Matlock & Matlock Bath
Matlock Derbyshire. Mon 30 Dec 2019
Matlock Bath from High Tor
On Sunday we took the train to visit my elder son and family in Milton
Keynes and then were driven up to Matlock by my younger son with his family
to stay a couple of nights with them there.
Most of the pictures come from a walk with them and some friends on Monday
over High Tor to Matlock Bath for lunch and a visit to the mining museum.
The path around the face of High Tor was described by one sensationalist
article in a tabloid newspaper as the "most dangerous footpath in England"
but in fact is rather safe, even having a handrail to hold as it narrows
around the cliff face. There is a one way system which most walkers adhere
to on this short section as passing people could be a little tricky. But
there are many more dangerous paths than this, which is safer than most
It is quite a scenic walk, though walking south into a low winter sun made
taking photographs a little tricky at times.
The Fishpond pub as its name suggests has a fishpond with some very large
and colourful fish, as well as serving decent pub grub and for someone used
to London prices it seemed very reasonable.
After the meal we crossed the road to the Peak District Mining Museum,
though unfortunately we couldn't stay long enough to make the most of it.
This is the kind of museum I like, crowded with interesting stuff and not
like too many reduced to a tourist experience, though it does have some
ladders and dark tunnels which kids enjoy, though they are sized more for
small fit miners rather than larger adults. But they are not obligatory
though I did make my way through one of the two.
While most of the party opted to take the train back to Matlock, we climbed
the other side of the valley to make our way along footpaths to Matlock.
The climb out of Matlock Bath was steep and exhausting, but once we had
reached the top it was fairly easy going, with more great views at times
of the Derwent valley as the light was beginning to fade.
Wimbledon to Richmond walk
Wimbledon to Richmond, London. Sat 28 Dec 2019
The Christmas card from the father of my younger son's wife included
an invitation to go on a walk he was arranging for a small group of Quakers
on the Saturday after Christmas.
We weren't sure if we would be able to make it as we had things to do before
going away the following day, but on the morning we decided it would be
good to go as long as we left before the lunch they were planning at the
cafe in Richmond Park.
So we got the train and met them at Wimbledon station. It was good weather
for a walk, though rather dull, and it kept dry, though some of the paths
were very wet and muddy from the heavy rain which we had so much of earlier
in the month. We walked up the hill from the station to Wimbledon Common
and then walked roughly west through along mainly wooded paths to Beverley
Brook and then across the Kingston bypass and into Richmond Park.
We'd walked along parts of the walk in Wimbledon Common before, but starting
from the north of the common, which is perhaps a more interesting route
(and it's more convenient for us to start from Putney.) Richmond Park is
rather more familiar - and I often cycled around it as a kid, but still
a good place to walk and very popular. We left the group soon after the
Pen Ponds and walked directly to the Richmond Gate, then down the hill and
through the town to the station to catch a train for a slightly late lunch
Staines to Runnymede walk
Staines & Runnymede, Surrey. Thu 26 Dec 2019
This year our Boxing Day walk ended at the Runnymede
For some years we have walked to Old Windsor from Staines for lunch
on Boxing Day to meet up with my sister and other family members.
We have sometimes varied the route, but mostly we just walk along beside
the Thames, joining it a few minutes from our home and crossing the river
where the towpath crosses to the south bank over Staines Bridge. It's the
shortest route and avoids any hills.
This year we set off along the towpath as usual, but it came on to rain
heavily as we approached the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds, so we went into
the cafe for coffee hoping the rain might stop. It didn't and came on even
harder and eventually we were given a lift by car to an oversize Boxing
Day lunch at the Bells of Ouzeley. I went outside to wait for the car to
arrive while Linda stayed inside the cafe.
40th UN International Migrants Day
Home Office, London. Wed 18 Dec 2019
Protesters hold the Permanent People's Tribunal banner
at the protest in front of the Home Office
The Permanent People's Tribunal organised a protest at the Home Office
to support migrants on the 40th UN International Migrants Day.
