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Requiem for a Bee

Stoke Newington, London. Sat 28 Sep 2019

There were speeches over the coffin at Stoke Newington Town Hall
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Extinction Rebellion Hackney march from Clissold Park behind a coffin to Stoke Newington Town Hall in protest against global heating due to increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases.

The protest took its theme and title, 'Requiem For A Bee' from reports that the Red Girdled Mining Bee, previously found in Abney Park Cemetery was now extinct there due to loss of habitat with increasing development in Hackney, though the coffin was considerably overlarge for a bee, even the cardboard one in the picture above.

The protesters demand Hackney Council appoint a biodiversity officer, act on their recent declaration of climate emergency, include XR and other local groups in a citizens assembly, commit to net zero emissions by 2025 and divest 100% of pension fund from fossil fuels.

The funeral procession assembled in Clissold Park, and was fortunately for me late in starting, only moving off shortly after I arrived after my journey from Euston. After halting for speeches at toke Newington Town Hall it continued to the end of Stoke Newington Church St and up the High Street to the impressive Egyptian gates of Abney Park Cemetery where there was a rather odd period of reflection. Had I been protesting rather than photographing the event I would have left for a pint.
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HS2 threatens ancient Woodland

Euston, London.Sat 28 Sep 2019
Chris Packham with a man dressed as a tree holding pots containing saplings from South Cubbington Wood
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Chris Packham and The Woodland Trust hold a protest 'Euston: We have a Problem' against the destruction of ancient woodlands to build the HS2 rail line.

Although the future of the HS2 high speed rail project is now doubtful, the destruction of ancient woodlands on its route is still going ahead. Increasingly people are realising that the project would deliver little of real value, with the first stage to Birmingham only cutting a few minutes off the journey time on a route already served by two different lines, and the benefits of the proposed later stages to the north are also relatively minor.

Rail passengers, particularly in the north of England, would be better served and at lower cost by a number of smaller projects designed to meet the needs of the north than this expensive high-profile prestige project connecting a few more rapidly to London.

What is perhaps more important in prompting calls for abandoning HS2 are predictions that it will at least twice as much as the original estimates rather than any of the concerns groups including The Woodland Trust have expressed about its effects on the environment, destroying many bio-diverse areas.

South Cubbington Wood, due to be destroyed on 9th October, is one of 30 classified ancient woodlands among a total of 108 woods to be wholly or partly lost to HS2. Chris Packham and The Woodland Trust were protesting against this senseless destruction of irreplaceable precious ecosystems for a rail line that may well not even be built, and a few days later the felling at South Cubbington was put on hold, though it appears to be continuing elsewhere. Of course this wood will eventually be lost unless HS2 is cancelled.
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Veterans Moon for Soldier F

Parliament Square, London.Sat 28 Sep 2019

Veterans on top of an armoured vehicle bare their buttocks towards Parliament Square
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Hundreds had come to London to march in Operation Zulu, the protest against the prosecution of 'Soldier F' for the murder of civil rights protesters in Londonderry on 'Bloody Sunday' in 1972.

They want all soldiers to be granted protection against prosecution for any alleged historic offences. The government recently announced this, but with a special exemption allowing those offences during the Irish 'Troubles' to be brought to court. So far only 'Soldier F' has been brought to trial, but cases against others are also expected.

By the time I arrived they were in Parliament Square which was ringed with motor bikes as a part of the event which was called Operation Rolling Thunder, with the streets and paved area also fairly full with people and a few vehicles. A small group climbed onto the top of an armoured vehicle and dropped their trousers, mooning towards Parliament and also turning and doing the same towards the middle of the square.
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Climate Rally for the Imagination

Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 27 Sep 2019

Environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin, arrested for protesting against Shell with Extinction Rebellion
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Artists, designers, musicians, cultural workers and leaders meet in Trafalgar Square on the final day of the Global Climate Strike week to propose creative individual and collective responses to the climate emergency.

It was raining at the start of the event but there were sunny spells as well as heavy showers later. Some of the school strikers had stayed on for this event and were there with their posters and a number of them spoke at the event.

As well as publicity for of the book 'Letters to the Earth' to be published shortly, with two people reading their contributions from it, there were also contributions about practical schemes to encourage tree planting and various workshops, a letter calling on the Arts Council to promote work dealing with climate change and a song from folk singer Sam Lee.

