Autumn 2023

Autumn 2023


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Hodders Combe, Quantock Hills, Somerset

The adjacent photo is of Hodders Combe in the Quantock Hills, Somerset and is a photograph by Don Bishop. It was a gift from my daughter and hangs on my lounge wall. Hodders was a regular Easter camp site when I was in the scouts as a youth.
Autumn has been slow to appear this year and we have had unseasonal temperature throughout September and early October which have had the climate activists getting their knickers in a twist. As I write the winds have changed blowing cold air from the arctic and temperatures are below average for October dropping from 21°C to 11°C in a day.

I am still sitting on the fence on the causes of climate change which I can see is happening. What I can not accept in the absence of any conclusive evidence is that it is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and it is important to separate long term climate from short term weather.
I can understand the theory in the way this affects the atmosphere and that it does contribute to global warming but question just how much is due to burning fossil fuels and how much is just a warm period that the planet is going through and has gone through over millions of years.

We have only been keeping a record of global temperatures for a few hundred years and the last ice age ended over 20,000 years ago. Scientist tell us that the ice ages might have been caused by changes in the earths orbit around the sun or at least that is the theory that is still under investigation. They also speculate that we will have another ice age in a few thousand years but that the impact we are having on the climate may delay that event.

Then there is all this net zero politics going on which we have to get our head round. China is the biggest polluter on the planet producing well over 10 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum with the USA second producing a little over 5 billion. And China is building coal fired power stations as is 6th place Germany producing 775 million tonnes. That Mrs Merkel, who is a scientist, closed all the 'clean' nuclear power stations after the Japanese Fukashima disaster. Little old UK is well down the list at 17th producing 368 million tons but of course, historically we were a world leader during the industrial revolution!

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station under Construction

Another way to look at it is how much different countries produce per capita and then China comes in at 42nd in the world by virtue of its huge population, the USA 15th and the UK 58th. Those countries with small populations but source and process oil and gas like the Arab states and Norway then become major polluters in terms of CO2 per person. Qatar is the worst with 38m tonnes per person, Germany 9.42, China 7.44, Norway 8.3 and the UK 5.6. The global average is 4.76.

Extracting oil requires large amounts of energy which has always been provided by gas turbines. The international average amount of carbon produced by using gas turbines is about 15kg of carbon per BBE (Barrels of Oil Extracted). These emissions could be reduced to near zero by using renewable energy sources and this application does not require the continuous supply demanded by base load power generation.

Only about 13% of CO2 global emissions come from cars. 30% from transport generally. Energy production of all types accounts for 70% of CO2. The other problem I see when comparing emissions from cars is CO2 emissions per km. An electric vehicle does not produce any direct emissions but it consumes electricity from the grid which uses fossil fuels to generate electricity. In the UK this is 0.371 kgs of CO2 per kWh while in China it is 0.531 kgs because it generates far more power from burning coal. So running an EV in China is 43% less green than in the UK.

Finally a modern EV is just over twice as efficient as a modern diesel vehicle in terms of kWh per mile however in the UK 9% of the power generated is lost during grid transmission. A study in 2020 to compare the overall energy efficiency concluded that; In general, diesel cars are more efficient than electric cars powered by fossil fuels but further investigations are needed to examine the life cycle emissions from cradle to grave of both systems.

I accept that it is desirable to try and eliminate burning fossil fuels to generate energy but this must be done in a measured and pragmatic way based on the available science, having regard to the economic effects on different countries and devoid of unscientific artificial targets imposed by politicians.

Rugby World Cup

If you have been following my description of this tournament during the pool stages you will have seen my predictions for the 1/4 finals were as follows:-
Wales v Argentina; Wales to win
Ireland v New Zealand; NZ to win
England v Fiji; Fiji to win
France ve South Africa; France to win

For a description of these games you can expand this page by clicking here.⯆⯅

The Hamas Israli conflict

In the previous page I talked about the BBC attitude to this conflict in refusing to refer to Hamas as terrorist on the grounds of impartiality.
It is interesting to note that everyone they interview on the subject does call Hamas terrorists with the exception of those supporting Palestinians including the Palestinian UK ambassador Husam Zomlot. He is a senior member of Fatah who were ousted from Gaza by Hamas yet he refuses to call them terrorists even though he acknowledges that they have committed terrorist acts.

