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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Who Needs Men? by Edmund Cooper (My Goodreads Review)

Who Needs Men?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Edmund Cooper does love to invent Post Apocalyptic worlds of Britain in most of his stories. This is one of my favourite E.C. novels along with All Fools Day.

According to a magazine article, I read about him just prior to his death, he said he managed to upset a few feminists with this story. This dystopian Britain of the future is one of Females ruling the world and the few men left alive are hunted in the Highlands.

It's all pulp sci-fi and I read it back in the late 70s. It's rather cheesy but hey! I was a sixteen year old just going to work at the time. If Ed Cooper was trying to have a go at feminists and I think he probably was, then it was very exaggerated. However, the story was rather good and I suppose I must be a little weird for liking it so. Well worth reading if you enjoy dystopian style stories.

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Unexpected Day Off.

The Unexpected Day Off.

I had to take an unexpected day off work today. It was quickly sorted out because I still had leave days from last year’s holiday allocation and the full set of this year's to do. After the problem was solved, my wife and I had the rest of the day to do what we desired. It was a very hot day in the upper eighties. So we decided to go to one of the many market towns about our area. We settled upon St Ives in Cambridgeshire. We had not been here for some time and we always like to walk the town square and then along the river to the church. It passed a few pleasant hours and we unwound a little before making our way home via the village of Ramsey.

We drove down all the country lanes, then on to Benwick as the flat Fens started and further on to the village of Doddington, Wimblington and eventually, our Fenland town of March. Here we stopped and bought a few more things for supper. I had Chinese and Carole went for a Vegetarian Biryani.

Then into the garden to enjoy the lovely summer evening in England's Fenland.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Blitzfreeze by Sven Hassel (My Goodreads Review)

BlitzfreezeBlitzfreeze by Sven Hassel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Our usual crowd of vagabond heroes are at it again. The characters of Porta, Tiny, the Legionnaire and, of course, Sven the Danish writer who tells these stories in the first person singular.

These soldiers are in Hitler's German army on the Russian front. They are a cannon fodder and a penal battalion of political deviants, murderers and other criminal elements. Sven is a deserter who fled to Denmark, his country of birth. When Germany occupied the country in 1940. He got a knock on the door for going AWOL.

All the men of the penal battalion have their own stories to tell. Some of the antics are so comical; you will hold your stomach trying not to laugh. These are kind moments during leave or lulls in the battle of the Russian steppe. The other side of the coin is the horror of the war and the violent and often heartbreaking things that happen to the men as they become more brutalised in their endeavours to survive the madness and Hell on Earth about them.

There are many Sven Hassel stories with the same characters we all grow to love. They are meant to have really existed. However, perhaps some of the stories are made up more with old friends entered into the tales. Great read and easily hooks many readers for this type of genre.

C.A. Powell
The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920

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Monday, 10 July 2017

A Sparrowhawk Has Discovered the Dunnock Fledgelings

The Sparrowhawk Finds My Garden a Good Hunting Ground.
I was called on my mobile while at work today. It was my wife concerning the Dunnock chicks. I have written about them in the blog on several occasions.  Today, Carole told me that the birds had fledged and were hopping around the garden. However, one had been taken by a male kestrel. (We later found out this bird of prey was a sparrowhawk. So the mistake was ours.) 

It was the Fledgelings first excursion into the world after leaving the nest. Unfortunately, the cruel side of nature starts to bite straight away.

When I got home, I sat in the garden and saw the two remaining baby Dunnock chicks hopping about. I went to get my camera in the hope of getting a few photo shots of them. When I came back out in the garden, Carole said that the two fledgelings had returned to the Ceonosis Bush and everything went quiet.

As I sat down I realised why the birds were no longer chirping. On the fence sat a male Sparrowhawk. I told Carole and she confirmed it was the very raptor that had killed one of the Dunnock fledgelings in the afternoon when she phoned me at work. I managed to get a few photo shots of the bird of prey, but it shot off across the garden and attacked something in a tree over in the garden next door. It was so quick that I'm unsure whether it got a small bird or not. It flew away from the area very instantly after the attack. 

The Dunnocks are learning to hide. Hopefully, they’ll live to fly off into the world.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Journey of the Ultimate Brexiter

The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed EverythingThe Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything by Nigel Farage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nigel Farage takes us on a journey from his senior school days to his work buying and selling non-precious metals for fridges, cars and other products etc. How to spot an opportunity and how to get off the bus at the right moment. How from here he went into politics as the Europen Parliament began to stifle London with unwanted regulation. On his first excursion to Brussels as an MEP he began to think he was not getting himself heard by people back in the UK. He found this vexing until social media and YouTube catapulted him to the world. His hard and frank outspoken criticism of the EU went viral on many occasions. Mainstream media were out in the cold. Great read and I would highly recommend this gripping book.

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Baby Dunnock Chicks are Developing Well.

Dunnock Chicks in the Ceonosis Bush.
Checked the Dunnock chicks today and they are coming along very well. It will not be long before they fledge and leave the nest. In the meantime, I can't help keeping an eye on the distant crows and other types of carrion that are about. Especially the Jays. If they get sight of the nest they will clear it out.

I notice how the Dunnock parents always seem to land in the duck coop and skip about below the Ceonosis Bush before entering the nest from below. The little hedge sparrows (Dunnocks) are very secretive and careful. I've a strong suspicion and hope that the chicks will fledge. It can't be too many days now.

Lloyd's Trip into Norfolk.

Lloyd by the Mill Bridge.

My son, Lloyd, is staying with me. Today, my wife, Carole and I decided to go for a drive along the coastal road towards Hunstanton and Wells Next the Sea. The last time we did this, it was with my second son Paul. This time, Lloyd decided to come along and see for himself.

It was a hot day and we managed to get in a few kind sightings of birds of Prey. I always take my camera. We, of course, had to stop at cafes for coffee and baguettes etc. It was a pleasant outing and I think Lloyd enjoyed the tranquillity of the Norfolk countryside.

On the way back he wanted to stop by the old mill where a small stream flows. There are trout in the river and he made a note of such for a special occasion when he next ventures into Norfolk County.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Retro Steampunk Ironman

I loved this wonderful retro/steampunk Marvel Ironman from K.B. Burnfield - Google+ I think the cool 1930s Retro USA look is smashing. A time when the glamour of America was captivating the world. It's strange how certain periods of time have a signature art that leaves the observer knowing he or she is in the past and experiencing an era before they were born.

This image has it all on the nostalgia front. A frozen time that will live forever in the eternity of our minds.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Plodding Along During the Hot Summer Day.

Benwick is a very quiet and tranquil little village in the Fenland. While driving along the country road, one dare not blink as the village could be missed. Driving through without noticing. I stop by the river next to a church graveyard. The birds are singing in the trees and the whole place is alive with nature's summer glory.

This spot is always a great place to have a cup of tea, so I time my arrival for when it is such. As I sip my tea, I look out and think, "This is what it is all about." To borrow the words of Father Ted. lol.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Marsh Harrier of the Fen.

We had a fine evening over the bird hides of Manea. As it was getting towards late evening, there was a lot of activity. However, it was at distance and most of my shots across the fen were no good when magnified and enhanced. I think I'm going to need a camera with a little better magnification than 300m which is my maximum on this.

Through the binoculars, we got clear sightings of a couple of Common Buzzards and a Barn Owl. Also, a good sighting of a Kingfisher too. Everything was tranquil and silent. We drank a few cups of coffee while watching the Buzzards for some time. 

Then on the way home, I got a splendid shot of a Marsh Harrier over the field. All in all, we had a very good couple of hours in the fen.