They were joined by people from other organisations including Liberty,
Last Rights, Labour Campaign for Free Movement, Unite Hotel Workers and
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants to call for an end to the hostile
environment and to support human and civil rights for migrants and immigrant
Also protesting with them were a group who had come together to remember
the 39 Vietnamese migrants who died in a lorry in Essex in October and had
brought a long banner with the message 'Borders Kill: Remember the Essex
39'. They had earlier dropped the banner over the side of Westminster Bridge
before coming to join this protest and putting it up on the wall outside
the Home Office.
Security staff came from the Home Office to talk with the protesters, and
persuaded them to move to the outer half of the pavement away from the Home
Office for the protest. It was the first time that I had seen any protesters
here move off from the area of pavement which is apparently Home Office
By taking the banner from the wall, where it had been held down by potatoes
they could hold it facing the building so it could be seen by the workers
inside, who doubtless could also hear the speeches by Don Flynn of Permanent
People's Tribunal, lawyer Syd Bolton of Last Rights, Alina Ivanova from
Labour Campaign for free movement, Muslim LGBT activist Ejel Khan, Dave
Turnbull of Unite Hotel Workers and Sally Baker, a waitress member, Bill
MacKeith from the successful Campaign to Close Campsfield, Gracie Bradley,
Policy and Campaigns Manager of human rights organisation Liberty and others
including migrant workers and their representatives.
Earth Strike South London
Brixton, London. Sat 14 Dec 2019
Barclay's staff tells Earth Strike they cannot protest
here as they speak to customers and hand out flyers
Earth Strike South London, a small group of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialists
against environmental destruction held their first protest in Brixton.
They handed out fliers and spoke on the corner of Brixton Road and Coldharbour
Lane before marching along the Brixton Road to protest at some of the shops
which are most involved in the climate crisis. They went inside Barclays
Bank who are still investing heavily in fossil fuels and are major backers
of fracking in the UK and then moved on to protest outside a number of shops
on Brixton Rd, one of the busiest shopping streets in the capital.
They protested outside shops representing the 100 companies responsible
for more than 70% of emissions since 1988, including mobile phone shops
EE and Vodaphone, pointing out that the wars in central Africa are largely
about the coltan and other minerals needed for these and other electronic
devices, and that the mining companies are huge exploiters of African labour
and evade taxes on a huge scale. Outside H&M they pointed out that the
fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of all producing 1.2 billion
tons of greenhouse gases a year and that textile production is responsible
for 20% of all water pollution. A brief pause at Boots pointed out their
failure to pay their taxes and the huge profits the company makes from the
NHS, who are said to have charged charged £1500 for pots of cream
they sell for £2, as well as selling palm oil products grown on land
cleared from ancient forests, disrupting ecosystems and resulting in the
loss of species including orangutans. Outside Sainsbury's they stopped to
remind customers that the company sells beef from ranches on what was the
Amazon forest, destroying the lands of the indigenous people for short-term
I left the group as they held a short protest outside Brixton police station,
notorious for its racist policing and for the deaths of young black men
including Ricky Bishop and Sean Rigg. They were about to return to visit
shops on the west side of Brixton Road and then to a rally in Windrush Square.
'6000 Sardines' London protest
Parliament Square, London. Sat 14 Dec 2019
Two women were holding rubber sardines but many more
had pictures of them
Hundreds of Italians came to Parliament Square to show their support
for '6000 sardines', the spontaneous pacifist and antifascist citizen movement
It began in Bologna in November in protest against the far-right leader
Matteo Salvini and his League party hoping to cut their vote in January's
elections in Emilia-Romagna and defend migrants. Many more than expected
turned up to the rally and the square where it was held was 'packed like
sardines'. Since then it has spread across Italy and to Italians living
in other countries, and today was Global Sardine Day, with similar rallies
across Europe and in the USA as well as in many towns and cities in Italy.
The speeches while I was there taking pictures were all in Italian, and
I could understand very little, but it was clear both from these and from
some of the posters that there was considerable support for migrants and
for the free movement of people across national borders, both within Europe
and for those coming from Africa and the Middle East to Europe, often by
perilous journeys across the Mediterranean or Aegean Seas.
