference. So, although it would have been nice to have been a group of 40 or more, 4 of us made a difference, 4 of us kept the wheels of the Leeds Critical Mass Cycle rolling, 4 of us got to know each other better, four of us constituted this month’s critical mass.

So here’s to you guys, it was good to meet you!

Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment