An intelligent food blender (apparently)

Okay I took the plunge and bought a smart food blender today.  I did buy a cheap blender several months ago, but you know what?  It had no balls.  If I'm going to take blending seriously, I needed a 1200 watt bad boy.  What inspired me?  I have to confess, it was watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix.  Inspiring, more then anything else, it reinforced what I have been reading in Gut by Julia Giulia Enders (2015).  I have been doing great with my healthy eating plan since last November, but I could do with eating a little more veg, and a little less fruit.  I hope that the blender makes that more feasible.

A Day at the Record Office

I took the above photograph of Besthorpe church graveyard, a few weeks ago on Rollei Retro 400S film, that was loaded in an Olympus XA2 camera, then developed in Ilford LC29 chemistry.

Well that was fun.  Five hours in a stuffy archive centre, wheeling through microfilms, with not much to show for it other than sore eyes.

I'm still concentrating solely on that mtDNA line - my strict maternal line.  I had got back to my G.G.G Grandmother, Sarah Daynes (nee Quantrill).  She stated on several censuses that she was born around 1827 at Wymondham, Norfolk.  She most likely was the thirteen year old family servant, Sarah Quantrill, employed during the 1841 census in the Long household at Wymondham.  It looks like she had to look after forty year old James Long, a farmer, and several of his children, some a similar age to her.  She went on to marry Reuben Daynes at Besthorpe, Norfolk on the 26th April 1849.  She appears to have remained at Besthorpe for most if not all of her remaining life.  Turnpike Road Cottages, to be precise, which I believe to be close to Morley and Wymondham.  Her husband Reuben, was a labourer, still employed in at the age of seventy.  He lived to a good old age, although by the age of 78, he was forced to turn to parish relief.  They were still living at Turnpike cottages in 1901.

So, we know by census that mtDNA G.G.G Grannie Sarah was born circa 1827, at Wymondham, and that her father was a labourer named Robert Quantrill.  I slowly scanned through the Wymondham baptism registers from 1813 until nearly the late 1830s.  Wymondham had a lot of babies.  Surely, by reason of thought, I should find the baptism of Sarah, and perhaps some siblings?  That would be the normal next step.

Nope, nada.  I wasted hours.  Although I know that there are splashes of the Quantrell/Quantrill/Quantrele surname around mid Norfolk (Bunwell and sometimes Norwich crop up on searches), it didn't crop up much in the Wymondham parish registers.  Which can also be a good thing.However, in this case, I found a mere five of them, and none particularly helpful.

  • One daughter of a Richard Kett and Sarah (nee Quantrill) in 1822
  • One daughter of a William Quantrele and his wife Ann (nee Blake) in 1824
  • Two daughters in 1826 and 1827 of a John Starling and his wife Maria (nee Quantril).

So where the hell were their children, or at least mtDNA Sarah, baptised?  I can immediately think of three top options to research, but they are not easy:

  • Nonconformist.  I have a hunch though, that they were not.
  • A nearby parish - but so many possibilities!  I could be looking for months or years.
  • Something happened to the family, such as moving far away for years, or death / break up - hence Sarah working as a servant at thirteen years of age.

Then, just before I had to go and walk a mile to move the car before I got a ticket, I quickly glanced through the Wymondham Marriage Register, and I found:

Robert Quantrill bachelor of this parish & Mary Page of this parish by banns 12th October 1818.

G.G.G mtDNA Grannie Sarah, born nine years after that marriage, claimed that she was born in Wymondham, and also claimed that her father was a Robert Quantrill.  They fit, it is so tempting, that I have provisionally claimed Mary Quantrill (nee Page) to be my next generation back, my G.G.G.G mtDNA Grannie.  However, it's not good paper genealogy.  Really I need to verify her as a direct ancestor.  I could have the wrong couple, or it could have been the right Robert Quantrill (the only Robert Quantrill so far spotted in Wymondham), but an earlier marriage.  I at least need to see Sarah named as the daughter of a Robert & Mary Quantrill, born of them around 1827, perhaps in Wymondham or nearby.  This would be pre-state birth registration, and before anything I can find on a census.  I can't find her or any siblings in the Wymondham baptism registers, so where next?  I need her baptism.

