The Missing, March & Mortality

Captain Black's picture

"It’s been wet, it’s been cold and it’s been muddy, and we would like to thank all those who offered us warmth and rest in their homes. We thank everyone who gathered with us in the cold of last winter to build the camp, and those who came week after week, generously delivering food, water and wood, and of course the caring group who delivered lovingly made, hot meals during the busy times of action...

"A spokesman for the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said: "It’s clear that Third Energy is not going to be fracking anytime soon, and so the time has come to begin packing up the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp. "Ryedale’s victory is down to the many layers of the campaign working tirelessly together and all pulling in the same direction. We have achieved what many people said was an impossible task. The odds were stacked against us at KM8 - the pad was built, the well was drilled and all the necessary infrastructure was in place. If we can beat them at those odds, other communities can feel empowered to do the same. "

As members of a tribe of primitive people undertake a quest through an overgrown jungle, it slowly becomes apparent that they are aboard a huge spaceship, and the descendants of its original crew. They may have forgotten the fact and purpose of their voyage, but the ship itself has shaped them. The confines of its interior have led to them becoming smaller; the wild, over-spilling hydroponics garden has provided them with food and shelter."

""The UK has a strong regulatory framework in place, and it is understandably taking some time to make sure that our project near Kirby Misperton meets all of the requirements put in place by the government to protect the environment and communities in relation to onshore natural gas development.  "We are currently working with the government on the final step of the regulatory process which involves providing the financial information requested to facilitate the final consent for our Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation programme near Kirby Misperton. "On completion of the approval process we will finalise our operational arrangements and move forwards with the Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation and production of the KM-8 well; delivering some much needed gas for power. 

An anti-protest group called 'Reclaim The Peace' also welcomed the decision...  Although the camp is being dismantled, protest action will continue at the gates to the fracking site itself; the so-called 'Forward Protection Camp'.

"Nova is a swaggering, heady smash-up of gritty space opera and serious literary ambition. It takes the tropes of traditional space opera and bolts them to a self-consciously mythical framework of grail and tarot lore. The main character, the doomed Lorq van Ray, leads a crew in search of a metal than can only be mined from the heart of an exploding star. They are flying an aged ship called the Roc, which requires the crew to physically and mentally connect themselves to its systems in order to fly."

"North Yorkshire Police have been policing the fracking site itself, on the opposite side of the village to the Camp, for the past six months as part of so-called Operation Kingfisher. Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Throughout this operation we’ve been balancing the needs and wishes of everyone at Kirby Misperton. "We will continue to work with people on all sides of the issue, ensuring those who remain and want to protest can do so safely, and minimising any disruption to the local community." They added there have been 85 arrests (including seven in January and three in February) as part of the police operation at Kirby Misperton since September 2017, for a range of suspected offences."

"... shifting environmental and social levies off electricity bills and instead loading them on to general taxation would reduce the cost of energy for more than two thirds of households.  The researchers argued the current approach to funding low-carbon power and energy efficiency was regressive. The poorest households spend 10% of their income on heating and keeping the lights on, compared to 3% for the richest.  The report by Ukerc found that shifting the costs to taxation would save the poorest 10% of households £102 a year, “a significant difference for them”...  “The key finding at the moment is we’ve created a system that pits social justice and equality against climate change. That creates opposition to some of the costs associated with climate change,” ... it was only fair that the richest should shoulder the burden of paying for clean energy, because they use more energy and they can afford it."

"A space opera that has all the classic ingredients: a beaten-up ship, a crew of misfits and a galaxy filled with danger and adventure. Like its multi-species inhabitants, the starship Wayfarer is a bricolage of mismatching parts fused into one ugly but endearing whole. It isn’t here to win a beauty contest; it’s strictly a working vessel. But like the Rocinante above, it’s also a home and its crew a family bonded by their interdependence with, and love of, their vessel."

