The Battle of ChangJin Lake

I’m not a fan of war movies, but this week I’ve seen this same movie twice!

First from choice. It’s about the Korean war which I knew nothing about, being too young to have followed the news. But now being in China I thought it might be educational to view this new movie and gain some sort of perspective on their experience and give myself the chance to do a little study of the conflict. My school history lessons concluded with the end of the first world war.

The second time today, was to support my elderly parents-in-law who were invited to a free viewing early this morning. My mother-in-law joined the Chinese People’s Army around that time.

I’m really writing this blog as a means of therapy to settle my soul, which is always disturbed by violent movies, whether they be purely fictional or based around actual events.

This long movie, nearly 3 hours, is set in the autumn of 1950 as the Chinese Peoples Volunteer Army (PVA) entered the fray in September and concludes with the battle of ChangJin Hu, also known as Chosin Lake. Like most movies, it tells the story through the eyes of a commander of the PVA and the build up to the climax which effectively ended the UN land campaign in the north of the country, north of the 38th parallel.

We aren’t told about the north’s campaign south of the 38th which started the whole damn mess months earlier in June. In fact, we’re hardly told anything about the North Korean campaign at all. This is about the conflict’s relevence to Communist China, itself being just a year old. If you get to see the movie, pay close attention to the dialogue (in sub-titles) in the first 10-15 minutes. This gives a brief but comprehendable reasoning for the Chinese participation.

While it took months for the PVA to reach Changjin Hu, the movie feels like one long battle. The Chinese forces on foot pitted against the enormously experienced and well equipped American troops. No mention of British or forces from other nations making up the UN campaign. Understandable since this war is known in China as the American War of Aggression.

And we’re not told much more about the remaining 2.5 years of the war or even the Dunkirk-like evacuation of American troops from Chosin Lake etc.

Taking a grand overview, it does leave me with a feeling of the futility of war and the hypocracy of all of the participants. At the start, the North invades the South to unify the country. Months late, the UN forces cross the 38th in order to unify the country!!! And it all ends with a stale-mate and cessation of hostilities but no peace agreement.

And reading more about the war emphasises the horrific level of casualties involved. Wikipedia opens its section on casualties thus:
“Approximately 3 million people died in the Korean War, the majority of whom were civilians, making it perhaps the deadliest conflict of the Cold War-era.”
Nobody comes out of it looking good.

As a movie, it is beautifully filmed and well acted but lacks convincing significant personal storytelling. And has a vast cast; extras numbering up to 70,000. And in China has been very well received and become a block-buster within a week of opening.
See the Internet Movie Database for details

For a full review, see Jeremy Clarke’s blog at
Battle at Lake Changjin

Miss Gege has gone!

Our Princess

Today around 12:30 p.m. we lost our Gege. In Chinese, 格格,a Manchu for Princess.

I feel desperate to hang on to her and am afraid of forgetting some of the special memories we have of her. Hence this blog.

She came to us in March 2019. A British Shorthair breeder was closing down and we adopted her at about 1.5 years old. She was shy and had a hard time integrating with our other 4. 2 were very gentle but the other two had fights with her quite regularly, but they did diminish. Just yesterday I remarked to Yvonne that Gege was eating her dinner and Yoda came up and sniffed her instead of biting her. He once drew blood; quite a nasty gash actually.

When she arrived she spent the first week in one of the toilets, as recommended by cat specialists to allow the others to get used to her smell etc. I would often lie on the floor and talk to her so that she’d get used to my voice and feel safe.

From instructions from the breeder we knew she had a problem of not drinking enough so I bottle fed her water 3 times a day to make sure she was sufficiently hydrated. Probably around. 18 months ago she developed a UTI and was bleeding in her pee. For a couple of weeks we had to give her some antibiotics – a difficult process as every cat owner will tell you, and up the bottle feeding which had become somewhat irregular.

While she never liked being bottle fed water, she accepted it. She didn’t struggle as she normally would if I picked her up. At the end she’d quickly jump down, but not run away. She’d still let me stroke her. But, often she’d hide to stop me from giving her her essential drink. She didn’t like being removed from her hiding places, but settled down once on my lap. Behind the living room a-c unit was a favourite place, and somewhere she knew the other two couldn’t get her!!!

She wasn’t much of a lap cat, but there were a couple of times when she jumped onto my lap as we were sitting on the balcony and would start ‘making biscuits’!

She was also very friendly at bed time. She would come and sleep beside me, and would like to be stroked. In the morning she’d talk a little to me, and gently touch my chin with her paw. When I sat up, she’d touch my leg with her paw and meow. She only did that in the morning.

While she was shy, she wasn’t like Yoda who goes and hides in the wardrobe if we have visitors. But often she’d go and sleep on our bed during the day, or beside the bed. I think she felt a little safer there from Yoda or Chili.

We had no inkling that she might be ill. Our Chubbies, who lost the use of his back legs over a year ago after another couple of years of difficulty walking and after a major operation, has for 3 years now been on borrowed time according to the vet. But he’s still healthy, loves his morning treats, daily massages, coat combing (he has a really thick coat and sheds tons of fur), and has learned to tell daddy when he needs something. So it’s been a huge shock that the younger Gege shed her mortal coil before him.

Yes she had her habits which weren’t appreciated: taking pees a nod poos in the shower room, but nothing we couldn’t cope with. I can’t remember her vomiting at all, unlike Mr Jack.

Our Princess was a truly beautiful girl.

