Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Irene Sendler verses Al Gore



7 lessons from geese




When I’ve not posted for a while It’s usually because I’ve been curled up with pain or wallowing in fatigue, BUT this time I’ve been on holiday in Norfolk with my partner. It is easy to drift apart and holidays are the perfect way to reconnect.

I am inspired to write about the lessons we can learn from geese! Draw your own conclusions.
Animals Waterfowl_Wild Formation

Sharing a commonality:  As each goose flaps its wings it creates “uplift”, an aerodynamic orientation that reduces air friction, for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock achieves a 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Notice what’s happening: Flying in a V-formation increases the visibility as every goose can see what’s happening in front of them.

Rely on each other: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the friction of flying alone. It then quickly adjusts its mistake and moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Empower each other: When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the lead position.

Constant encouragement: The geese honk to recognize each other and encourage those up front to keep up.

Offering support: When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Staying committed: The geese migration routes never vary. They use the same route year after year. Even when the flock members change, the young learn the route from their parents. In the spring they will go back to the spot where they were born.

Sheffield Peregrines

Good News, Sad News and a resolution 

There is much to celebrate as we move into 2014: a new, stronger nest platform with improved design is in place, a second webcam is on the cards to provide a panoramic view of the site, and the birds are back despite the cranes and considerable construction activity on the adjacent Jessop East site.

It is sad to report that the young male that was taken into care back in the summer was found dead to the east of Sheffield earlier in the winter, apparently of natural causes.  Mortality rates in young Peregrines are high, with somewhere between 50% and 70% of birds failing to make it through their first year.  About half of those that die in their first year are thought to succumb to disease or parasitism, and it may well be that the young male suffered from this from an early age, perhaps accounting for his grounding in July, when no injuries were apparent.

Given the many challenges facing the species, we are determined to continue to support the recolonisation of the Sheffield area, although the move of birds into urban settings is a relatively recent phenomenon.  The team that built the original platform that proved so successful over the last couple of years tweaked the design to make it even better and had it ready to be put in place by the end of November.  Jim Lonsdale gave me a call to come and see it for myself.


Great work by Jim and the small works team in the Department of Estates!  The main changes are in the quality of the materials, which are built to last (the previous platform was to test whether or not the site would prove attractive), and a notably deeper lip at the front edge to reduce the risk of young birds dropping out.  It’s a very substantial piece of work that should last a decade or more.

To minimise disruption to the site, the old platform was replaced by the new one all on the same day – no mean feat given the weight involved and restricted access up the tower – and all was in place before Christmas.  The webcam was retained and was soon showing images of the birds occasionally visiting the platform, although the stream was not ready for public view.  There are some tweaks to be had with the camera to give a better view when the birds are on the front of the box, or even the perching pole.  As things stand, the view can be tantalising…


On 22 January a flurry of activity over lunchtime saw first the female and then the male on the platform in quick succession, with both busily scraping the gravel.  To watch something like this is a rare privilege: the technique is to huddle down and scrape the gravel back with the talons, creating a hollow under the body.


The female also spent some time picking individual pieces of gravel and placing them in just the right spot.


Both birds look to be the adults that have bred successfully for the last two years, the male’s ring just about visible on its left leg in the image below.  The quality of this screen grab isn’t up to much, but if anyone manages to read the lettering on the ring we’ll be able to discover his origins.


Reports of three birds over Norwood allotments, including two birds talon grappling, sounds like territorial behaviour and a possible attempt to establish a new pair around Sheffield.  Definitely one to watch!

The webcam will be viewable via and a second, with a view across the ledge to the platform, should soon be up and running too.  Much to look forward to in the weeks ahead.  Fingers firmly crossed for another season of breeding success.

And the Resolution?  To try to keep regular updates on the blog through the breeding season.  Easier said than done, but isn’t that what resolutions are all about?! reblogged from Sheffield 

The University of Sheffield’s peregrine webcam cam be found here.

Invisible Illness Week

invisible illness week

I’m unsure whether this is just a US thing, but it’s been useful so I’m sharing.

10 Things about my Invisible illness:

  1. The invisible illness I have to live with is: M. E.
  2. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Where to start? Being still and resting, loss of concentration and therefore my reading suffers, being out of control of my body temperature, dealing with low level pain constantly, not working, being unable to walk the hills in Derbyshire, that will do or this will sound like a moan list!
  3. Most people assume: That M.E. is just feeling tired.
  4. People would be surprised to know: That I’m never free of pain in one form or another.
  5. The hardest thing I’ve had to accept is:  Asking for help – whether to slow down, do something for me, just be quiet, or say no!
  6. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “You are looking well”, when I’m really feeling like I’m working hard to be myself, and then I learnt to say “thank you” and move on. The inside does not match the outside!
  7. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Breakfast in Hope, walk up Loose Hill, onto Mam Tor, down into Edale and have a pint in the pub!
  8. A benefit of my illness: Still working on this one!
  9. Really: Well, a raised interest in art.
  10. One thing I would not change: My partner and my friends.

Wheeling around the Yorkshire Sculpture park.

Yesterday we visited the YSP to view Yinka Shonibares exhibition – FABRIC-ATION.

ysp shonibareThe work was fantastic, as is all his work, colourful, thought provoking and  pertinent.

imagesI did struggle at first with the different view point – as it was the first time ever I’d been round an exhibition in a wheelchair, (legs very much not doing what I asked of them) – but rallied quickly after realising that 90% did not require looking up (neck joint in sympathy with the legs).

I’ve had two weeks of pain and exhaustion but this exhibition was inspiring. I have not touched any art or craft work since the beginning of the summer but am feeling that there is a bit of space in my head for creativity. Wouldn’t some of his fabrics look good in glass?

FABTIC-ATION ends on September the 1st, don’t miss it.

When small is HUGE!

Feeling a bit lost today and fighting to enjoy the little joys in life when Mike, my lovely Riverford Organic box contact arrived. (


We spent several intense minutes  looking for workable solutions to the shit in the world. We also spoke about taking pleasure in small things.

When he left I felt happier, not because we’d sorted it, but because we’d shared. He was my  HUGE small thing today.

Thanks Mike.

Another “Must See” at the Hepworth.

William Scott and Haroon Mirza, don’t miss it.

w scott   Haroon Mirza

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