"The commonwealth will increase its shareholding from 13% to 100% by buying NSW’s (58%) and Victoria’s (29%) shareholdings. The three governments agreed the fair market value of the enterprise was $7.8bn. After allowing for Snowy Hydro’s debt as of 31 December, NSW will receive $4.15bn and Victoria $2.08bn. NSW and Victoria must spend the proceeds on “productive infrastructure” in their own states, such as road and rail projects that will boost their economies. The NSW government will also provide “all reasonable assistance” to Snowy Hydro in relation to its current and future operations, including the planning and approvals process.  The deal still has to be ticked off by the Victorian and federal parliaments..."

"In the colonised solar system of a not-too-distant future, political tensions between Mars, Earth and the Belt threaten the stability and future of humanity. When a stealth ship attacks an ice-mining vessel, the survivors find themselves in possession of a small warship, which they name the Rocinante after Don Quixote’s steed. But while the Rocinante offers them a way out of their predicament, it quickly becomes much more – their home, the thing that holds them together as an ersatz family, and the means and muscle they need in order to survive, and bring the fight to the enemy."

A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as his or her location and fate are not known.

"A rollicking adventure featuring space pirates, shape-changers, sentient ships and interstellar war, which somehow also manages to simultaneously provide a deep and acutely painful meditation on the moral and emotional futility of conflict. When it comes to self-aware starships with quirky names, Banks is the touchstone."


Chews wisely ...

This ones for the 'wobbly' X


Captain Black's picture

Location Location ...

"7:03am 3rd March 2018

A funding decision is set to be made on Whitby Piers in the next few months.

A number of birds are already out to external agencies.

Scarborough Borough Council voted in favour of the refurbishment of the East and West piers yesterday (Friday 1st March) - which means as soon as the money comes in, work will begin.

But they also agreed to look into independent beneficiaries.

Councillor Mike Cockerill, Cabinet Member for Major Projects explains:

"A new sitcom by the comedy writer behind ITV's Benidorm could be set in Scarborough.

The Sun has reported that ITV bosses are set to axe Benidorm after it's 10th series.

But creator Derren Litten is already believed to be working on a new sitcom for the BBC which will be set in a karaoke bar in Scarborough.

A source told The Sun: “It’s like the first casualty of Brexit — Benidorm has relocated to Scarborough.”.


Captain Black's picture

The Stuff of Legend

"Was their treasure – most likely gold and silver coins – buried somewhere in the area before the King's men arrived to arrest them? There's certainly no record of their money being impounded. And if it was stolen, by whom? We may never have answers to the questions. What is known, however, is that Yorkshire was the largest and wealthiest of all Templar regions in England. The Knights were formed after the First Crusade of 1096 for the purpose of taking back the sacred city of Jerusalem from Islamic rule. As a Christian order, they initially saw themselves as soldiers who would protect all Christians in the Holy Land, but actually for most of their two centuries of existence there was a rather more mundane side to their work. The Knights Templar were fund-raisers for those who would later go on Crusades and pilgrimages.

To raise the necessary money, they established farming communities called preceptories, and according to the first book on the Knights Templar in Yorkshire, there were 10 of these in the old Ridings. No other English county had as many. The next biggest Templar county was Lincolnshire, with five preceptories. Derbyshire didn't even have one."

"The preceptories were mostly in North and East Yorkshire, the land in South Yorkshire at that time being less suitable for cultivation. The remotest of them were at Westerdale on the North York Moors and Penhill in Wensleydale. There were others at Temple Cowton, near Northallerton, Foulbridge, near Scarborough, Ribston, near Wetherby, Copmanthorpe, near York, Temple Newsam, near Leeds, Temple Hirst and Whitley, between Selby and Doncaster, and Faxfleet on the north bank of the Humber. The Templars' finances depended on the generosity of several great ruling families in Yorkshire, people like the de Mowbrays and the de Lacys.

They gifted the Templars a great deal of land, which was used for growing crops and rearing livestock. In return, so immersed in religion was the medieval mind that these wealthy benefactors expected to spend less time in purgatory during their journey through the afterlife.

