Ramblinactivist’s Blogs

This is the central index for Paul Mobbs’ blogs –
listing the latest posts from all five themed blogs.

Welcome to my blogs

I maintain my own independent blogs, not hosted on any (anti-)social media service so that I can retain condition-free access to content. There are no tracking widgets, ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons, or data analytics attached to any of the content here so that you may browse and share links with relative privacy.

The problem with maintaining free and relatively private access to content is that it’s very difficult to promote and get a wide audience for my work. In today’s digital analytics popularity contest, all those features on a site are the principal way to get a wider audience. For that reason it would be greatly appreciated if you could follow, subscribe, or like my social media presence where I post my work.

Click the icons below the heading at the top of the page to access my various social media accounts – or to send feedback.

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Please apply here.

Ramblinactivist’s Blogs latest posts
(in reverse chronological order for the last 12 months)

January 2022

Title slide of 'A Book in 5 Minutes' espisode 7 ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.7, 19th January 2022:

‘The Deep Ecology Movement’ (1980)

Forty-two years on from its publication, Bill Devall’s paper and its clear critique – now realised in the predicted failure of the movement to make change – deserves a much greater audience.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Landscape image, ‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 1th January 2022:

‘Winter Solstice Plus One’

Wednesday 22nd December 2021: I saw the sunrise yesterday morning, but was detained by events later that day and couldn’t go out to greet it. Out well before dawn this morning, the scene was immeasurably better as I was greeted with clear skies and a good frost.

Route: Banbury, Giant’s Caves, Broughton Park, Broughton, Crouch Hill, Banbury.

Metrics: Distance, 10.7km/6⅔ miles; ascension, 130m/425ft; duration, 3½ hours.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

Title frame from ‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 1st January 2022:

‘Winter Solstice Plus One’

Another dawn, another frost, and hence cause for another walk. Except this time there’s an added impetus: The Winter Solstice. The landscape, now asleep, will wake in the coming weeks to give a new Spring, another Summer, and the promise of an Autumn with a harvest of roots, fruits, and seeds. Our ancient ancestors knew that, and marked its significance.

Click here to go the walks blog for this video

December 2021

Landscape image, ‘To See the Sunrise, First Walk in the Dark’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 19th December 2021:

‘To See the Sunrise, First Walk in the Dark’

Can't sleep. It's 6am. It's frosty outside. Only one thing to do: Go for a walk. I pound through the town centre and head east towards Nethercote and Overthorpe, to catch the frosty sunrise across Warkworth and Astrop.

Route: Banbury, Bowling Green, Overthorpe, Warkworth, Overthorpe Crossroads, Overthorpe Hall, Nethercote.

Metrics: Distance, 10.3km/6⅓ miles; ascension, 125m/410ft; duration, 3 hours.

Landscape image, ‘A waxing crescent moon over the Cherwell valley’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 8th December 2021:

‘Walking into the Wintry Sunset’

This is what I like to call ‘a quick around the block’ walk. I realised that being near Solstice, the sun would set roughly down the line of Canal Lane between Warkworth and Bodicote. I headed out not expecting much, but the gathering cloud provided quite a spectacular scene illiminated by the sunset and dusk.

Route: Banbury, Nethercote, Warkworth, Canal Lane, Oxford Canal, Banbury.

Metrics: Distance, 8.9km/5½ miles; ascension, 80m/260ft; duration, 2 hours.

November 2021

Landscape image, ‘Castle Bank in the bare Winter trees’, March 2015 Banburyshire Rambles Journal
Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites, November 2021:

New site – ‘Castle Bank Enclosure’

The remains of a large, ancient enclosure sit above a large groups of springs in a local hidden valley. Though not well preserved, it’s a lovely location to pause and take-in the surrounding landscape.

Title frame from ‘From Banbury White Cross to a Misty Sunset’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 17th November 2021:

‘From Banbury White Cross to a Misty Sunset’

It started out as just a walk 'around the block' to view the slowly fading colours of Autumn. It ended up as something a little more out of the ordinary as the temperature fell and the mist rose. Earlier that day I'd been listening to a lovely piece of free improvisation by Daniel Triunfo, ‘Mental Break’. As I walked into the dusk, spotting planets and stars, somehow the music just seemed to fit with the mood.

