Art From Nature…… Pics of Scotland…..’Zan, Zendegi, Azadi’……. Hoy Warden - Ongoing…… Covid Is Still With Us….

by Bernie Bell - 09:49 on 29 April 2023

Art From Nature…

Sunshine through condensation in the double-glazing – onto the wooden window sill – making shapes…


Pics of Scotland…

21st to 28th of April 2023….



’Zan, Zendegi, Azadi’……..

…..translates as ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ and is the global slogan of the current protest movement in Iran.

We received a mailing from ‘Amnesty International’… https://www.amnesty.org.uk/ telling us about how, in 2019 Yasaman Aryani and her mother Monireh Arabashi were each sentenced to at least 9 years in prison for peacefully campaigning against the forced veiling laws in Iran.

They had walked through a women-only train carriage in Tehran with their hair uncovered and handed out white flowers.

In a video on social media they spoke of their hopes for a future where women would have the freedom to choose what to wear.  One month later, they were arrested, interrogated and sent to prison.

235,000 supporters of ‘Amnesty International’ signed a petition demanding their release and on the 15th February 2023, Yasaman and Monireh were released – 5 years early.

As they left prison they chanted “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi.”  Their time in prison didn’t weaken their belief in a woman’s right to choose what to wear.

It’s good to share a bit of good news – and a good slogan.


Hoy Warden - Ongoing….

I sent the following letter to ‘The Orkney News’….

Dear Editor

‘The Orcadian’ has asked folk to stop sending them letters about the situation re. the RSPB warden on Hoy, and say to contact RSPB direct instead.

When this issue first arose I sent a piece to ‘The Orkney News’ and got a response to that from the Stromness office. 

I also sent an email to the  RSPB Head Office – but received no reply.

Here’s my letter to RSPB HQ….

‘To Membership

Thu, 23 Mar


The following appeared in ‘The Orkney News’ today……


And in my blog…..


It shows something of the strength of feeling about your organization’s decision to cut the RSPB  Warden post on Hoy to part-time.

My husband and I are long-standing members of the RSPB , and have increasingly come to the conclusion that - as happens with many organizations -  you have got too big and lost sight of your initial aims.

Please re-consider.


Mrs B Bell


If the line of communication through ‘The Orcadian’ was still open, I would have written again,  thus….

I wonder if any record is being kept of how many RSPB members have cancelled their membership because of this? And how many RSPB volunteers have decided to stop volunteering?

Mike and I considered cancelling our Membership but…we are Members primarily so that RSPB can buy up great lumps of land to stop harmful things happening on those areas of land, and conserve and protect what is there.  And that still stands.

It looks like now, the RSPB is mainly interested in what is cost-effective. The reserves with easy public access, a gift shop etc., rather than vast areas of moorland from which they gain little financially, but which should really play a very large part in the work of the charity – and which until now have done so – Birsay Moors comes to mind.

Reading the RSPB response to Tim Dean in this week’s ‘Orcadian’ means reading a prime example of corporate-speak and empty words the root of which is - money.

What on earth is  “a cost-neutral way to manage priority work” supposed to mean?

Cost-neutral means – neither plus nor minus financially.  How is anything cost neutral – never mind the running of a nature reserve?

Then, Mike started to read our most recent copy of the RSPB magazine, and I exploded – saying that that’s what they’re interested in – flannel, nice pictures, saying and showing how much they ‘care’.

And so I put fingers to keypad, hoping that TON would publish my views on this again.  Views which appear to be held by many in Orkney and possibly beyond by now.

This whole issue places a huge question-mark over the RSPB – what they think is their purpose now, and over whether we want to support what they are becoming?

Still thinking over whether to cancel our Membership.


Bernie Bell



Covid Is Still With Us….

In more ways than one…...


I received this from ‘Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice’…..

We need your help: The inquiry is considering only letting one family speak in Module 1

Yesterday the Covid Inquiry made a deeply upsetting revelation. They are considering only allowing ONE bereaved family, from our 6,500 members, to speak in the first module on preparation for the pandemic. The module is a month long and they’ve proposed that this would be at the very end of the process.

Baroness Hallet promised bereaved families that they would be at the heart of the Inquiry. Indeed, this inquiry is only happening because we put our hearts and souls into campaigning for it. However, here we have yet another attempt by the inquiry to silence us. 

With your help we will fight this, and any other attempt to silence bereaved families, every step of the way.  

Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to force the inquiry into ending the contracts they had with M&C Saatchi and 23Red to manage the listening exercise. Two companies who had been contracted by the inquiry to be responsible for ‘reaching those worst affected by the pandemic”, despite being paid millions by the Cabinet Office during the pandemic.

With your support, we can keep up the fight to make sure that bereaved families are listened to at every stage of the inquiry. And the likes of Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are made to answer for their actions.

Please donate if you can to help give the bereaved a voice. Any financial support you can spare is hugely appreciatedhttps://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/covid-bereaved-must-be-heard-at-the-covid-inquiry


Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/01/27/smog-masks/




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