Diane says: "The Templars really looked after their farmer tenants, making sure they didn't pay a lot of taxes and tithes."

To that end, their tenants were allowed to display a Knights Templar cross on their houses, which was an early form of tax exemption. However, people who had nothing to do with the Templars cottoned on to this and also put up crosses – an early tax avoidance scam."

The Knights Templar in Yorkshire, by Diane Holloway and Trish Colton, is published by The History Press, 12.99.

"“Conan Doyle’s son Kingsley had been killed only days before the signing of the Armistice and he had also lost two brothers-in-law and two nephews. Small wonder that he was among the many who were fascinated by spirituality and the paranormal.”

And it seems that fascination has not gone away. In a survey, undertaken as part of research for the book, an astonishing 57 per cent of respondents said that they saw fairies “occasionally”.

“Do not run away with the idea that these were all hopeless romantics,” adds Dr Sugg. “Professions ranged from doctors to engineers, professors and psychologists. And interestingly only four per cent of those surveyed were under 20.” Debunking other myths about the fairies, less than half of the sightings described them as having wings and not all were the size of butterflies – apparently one Scottish man saw one that was over 15ft high.

“Belief in fairies as is old as time itself,” says co-editor of the book Dr Ceri Houlbrook. “Yorkshire, for example, is a particularly good spot for the ancient habit of nailing cousins to trees which are near a well or small stream."

Magical Folk, British and Irish Fairies, Gibson Square, £16.99.

Hmmm ...

It may answer the question posed by the poet Francis Buchanan a century ago as he contemplated the castle site:

“Spectre of time! Where are thy relics resting?

Where are thy battlements and lordly hall?

No vestige here, no stone with noble crest in,

Nor remnant of a buttress or a wall.”

Sheffield: the Camelot of the North? Well, maybe.

• For more information visit


Benefitz Betty's picture

The Great Escape

"The specialist team, some carrying riot shields, arrived at the protest camp at 4am, dragging environmental campaigners from the giant fort they had been living in for months, overseeing others being cut free from reinforced tubes they had locked themselves into and in one case, leading a woman away tied to an orange stretcher. In the following hours and days, an elaborate network of tunnels running hundreds of feet deep underneath the site was uncovered, while a JCB was deployed to pull down the fort...

"These dramatic events unfolded last summer in Leith Hill in Surrey at the site of a protest camp set up in the hope of preventing oil exploration work starting nearby. But similar scenes may soon be taking place across Yorkshire as the battle over fracking in the county intensifies, according to Steve Wood, the man who oversaw the Leith Hill operation.

The Bristol-based former police officer is the managing director of Able Investigations and Enforcements, a company which specialises in the evictions of squatters, travellers and protesters for public and private landowners. Wood says discussions have already been taking place with several different parties in Yorkshire about the possibility of carrying out similar removal work relating to fracking protests; with an oil and gas company, a local council and “a number of private landowners” in contact with his firm...

"With environmental campaigners promising to fight the fracking industry across Yorkshire - and public inquiries planned for later this year that could pave the way for similar exploration work to begin close to Sheffield and Rotherham, combined with the prospect of other tests taking place in North Yorkshire - it is expected that more protest camps will soon be springing up around the region.

When asked by The Yorkshire Post if the firm has had discussions about potentially working on fracking camp issues in this region, Wood says: “All I’m prepared to say is yes, we have. I can’t go into any further details. We are already planning for a couple of sites in the area...

"Wood says that around six years ago he spotted a “gap in the market” to specialise in the removal of protesters and travellers from private land. “We are a form of bailiffs but we don’t debt collect. You assume a bailiff takes people’s televisions away for not paying their council tax. We specialise in dealing with protesters, squatters and travellers right across the UK. We are the only firm that is riot-trained, handcuff-trained and conflict management-trained.”