A hand holding a copy of ‘This Land is Our Land’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.6, 7th November 2021:

‘This Land is Our Land’ (1987)

A book which traces an arc of how the shift from Feudalism into Capitalism, via the reciprocal Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, not only changed the landscape, but also created many of the social ills that still afflict society today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

October 2021

Opening scene from the 1993 TV production of 'Stark', by Ben Elton The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.18, 25th October 2021:

‘Forgotten, but not gone’ – How governments have deliberately ignored the safety of contaminated sites in England, and why climate change makes this worse

This is an over thirty-year long story about my involvement with contaminated sites, and helping communities to get action to clean them up. This tale is innately connected to my home town, Banbury. It’s an average small town; a backwater on the border between the Midlands and the South East. Yet in the 1980s, this place taught me about the issues of waste and land contamination. Not because it was exceptional, but because these issues affect communities across Britain.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame from ‘Enjoy it whilst it lasts’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 7th October 2021:

2021/22: ‘Enjoy it whilst it lasts’

Walking the ancient Roman Salt Road east from Banbury – a diminutive relic of its status to the west of the town – I consider how property rights and land access continue to define our relationship to “the land”, and hence “this Land”.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An MP3 version of the my music for the video is available on the web page.

A hand holding a copy of ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.5, 4th October 2021:

‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ (1971/2004)

Murray Bookchin foresaw the rise of consumerism, and the changing dialogue in society towards a politics of ‘post-scarcity’. ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ is an anthology of Bookchin’s essays around this theme.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

General Jack Ripper, from 'Dr Strangelove' The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.17, 2nd October 2021:

‘Weaponising Space Debris’ – Britain, DARC, and the military’s control of space

Britain is to become part of a US network to ‘dominate space’. The UK government are promoting this as a way to create greater ‘security’ for our technological lifestyle. The reality about what this system is for, and the US military’s strategy behind it, is somewhat different to that public message of greater security.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

September 2021

A hand holding a copy of ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.4, 20th September 2021:

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ (1971)

I think there are very few books that you can truthfully say, ‘this book changed my life’. When I first came across it almost forty years ago, this one changed mine. It explained clearly to me what it was I needed to know to eat well.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand hold a copy of ‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ ‘A Book (or report) in 5 Minutes’, no.3, 15th Sept. 2021:

‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ (2020)

Each morning the Sun comes up. We instinctively know this. The problem is that in the modern world, people sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference between: Natural phenomena – like the Sun rising; and the grandiose myths we tell ourselves – like the functioning of the economy.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand takes a copy of 'The Limits to Growth' from a shelf ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.1, 1st September 2021:

‘The Limits to Growth’ (1972)

Published in 1972, and shrouded in controversy since that date, ‘The Limits to Growth’ is the most successful econometric projection ever made, and a groundbreaking ecological book that the environment movement itself has a deep-seated fear of discussing in public.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

August 2021

Image of a happy drone The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.15, 12th August 2021:

‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a drone’ – Are you selling your soul to whack the YouTube algorithm?

YouTube has become a warped subliminal marketplace; a confidence trick of misdirection. Digitally disembodied people pretend to be your best friend, while the platform they use fleeces your computer of as much information as possible in order to commodify your soul.

Click here to download the PDF version.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

July 2021

An image of ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, from the 1640s ‘Radical References’ No.2, Lammas 2021:

‘(The prologue to) A Watchword to The City of London, and The Army’

Written three-hundred and seventy-two years ago, this prologue outlines some of Gerrard Winstanley’s key phrases and ideas. It’s about the importance of action to create change rather than ‘just talking about it’, and the unwelcome reality that too many people talking about change delays the achievement of it through direct action.

This blog post also contains an podcast recording of the text.

May 2021

‘djnz’s hackblog’, 12th May 2021:

‘Battling YouTube Bloat’: How watching videos on-line has become an exercise in affluent entitlement, and surveillance analytics, which I prefer to avoid

These days I routinely download YouTube videos rather than watching on-line. It’s to avoid the inherent bloat that’s taken over the YouTube world, and is clogging the Internet with people screaming into their webcams at full 4K. Additionally, it moderates the built-in surveillance that tracks your viewing habits.

Download the 'portable' off-line version of this post.

April 2021

Landscape image, ‘A Frosty Dawn at Rainsborough Camp’, 30th November 2016 Banburyshire Rambles Journal, Beltane 2021 (launched 22nd April):

‘Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites’
A landscape to experience across the local area

In one sense this is a collection of memories. Of walks which produced some of my favourite photos. As I look through the images in my collection though, I realised it described something more. A skeleton; a super-structure of places on which the essence of the local landscape sits. Its collection of ancient sites.