Zomlot is a moderate who believes the solution to this long standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only be resolved by negotiation but both sides are reluctant to condemn the actions of their extremists.
Until they accept those faults there can be no progress towards a Palestinian State. Compromise by both sides is the only solution and Israel could make a start by stopping any further settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territory which is illegal under international law.

As far as the BBC is concerned they seem to be siding with all those who will not call Hamas terrorists so I fail to see why that is impartial? They are guilty of calling a spade a shovel!

Premiership Rugby Union

The 2023/24 season got off to a start during the knockout stages of the world cup. Round 1 saw Brissle at home to they Tigers who had a good few of their better players on world cup duty. Steve Borthwick seems to have a penchant for players from his old club. This may or may not account for their losing the game 25-14. The same could be said of Sarries who were away to Executer and were hammered 65-10.

Barf lit up the rec with a 34-26 win against Newcastle with a hat trick from Ben Spencer and Glaws just managed to steal a win from Quins at Kingsholm with a try at the death by Ford-Robinson 29-28.
Finally Sale beat the Saints at Salford 20-15.
Only ten clubs are left in the premiership now with Wasps and Worcester going broke last season.

The Hamas Israli conflict

The BBC has now decided to stop calling Hamas "militants" as a default term and now every reporter recites repetitively "proscribed as a terror organisation by the UK Government and others". As a licence fee payer I do not want to have my intelligence questioned by having to listen to such repetitious nonsense.

When you consider that the BBC has been inconsistent in its reporting in the past and has referred to many other incidents as "terror attacks" its present interpretation of its own editorial guidelines is mystifying to say the least.

Middle East map 1100bc.

There has always been much debate about the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent displacement of the Palestinian Arabs who lived there. I decided to do some research into the origins of the different races and peoples that lived in the area.

If you are interested in the subject you can expand this page by clicking here.⯆⯅

Rugby World Cup Semi Finals

The first semi was between New Zealand and Argentina where my predictions were confirmed with the Pumas being totally outclassed by the All Blacks.
The Pumas made a spirited start with several visits to the AB's 22 but only scoring one penalty goal in the process meeting immaculate defence.
In the end it was the Pumas fitness and bad decision making that was to be their downfall as the Blacks romped home for a 44-6 drubbing.

England were the underdogs in the other semi against South Africa but the English players were sounding more confident than their fans who expected them to be severely punished by the Springboks who were perceived to be in a different class.

If you would like to read my description of what happened then you can expand this page by clicking here.⯆⯅

Premiership Rugby Union

Barf started the weekend games ball rolling with a great win against Sarries away from home and Sarries began the game with a try in the first minutes from Andy Christie. This was the first game for Barf's new Scottish fly half Finn Russell who made Tom de Glanville's try two minutes later with a superb offload from his back.

You can read more from round two of the premiership by expanding the page here.or return

Rugby World Cup Finals

England will play Argentina in the so called Bronze Final at 8pm BST in the Stade de France, Paris.

French Girls.
There has been much talk of how useless such a match is as it means nothing apart from bragging rights. The loss in the semis by England by one point with the Boks chasing the game until the last 10 minuts has had most commentators mystified how we lost it but not the French girls!

The final is at the same stadium at the same to between New Zealand who I predict will beat their opponents the South African Springboks. The result is too close to call and the Boks have packed their bench with 7 forwards and Willie Le Roux the only back so we know what game the Boks are going to play.

You can read my description of the finals by expanding the page here.⯆⯅

British clocks go back an hour on 29th Oct so we are now on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

World Clock

Web Site Changes

I have now changed the links of this page in the following ways; I have now coded new links that bring up a popup box above the linked words which is coloured in purple and underlined. Links which may open another tab to an external site or internal page are still coloured in blue and underlined. Links that expand and close a section of the page are coloured in green and underlined.
The changes do not apply to previous pages but will apply to future ones.

