How Animals Perceive The World: Sound And Sight

If you have a pet, you may want to watch this short film. It examines how various animals, insects, and birds (including cats and dogs) hear and see the world that surrounds them, in a very different way to human perception. There is some science to listen to, but even I could understand it.

My friend Antony sent me the You Tube clip, and I think many of you will find it fascinating.

English History: The Battle of Towton

The largest and bloodiest battle in English history is almost unknown, in 2022. During the Wars of The Roses in 1461, close to the village of Towton near the city of York, a battle was fought during a snowstorm in March that year. When it was over, 28,000 soldiers had been killed, a total never exceeded in England since.

The Wars of The Roses lasted from 1455-1487, a civil war in England lasting for 32 years over who should succeed to the crown. On one side, the Yorkists with their emblem of a white rose. Their enemy was the Lancastrians, who used a red rose as their symbol. The contest began with the capture of Henry VI by Richard Duke of York, and thus began over 30 years of fighting to determine who would be the rightful king of England.


Henry VI

In 1460 the English parliament passed an act to let York succeed Henry as king. The queen refused to accept the dispossession of her own son, Edward of Westminster’s right to the throne, and succeeded in raising a large army of supporters, who then promptly defeated and killed York in the Battle of Wakefield. The late duke’s supporters considered the Lancastrians to have reneged on the parliamentary act of succession – a legal agreement – and York’s son and heir, Edward, found enough backing to denounce Henry and declare himself king. The Battle of Towton was to affirm the victor’s right to rule over England through force of arms.

On reaching the battlefield, the Yorkists found themselves heavily outnumbered. Part of their force under the Duke of Norfolk had yet to arrive. The Yorkist leader Lord Fauconberg turned the tables by ordering his archers to take advantage of the strong wind to outrange their enemies. The one-sided missile exchange, with Lancastrian arrows falling short of the Yorkist ranks, provoked the Lancastrians into abandoning their defensive positions.

The ensuing hand-to-hand combat lasted hours, exhausting the combatants. The arrival of Norfolk’s men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing; some trampled one another and others drowned in the rivers, which are said to have run red with blood for several days. Several who were taken prisoner were executed.

In 1929 the Towton Cross was erected on the battlefield to commemorate the event. Various archaeological remains and mass graves related to the battle have been found in the area centuries after the engagement.

Modern London in Black And White: Alan Shaller

All photos © Alan Schaller

After many nostalgic photo posts about London, I was pleased to find these modern images by Alan Shaller. All taken with a Leica camera, they give a snapshot of london today that will be interesting to see again in 70 years.

A young woman on an underground train. The lighting makes her stand out from the other passengers.

A smart elderly gentleman on an underground train. The reflection is captured nicely.

A ‘Pigeon Lady’ feeding pigeons in a small park. London is full of ladies like her.

A mature couple dancing. The lady doesn’t look very happy. Or does she?

A man staring out of the window in a pub.

This lady enjoyed being photographed, and spoke to Alan after he took it.

A man shopping in a street market.

Someone on a smoke break from his job.

A sharp-suited slim man in the latest style.

Runners lining up for a fun run or marathon. It is usual for many of them to wear crazy outfits.

Tower Bridge Raised

At 8:30 this morning, the magnificent Tower Bridge in London was raised to allow the Swedish replica sailing ship ‘Gothenburg’ to pass along the River Thames. This is a rare sight these days, and I was pleased to be able to find a photo of it online. In my youth, the bridge opened numerous times a day to let in cargo vessels. The local traffic would be faced with long delays when that happened.

(Click on the photo for a much larger image.)

London’s Brutalist Buildings

From the 1950s until the mid 1980s, some architects were let loose on projects in London using the ‘Brutalist’ style of architecture. Built in concrete, and favouring function over beauty, these buildings still divide opinion today. I happen to like them a lot. Most people hate the style.

This is just a small selection of those still standing.

The South Bank Arts Complex at Waterloo, South London. Built in 1951, it contains the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library and Arts Council Collection.

Barking Station, East London. Built in 1959.

A Greater London Council tower block in Thamesmead, South-East London. Built in 1966

Brunel University Lecture Theatre in Uxbridge, West London. Built in 1973.

Estate stairwell on the Strawberry Vale Estate East Finchley, North London. Built in 1978

The Mall car park in Bromley, South-East London. Built in 1967.

Croydon Magistrates Court, South London. Built in 1968.

The National Archive at Twickenham, South-West London. Built in 1973.

Dawson’s Heights Estate in Dulwich, South-East London. Built in 1964.

Trellick Tower in Golbourne Road, West London. At one time the tallest housing block in Europe. Built 1972.

The Barbican Complex in the City of London. Built 1982.