Beavers….Wood ……Sports-washing…..

by Bernie Bell - 08:35 on 03 February 2023


RSPB Scotland translocated a family of seven beavers to the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve ….  https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/beavers-loch-lomond

This includes a little film of them… https://twitter.com/RSPBScotland/status/1620338721986846720?cxt=HHwWgICxvfLezPwsAAAA

I hope Mrs. Beaver remembered to take her sewing machine – ‘Narnia’ reference.

The article mentions the reintroduction trial at Knapdale in 2009.  Here’s  an update, courtesy of ‘The Kist’ magazine…


And, our visit to  Barnluasgan Loch, where we didn’t see beavers but we saw…..


What a place!



In ‘The Dark Is Rising’ – the Yule Log…

“It had to be the root of a tree, not a branch, Will knew, though nobody had ever explained why.”

I’m thinking of ‘Sea Henge’ in which the central pillar is the inverted root of a tree.  Sea Henge was found in the sand off the coast of Norfolk some years ago. It was taken up and placed in a museum.  It had been carefully, very carefully, placed exactly where it was meant to be placed.  If the sea took it – well, that happens – all part of its story.  They could have made an exact copy for the museum.  I was furious.

I saw the root being placed upside down as being because ……… a curled-up body – in foetal position - would be placed in the centre of the root - in the heartwood of the tree - ready to re-live.  Heart-life of the tree, and of the person, connecting.  Death in life. Life in Death. This is such power-full stuff, yet those…..people - took that - and put it in a museum.


True archaeologists at least try to make some kind of connection with the mind-set of the folk who produced what they’re dealing with – moving Sea Henge showed not even an attempt to consider the ideas which were possibly/probably being expressed there.   GGGGGGRRRRR.

Wood – matters, which is something that people appear to be forgetting.  Here is a poem written by friend Wendy who is very much a friend of trees. 

The world needs more of them – individuals and organizations who don’t take part in the current mania for cutting down trees or covering them in nets to stop birds nesting.

The world is losing its way. Thank goodness for clear-seeing-strong-feeling folk like Wendy…..



We planted four hundred and twenty trees,

hands thrust deep into nurturing earth;

cold-nosed and blinking from the icy draught,

joyous in expectation.



In anguish, I hear

the ripping of bark and heartwood,

letting of xylem and phloem,

wrenched from life,

the magnificent cedar succumbs

to tree surgeon’s blade.


Two hundred years, growing:

In two days of butchery,



Above the screeching machine,

slicing and shredding,

the silent scream of the tree,

whose loss is mourned

by sheltering songbirds and owls -

who cannot wait for our small trees to grow -

and me.

Wendy Alford - February 2012

….and Mr. Mac…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/02/poetry-corner-heartwood/

Then there’s the Holly given to Will by Old George.  And then, Rowan, of course - Rowan.  Rowan makes the Sign of the Light.



First there was the FIFA World Cup in Qatar…



Now this…..

“Kia ora Bernie, yesterday I received news that left me livid. I found out that Saudi Arabia, a country that denies basic human rights to women and girls, will be sponsoring the historic 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Aotearoa New Zealand this July. 

We cannot stay silent while a country that denies basic rights to women and girls sponsors a tournament that celebrates women. Sign the petition asking our Government to speak out on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and pressure FIFA to do the same.  

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup is a historic moment for women's sports in Aotearoa. That's why it's alarming to hear that Visit Saudi, the national tourism board of Saudi Arabia, will soon be unveiled as one of the sponsors of the tournament.  

Imagine the scene at Eden Park, packed with spectators, including young girls. Now imagine that the tournament's sponsor is a country where women still need the consent of a man to get married or male guardians can bring legal action against women for ‘disobedience’. A country where female activists are jailed for daring to stand up for their rights.   

Join me in signing this petition, calling on Sports Minister Grant Robertson to speak out. This is our chance to stand in solidarity with Saudi women and activists, and to show that we will not turn a blind eye to human rights violations.  

Tell the Government they can’t stay silent while a country that restricts women's freedom sponsors an event that is meant to celebrate women’s talent.  

This is unique moment with worldwide attention - we can use this moment to put the spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and join the many thousands of people across the globe campaigning for change. To make the most of this moment it’s critical we act now and we act loud.  

Please sign this petition and tell Minister Grant Robertson to call out Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations and put pressure on FIFA to do the same.

Yes, I'll add my name

As a lover of women's sports, I was thrilled to hear that the largest women’s sports event was coming to Aotearoa. I love watching the WNBA (the USA’s Women's National Basketball Association) and flew from Wellington to Auckland to watch the final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup. I loved seeing Aotearoa celebrate women’s achievements so proudly.   

It's ironic that people playing in and watching the World Cup sponsored by 'Visit Saudi' wouldn't be welcome on their soil. As a queer person who wouldn’t travel to Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is punished by flogging and imprisonment, I'm really hoping you'll join me in signing this petition. 

This is not a celebration of women's sports, this is a sportswashing. A distraction from the horrific human rights abuses faced by women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ people in Saudi Arabia. 

This is not just a matter of sport, this is a matter of basic human dignity and equality. We must not let sportswashing hide Saudi Arabia's human rights violations. We have the power to make a difference, to show that the people of Aotearoa stand for women's rights. 

Please share it with your community. Let's create a loud public pressure that cannot be ignored. Let's stand up for women's rights, together. 

Anna Cusack (she/her)

Advocacy and Policy Manager
Amnesty International
Aotearoa New Zealand”


Here’s the text of the letter…..

I am deeply concerned by reports that Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority will be a sponsor at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which is being held in Aotearoa.

I ask you as the Minister for Sports and Recreation to speak out on Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations and call for reform, and pressure FIFA to do the same.  

Saudi Arabia has a horrific human rights record that includes the ongoing oppression of women. 

This is a textbook case of sportswashing where States guilty of human rights abuses invest heavily in sports events in order to rehabilitate their reputations. Sportwashing of any kind is offensive. But, the sponsorship of this Women's World Cup is extra abhorrent. Women in Saudi Arabia face serious discrimination and Saudi women who've dared stand up for their rights have received jail sentences.

We cannot stay silent while a country that denies basic rights to women and girls sponsors a tournament that celebrates women. We need people and organisations of influence, such as yourself and FIFA to speak out on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Silence simply risks assisting this attempt at sportswashing. 

This is not just a matter of sport, this is a matter of basic human dignity and equality. We must not let sportswashing hide Saudi Arabia's human rights violations.

Yours sincerely”


Here’s one I made earlier…… https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/05/09/the-road-goes-ever-on-and-on-bilbo-baggins/





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