Eden, a 19-year-old student at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, spoke about the letter sent to the Royal Shakespeare Company announcing a boycott by school strikers until the RSC stops accepting sponsorship from BP, the "third biggest corporate source of greenhouse gases in history.” I think it was only a day after this event that the RSC announced it was withdrawing from BP sponsorship.
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Hong Kong must be free

Parliament Square, London. Fri 27 Sep 2019

Protesters in Parliament Square call for Hong Kong to be free
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Protesters in black hold up photographs of violence against protesters in Hong Kong and posters.

They call for Hong Kong to be free and that their five demands be met. They want complete withdrawal of the Extradition Bill, a retraction of characterising the protests as riots, withdrawal of prosecutions against protesters, an independent investigation into police brutality and the implementation of Dual Universal Suffrage.
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Students Strike for climate justice

London. Fri 27 Sep 2019
After their march the students returned to Parliament Square for a loud rally
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School students and supporters in Parliament Square campaign at the end of a week of Global Climate actions and the start of a worldwide General Strike for climate justice and against extinction.

The students, inspired by Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, demand that governments and corporations act now and make the dramatic changes needed to avoid global heating and the risk of human extinction. After meeting in Parliament Square the marched to Downing St, then on to Trafalgar Square before returning for a rally in Parliament Square.
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XR Doctors Climate Protest

Parliament Square, London. Wed 25 Sep 2019

Doctors and medical staff held their banner and spoke in turn about climate change
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Doctors for Extinction rebellion protest in Parliament Square calling for urgent drastic action to cut carbon emissions and prevent climate catastrophe.

GPs, some holding their babies, junior doctors and others spoke in turn about the current failure to take effective action to stop a global temperature rise that will have extreme ecological, societal and health impacts and the need to take direct non-violent action achieve change.

Also in Parliament Square were the usual protesters for and against leaving the EU.
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Wework stop victimising cleaners

Shoreditch, London. Wed 25 Sep 2019

The cleaners and their supporters made a lot of noise outside the wework offices
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Members of the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU) protest noisily outside the offices of global office rental company Wework calling for it to end the victimisation of union members by their cleaning contractor CCM.

5 CAIWU members have been dismissed in recent months, without proper process and with Wework using its contract with CCM to press their dismissal.
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Clerkenwell Road & Old St

London. Wed 25 Sep 2019

Old Street roundabout
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Pictures from the bus on journeys in both directions on the Clerkenwell Road, mainly around the Old Street roundabout.

Although you often get an interesting view from the windows on the top deck of a double-decker bus, the windows are often too dirty or scratched to get good pictures, but on these journeys I was fortunate.

There are a number of recent buildings around Old Street and there are currently extensive works on the roundabout which has long been a rather alien place.
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Clean Air for Catford Children

Catford, London. Sat 21 Sep 2019
Local residents march along the South Circular in Catford
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A march by local residents in Catford demanded action to reduce pollution by Lewisham Council.

Residents, mainly families with children had spent the afternoon making placards and posters in the Corbett Library, a library presented by the Glasgow-born philanthropist Archibald Corbett who developed the whole Hither Green Estate(as well as large estates in Eltham and Ilford) which is now a Community Library run by volunteers on Torridon Road in Catford.

They then marched up to and along the pavement of Brownhill Road, one of the many local roads which make up the South Circular Road to a rally in Catford, but I left after walking around halfway.

Clean Air for Catford demand Lewisham Council take bolder and faster action to reduce air pollution, particularly around schools. Continual heavy traffic ann congestion along the South Circular is responsible for the worst . Across London two million people, including 400,000 children live in areas with illegal levels of pollution, causing almost 10,000 deaths a year in the city.

The South Circular Road has never really been a road, and the actual route now designated as the A205 was determined by signs put up unofficially by local motoring groups. Various plans to upgrade and replace it which would have laid waste large areas of highly populated parts of South London have fortunately not been implemented (the latest being one of Boris Johnson's harebrained schemes.) Possibly there may be some improvement in 2021 when it will become part of the London Ultra–Low Emission Zone, with daily charges for any more polluting vehicles using it. The slow but growing use of electric vehicles may also play a small part, but these still produce particulates from tires and brakes. We urgently need policies at both national and local level which reduce vehicle use and promote greener alternative transport including walking and cycling as well as public transport use.

