Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

“Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice”, said Nelson Mandela, in a quote that closes ‘Mandela: The Official Exhibition” on London’s southbank. He went on to explain how poverty can be overcome: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural, it is man-made and it can be eradicated by the actions of human beings”.

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Brian Cox’s Universe

Professor Brian Cox told us all about the universe in Nottingham last night. It wasn’t a lecture because we were drinking cosmic beer and no-one fell asleep, but an awful lot of information poured out in fast-flowing Mancunian, devoid of pauses and punctuated by lots of smiles. At one point half way through I thought I understood Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. But this morning I realise that with every passing second more of that knowledge is slipping away into the space-time continuum and so I need to get this blog down fast.

Inclusive climate action and the Green New Deal

There has been so much said and written about the Green New Deal put before the United States’ Congress by the remarkable New York Representative, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, that I hesitate to add anything more. However, it really is worth noting how coherently the Green New Deal Resolution melds action to tackle climate change, with measures to counteract the obscene inequality and wage stagnation that has built up over decades of neo-liberal political supremacy in the USA (and my home country of Great Britain).

A wren in the bush

This afternoon we were captivated by a little Wren, busying itself in the undergrowth of a hedge that lines the bridleway from the Welsh Venison Centre (we prefer to think of it as The Deer Sanctuary) to Tal-y-bryn. We had stopped to listen to a Robin singing his heart out / fiercely claiming his territory, but the noisy harrumphing of the Wren drew our attention away. These tiny birds are barely the size of a child’s hand but make a real racket. Indeed, my twitcher app tells me in a Top Trumps sort of way that “weight for weight the Wren’s song is ten times louder than a crowing cockerel”.

Sunshine on Mynydd Llangorse

Yesterday morning I was out with the dawn in order to catch the sun rising over the snow covered hills that surround our new Welsh home. At the peak of Mynnd Langorse a couple of hours later I met a man called Steve, who had fulfilled a thirty-year ambition to move here after first becoming enchanted with these Welsh hills after spending time in the valleys in 1984 as part of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (an uplifting experience that was so brilliantly portrayed in the film ‘Pride’).

The East Pointers

All I knew about the East Pointers upon entering the Lexington last night was that, according to my friend, the lead singer is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. I don’t feel qualified to give a definitive view on that, although he did have a great hat, but the band were straight out of the top drawer.

The Great Food Transformation

A superb report, ‘Food in the Anthropocene’, published last week by EAT and The Lancet sets out with tremendous clarity how “global food production constitutes the single largest driver of environmental degradation” in the world today. Moreover, it explains how “a diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal sourced foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits”. It is a must-read for policy-makers everywhere, but if you don’t have time even to peruse the hard-hitting executive summary, these are the key points: