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End tax exemption for Aviation Fuel

 Something positive you can do while we're still in the EU.  (or if you're German or Czech, while you remain in the EC)

The aviation tax exemption has bugged me, ever since I discovered the madness of it existing at all.

Carbon emissions from aviation are increasing every year, but aviation fuel is EXEMPT from tax. It's an agreement going way back when, and it needs to end.  You pay on petrol for your car, but aircraft pay nothing.  Go figure...

This EU Citizens Initiative asks to end the aviation fuel tax exemption in Europe, and needs 1 million signatures to be successful. Please sign the initiative here

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Dancing in the Rain

 The festival did have some heavy showers on Saturday morning before the sun came out for the rest of the weekend...

Here's a great video of Drew from 'Knights of King Ina'.  He's a very good jig dancer, but also knows how to get a laugh from his audience.

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Post Folk Festival

 I am absolutely shattered.

I don't tend to post much about the voluntary work I do for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, largely because I feel it inappropriate to talk about stuff from committee meetings (in the same way as people don't comment on stuff they do as paid work).

Let's just say that it takes up a large amount of my time.

The festival for this year is over.

I organised 60 traditional dance groups, mostly morris dancers, but also Irish, Bulgarian, Appalachian, clog/step dancing, longsword, rapper sword and the Gurkhas from the nearby army base at Blandford.

I provided a series of dance workshops, ceilidh, organised almost the entire children's programme (Punch and Judy, Circus skills, maypole dancing, crafts, broom dancing, mumming workshop), organised the procession with 50 dance teams, and a boat.

I organised talks and workshops ranging from a detailed (and accurate) talk on morris history, to playing pipe and tabor.

Thanks to my husband's software, we managed a dance programme well in advance of the festival, with a minimum break of half an hour between performances for each team, managed to minimise overlaps for teams who share dancers/musicians, adhered to all requests for specific surfaces (eg. can't dance on brick, need to be on a stage, etc.)

We had dancing all around the town, outside pubs, in the Square, in the Cornmarket, the High St, Model Town, etc.

The atmosphere was amazing.  By Sunday morning, there had been 50,000 people in town (police estimate), and the number for the weekend as a whole will certainly be higher than that.

I've never had so much positive feedback from happy dancers, including many teams who were dancing at Wimborne for the first time.

It's the strongest dance line-up we've ever had.  I know most of you aren't dancers, so won't recognise the names but I shall post videos over the next week or so as people post them, so you can see some of the amazing teams we had.  (for those who are dancers, here's the line up )

I was recovering from a sprained ankle, so I hired a mobility scooter to help me go round all the venues.  That was definitely worth while.  It enabled me to walk when I needed to (Mainly when stacking the queue for the procession) and then give the ankle a good rest.

You get to do everything in this job, from mopping the Cornmarket stage after a very heavy shower, to just sitting back in the sunshine and watching a fabulous performance by Customs and Exiles.

What do dancers do when it rains? (which it did for about an hour on Saturday morning, before settling into happy sunshine for the rest of the festival)

Here's Drew from Knights of King Ina!

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Remembering Paul Darrow

 A couple of random memories of a man who was probably the reason why my wardrobe was full of black clothes for about a decade...

He could be very diplomatic.

Back in the days before I gave up aviation, I went to a Blake's 7 convention in the US where Paul Darrow was a guest.

At the end of the con, a number of fans (mostly female) were travelling in the minibus back to the airport.  As Paul approached the bus, every woman who had been sitting next to a friend, magically teleported so that Paul had a whole minibus full of seats next to single women!

He looked at the set up, smiled and said politely to everyone: "I'll sit next to my countrywoman"

So, I got to sit next to Paul Darrow for the trip to the airport :)

When we got to the airport, he offered to buy me a drink.  Knowing how he felt about slash fiction (he really didn't like it at all), I felt I had to confession to being a slash reader/writer before taking advantage of his good nature, but he still bought me the drink, and we sat and chatted with a group of fans before our flight to London was called.

He was a good man - his wife who pre-deceased him was also a lovely person. 

I don't think he ever understood Avon, but that's just a demonstration of how good a script editor Chris Boucher was - Chris was responsible for the complexities of the character.

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Life changes

 Life changes, both in good ways and in bad.

I step onto the landing and it's so strange to look at my son's room and see nothing in it.  The house seems so empty.  I'll miss him, but I'll get over it.

The good news is that he's bought a house with the woman he loves and moved into it on Saturday.  He's living within 40 mins walk and 15 mins cycle ride and we'll still see each other at least twice a week what with morris dancing and board games.

It's been a long haul.  He's spent a year and a half travelling to Aberystwyth every other weekend without fail.  He met C through Anonymous Morris and then she got a university contract in Aberystwyth and left Dorset.

Henry takes after his father. Proctor men don't give up easily when they fall in love.  His father spent two years commuting to Norwich every weekend during term time to be with me - he graduated two years before I did.

C is a lovely person.  Intelligent, great dancer, enjoys board games, friendly, helpful - perfect for him, and watching the two of them together never fails to make me smile.

They're engaged and will probably get married next Spring.

That's both the children settled in homes close by - I know I'm fortunate in that.  My kids both wanted to work locally and to keep in close contact.  We're a close knit family - may have something to do with all those family board games, or the influence of our respective parents, or pure luck.

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 There's  a reason Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome is a classic. It's a very well written book. (part of the Swallows and Amazon's series)

It's set in the Lake District and is set around children sailing boats and camping - and I wish I could be in that world...