Lewisham Council are not responsible for the South Circular Road, but there are remedial actions such as planting screens of trees and hedges which can reduce local pollution levels, particularly the levels of harmful particulates.
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Zimbabwe protests continue

Zimbabwe Embassy, London. Sat 21 Sep 2019
People stand for a prayer during the protest
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The weekly Zimbabwe Vigil began on 12th October 2002.

It continues despite the removal from office of Mugabe and his death earlier this month. His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe's right-hand man for 40 years, and is accused of the genocide of over 20,000 Ndebeles in the 1980s. Although he promised reform he has delivered state terrorism and protesters have been killed, beaten, tortured and raped by the security forces.
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XR Youth International

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 21 Sep 2019
Young people from Extinction Rebellion sit in a circle, some with posters
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Members of Extinction Rebellion Youth International came to Trafalgar Square and held a brief protest for the UN Climate conference.

I saw them as they walked into the centre of the square and sat down to form a circle, while one member at the centre read the letter they are sending to the UN calling for real urgent action to avert the impending climate catastrophe.

Although Trafalgar Square is open to the public and has a long history of protests, events such as this without permission are illegal under the by-laws that apply there and are usually enforced by the Mayor of London's Heritage Wardens. Of course many groups of tourists come into the square and pose in groups for photographs or simply sit around to eat their lunches, and the Heritage Wardens appear not to have noticed this group and their illegal activity, at least by the time I had left the square.

Also walking around the area were the usual group of Brexiteers in yellow hi-viz vests, though their numbers seem to have greatly reduced.
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Cody Dock Duck Race

Bow Creek, London. Sat 21 Sep 2019

The race began 10 minutes late - and I couldn't wait to see if any ducks made the course
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Cody Dock had organised a Duck Race on Bow Creek, with the starting point being the bridge across the river at Twelvetrees Crescent. It was a part of the 'Lighting Up the Lea' festival they were organising for 'Totally Thames 2019'.

The race was meant to start at 11.00 am, and the team with the ducks in a plastic dustbin was in place a few minutes before then. But the start was delayed for ten minutes while several kayaks made their way up the creek towards the start to supervise the event.

A rather small crowd, mostly of people with ducks in the race had come to watch, and there was a cheer as the ducks were tipped into the water and began to float slowly downstream. Unfortunately they only made it a few yards before all drifting into the mud on the east side, possibly because of a slight breeze.

Help for the ducks was on hand, in the person of Cody Dock's Simon Myers, striding through the shallow water and mud from the gravel bank a hundred yards or so downstream where his kayak had been beached. At first he used his paddle to flick the ducks back into the water, but after a while resorted to picking them up and throwing them towards the middle of the stream. But by the time he had freed the final duck those that he had helped first were back on the mud just a few yards further on.

I watched this for a few minutes, and then decided I needed to walk on if I was to finish my walk in time for the next event. There were small groups of people further along the route waiting for the ducks, and past the finish at Cody Dock there was a small row waiting to catch them at the end of the race.

I couldn't wait to see the result, but I'd be very surprised if any made it to the finish before the tide turned and swept them back upstream again towards Stratford. Perhaps it was the breeze that was the problem, but should they try another year I think a much shorter course, releasing the ducks from a boat while there was a little more water still running out on the tide might make more sense.
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Bromley-by-Bow to Star Lane

London. Sat 21 Sep 2019
The view from Twelvetrees Crescent Bridge looking towards Canary Wharf
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I had time on a fine day to walk from Bromley-by-Bow District Line station to Star Lane on the DLR, mainly walking alongside Bow Creek, leaving the river at Cody Dock.

Apart from the weather my reason for taking the walk was that Cody Dock was holding a duck race along Bow Creek. I'll put the pictures and comments about this in a separate post.

There was some new building and a huge building site visible as I made my way from the station to the bridge at Twelvetrees Crescent where the Duck Race was to begin. I was as intended a little early to give me time to revisit the gas works memorial garden nearby before going down to watch the start of the race.

After the race started I continued on my way beside Bow Creek along to Cody Dock. I'd hoped - but not really expected - that the section of footpath past there would by now be open, but found that the problems in opening it have still not been solved. Cody Dock is currently crowd-funding for an innovative rolling footbridge to replace the current fixed bridge across the dock mouth; hopefully by the time this is built the problems preventing the opening of the path downstream will be solved. So rather than walking as I'd hoped to Canning Town I took a few pictures at Cody Dock and then made my way to Star Lane.
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Carnaby St Puma Boycott

Carnaby St, London. Fri 20 Sep 2019

Protesters with Palestinian flags outside Puma in Carnaby St
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Inminds Islamic human rights group protest outside Puma in Carnaby St calling for a boycott of Puma products.