You can try the new popup links boxes by expanding the page describing the Israeli Palestinian conflict above which contains several popups. There may be external links in the popup boxes.

Premiership Rugby Union

Gloucester struggled at Kingsholm on Friday night against Sarries. An early penalty goal was all they could manage against three converted tries and a penalty from Sarries who won 3-24

Buy Bath tee shirt.

On Saturday Bristol lost narrowly 21-23 against Quins at Ashton Gate while Exeter thumped Sale 43-0 at Sandy Park.
The Barrf (new spelling) Tigers game at the rec was a typical derby with the result always in doubt but more penalties let Barrf down. Fin Russell kicked four for Barrf but Jamie Shillcock kicked six for Leicester, the winning one in extra time to win 24-25 despite a one try deficit.
The TV director seemed to have the hots for Barrf's new fly half Finn Russell as we kept seeing close ups of the guy with gushing comments of how marvelous he was and how the premiership was lucky to attract such talent!

The game between Newcastle and Northampton was a fairly boring affair played in miserable wet conditions. It was nip and tuck for most of the game but with the Saints ahead 9-16 in the last 5 minutes Falcons Iwan Stephens went over for a try. Brett Connon had the conversion to win the game but missed so it ended in Saints favour 14-16.

World Cheese Awards 2023

During my time as the joint owner with my wife Sue of Provender Delicatessen we both became active in the Guild of Fine Food who organise the World Cheese Awards. In addition to judging the Great Taste Awards I also became a cheese judge. The highlight of my cheese judging career was when I was selected to sit on the panel to judge the world champion cheese which on that occasion was Le Gruyère Premier Cru by von Mühlenen of Switzerland.

Roger at work in Provender.

Sue commissioned a local artist to paint a cartoon at the time which hangs on my wall and is depicted here. It features me playing my American Harmonium while working on the Provender web site, our cats; Foxy, Eric and the ghost of Tasha, Caving, my love of Antipodean wines, my love of Darcey Bussell, books on 'How to tell a Kiwi' and 'Marine Engineering' and a web site entitled 'Cheese Judging for Beginners.
I think it was for my 60th birthday and was a complete surprise.

The event has since grown out of all proportion to what it was then and this year was held in Trondheim, Norway where cheesemakers, retailers, buyers and food commentators worldwide judged over 4,000 cheeses from over 40 countries. It was won by a Norwegian cheese called Nidelven Blå and is only available in Norway but the chances are it will be exported to the UK now that they are world champions.

Here are the results of the first 16 cheeses in the competition and you will see that the highest score for the best English cheese came in at 12th place. There are links to the web sites of all the winners on that page.

The UK Covid-19 enquiry

What the government enquiry was set up to do was not to apportion blame yet it is quite obvious that is what its contributors have so far tried to do.
It is also suspected that it will not question whether a lockdown was the right course of action at all or that no proper plan was in place for how it was to be done but to just make recommendations about how it could be done better. Should for example HMG have done a cost benefit analysis on their final plans?

If you are interested in reading in my thoughts on this issue the please click here.⯆⯅

Premiership Rugby Union Round 4.

Most of the international players from the Rugby World Cup were now back to their clubs so we could expect different results to the first three rounds from some clubs who had lost key players.

If you would like to read about the round three results and the effect on the table then please click here.⯆⯅

STOP PRESS 02/04/2024

Regular readers will have noticed that no updates have appeared for a few weeks. The reason is that the chemo drugs I am on for the myeloma have caused cataracts to develop in my eyes. I now have blurred visison which means I am unable to drive and on some days am unable to read the screen of my smart phone. The software I use for coding this site is also very difficult to see.
The only solution is cataract surgery and I am on an NHS waiting list to get on another waiting list for urgent cataract surgery. I should know next month when that might take place. In the meantime you should contact me by snail mail or phone call.

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