Remembrance Sunday and not forgetting what led to war

I attended Dorking’s remembrance service today (also last year) and it was encouraging to see again a large crowd of all ages. There is a small parade from the large church in centre of Dorking along the High Street (closed for the parade) and up to the memorial on South Street.

Apparently there was a large parade as normal at the Cenotaph in London too. When I was there recently and attended part of the defending democracy rally, shortly after I left, the far-right Brexit supporters already drunk, as well as attacking police were stamping on the Remembrance poppy wreaths there. Now politicians – some of whom want a third world war, lay new wreaths. But those (not politicians who have never fought and probably never would fight in a war) who attend because they fought in wars or want to remember the courage of those who fought and never want to see it again, vastly outnumber the diseased minds of a few.

And I won’t forget what leads to war, the greed of a few for resources they don’t own. The need to conjure up an imaginary enemy, currently Russia being the UK’s scapegoat. The manufactured right and lefteous outrage at Russia whilst blatantly ignoring US and others. The roles UK politicians play in defending the interests of their friends in those other countries.

Cowardly men and women who are not clever enough to improve their career prospects or too lazy to try, throwing fake accusation after fake accusation at a nation who lost millions of people, families because of the decisions of a few people in Europe, UK and the US as well as in their own country.

Cowardly Conservatives in the UK constantly defending their own interests in Russia, not Russian interests (why would the national interests of another country be relevant unless it brings them money or power).

Simply paying lip service if anything at all to the generosity and kindness with which they have been treated as guests in a country where they were not born; whilst seizing as many assets as they can to benefit themselves.

No I won’t forget. Both my grandfathers fought in world wars, my grandmother served in various organisations actively supporting Britain in the second world war. And many people gathered in Dorking have relatives and friends who are the same. They won’t forget either. Politicians can’t unite my country and the world, technologies can’t unite my country and the world. The methodologies of hatred and greed have adapted but we are adapting too. And we will remember the lives lost, the courage in perpetual adversity and above all the sacrifice.

It will not be in vain.





Something for a Friday – the geology of the Isle of Wight

We are approaching the end of Earth Sciences, Isle of Wight (2 videos)



Russia Climate Science blog project update

We have now started with my colleagues at Nottingham Trent University because our PhD student has arrived in UK. Nottingham are providing some funding for her time on the project this year and she has made an amazing start. She already knew some of the Russian scientists I had contacted and is making wonderful progress in a matter of hours. So the project will mostly be run now by Nottingham and I will assist with web tech stuff and social media.

We will be meeting soon again to finish website design and confirm a template for each post. So hopefully in December we will go live.

Due to a number of kind actions – we were invited to meet a group of Russian climate scientists at another UK university today. They are setting up a network and developing online educational materials. A very useful day to understand Russian higher and professional education.

They are happy to have us join in some shape or form as a little tributary to their project potentially. If we are successful then we can promote their project. They would like us to produce videos for social sharing too which fits well with our plans.

And with a nice coincidence the online materials development from a TEL perspective on the UK side will ultimately be overseen by my former manager at Surrey. I won’t be involved with that but she will see the website so no pressure!! I remember she was very meticulous about English grammar too.

We hadn’t seen each other for around 10/11 years so lovely to catch up too.

Russian Film week – starting 24th November

Film list

Curated programme (pdf)

Our Russian class is probably going as a group if anyone is interested and wants to join us in London

Russian German re-migrants’ and stayees’ belongings: Everyday food practices in Western Siberia

Interesting research

Anabaptist Historians


Led by the central research question of which resources re-migrants and stayees use for the construction of belongings, in 2015 I conducted participant observation and topic-centered interviews at a three months field research in Western Siberia with Russian Germans. 1 According to the Russian Federation’s latest census by 20102, approximately one eighth of Russia’s dispersed German minority lives in the Altai region. Thus, I made my way to Barnaul, the capital of this region. Not, as one might expect, to the German national district (немецкий национальный район) with the village of Halbstadt as administrative center.

Source: Google maps.

As a cultural anthropologist/ European ethnologist3,
I conceive belongings not as static as that implies an often
essentializing understanding of culture. More precisely and
differentiated, culture can be defined as the total of human
practices, products and articulations. This includes, inter alia,

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Fish surprise

An unexpected entrant into a riverfly sample this morning

Don’t know which one. It’s not huge, there’s a gammarus (freshwater shrimp) pretending to be one of its ears. The water depth is higher and faster flow from recent heavy rains.

First fish I’ve seen on this stretch of Pipp Brook but am only there once a month for an hour or so. Dog walkers and the farmer have seen trout, roach, chub and freshwater mussels.

The North Downs ridge looked stunning first thing with low mist blankets hovering over the fields below

Returning to breaking

Will need to re-harden knuckles again but hope to get in some practice this autumn. Managed 3 (1 side kick, 1 strike, 1 punch) attempts first time for board breaking at summer camp but more technique training needed for a brick.

Adjusting all training at the moment but some faint signs of progress / recovery