He says the Leith Hill situation is a good example of how civil law powers can be used to remove protesters from their land. His team were sent in after Europa Oil and Gas, the company involved with the Surrey site, got a High Court order to remove campaigners who had been occupying land the company had been leasing from the Forestry Commission for several months.

“They had created a tunnel system the like of which I had never seen before. We turned up at 4am and cleared the site within 48 hours. We had several ‘lock-ons’ which we dealt with. Officially, there were between 30 to 40 protesters living at the camp but we had information there were limited numbers on site at that stage and we were ready to go. Some of them tried to get to the tunnels. But within the first hour, we had secured the grounds. We worked with various partners to start targeting the people who had lock-ons. Two days later, we had everybody out. It took another two days to ‘mop up’ - we searched the entire area and the tunnels. Eight months later, there is nobody on that site.”

However, Wood says protesters have moved to a site across the road and now occupy a considerably larger area of land. But he says the situation highlights the need for decisive action when such protesters move on to a site. “Unless people act quickly, these camps grow very quickly. What I would say to the gas and oil companies and the private landowners is that when protesters do turn up, don’t leave it too long to act. The longer you wait, the more they will dig in and the harder it will be to deal with.

“If you wake up at 7am and you have got tents or caravans on your land, by 8am you should have phoned us or a local bailiff. You speak to these people and they say we will be gone by the end of the week. But by that time, there will be many more there.”

Wood says he believes there is an important distinction to be made between local residents with genuine concerns about a policy like fracking and what he terms “professional protesters” who move from site to site in the country. He claims that during the Leith Hill job some of his staff were racially abused, while on other occasions, his workers have to had to avoid ‘ankle breaker’ traps in which hidden iron bars had been laid in the hope of causing serious injury to them.

“People have every right to protest and I have no problem with peaceful protest whatsoever. What I have a problem with is the professional protesters who try to stop a company from working. I have had police sat outside my house because protesters have got hold of my home address.

“There is an element to the protesters which doesn’t have much interest in what they are protesting about and just want to cause a disturbance and ramp up the costs to the company or the individual. People can go about protest legally and do everything they can to prevent something. But when you damage other people’s property, when you stop people from working, when you threaten them, that to me is wrong.

“My own views about fracking are irrelevant to what we do. We are there to implement the law, no different to a policeman but on the civil side. We are not dealing with Mrs Miggins with a placard. We are dealing with people who see this as warfare.”

all very Atari...


Benefitz Betty's picture

Cobra v The Co-Op

"Only 14 people voted in favour of the motion. This group included the MP's wife, a Third Energy Director, two reps from the EA and two reps from the Health and Safety Ex..."

"Fracking for shale gas at a site in North Yorkshire has been stalled for at least another six months, energy company Third Energy has said.

It confirmed a new autumn timescale before fracking begins at its site at Kirby Misperton"

Spectre Spectator (hard hats) this weeks word:


Ah, so ...

"Maybe they are afraid of ghosts."

Hmmm ...

"But if I came across one on a country ramble, I wouldn’t know my Meadow Wax Cap (edible) from my Deadly Web Cap (poisonous)."

"The thing about foraging, though, is that you really do have to know your stuff."

Benefitz Betty's picture

Match of the Day

Take the Crow Road ...

"The title of Iain Banks’s 1992 novel The Crow Road comes from a Glasgow expression: its hero tries to work out if his uncle Rory has merely vanished temporarily, or if he has gone “away the Crow Road”. It is a book preoccupied with death right from its showstopping first line: “It was the day my grandmother exploded.” (They forgot to remove her pacemaker before cremating her.) It is also, for my money, the best of Banks’s novels: warm, funny, dark and intoxicatingly imaginative.

Like many of the best sciencefiction writers, Banks – who died on 9 June from gall bladder cancer at the age of 59 – was intensely political. Unlike many of his peers, however, he dared to imagine utopias as well as dystopias. In his “Culture” series, he imagined a universe of superabundance, patrolled by infinitely wise artificial intelligences. There were no laws, no money and no death, unless you were tired of life. The recurrent question was: how would such a liberal, socialist society respond when it encountered others that didn’t share its values?

