Tuesday 23 April 2019


Who remembers 14 January 1963 when the President of France, Charles de Gaulle, announced the French veto on Britain's application to join the European Common Market, the forerunner of the European Union.   De Gaulle said the British government lacked 'commitment' to European integration.

Surely not. 

(Ironically almost everyone in Britain objected to the veto and the subsequent one later in the 60s.   .  Those who wanted to join the Common Market were upset at not being allowed to do so.  Those who didn't want to join saw it as typical intervention by the French, and in particular, blamed an 'ungrateful' De Gaulle who should have been thankful for our support during the War when Britain supported the French Resistance, which De Gaulle led.)

Eventually, on 1st January 1973 Britain joined the European Economic Community (EEC).  Britain held a referendum on the matter in 1975, after Harold Wilson renegotiated its terms of entry.  Labour's left, led by Tony Benn (and including a then-unknown Jeremy Corbyn), hated the Common Market, seeing it as a "capitalist club" that would erode British democracy and destroy jobs.  Enoch Powell, the maverick right wing Tory who had just become an Ulster Unionist MP, joined Tony Benn as the loudest voices in the Out campaign.  Nevertheless  67% of those who voted were in favour of staying in the EEC.

The Brexit referendum, took place on 23 June 2016 in the United Kingdom (UK) and Gibraltar to ask the electorate if the country should remain a member of, or leave the European Union (EU).  (Can anyone recall why we had the referendum?) The referendum resulted in 51.9% of the votes cast being in favour of leaving the EU.   Legally the referendum is non-binding but the government promised to implement the result, and it initiated the official EU withdrawal process on 29 March 2017, meaning that the UK was due to leave the EU before 11PM on 29 March 2019, UK time, when the two-year period for Brexit negotiations expired.

It's now April.  Does anyone know where we are at???

Saturday 13 April 2019

Broad-bodied Chasers

I've been looking at some of my old natural history photos.  I decided to share some of them with you.  These are Broad-bodied Chaser dragonflies.  The blue one is the male.

Sunday 7 April 2019

Ilya Kondaruk

Since opening this blog twelve years ago I have posted 3,089 posts and had 1,045,010 page views.  This is the first time I have appealed for my readers’ charity. 

This is 3 year old Ilya Kondaruk.  

As you will guess from his bald pate he has major health problems.  Last month I had a message from my friend Marina in Ukraine. 

“I am writing to you with a big request! You may have seen on my Facebook page a photo of a little boy from our city. This is Ilusha. He is 3 years old. He has cancer. neuroblastoma 4 degrees. his mother is a nurse in the city hospital, and his father is an ambulance paramedic. He is the only child in the family. His parents waited for him for a very long time. And his doctors called his birth a miracle.

He is now in the hospital in the Dnieper. He has already completed 5 courses of chemotherapy; suffered a lot of pain and suffering. But he needs an operation abroad. Clinics in Spain, Germany and Israel billed from 300-400 thousand euros !!!! This is a huge amount not only for his family, but for all of us.

For the past 3 months, our entire city has been raising money for the treatment of this boy. Charity concerts, performances, film screenings, fairs. Children collect money in schools. In one week, the city collected 7 thousand dollars, a school where my youngest son studies about a thousand euros, but still this is not enough. For three months, we have collected almost 90 thousand dollars, but for treatment in Turkey you need at least 150 - 200 thousand euros. we do not know how much time we have, and Ilya cannot wait for another 3 months. Please help us!!!!! Please spread this message among friends and acquaintances on social networks! If everyone can transfer at least 20, 10, 5 euros, we will be very grateful to everyone!”

If you want to see the Facebook page of  Ilya's Mum, Катя Кондарюк, search for kattikondaruk

Depending upon where you are there are different ways to contribute to helping Ilya get his operation.   (I had some difficulty paying my little sum from the UK.  In the end his family managed to install Paypal and paying through that was really easy.)

These are the details of his mum's card through the
Pay Send system 5168 7573 7716 6683 Kondaryuk Ekaterina
_ Card Privat Bank: 5168757377166683 kondarûk ekaterina
Map Sberbank: 639002679006855492 Anastasia kaluga (Ilya’s mum’s sister)
Help on phone number for citizens of Russia: + 79829281705 Anastasia kaluga
Privat Bank Dollar Map USA: 5168757386266243
Privat Bank Euro: 5168757386271508
Paypal props:

Please give this serious consideration. 

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Time for a read...

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