On the positive, I'm making some progress.  Before my recent campaign, all of my mother's recorded ancestors had been very much East or Broadland Norfolk.  That is where her autosomal DNA would largely originate for I suspect, many centuries.  Quite interesting, because the Far East of East Anglia is where some researchers such as Stephen Oppenheimer, have suggested the strongest genetic evidence of Anglo-Saxon admixture.  Place-name evidence there also strongly suggests Danish Viking  settlement.  The shores of East Anglia were the places where immigrants were most likely to beach.  I have also previously read that the sea levels dropped very slightly around the eighth century AD, making areas such as Norfolk Flegg, easier to drain for settlement by immigrants from across the North Sea.

And yet, my mtDNA line skips away from that Eastern fringe, into South Norfolk.  I didn't expect that.  In Besthorpe, it is only a parish away from some of my father's autosomal ancestors at Attleborough, and not so far away from his mtDNA at Hedenham in South Norfolk.  My parents grew up in very different districts of Norfolk, at least thirty miles apart, with the City of Norwich in between.  Yet follow the genes back, and you can start to see how earlier admixture between their ancestors could well have taken place within the past five hundred years.  The recent POBI (People of the British Isles) genetic survey (2015) suggested that despite admixture from many waves of immigration going back over thousands of years, that the present day English are very homogeneous.  The same survey also said that the patterns of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms still show on their genetic map.

I've only followed the mtDNA line back five or six generations so far.  However, I can't help noticing that it is swirling around South and East Norfolk.  It is more mobile than many of the autosomal lines.  Perhaps women were more likely to move over the past few centuries to new parishes, to their husbands?

I say swirling - I have got back so far to Wymondham.  That is the same South Norfolk market town that my parents retired to.  I even lived there for a while.  My mother, my sister, my niece, who all share my mtDNA, still live there.  Yet no-one was aware that we had ancestors there in the town.

I am a Left Libertarian

I took the above photo at a G20 protest in London in 2009, of the forward intelligence team .  I was using a Pentax K110D and Pentax--M 50mm 1.7 lens.

I haven't discussed my politics at all in this blog, and I feel as though I'm avoiding the issue.  Actually, to be honest, I have.  Openly discussing politics can be both confrontational, and in polite society, rude.  People that talk politics can be seen as overtly opinionated.  And yet, to have no political stance, nor views, could be seen as ignorant.  Many years ago, I was a licensed shortwave radio ham.  My licence actually specified that I was not allowed to discuss neither religion, nor politics.  Conversations were all too frequently technical, and boring, but other than competition for frequency space, you'd rarely hear any confrontation between operators.

However, I created this blog, not for popularity, but as a journal to record whatever goes through my head, be it interests in film photography, nutrition, prehistory, or even political events.  So here goes.

The Two Wings

All too often, a political stance is measured along one axis, from extreme left (either Anarchism or Communism), through to extreme right (Fascism).  All of those mainstream politicians here in the so-called Western liberal democracies or representative democracies, jostle for what they call the middle ground.  In most such nation-states, two or three mainstream political parties take it in turns to take power.  Their political ideology is regarded to be to the left, or to the right, of the other.

A radical critic (that's me), might suggest that in truth, both parties are conservative, and interested in maintaining the status quo.  Both work with Capital, and avoid upsetting the Markets too much with their policies.  The one on the Left makes Capitalism more acceptable, by redistributing some wealth in the form of tax to welfare.  When taxes increase too much, the party on the Right comes to power, and cuts the welfare back, making it all more efficient.  When they've perhaps gone a little too far, the party of the Left returns to power, and so on it goes.  In the Sailing World, this process would be called beating - a ship zig zags to work the wind, but maintains it's underlying course.  Neither political party ever actually changes the underlying course of society.  Between them, they preserve the status quo.

They remind me a little bit of the Red and Blue teams of athletes that once competed across the old Roman Empire, keeping the masses happy and entertained.  Some things don't really change, perhaps that is why I love history.

