Saturday 18 April 2015

Settle Hustings for General Elections

Which of the above will become out next MP (Skipton and Ripon  Constituency)? 
L to R: Julian Smith (Conservative), Alan Henderson (UKIP), Andy Brown (Green Party), Malcolm Birks (Labour), Jacqueline Bell (Liberal Democrat)

See end for videos on questions of Nature Conservation; Defense; Low Pay-Poverty trap; Introductory talks

Churches Together in Settle and District (CTISAD)  on Fri 17 April again hosted a meeting for people to ask questions for the candidates for our MP for the General election (See 5 years ago here) . the meeting was held at St John's Methodist Church

I made  posters. The first had the word "Hustings" as the headline.. only to discover that the majority of people in the ordinary world of Settle did not know the word "Hustings" .. and a few said it was "American". So I settled on "Meet your next MP".

The Justice and Peace Group of CTISAD helped organise it.  Revd Stephen Normanton (right in the picture above)  chaired the meeting. He is minister at St John's Church Settle, and is also Vice Chair of Churches Together in Settle and District.

He had a stop watch function on his phone which he kept to rigorously and good humouredly which worked well. There were 5 candidates. Each candidate had 90 seconds to give an introduction at the beginning. Then for each question they were allowed either 90 seconds or 60 seconds to answer according to the importance/complexity of the question.

THe questions had been grouped in topics so for each topic ony the first one or two quesitons were asked. The questions were show on the overhead projector and read by the Chairman. After the five candidates had answered, the original proposer was allowed c.20seconds response

This meant we got through a lot of questions.

I did video several of the answers... but have not yet had time to relisten to them, never mind load them.

Sally Waterson, The Secretary of Churches Together in Settle and District
greets one of the candidates - Julian Smith

Our church is next to the Settle Carlisle Line

The church is beginning to fill up. There were eventually over 140 people

It was interesting and we learned a lot.

I wish more of the questions had said "How do you / does your party propose to deal with.....

rather than rather than just "What are your views on.." .. because for many of the social issues brought up all/ or nearly all could express concern.. e.g. about poverty, about housing.

One question asked by Althea (a Mothers Union question) was - what were their opinions on the way children and young people are exposed to adult issues through the press and internet.

(It was interesting that this point came up again at Churches Together Big Breakfast the following morning, when the headmaster of Giggleswick School talked  about his school and pressures on young people - he showed a mobile phone/table and pointed out that young people don't have a private life... and this can in some cases cause mental stress...

And here am I blogging far more than usual.)


I shall add a little more to this post later.. must do some practical work now.  Thanks for reading

And a big thank you to ALL the candidates for coming and for putting the work into standing for election.

Videos coming shortly

16th April - buds start to swell and Alder Leaf Beetles .. eat alder leaves.

I always say the tree buds start to break on 16th April. --Well the sycamore tree buds - which make up a large percent of the trees around here. (The ash buds start quite a lot later)

True enough. this year on the 15th the trees were almost in winter state and on the 16th there was just a glimmering of green swollen buds.  But on 17th it was obvious they were swelling, and a lot more obvious today - the 18th.
Sycamore buds swelling..  the yellow lite trailer form over 28 years ago is still there..

Although London may have been having a heat wave straight after Easter , and the rest of the world is supposed to have had the warmest first quarter of the year (ever?) , these last few weeks have been cold at Settle, apart from Easter Day and following week, and the sycamore buds are relatively late.
The last two nights have been cold with clear skies and bright stars.  One friend thought she saw the northern lights.

So I write this now because it is so exciting and things happen so quickly.

Here is a picture of some Alder beetles that we saw on the mosses day at Preston (I think by then we were in an outlier of Brockholes Nature reserve.

"They are very hungry beetles -  The Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni)". said Gail. And as we looked at the alder saplings each with a few leaves emerging we could see alder beetles on most of the clumps of new leaves.. more alder beetles than food supply. If there are  warm days ahead, lots more leaves will emerge - but if cold days they will be very hungry beetles.

It amazes me in May how many of the young leaves on trees have many many holes in them caused by caterpillars and other insects eating them.  SO now in the few days as buds burst there must be millions  of parent invertebrates hanging around waiting to lay eggs. then in the next three weeks the young leaves will emerge and get attacked!!
(After that the leaves become tough and horrible for insects to eat)

Alder beetles had apparently become  almost extinct in Britain (no records between 1946 and 2003) but now it is increasing rapidly in north of England

Now is the time to eat hawthorn buds.. and in a few days to make oak leaf wine.

The time to distinguish between different species of Orthotrichum moss whose capsules appear in spring. Suddenly after the dormancy of winter so much is happening. .
Bt that's another blog page.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Easter Sunrise -

Two Wheatears on Wall at Winskill Stones Plantlife Reserve.

Easter Sunday started at 5.15 am as I looked out of the door to see a brilliant big white full moon in the clear black sky in the SW. 

By 5.30 the moon was dissolving into the darkness as the mist rolled in.

I went round to Althea's and we went to the Churches Together Early morning -6.30am  service the Millennium Gardens, led by John Diggles.

I love the early morning service, with the birds in the background, and the quietness. We have the whole place to ourselves. . I played "Amazing grace" on my tin whistle before we started, as people were arriving. To recorded music we sang "Light up the Fire" and Easter songs.

Then we had breakfast at the Friends Meeting House. Althea and I returned to her house by 8.30am as she wanted to get ready to go to a Christening/Baptism later that morning.

I realised the mist would be only in the valley. So instead of going home... I went up the hill above Langcliffe


What views!  

At the left of Langcliffe Brow I walked  south to try and get at photo of the mist above Settle to say "That's where we were at 6.30cm."

But one bit of mist from above looks pretty much the same as another..

-- so I will say we were below this bit of mist to the right of this solitary ash tree:  
This gives me chance to put in another photo of Klebsormidium - growing on the slightly acid bark (the limestone walls are so basic for it to grow)

Klebsormidium crenualatum on Ash trunk

Perhaps I  could take a photo of the Plantlife Reserve - Winskill Stones and put a picture on Twitter?
So I went along to  Winskill Stones
Two Wheatear. In the distance is Moughton - with a trig point at the summit and Juniper on the pavement.  (and Ingleborough beyond that is now becoming  covered in mist

Solonospora candicans -  a lichen on the wall

Lecanora soralifera on slate/greywacke capstones of wall

Wisnkill Stones looking up towards Pen y Ghent

10.15 and I was back down at St John's Church - where on Easter morning we decorate a cross with Daffodils.

and wear our Easter Bonnets

In the afternoon I invited friends for a walk to the Hoffman Kiln - I wish I had taken photos - On the way we saw butterbur, primroses and willow in flower. And the others took photos of snails and thallose liverworts.

We went to the informal worship service at St Alkelda,s Giggleswick Church.

Modern technology and Easter Bonnet

 Returning home in the Easter Evening Sun.