Santas BMX Life Charity Ride
London. Sat 14 Dec 2019
One rider had ignored the dress code, though he was
wearing a Christmas jumper
Hundreds of BMX riders from BMX Life and House of Vans London dressed
as Santas (with a few elves) meet in the graffiti tunnel at Leake St for
Santa Cruise 6, the 6th annual ride to raise funds for Evelina Children’s
From Leake St they moved off to Forum Magnum Square where some santas demonstrated
their riding skills before the group left to ride around London.
Bikes against Bulldozers Heathrow lie-in
Heathrow, London. Sun 8 Dec 2019
Police push protesters out of the outside lane to
stop them blocking the A4 at Heathrow
Extinction Rebellion supporters cycled from Central London and held
a lie-in in front of a bulldozer at Heathrow.
The protest echoed Boris Johnson's promise he would lie down with John
McDonnell "in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction
of that third runway".
Extinction Rebellion brought the bulldozer, but Boris didn't turn up. Police
stopped the protesters going to the Heathrow roundabout where there is a
large plane advertising and airline and instead the protest blocked one
lane of the A4 above the access road to the airport. Police prevented them
from blocking the whole west-bound carriageway and the lie-in took place
with traffic moving past the lie-in on the outside lane.
Among the speakers was local resident Christine Taylor who has been campaigning
against Heathrow expansion for over 20 years. Although, unlike Boris Johnson,
John McDonnell remains implacably opposed to airport expansion and had also
been invited to the event, he was presumably too busy with the forthcoming
election to attend.
Three Men and a Dog Wedding
Westminster, London. Sat 7 Dec 2019
After the wedding everyone marched to protest at Downing
'Bum Boys Against Boris', taking their name from a homophobic speech
by Boris Johnson, held a wedding between three men and a dog outside Tory
HQ before marching to protest at Downing St.
Boris Johnson had written about gay marriage saying: "If gay
marriage was OK then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not
be consecrated between three men and a dog." LGBT+ campaigners
in protest against this and his other homophobic, racist, ableist and sexist
remarks held just such a wedding in front of the Tory HQ in Matthew Parker
St before marching to a rally outside Downing St.
DPAC 'Bye Bye Boris' Uxbridge trial
Uxbridge, Middlesex. Fri 6 Dec 2019
Paula Peters is the judge for a trial that found Boris
Johnson and the Tories guilty
A street theatre trial by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) in central
Uxbridge called on voters to reject Boris Johnson and the Tories.
DPAC point to the estimated 200,000 early deaths caused by cuts and sanctions
including the removal of the Independent Living Fund, to Universal Credit
which has led to a huge rise in foodbank use, child hunger, debt and evictions
and a UN report of "grave and systematic violations"
of disabled people's rights.
They set up a 'court' with Paula Peters as judge and a succession of people
gave testimony against the Tory government for their victimisation of people
with disabilities, with some locals passing by taking advantage of the open
mike to give their opinion of Boris Johnson and the Tory part.
Trump/ NATO march to Buckingham Palace
London. Tue 3 Dec 2019
People were held up yet again by police on the Mall
After a rally in Trafalgar Square over a thousand people marched down
the Mall to protest outside the NATO leaders dinner in Buckingham Palace.
Despite the march having been agreed by the police in advance it was stopped
several times by police and barriers and held up for half an hour for a
single taxi to leave, collect someone and return to the Mall.
Eventually the protesters were allowed to join those already opposite the
palace in front of the Canada Gate where a loud protest continued.
No to Trump, No to NATO rally
Trafalgar Square, London. Tue 3 Dec 2019
A woman holds a Trump lavatory brush and toilet roll
A large crowd listen to speeches in Trafalgar Square protesting against
Trump's visit to the UK and NATO.
Among them were those defending the NHS against privatisation and opening
up to US medical companies and high-priced drugs, Kurds protesting against
Erdogan invasion of Kurdish areas of Syria, protesters against Trumps support
of Israel against the Palestinians and against his promotion and support
for the coup against the democratically elected government of Bolivia and
the attacks on the indigenous population.
Cranes surround the former Battersea Power Station
in what must be Britain's largest building site
Pictures as usual from Nine Elms and Vauxhall, but also from Wandsworth,
the Strand, Kennington and around Staines.
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