Commute Recall

Death on Marylebone Road

I saw a biker under a truck,

From the top deck of the bus,

The passers-by stood and stared

At his helmet oozing blood

The distant whoop of the siren

Beat out the passing of his life

While the ambulance

Was stuck in normality

In the rush hour

With the world and its wife

Martin Addison, 04/07/2011

This is the first of what I hope will become a series of short poems of recollections from the daily commute to work – we’ll see 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

Pointing To The Sky


80M Vertical Antenna

Skywave Diagram

Skywave Diagram

My 80 metre vertical antenna stands tall against a typical English ‘will it rain or will it shine’ sky.   This antenna is used to transmit and receive on the 3.7MHz Amateur Radio short wave band.   Short distance communication – perhaps fifty miles or so – normally occurs along the ground (ground wave).   Long distance communication is possible by sky wave transmission as shown in the diagram on the right.   The distance between the transmitter and the receiving station varies with the height of the Ionosphere (a layer of ionised particles in the upper atmosphere where the radio signal is refracted back to Earth) and the angle of radiation from the antenna.   The distance between the two stations is known as the skip distance.   It is possible to have multiple skips depending upon reflection back to the ionosphere from the ground – by this means global communication is possible.   The antenna in the photo has worked stations as far afield as Canada.   I also have a wire antenna for other Amateur Radio frequencies which has worked Tasmania – literally on the opposite side of the world!

This is a simplified explanation of radio transmissions on the short wave bands.   If you are interested in taking up Amateur Radio as a hobby you will need to undergo some training and obtain a license from your national organisation – Ofcom in the UK.   Training in the UK is broken down into three levels of license and the basic foundation course should present little difficulty for the vast majority of people.

They say “everything happens for a reason” – do you think this is true?

I did wonder if how you read this question affects the answer – does it mean that the outcome was the reason or that the cause was the reason? But having given some thought I believe that they are both the same, seen from different angles.

When I first read this topic idea I thought ‘No – some things are just chance’. But I suspect that this is not true. I guess it depends on whether you view the question purely on a Human level or whether you take a wider view of the world. I think that in our world of human interaction all things are a result of decisions that we make – these influence our lives by, for example causing us to meet the person we will choose to spend our lives with. It can be argued that we would not have met that person had we not made certain choices and the same is true for that person also. In reality, this is not random chance (though our choices may not have been entirely of our own making – we’ve all been on one of those nights out!) but the result of a set of decisions taken by two people. Therefore – it did happen for a reason.

Almost everything that happens in our Human world has a reason and the insurance companies have made a living out of aportioning blame (i.e. cause) to every occurrance, except for ‘Acts of God’. These are unpredictable natural things like Lightning Strikes (otherwise known as the getout clause). So are these the things that happen without a reason? Well, not really. You see the mechanics behind a thunderstorm and the build-up of electricity within the cloud are well understood – even if the Met Office seem to be unable to predict them! – so we know why lightning happens and therefore it happens for a reason. The only real question is the ‘Why did it strike me?’ one and scientists can certainly give a good explanation regarding how lightning chooses its spot.

Looking at the world around us it seems to me that just about everything has a root cause for happening but the reality of this is masked by the complexities of our human lives, so when things don’t quite turn out the way we wanted them to we put it down to bad luck…assigning a reason!… Or calling it fate… Oops – that’s another reason! We even sometimes have the temerity to blame God! – not sure who agnostics and atheists blame in that instance. I guess I’m saying that in the human world the reason why something happens is often hidden in a maze of past decisions and may appear to be just a chance occurrance as a result.

In the natural world happening for a reason is also the norm. At the top level, the reason we have so many different species of plants and animals is (Take your personal choice section) : –

Either – Evolution happens because improvements to the design of an individual member of a species provides an advantage over other members of the same species and that member is better able to pass on its genes to subsequent generations. Sometimes the changes are sufficient over time to cause new species to occur.

Or – God created all the species and placed them on the Earth.

Which you personally believe is entirely your choice, Both are ‘reasons’ for why we have a diverse abundance of flora and fauna – personally I like the idea that God creates through the mechanism of Evolution.

Everything happens for a reason – sure it does! – Including dropped catches, mis-hit strikes on goal and Brits not being able to win Wimbledon 😦