It's one of those novels where nothing happens on a grand scale - afterwards, you wonder what the plot was - and then you realise the difference between having a plot and telling a good story.
Lots of things happen in Swallowdale, but they happen on a smaller scale. More like a series of episodes. The images that linger in the mind are Titty and Roger exploring, and inventing their own rules as to how to explore, how to avoid inconvenient things like roads, how to leave secret signals, etc.  Or Titty meeting the woodsmen and riding on the timber haulage
Sometimes, it's the setting, and the realisation of how far it now is in the past.  It's a world where cars are still few and far between: where milk comes in a jug, not a tetrapack; where timber is extracted from woods and hauled out be horses; where a shipyard has steam boxes for bending planks.  The Lake District is less crowded and there's a feeling of space which would be hard to imagine now.
1930, when the book was written, is less than a century ago, and yet is different in so many ways.
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The Once and Future King

 I've been re-watching 'Merlin' recently and it holds up better than I expected.

Arthur is far less of a prat than memory had him, and Gwenevere is better looking.

All the cast are well-acted, especially Gaius (though Morgana is probably the weakest)

It's set me thinking.

What if the legends are true and Arthur could return to help Britain in its hour of greatest need?

What would we regard as our greatest danger?

What form would he appear in?

What help could he give?

Given that there are many versions of the Authurian legend, it is clear to me that his existence is a form of morphic resonance.  The more we believe in him over the centuries, the easier it becomes to believe in him - and his actual form is therefore, almost certainly, that of an fully armoured knight on horseback. (armour of a later historical period than the oldest reference to him).  Morphic resonance also ensures that he will have no problems speaking modern English, and has a reasonable chance of also speaking French (possibly Breton), Latin, and Welsh.

His nature, because this is how we perceive him, would be highly moral, chivalrous, with a love of adventure and a desire to help those in need.  He would seek justice and fairness and would see those in government rule primarily by consensus (the Round Table is central to our views of him).

He is clearly not an aid in a military situation.  A knight against a tank with modern weaponry would last about two seconds.

His role has to be either as diplomat or inspiration.

So, should we do a mass visit to all the places where he is supposed to sleep? (has to be a mass effort, as there are a lot of places to cover)

Merlin is a separate quest.  He is either still alive and among us, or a prisoner bound long ago by Nimue in a cave/tree/etc.

I want inspiring explanations as to why we need him, where we will seek for him first, and how he's going to help us!

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Environmental Footprint calculator

 Why not visit https://footprint.wwf.org.uk and find out what your environmental footprint is?

It takes a broad look at energy, food, your home, stuff you buy, travel, etc.  It's an easy one to fill in, as it doesn't ask for exact numbers for anything.

I found that I'm at 78% of the UK target carbon target for 2020, which is good in one way, and a bit scary in another.

It means that I'm well below the UK average, but that I probably still need to find further savings to get to the level we need to be at by 2030.

I experimentally added a return flight to the east coast of the USA, and, as I expected, it pushed me over budget, bringing me to 108%.

It is virtually impossible to fly overseas and stay within your carbon budget.

According to the calculator, even the relatively small amount of driving I do, is still a major factor in my overall footprint (more than I'd expected), but we do have a fairly large car, so that is probably a factor.

I tried a retake eliminating all car use and that came out as 64% (which is getting close to the world average)

I need to think of ways of reducing my car usage.  I'm definitely getting an electric bike (though it will have to wait until I recover from  a badly sprained ankle).  The only drawback is that any new product carries a big carbon footprint all of its own. This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Electric bikes

I went into Poole for an eye test yesterday. Got a lift in with my husband as we were dropping our granddaughter off at school.  I'd intended to take the bus back again...

On a whim, I went looking for the cycle shop - Cycle Paths  to see if they had any electric bikes, as I've been vaguely interested in getting one for some time.  However, I've had a lot of leg pain this year for various reasons, which has put me off cycling any distance as I'm afraid I might not be able to cycle back again.

Turned out they did have an electric bike that might suit me. https://www.giant-bicycles.com/gb/entour-eplus-1-disc-electric-bike  Expensive, at nearly 2K but I had been prepared for the likely cost by my research (they can be above or below that level, but that's where the good ones start to kick in).

I had a painful Achilles tendon and sore muscles in my hip, which made it an ideal day for a test...
Either it would take me home or it wouldn't (I
 knew I could turn round part way if the pain got really bad).  A quick test in the closest car park suggested that the longer trip would be viable, so I left my driving licence as security and agreed that I would return the bike the next day.

I was seriously impressed.
Cycled from Poole to Corfe Mullen which is just over 6 miles.
Surprisingly easy. It sailed up the long steep hill from Broadstone.  I had to slow down to avoid overtaking a young man who was cycling up the hard way!
I don't think I even went to full electric power.  Most of the time I had it on a low assistance setting.
Taking it back today, I was pretty tired after a poor night's sleep, so went for 50% of the available power.  There's some clever software that recognises hills and gives extra aid without being asked. Though I always change to the correct gear as the guy in the shop said that is better for the engine.
Easy ride. Feels like you're doing the work, but magically going much faster!  And when you want to accelerate, it adds a bit extra then too - you can move away very fast.
I may well end up buying one, but feel I ought to try at least one or two other bikes first...

If I do buy one, I'll definitely get it from the shop. The staff are very friendly and helpful and have great enthusiasm and knowledge where bikes are concerned.  

I'm in love with a bike!
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@*&!# (ancient Gaulish swear words)

Heathrow is already the UK's biggest carbon emitter.   The third runway has just been approved...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/01/high-court-dismisses-attempt-to-block-third-heathrow-runway This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.


Judith Proctor


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