Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dr Seuss's Copenhagen by Marcus Brigstocke

An awesome rhyme about the Copenhagen climate summit from the Now Show...
Dr Seuss's Copenhagen by Marcus Brigstocke

The delegates came and the delegates sat
And they talked and they talked till their bums all went flat
Then a delegate said of the country he knew
"We must do something quick but just what should we do?"
So they sat again thinking and there they stayed seated
Sitting and thinking "the planet's been heated"
"I think" said a delegate there from Peru
"That we all must agree on some things we could do
Like reducing emissions at least CO2"
So they nodded and noted then vetoed and voted
And one of them stood up and suddenly quoted
"It's the science you see, that's the thing that must guide us
When the leaders all get here they're certain to chide us"
So they sat again thinking about what to think
Then decided to ponder what colour of ink
To use on the paper when they’d all agreed
To be selfless not greedy McGreedy McGreed
"But how do we choose just what colour to use?"
Said a delegate there who'd been having a snooze
"We need clear binding targets definitive action
We must all agree clearly without more distraction"
So they sat again thinking of targets for ink
But the ink in their thinking had started to stink
And they started to think that the ink was a kink
In the thinking about real things they should think
"If ze climate needs mending then zis is our chance"
Said the nuclear delegate sent there by France
"We need to agree on one thing to agree on
Something we all want a fixed guarantee on"
"Yes" said another who thought this made sense
Some value for carbon in dollars or pence
But the mention of money and thoughts of expense
Had stifled the progress and things became tense
The fella from China with a smile on his face
Said "Who put the carbon there in the first place?"
"Wasn't us" said the U.S then Europe did too
Then a silence descended and no words were spoken
Till a delegate stood up, voice nervous and broken
"Is there nothing upon which we all can decide?
Because on Wednesday my chicken laid eggs that were fried"
"We all like a sing song" said the bloke from Down Under
But then the great hall was all shouting and thunder
Policemen had entered and were wearing protesters
Who they'd beaten and flattened like bloodied sou'westers
The police had decided to downplay this crime
With prevention detention and beatings in rhyme
The Greenies who'd shouted and asked for a decision
Were now being battered with lethal precision
All sick of inaction and fed up of waiting
All tired of the endless debated placating
They'd risen up grating berating and hating
So the police had commenced the related abating
Ban Ki-moon put his head in another man's lap
And was last heard muttering something like "crap"
But the chap next to him said "It's more like it's poo"
So the great hall debated not what they should do
But how to decide between crap cack and poo
"It is poo" "It is cack" "It is crap" "We agree"
Which was written and labelled as document three
"I think if we all find one thing we agree on
Then maybe Brazil might be left with a tree on"
So they sat again thinking of trees and Brazil
And of glaciers which had retreated uphill
And they thought of the poor folks whose homes were in flood
But less of the protesters covered in blood
They pondered the species so nearly extinct
It's as if they all thought that these things might be linked
"We need a solution we need action please"
Said a lady who'd come from the sinking Maldives
The others all nodded and said it was fact
That the time must be now not to talk but to act
Then Obama arrived and said most rhetorical
"Action is action and not metaphorical"
"Wow" they all thought "he must mean allegorical"
"I love it when Barack goes all oratorical"
"But the problem I have is that Congress won’t pass it
"Bugger" said Ban Ki then "sorry" then "arse it"
Then Brown said "I've got it now how does this strike you?
It's simpler when voters already dislike you"
He suggested the EU should lead from the front
So The Mail and The Telegraph called him something very unpleasant indeed
So the delegates stared at the text with red marks on
Ignoring the gales of laughter from Clarkson
No-one was satisfied nobody won
Except the morons convinced it was really the sun
And they blew it and wasted the greatest of chances
Instead they all frolicked in diplomat dances
And decided decisively right there and then
That the best way to solve it's to meet up again
And decide on a future that's greener and greater
Not with action right now but with something else later

Friday, 4 December 2009

Romania: Parks, Mud Volcanos and Snowy Mountains

One of the things I learnt from going to Romania is that I am not a good tourist. I don't mean in the sense of urinating up famous monuments while being stupidly drunk, as the British have been gaining a reputation for doing recently, but rather that I don't tend to find myself by the famous monuments in the first place. If I did happen to end up by a monument or an important building I would arrive at the scene lacking the item most treasured by tourists the world over, that being a camera, and I must confess I actually have an aversion to saying 'cheese' in front of whatever assemblage of stone, concrete or metal I find myself by.

Like most I do have a curiosity about my surroundings, I enjoy exploring, and find glimpses into the past interesting. So well I do think the creations of the rich, the powerful, or the pious, that were built to show just how rich, powerful or pious they were may well deserve the drunk Brit treatment, overall I enjoyed having a nosey around the towns and cities I visited. But like I said, I took no camera! All is not lost however for those of you who at times enjoy life through these colourful rectangles because on a couple of cool trips I went on someone's kind father had a pretty awesome camera to record things, and later, back at Forest Garden our hosts kindly took up the rectangle capture duty.