The protesters say Puma whitewashes Israel's war crimes by sponsoring the apartheid Israel Football Association which includes clubs from illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, a war crime under international law.

The protest by Inminds came after 215 Palestinian sports clubs have asked Puma to respect human rights and cut its ties with the IFA. Puma has failed to do so.

The noisy protest attracted the attention of many tourists in Carnaby St, with some coming to talk with the protesters and have their pictures taken with them. Many took the leaflets about the protest and only one or two expressed any opposition. more pictures

Global Climate Strike Protest continues

Whitehall, London. Fri 20 Sep 2019


School students sit down in Whitehall

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Protests for the Global Climate Strike continued after the rally on Millbank.

Police arrested some activists who sat down in Whitehall, but then a large crowd led by school students came from Parliament Square and completely blocked the road. When police began to threaten arrest they marched off down Horseguards Avenue and up Whitehall Court to Whitehall Place, where a police line stopped them at the junction with Northhumberland Ave. They sat down again and were still there when I left for a short break. When I returned they had moved and were sitting down in Whitehall, with police again warning them about arrests. They stood up and moved off towards Parliament Square, and I took the tube to another protest.

Also earlier in Parliament Square I met political artist Kay Mar with a painting of Trump standing on a globe, one foot in the USA and the other on the Middle East, holding a club and an oil pump, as well as a group of Kurdish protesters dancing and supporting Rojava.
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Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike

South London. Fri 20 Sep 2019

A child waves a placard at the rally in Windrush Square
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Various groups around London held local protests for the Global Climate Strike and I managed to visit two of these in South London, at the Elephant and Brixton.

People met outside the University of the Arts at the Elephant and Castle to take part in the Global Climate Strike. Most marched from here to Southwark Council Offices in Tooley St to meet striking council workers there, and some went to join the protest in Westminster.

Schoolchildren, teachers and parents hold a rally in Brixton before going to join the main Earth Day Global Climate Strike inspired by Greta Thunberg in Westminster. more pictures

Global Climate Strike Rally

Millbank, London. Fri 20 Sep 2019

Schoolgirls react to the speaker on a lorry in front of them
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The Global Climate Strike movement held a large protest in London on Earth Day.

Thousands including many schoolchildren along with teachers, parents an other older supporters came to Westminster for a packed rally on Millbank as part of the Earth Day Global Climate Strike inspired by Greta Thunberg.
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Hackney don't victimise housing activists

Hackney, London. Mon 16 Sep 2019

Margaret and Shabana, bullied by Hackney Council both spoke at the protest
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An emergency protest outside Hackney Town Hall while a cabinet meeting was taking place demanded an end to the bullying and mistreatment of the two families remaining in Marian Court.

After Shabana, a member of East End Sisters Uncut and London Renters Union, led a protest last month against the demolition of her home the council sent her a letter telling her she is no longer eligible to be rehoused. She has been racially abused by council officials and was offered a property daubed by neighbours with racist and Islamophobic slogans. Her complaints have not be dealt with, and promises made to her by Hackney's Mayor have been broken. The council has spread false rumours that Shabhana has refused multiple offers of accommodation.

Margaret's mother and daughter have complex medical needs which the council have failed to meet, offering her an entirely unsatisfactory property next to premises producing allergens which would threaten her daughter's life, and with a door to small to admit her mother's wheelchair. She has been told she has made herself intentionally homeless for refusing the offer.
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Hackney

Hackney, London. Mon 16 Sep 2019

Marian Court estate is to be demolished
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I arrived early for a protest in Hackney and took the short walk to Marion Court, a council estate being demolished and redeveloped by Hackney Council.

The estate is well built, and was popular and on a good site not far from the centre of Hackney, just to the north of Morning Lane, just a few yards from the 'fashion village' on which the council wasted £1.5m of Boris Johnson's riot regeneration funding. Many of the units in this are empty, some never occupied and many now abandoned by major fashion companies. The scheme has never produced the jobs which were promised and now employs very few, and is seen by many simply as an attempt to gentrify the area.