In Banks’s vision, the Culture developed a special taskforce to carry out “secular evangelism”, benignly meddling in the affairs of other, less evolved civilisations. The highbrow citizens of the Culture never had to get their hands dirty.

In real life, sadly, intervening in another society is neither that simple nor that innately benevolent. In 2004, Banks tore up his passport and sent it to Tony Blair to protest against the Iraq war (handily, this also allowed him to get out of foreign book tours). It was the culmination of three years of politicisation; unfortunately, this did not make for better art. Dead Air (2002) seems desperate to say something about 9/11 but never manages it; then it took Banks an unprecedented five years before his next book, The Steep Approach to Garbadale, which is marred by a multi-page slab of diatribe from the protagonist along these lines: “The US is a great country full of great people . . . It’s just their propensity as a whole for electing idiots and then conducting a foreign policy of the utmost depravity that I object to.” It carries on in this vein for several pages, and although it might have made a bearable newspaper op-ed, it doesn’t really belong in a novel about a family that invented a board game.

So, what will remain of Iain Banks? His science fiction, undoubtedly, for its scope and humour. And his three best literary works: The Bridge (1986), a multi-stranded hallucinatory narrative; Walking on Glass (1985), which is – and I use the technical literary term here – bonkers, albeit in a good way; and my own favourite, The Crow Road. This last book showed that even when Banks wasn’t in fantastical mode, telling a story set among spaceships or never-ending bridges, even when he was writing about the mundane, he could still make his subject feel magical."

This ones for Trevor...  says hes been in the Lake District.

Quite fancy a safari...

Captain Black's picture

Well Well Well

"As we approach the next Scarborough Borough Elections under new Ward Boundaries in May 2019, I would advise the public to be aware of such activities by public bodies. I intend to contest that election in Hertford and to seek a renewed mandate from voters. It is of course, their decision and theirs only as to whether or not I am the person they want in the Council chamber representing them.

I have always believed that Councillors are the servants of the residents of their ward and have a duty to hold the Council and its officers to account on their behalf. Praise should be offered when it is appropriate and criticism when it is warranted. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that too many Councillors see themselves as subservient to officers and there to defend them, even when their residents have been failed..."

Chews Wisely ;-)

Good O

Benefitz Betty's picture

The Great Gatsby

"He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished — and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.”

'Nothing bad can happen in a dream. You can’t die in a dream.'

"Ovchinin and Hague have returned to the Star City training centre outside Moscow where they will be under medical observation for two days.

Officials said the two felt fine and did not need any treatment. The NASA chief said he had spoken to Hague who he said was in high spirits despite the ordeal. “He was very funny,” he said.

Industry experts say the country’s space industry has suffered so many mishaps including the loss of cargo spacecraft that a serious accident during a manned mission was simply a matter of time.

The failed launch earned scathing criticism from the usually pliant Russian media.

“The breakup of the Soyuz,” Kommersant broadsheet said in a frontpage headline.

But the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta also said the astronauts survived thanks to the reliability of the Soviet-era rocket’s rescue system, which returned them safely to Earth despite the launch failure."

Home soon ... about that hole in the carpet.


Parents eh? Worry worry ...

El Gato

Captain Black's picture

Traffic Lights

".. a local borough councillor, said: “Cuadrilla did confirm at the community liaison group this Monday that they hadn’t fracked for a week. They said they’d looked into the seismic data. It was very positive and they would start fracking again within days.”

"They say there has been no sound of the five pumps used by Schlumberger, the oil services firm carrying out the fracking for Cuadrilla, which were heard in October.

The company would not confirm whether it was fracking, saying only it was continuing to test the well.

“We have been fracturing along the full length of the horizontal well using smaller volumes of water to test the micro-seismic response of the rock,” a spokesperson said..."



Knew I'd forgot somin :-0

One Day Rodders ...