But I'm already wandering away from the subject.  Many analysts have, for many years, realised that there isn't really a lot of meaning to the traditional Left/Right political axis.  The two traditional extreme ends - Communism and Fascism, have in practice, had a lot in common.  Both have for example, been authoritarian.  This has lead many political thinkers to ask what exactly Left and Right wings actually represent.

Welcome to the Political Compass

By Traced by User:Stannered - en:Image:Political chart.jpg, Public Domain,

In the case of the above compass, Left usually signifies a support for common or public economic ownership, and Right signifies a support for the Free Market of private enterprise.

For much of my Life, growing up and living in the West, I like many, was under the impression that Liberalism and democracy, came hand in hand with a Capitalism, while Authoritarianism came hand in hand with State Communism.  I believe that a lot of people still think this way.  But it simply is not true.

Look around at how the World has changed since the collapse of State Communism.  The successful models are a hybrid of varying degrees of authoritarian state, that control and permit free markets.  Singapore, China, dare I suggest the Russian Federation?  Even here in the West - look how our post 9/11 states try to increase their authority ("we have to because of the threat of terrorism"), whilst moving their economies further to free market principles, and away from social democracy.

So we need to forget the old single-axis Left/Right model, and instead, we need to plot our stances using a multi-axis political compass.  Mine fits somewhere in the Libertarian Left quarter.  Exactly where, I couldn't say.  Apparently I share this section with the likes of Ghandi.

How I see the World

The future appears to be Authoritarian, and Capitalist.  A world where everyone is free to work (or suffer unemployment), pay taxes, and above all,  consume.  They are free the consume the latest upgrade, the latest solid state technology, the latest cars, smart phones, Internet TV subscriptions, and they may even be free to travel.  For the majority, perhaps this new social contract is fine.  As near to Utopia as we can get.  However, a minority of people might not only be freethinkers, but would like to engage in democracy.  They might publish criticisms of governments and politicians.  They might join free trade unions, protest, perhaps even take part in direct actions.  For these people, the minority perhaps, the future is grim.  It is a dystopia.  They will be spied on, harassed at work, their internet activities and phone traffic scrutinised, they may even be imprisoned, or worse.

This is the model that appears to be working across the global economy.  A world where you are free to buy an Xbox One or an Iphone #, but you must behave, and you must not oppose.

We of course have plenty to keep us on the right track.  Perpetual wars in distant lands.  The increasing threat of terrorism.  The Big Game plays out, in so many ways similar to the perpetual wars of George Orwell's warning, Nineteen Eighty Four.  No money for welfare, but money to pour into bombs to be dropped onto far away lands.  Dropping bombs to stop terrorism.  That really works.  I'm pretty sure that if Iran, the West, the Syrians themselves, Turkey, and Russia, really wanted to resolve the civil war there, and destroy ISIS, they could.  All that they needed to do was to talk together and to make concessions.  Instead, Oceania, East Asia, and Eurasia, will continue with their Big Game.  I think that Eurasia are the next to play the bad guy.

I remember the Soviet convoys moving into Afghanistan.  I remember the support given to Islamic fundamentalist militias by the West - weaponry, intelligence, and big cash.  The Afghan warlords were freedom fighters.  Ten years of death.  Then years later, we have always been at war with Eastasia.  The Afghan and Arab Jihadists are the threat to each and everyone of us.  We were never at war with Eurasia.  Excuse me.  Unless you have never read Orwell's 1984, you will not understand my ranting.

The lies that they tell us during these wars.  Should I mention that charade when the Americans arrived in Baghdad?  The carefully orchestrated covering of the fallen statue of Saddam Hussein, with the flag from the Twin Towers?  As though that particular despot had anything to do with 9/11!  A despot that had been supported by the West during his own long hideous war with Shia Iran.

I guess that if you tell enough lies, they become a truth.  Orwell understood that very well.  After all, he had served in the British wartime propaganda machine.  The future is grim.