The demolition of the neighbouring council estate is also an exercise in gentrification, and environmentally extremely wasteful; demolition of existing buildings should become a last resort in the current situation where we need to reduce our carbon footprint. And although the replacements of this estate will be at least half expensive flats for sale or rent at high market prices (and the other half so-called 'affordable' at significantly higher than existing council rents) they will probably be built to lower standards of space and design than the existing units. Estates like this can and should be refurbished, perhaps also with some additional homes, which involves much lower monetary and environmental costs and enables them to continue as much needed social housing.
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Brixton anti-racist march

Brixton, London. Sat 14 Sep 2019
Marchers leave Brixton Market to march around Brixton back to Windrush Square
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Movement for Justice and Lambeth Unison Black Workers' Group protest in Brixton against the continuing persecution of Windrush family members and other migrants, calling for freedom of movement, the closure of immigration detention prisons, and an end to Brexit which is being used to whip up immigrant-bashing and nationalism to establish a Trump-style regime in Britain under Boris Johnson.

After speeches in Windrush Square they moved to Brixton Market where wide support was shown by the public for speeches. Before they left Green MEP for London Scott Ainslie spoke about his LDNlovesEU campaign. They then marched up to Atlantic Road and back along the main street, Brixton Road for a final short rally in Windrush Square.
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London's First Trans+ Pride March

London. Sat 14 Sep 2019

The march starts from Hyde Park Corner
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Hundreds people march through London from Hyde Park Corner to Soho Square in London's first Trans+ Pride March in what was both a celebration and protest for trans, non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals and their family, friends and allies.

The event aimed to increase visibility for the trans+ community and to protest against the discrimination that continues around the world against trans people, with increasing transphobia in the British media, attacks on trans people on the streets, hate speech by trans-exclusionary feminists, and by right-wing national and state governments.
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Stop Arming Israel HSBC Protest

Oxford St, London. Sat 14 Sep 2019

Young London Palestine Solidarity Campaign led the protest outside the HSBC branch
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Protesters outside the Oxford St branch of the HSBC Bank call on it to stop its support of military and technology companies that sell weapons and equipment to Israel to be used against Palestinians.

HSBC has divested from Israel's largest private weapons company, but still owns shares in Caterpillar which supplies bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes and construct illegal apartheid settlements, BAE Systems involved in making the fighter jets uses to attack Gaza and Raytheon which suppliers 'bunker buster' bombs used to target Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

This protest was a part of a National Day of Action on Saturday 14th September calling on HSBC to stop arming Israel. The branch was closed to customers while I was there.
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Criminal Abuse of Women in South Africa

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 14 Sep 2019

After a the rally people lit candles and put posters in front of South Africa House
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People, mainly women and including many South Africans, dressed in black to protest in Trafalgar Square following the rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana and many other women in South Africa.

They joined with protests being held across South Africa calling for the government to declare a state of emergency over gender based violence, and to protest against gender-based violence across the world. After speeches and silences they moved to light candles for the victims at the entrance to South Africa House.
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Against LGBTQ Hate Crime

London. Fri 13th Sep 2019
The march pauses in Chinatown for everyone to catch up

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Campaigners march from the Admiral Duncan pub where 3 people were killed and many seriously injured by a Nazi nail bomber in 1999 to Trafalgar Square for speeches and a minute of silence to remember Ian Baynham murdered in a homophobic attack there 10 years ago.

Speakers called for unity of LGBTQ and all people against all hate crimes, saying we should all be able to walk the streets without fear. This was the second in a series of protests to combat the nearly 150% increase in anti-LGBT hate crime in the UK between 2014 and 2018.
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Stop the suicide crisis

Old Palace Yard, London. Tue 10 Sep 2019

200 pairs of shows - one for each child who kill themselves every year
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Campaigners brought 200 pairs of shoes to Parliament on World Suicide Prevention Day to call for urgent action over the UK suicide rate, which official statistics say includes over 200 school age children each year.

A crisis in mental health care reflects a lack of action by government despite repeated promises, exacerbated by cuts to the NHS and other services which officially estimated to have caused over 120,000 early deaths since 2010.

Shadow ministers came to pledge action when Labour gains power.
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Yorkshire Dales holiday

I know it isn't London, but this site is my diary and I'd like to share the pictures from this holiday away from London. As in most years we met up with a group of friends for a week in a holiday let, this year at Kettlewell in Wharfedale.