So this is my very delayed photo blog of Romania.


One of my first priorities, indeed my continued priority, in Bucharest was finding the best places where the green stuff grows. The nearest and the best of these was Herăstrău Park (I don't know how this is pronounced, to me it was just 'the park', or if there was any confusion over that it was 'the big park'). The park comes complete with many trees, a huge lake, lots of little paths, big bushes, and beautiful and sometimes weird wild dogs. In short, many cool places to explore. There is a difference there compared to parks in England that I noticed. I was walking around Hyde park once (which is nowhere near as good what with the Victorians needing to loosen up a bit), and there was a tree stump that had been cordoned off! Presumably the local warden had deemed this tree stump a danger to the public! In Herăstrău Park in one place they had dug a small but long trench, maybe for some piping or drainage, and it was quite amazing, without there being any warnings, cones, or fences, people managed not to fall in! Actually, one thing I miss about Romania now that I am back in the UK, is being able to pass from one railway platform to another by walking over the rails, it is such a hassle having to use bridges or subways!


Me hanging out with one of the locals :) :P

Random views of the park...

A really cool game of table tennis...

Trying (and failing) not to hit the wild dogs that came to chill with us...

Part of the big lake in the park (who's water looks strangely computer generated up close!)...


One weekend Sophie's family took me to the corner of the Carpathian mountains to see the mud volcanoes, that was a very cool trip! Forget what man can create, show me what nature can create, and keeps on recreating!

It needs no comments...


The photos of the first time at Forest Garden Sanctuary I have already shown you (here). But I returned a second time (and will return again :D ). This second time was a slightly different experience, because this time I had company in the cottage. To begin with there were four of us volunteers, chopping wood, cooking, painting, doing a little stone masonry (for free, so does that gain me entry...?!). Although we were given two rooms between us, being sociable creatures we all ended up sharing one. It was nice, and the cottage became more alive and much less scary at night. Good company can certainly make some aspects of living in the near wild less of a challenge!

The two girls then left, leaving me and another lad. We decided it would be fun to take up the challenge of digging a two meter deep storage well for rain water, which we did, and it was.

The well needed concrete rings to line it, big heavy concrete rings, that usually need some kind of machinery which we didn't have to lower them into the hole. What we had was one short bit of unconventional looking rope, and a couple of trees standing about. A trip to a shop later and we had a long bit of conventional but not so thick looking rope, but it was the best the shop had.

The best laid plans...
...may often work, but, there we all were, ready to let the rope slowly loosen from around the tree, the ring was slowly moved into position next to the hole, and the rope snapped...A little bit of rubbing our heads together and we got the ring to where we wanted it...But you live you learn...And much to our collective surprise, perfect...

So, I am lying nice and warm in my comfortable bed, it has not long got light and I am waking, coming slowly into full consciousness, feeling quite relaxed and refreshed. I roll over then sit up towards the window to open the curtain. I am dressed in a second, it has snowed! We knew it was going to get colder, but we hadn't expected this! (For me England is a damp failure in this regard, so often disappointing in the snow department!)

So we were up and out in no time, and I had the suggestion that we go and look for bear tracks in the snow. Now there is one thing about looking for bear tracks in the snow, and that is that you don't expect to find them, it is like looking for Santa's sleigh marks on the roof. But no, this is not England, this is Transylvania and I am up a mountain in a forest, there are bear tracks in the snow! And although it must have been a fairly small bear, no other animal has footprints that big here (though thinking about it now I wonder whether a lynx does, though I doubt it would be big enough). This was maybe 150 meters from the cottage at a rough guess!

I learnt something else that morning too: soap doesn't work when it is frozen! I had got into the habit of getting some water out of the well in the morning, tipping some into a bowl on the wash area and having a quick wash there. Well I had left some clean water in a bowl out from the night before so I found the mound of snow I thought that was, and found the soap under more snow. Then after breaking the soap away from the frozen wood I plunged it and my hands into the bowl. The soap scratched my hands a bit and that was it, no bubbles, nothing, just very very cold hands!

Well here are some pictures from our morning walk to the spring (sorry, neither me or the lad I was with when we went looking for tracks had a camera)

Our pack brothers...
Bobby has just seen a tasty ankle to bite...
Apples, now with 20% snow at no extra cost...Yes click on the picture if you want, zoom in on my hand if you have too, yes that is a pair of my socks on my hand, yes there is a hole in it...Ah, to be in a forest in the snow...Its a good day when you find a half eaten carcase on the ground...At the water hole...:) ...The end (for now)...
Lots of thanks to all the really cool people I met that gave me company, fed me, took me to interesting places, or often all three! I had a really good time and have many happy memories.

And thanks Sophie-Sophie, for being awesome!