1st February 2016


The above photograph was captured on my favourite little Olympus XA2, loaded with Rollei retro 400S film.  I have been really concentrating the past three months on compact camera 35mm b/w photography.  On one hand, I use the Yashica T2 AF compact, loaded with Kodak Tmax 400, that I then develop in Kodak Tmax developer; on the other hand, I use the XA2 loaded with Rollei Retro 400S, that I usually develop in Ilford LC29.

The Tmax camera produces smooth, clean, "nice" b/w negatives.  The Retro 400S camera produces high contrast, rough and ready negatives, that often suffer from underexposed / under developed - but above all, high contrast and grainy.  On the latest couple of films, I've been setting the XA2 exposure one stop up to ISO 200, and I've added a minute to developing time.  They look better.  However, it is because Retro 400S looks so odd and high contrast that attracts me to it.  It makes interesting images.  The film (as I understand), was initially produced for aviation aerial photography, and has near infrared range - for better cloud and mist penetration.  Even with no infra red filter, it produces some interesting infra red-like results.  I like it so much, I recently bought a ten pack.

Running with dogs

I've just completing my 23rd run in the campaign.  Last month, with the dogs, I ran over 60 miles.  Go our canicross team.  I feel pretty confident at keeping it up.  I have let the strength training go, but I'll pick that up again when I feel ready.  Nutrition plans, I've been pretty good.  Okay, I slip a little from time to time, but I have eaten one hell of a lot of vegetables and fruit over the past three months.  Weight loss really slowed down after losing a stone and a half.  I'm lucky to lose a pound a week.  Still, I'm not going to let it put me off.  This is a long term thing, not just a weight loss diet.

The below image is from Rollei Retro 400S in the XA2.


 Right at the moment I'm feeling a little concerned and annoyed with  I don't think that they are really looking after their European or outside-of-the-USA customers as well as they should be if they are serious about our markets.  All information, updates, and shipping appear to be two class - USA, and Others.  I'll let this journal know how it goes, and to be fair, it is early days.

On the paper maternal genealogy chase, I have today received from the GRO, a copy of the marriage certificate between my great great great grandparents, Reuben Daynes, and Sarah Quantrill, on the 26th April 1848, at Besthorpe parish church.  Reuben's father is confirmed as Reuben Daynes (senior).  It tells me that Reuben Dayne senior was actually a publican.  Sarah's father was a Robert Quantrill, a labourer.

In my search for my mtDNA line, I must return to the Norfolk Record Office next, and search for a family of Quantrill's, headed by a Robert Quantrill.  On more than one census, Sarah claimed that she was born at Wymondham, Norfolk, around 1827.  I'll first look for baptisms of any Quantrill children in Wymondham or Besthorpe, around 1815 - 1840.  I have seen what may have been my Sarah, staying with a family of Long's in Wymondham, age 13, in the 1841 census.

The above photo, taken on the Yashica T2/Tmax 400 film, is of my mother, my surviving mtDNA donor, standing next to (not the donkeys) a headstone for a William Quantrell.  I don't yet know if he was a relative, but this is at Besthorpe church last week, and this William was several years older than my Sarah.  He could potentially be an older brother of Sarah, and therefore my G.G.G.G uncle.  If he indeed is, then his bones in that graveyard would contain the same lineage of mtDNA as myself and my mother here.

A pug, and my b/w film photography

The Flickr Explore algorithm and it's fans appear to like this photograph today.  A pug in the town.  Pugs are apparently very in at the moment.  I captured this last week on Kodak Tmax 400 film, loaded into my Yashica T2.  I developed it in Kodak Tmax developer.  I'm not too sure that I like that developer, perhaps I should increase developing time, I like a little more contrast on my negatives.

I haven't actually discussed my photography much in this new blog have I?  I feel as though I did that enough on my previous blog, The Tight Fisted Photographer.  However of course I haven't any intention of walking away from b/w film photography.

My B/W Film Photography

Just for the sake of any future voyeurs who stumble onto this journal.  I'm living in 2016, the Age of Digital, the Binary Age.  I don't have any problems with that, obviously I am embracing it in the form of this web-blog and in sharing my images on Flickr.  I have a smartphone, and I even use a Go Pro from time to time.  I was actually a pretty early fan of fully digital photography.  I'd even say that although I spent the first forty years of my life, living during the great Age of Film, that it was with fully digital cameras, that I became more enthusiastic about photography, and for example, learned to experiment much more with exposure methods, composition, and the technology itself.