It's a village which seems to feature often in films and videos, and you may well recognise some buildings in the pictures, particularly the village shop. It's a good centre for walking, though we did less of that than usual for minor health reasons, and several of our friends came in cars so we were able to visit some nearby attractions, as well as start some walks from elsewhere.

The weather forecast had been pretty atrocious, but it turned out rather better than expected, though there was quite a bit of rain on several days. I've arranged the pictures roughly in the order they were taken, though putting a few things together from different days.

Pictures taken inside Bolton Castle and Skipton Castle and their grounds are not available for commercial/editorial use.

Skipton, Kettlewell and Starbotton

Some pictures from Skipton on our way, from Kettlewell village and from a circular walk up the valley to Starbotton and back in mainly light rain on the following morning.


Skipton

We take it in turns to cook a vegetarian evening meal for the group, and had gone into Skipton to shop for some of the ingredients we needed. After we had done the shopping and put it in Ian's car we still had over an hour of free parking, so we took a walk around the town, going partly beside the canals to the High Corn Mill where you can pull a lever to set the huge water wheel in motion and then coming back through the High St.


Bolton Castle

Wednesday morning most of the group decided to go to Bolton Castle in Wensleydale and I was happy to go with them. It's an interesting place to visit (and I was pleased to get an Art Fund discount on the normal concession price.) As you can see it is mostly ruins, though quite a lot still remains. It was reduced to this state for having been on the losing side in the Civil War.

The weather was changing by the time I got to the top of the castle, and it was becoming wet and very windy, and we had to eat our picnic lunch in the car.

Waterfalls

We had made a short detour on our way to Bolton Castle to visit the Cauldron Falls on Walden Beck a few yards from the centre to the village of West Burton , on the edge of Wensley Dale in Bishopdale. Turner came here and sketched them in 1816, but the delicate transparent veil through which you can see the rocks behind in his sketch was a raging brown torrent.

One our way back we stopped at the better known Aysgarth falls on the River Ure in Lower Wensleydale. There had been a lot of rain in recent days and there was a lot of water coming over them. It's a short walk up from the tourist centre to the upper falls, then back down past it to the middle and lower falls. In the information centre we were also able to indulge our driver's tea room obsession.


Kettlewell & Arncliffe circular

This fairly short walk climbs up almost 300 metres to go across the fell to Littondale where there are some fine views of Arncliffe. Getting down to the village proved a little difficult, as the footpath gate seemed to lead into a ravine with no clear way down. I think it would probably be easier to see the route coming up.

Instead we walked further along to come down by a lane and another short path to get the the church at bottom left of the picture above, where we sat on a seat in the churchyard to eat our sandwiches. And it started to rain. Heavily. I was very pleased to have brought my poncho, which kept me dry and not to hot.

The walk goes alongside the river to Hawkswick where we crossed on a footbridge and then made our way up the fell from a path in the middle of the hamlet, with views across Littondale and the down Wharfdale.

The route was clear until we passed over a stile where the OS map shows a footpath going down to a disused quarry near Kettlewell. We took the only visible path and after ten minutes walking realised we were going way off course, and headed downhill through rough grass and reeds to try and find the path shown on the map. It no longer exists, and we should have stayed higher up. Eventually having walked along various sheep tracks we rejoined the revised route just before it left the moorland to go down through a disused quarry tot he road into Kettlewell.

It's one of the problems of using GPS that you know exactly where you are. If we hadn't known I think we would have simply continued on the well-worn path rather than leaving it to search for the non-existent one following the green dotted line.


More Kettlewell

You can buy a very extensive guide to Kettlewell with a walk that tells you about almost every house in the village from the village shop. I'm not sure I recommend it, as unless you have several weeks in the area you are unlikely to finish it, stopping so long to read everything. There is a much shorter guide, which I think covers the same ground and gives almost as much information but I managed to fit on a side of A4 on the village web site.

We did most of the walk but not all at the same time. We had a pretty lazy morning after our walk the day before and did some of it including a visit to the parish church in light rain.

Later on another day we did a little more in the early evening, but had to give up a little before the end as we didn't want to be late for the evening meal.

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle is a real castle, although like Bolton Castle it lost a bit from being on the wrong side in the Civil War, when workmen were sent in to make it rather weaker. But they were clearly less dedicated to the job here, perhaps charmed by the redoubtable Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676) who oversaw the restoration of the castle after their efforts had 'slightened' it, and in 1659 planted the yew tree which remains the central feature of the internal courtyard.