Click here for the ‘Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites’ collection.

March 2021

blogimg-03 Long Walks & A/P, Part 3, Mabon 2021:

‘Wild tea making and the revolt against the machine’

Walking, camping, and foraging, are the last ‘natural’ refuges outside technological society – the last ‘commons’ open to all irrespective of wealth; albeit one that’s always under threat. I know I’m not alone in that position. More importantly, I know there are many more who want to ‘downshift’ into “something else” – other than where they are now – but have not the first clue how.

Go directly to the video that accompanies this post.

post-02 ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Part 2, Imbolic 2021:

‘Lembas Scones, my (vegan) wayfaring snack’

In this video I show how to make a cheap and simple snack food that’s ideal for keeping well fed when travelling or working: “Lembas Scones”.

As I show, “Do-It-Yourself” is a far better option to help you live a simple, cheap and low impact lifestyle.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

February 2021

blogimg-01 ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Part 1, Imbolic 2021:

My Stone Age Food Processor – making meal with ancient simplicity

What are the most important tools in your kitchen? My most important ‘tool’ is a pestle and mortar.

In this post and accompanying video: I focus a little on the issue of the costs of food; the theory behind vegan protein sources; and I prepare a meal for the family and explain the economics of that – but mostly I show the simple brilliance of using a pestle and mortar.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

aacimg-00 ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Part 0, Imbolic 2021:

‘About the Blog’ – An introduction to ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’

For the first post of the new blog, I present the ‘About the Blog’ page:

I’m writing this rather long and detailed theoretical splurge of consciousness precisely because I don’t want to have to endlessly repeat this as part of my blog posts. Hence, unless I want to examine a small aspect in more detail, I’ll simply refer people back to paragraphs within this page.

Download the PDF version of this post.

January 2021

article logo image Ramblinactivist's videos 2021/2, 17th January 2021:

Ramblinactivist 2021/2: ‘The President’s Parting Shot’: A Reflection on Threats and Resilience

Exactly sixty years ago, President Eisenhower give his ‘farewell address’ to the American nation; known today for popularising the term “military-industrial complex” . Today though this has arguably morphed into the “military-industrial-entertainment complex”, so intermeshed have those arms of modern society become.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video.

article logo image Ramblinactivist's videos 2021/1, 17th January 2021:

Ramblinactivist 2021/1: ‘A review of the last 30 years, and a look ahead’

In 1991 I quit my join in engineering and become a full-time eco-freak. I thought I’d last six months; a year tops till the money ran out. Well, the money’s been running out for thirty years this year, and I’m still (barely!) keepin’ on keepin’ on.

In this short review I look at some of what has been. More importantly I drop a few ideas about where I’ll be going next. Most of all, I just want to share with you the fact that we’re still here (barely!) and we have all to play for – if you’re willing to raise the lifestyle stakes *low* enough!

article logo image ‘djnz’s hackblog’, 12th January 2021:

‘How did you do that’ no.1: The flaming Kelly Kettle animated GIF

I get to answer my first query with the new blog: Posted on one of my other blogs, the flaming Kelly Kettle was made in a few minutes from a small piece of video using ffmpeg – but with GIMP and pitivi you could do far more.

Click here to download the 'portable' off-line version of this post.

article logo image ‘djnz’s hackblog’, 7th January 2021:

First problem: The Anti-Bloat Page Design

This new blog is an experiment, using a very different approach to page design in order to minimise the ecological footprint of the page. If it works here, it can slowly be adapted for the rest of the FRAW site.

Click here to download the 'portable' off-line version of this post.

article logo image ‘djnz’s hackblog’, 4th January 2021:

‘About the Blog’

OK, this is literally a bit of a hack… I need to solve a few multiple problems with as little effort as possible, and the easiest way is to create this blog. In this page I’ll explain a little as to why.

As the inaugural post to the blog I direct you to the ‘About’ page, as (in its admittedly long prose) it sums up what I’d like to achieve here.

December 2020

article logo image The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.11, 30th December 2020:

What was your ‘2020 Vision’?’

In the endless picking-over of the events of 2020, now and in the future, how many will care to inspect their past tendency to always project a rosy future irrespective of its demonstrable flaws?

Click here to download the PDF version.