Yet, unless I need a quick, easy, colourful and technical image, I rarely bother with digital cameras anymore.  Why?  They no longer scratch my itch so to speak.  I enjoy the technology, and the process, of hybrid film photography.  Not only that, but I've come to appreciate, even to love, the results, the photographs, the argent tones of b/w film photography - even those that have been digitally scanned from negatives or prints.  I want to record the rest of my life, and my world experience, onto the silver salts of b/w negative film.

It goes against the grain (there's a pun there), but I don't like where photography is going.  I don't like the mainstream of what goes up on Flickr or in photography club exhibitions.  So much gloss, shiny, sharp, magazine inspired, technically perfect, but boring dross (in my eyes).  So much emphasis on post process software.  HDR makes my eyes bleed.  Thankfully, not all photography enthusiasts have been seduced by the gear markets.  You can still find some great images there, many of them shot on film.

No.  as long as I can buy b/w film, I'll stick to the salts of silver.  It is a matter of personal taste.

The above photograph I took on Ilford FP4+ film, exposed in my Bronica SQ-A with the PS 150mm f/4 lens attached.  This guy appears to be embracing digital photography, but it looks as though He is trying to use the LCD as an optical viewfinder.  He was concentrating so hard, he never even noticed me creep up to him and steal this candid.  I love this photo.

New canicross and lurcher running video

I made this Go Pro video today, on Running with dogs No.21.  We ran the dog's default and favourite route again, around 4.6 miles long.  Not a great average speed, but as you can see, we were also film making.  I cut the video down to less than ten minutes this time, and I fitted the lurcher with the Go Pro dog harness, for when I ran him off leash.  Otherwise, I used the chest harness.

I had no idea that naughty dog went into that drainage ditch until I watched the video at home.

Chasing the mtDNA II

Okay, I posted this photograph of Sarah Thacker below, but here is a fresh scan with a little bit of enhancement using open source software Gimp 2.2.

I visited the Norfolk Record Office yesterday, for the first time in many years.  Indeed, when it has moved a few times since I would haunt the basements of Norwich Central Library, and is now in a much larger complex on the edge of the City, at the County Hall.  I didn't have any need to access the original registers - everything they had for me is now on either microfilm or microfiche.  Staff were pleasant and helpful.

What did I learn?  Unfortunately, I didn't get any further back on my maternal line yesterday.  I did fill in some details and siblings.  I did go back another generation on Sarah's father, the Daynes of Brandon Parva, Norfolk.  I also discovered her parents, Rueben and Sarah Daynes (nee Quantrill), were not as I thought married in Wymondham, but nearby in Besthorpe.  I found the banns in a transcript, but however, the parish marriage registers for 1849 are missing.  Presumably still at the church.  I feel that I need to see their actual marriage next.  It should verify their ages, and give me the name of Sarah Quantrill's father.  That might help me locate Sarah's baptism and her mother.  It is her mother that I most want to find.  She would be the next generation around to donate that mtDNA.  Sarah was born circa 1827, I believe in Wymondham, or maybe again, in Besthorpe.

I left the record office, and visited my mother.  We then took a look at Besthorpe Church.  The church was locked, I tried to telephone the vicar, but no answer.  Many of the headstones had unfortunately been moved, but I did find one in memorial to a William Quantrell".  He was born a few years before my Sarah Quantrell, so it is quite possible that he was an older brother, if the family originated in Besthorpe.  A thought was, if he was indeed the brother, then his remains somewhere in that church yard would carry our mtDNA - from his mother.

I was playing with the idea of going back another day, to see if the vicar does have that missing marriage register.  However, with time and petrol, I've ordered a copy of the state document from the GRO (General Register Office) online.  Hopefully the certificate will arrive next week.  Then I'll have another go at seeing if I can trace Sarah Quantrill's mother.