If you want to see a medieval castle in remarkably good shape, this is a good place to come, though it isn't at all a 'stately home' though there is a wing still private and occupied at the side of the fortress.

It also has a tea room which we had to visit, though I would have been happier in one of Skipton's many attractive-looking pubs. We had a bit of a walk around Skipton again before going back to the car park beside the castle,

Linton Church & Falls

We decided to call in at Linton Falls on the way back to Kettlewell and parked in the public car park, but couldn't immediately see where the short path to the falls was - we'd drive past it. But I saw a rather interesting building in the distance, and we walked towards it to find it was a rather unusual church. St Michael and All Angels is described in a leaflet as a 'gem of medieval rural architecture, with its handsome bell-cote' and it is still very much in use with a sizeable congregation on Sunday mornings despite very few people living close to it.

After looking around the church (though not too carefully) we went to the falls. Again at first we missed the path to the lower falls and made our way to the upper fall with its early and recently restored hydroelectric plant. But walking back we followed the roar to the main falls, where the is a viewing area in front of the old mill site and a footbridge across. Again there was a lot of water because of the recent rains and the noise was really thunderous. We couldn't stay long as we were already late for the evening meal, and I was pleased I could return a couple of days later.


Buckden circular

I think the real point of this walk was the tea room at Buckden, just a few yards from the car park where we had driven to. Frankly I wasn't much impressed by the tea room and would much have preferred the pub virtually next door, but the tea room certainly had its quirks. Cat, herbs and a long wait to be served, though it was a Saturday afternoon so their busiest day.

But instead of walking the couple of hundred yards or so we did a few miles around the head of the valley. It wasn't a particularly taxing walk and did have some interest and our friend who led us around it told us it was her favourite walk.


More Kettlewell

When we got back there was time for a short walk around Kettlewell, but we had to turn back before we had quite seen all of the village.


Linton

Some of our party had decided to go to the morning service in Linton and I went along with them but went and took pictures rather than going into the church. I had wondered about crossing the River Wharfe by the stepping stones which take the footpath which runs by the church across, but taking one look at them decided against it as several had water running over them.

I walked back to the falls and crossed the river by the footbridge, taking more pictures, though the flow of water seemed considerably less than a couple of days ago. I walked upstream beside the river to photograph the top fall, then came back down and tried to find a decent viewpoint from below the main falls, but the trees and bushes made this impossible at least without climbing past a fence and down to the riverside, which I decided was not a good idea.

I walked back to the car but the others had not arrived, so I walked up a footpath to the hill overlooking the church to watch for them coming out. Somehow I missed them, and ten minutes later got a phone call asking me where I was as they were ready to go and I rushed down the hill.

We took a short drive to the village of Linton, about half a mile away from the church and walked around the village green. Along its south side is the elegant Fountaine Hospital Almshouse, built with money from the will of Richard Fountaine (1639-1722), born in Linton who became a prosperous haberdasher in the City of London. Grade II* listed it "may have been designed by William Wakefield, who designed houses from 1713 in a style close to Vanburgh." Fountaine's bequests were the subject of great controversy and legal challenges by members of his family.


Conistone walk

We parked in the centre of Conistone and took a look at St Mary's Church, perhaps the oldest in the area, "a humble and venerable chapel' in part clearly Norman. Then made a long trek up a byway, Scot Gate Lane, the start of the track which leads to Bycliffe and Mossdale, three or four kilometres on, the site of the most deadly incident in British caving, when in 1967 six cavers died after heavy rain flooded the Mossdale Caverns, commemorated at the church.

We walked up as far as the Dales Way, climbing I think around 150 metres, though it seemed more, stopping to rest at the top, then taking a very steep and rocky path down back towards Conistone. Soon it levelled out and became grassy, then we were walking through scree and another ravine, coming to a short narrow passage where the rock had been smoothed by water coming down, though it was now dry.



And that was the end of our holiday. This is the view from the car park in Kettlewell from where we were taken to Skipton to get the train to Leeds and then on back down south. And back to work.


London Images

September 2019

Torrential rain on the Strand
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Pictures as usual from various places as I travel around London. Most this month are from Westminster and on The Strand, but with a few from elsewhere.
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