A Flick Tribute Album

I’m sure we’ll remember her daily just as we did when Billy Boy died. For months, we would recall him on Sunday evenings at 18:00; the time he slipped away at the vets. Now Thursday lunchtimes will be a memorial time too.

Someone on the Cole and Marmelade memorial page on Facebook kindly appended this poem and our photo which are particularly meaningful.

Video Slideshow. A minute for Gege

Covid-19: what I have learned

A few things I’ve learned since January 2020, with references for further information

Warning: I have no training in these areas. I am just quoting those whom I regard as informed because they have had the relevent training and experience. In general, I’ve not mentioned drugs as this subject has classically been a moving target. For example HydroxyChloroquine. Early on there was observational data which looked promising. Subsequently, however, placibo randomised control trials showed that it failed to be efficacious and could even be harmful. Some of the videos and references from early on mentioned this and other drugs but should be regarded as preliminary at best. If you’re wanting current information you need to seek it elsewhere.

Guiding Principle

If only we’d followed the advice of the Chair of Global Health, University of Edinburgh, 26 January 2020


Keeping Safe

Against any infection

Get regular 7 hours sleep 2020-03-27

Take Vit D supplements 2020-06-10 (not sure? Get your blood tested) c. 40% of USA population is deficient in Vit D.

More on Vit D 2020-09-16   Especially if you’re from the BAME community. Intake dependent on age and season. (Dr Fauci takes a high dose!) See the EVMS protocols below.

2020-12-10 1 hr video on multiple assessments of Vit D.

2021-02-04 Vit D update. Further confirmation

2021-02-12 Vit D deficiency correlations with varies conditions

2021-02-13 Barcelona cohort study, calcifediol (Vit D) treatment of hospitalised covid patients reduced mortality by 64%

Against Covid-19

Check your symptoms

Prevalence of Symptoms (ONS Oct-Jan)


Roger Seheult MD’s personal regime of supplements, sleep, daily routine and hot+cold showers 2020-04-21

Wear that God Damn Mask

(The scientists got it wrong in February and March. They ignored the evidence from the SARS 2002/3 outbreak). Protect your friends, reduce your viral load.

(2021-04-15 Lancet Article: 10 scientific reasons why Covid is airborne:

Social distancing and keep away

Keep the air fresh. Get outside; open the windows; use extractor fans.

Wash your hands

Wash surfaces (not quite as important as they had said previously).

Hot and cold showers 2020-03-31. Elevated body temperatures (not too high) result in speedier recovery

More on Hydrotherapy as a general treatment 2016-05-02 (yes, 2016)

East Virginia Medical School protocols

Recovering and Long COVID

A Doctor describes his experience of trying to recover: rest and listen to your body!

An ME doctor’s experience

MedCram advice if you think you’re infected

MedCram 10 Tips

New variants

Help the research

Take part in the daily symptom tracker



Roger Seheult, MD. ( from USA)

(Videos Often 10-20 mins)

  • Quadruple Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine.
  • Over 20 years teaching experience as both an exam preparation instructor and an assistant professor of medicine.
  • Experience as a medical director for both a Southern California Physician Assistant Program and a Respiratory Therapy Program.

John Campbell PhD – regular updates on all aspects of Covid-19  (from UK)

(Videos Often 30 mins)

A retired Nurse Teacher and A and E nurse based in England. Also does some teaching in Asia and Africa when time permits. These videos are to help students to learn the background to all forms of health care. His PhD focused on the development of open learning resources for nurses nationally and internationally.

On aerosol transmission



Johns Hopkins University

IHME Projections

OurWorld in Data

Hope and Hate: Some thoughts

Lying on my back for the last 3 days over New Year (suffering from mild stomach flu) has been giving me plenty of time to think and pray about things, when not overcome by nauseous feelings!

I pray for things I hope for, concerning people I care for, and for those things and people I hate!

Yes, confession time, there are lots of things I hate! And by confession, I don’t mean things I repent of, but things that I embrace in prayer!!! It’s a self-revealing thing!

But what place has hate in a believer’s life?

A few months ago I brought this up on a Christian page on Facebook and was surprised by many of the comments. Surprised, not that they weren’t lacking in wisdom, but by their lack of biblical basis.

In brief terms they petitioned me to reject hate and embrace love for the subjects concerned. Yes I can affirm the wisdom of such advice since hatred so often destroys it’s host from within. A bit like lack of forgiveness which kills the self and not the object. Such wisdom I’m familiar with through my experience with those involved in psycho-therapeutic care and support.

But what was lacking was real advice about how to deal with evil in this world. It seemed like they were suggesting I just had to accept it an be all lovey-dovey to those perpetrating various horrors. That seems to foster an idea that the Christian life is about being a weak yes man, or even a ‘patsey’ to an abuser. Surely being a follower of Jesus means having more guts than that?

My regret at this point, is that I haven’t done much reading on the subject, mainly because of where I live and access to written material. Before I retired, as a bookseller, we had the title ‘Hate Work’ by David Augsburger on our sales shelf. Now I’m sorely disappointed that I never read it despite devouring several of his other titles. Hopefully I get a chance of borrowing it this summer and being further enlightened/corrected!

But I still have my bible, which in its electronic version enables easy searches for word studies. While I have no knowledge of Hebrew or Greek, I have to rely on the translators.

It’ll probably come as no surprise that the Hebrew Scriptures contain quite a lot of entries about hate. What has been more surprising has been the discovery of a definite stream of acceptable hatred exhibited there. Many references about the things that God hates, about hating evil with a perfect hatred. Such themes don’t get talked about much in Sunday sermons!

Of course, Jesus was all too familiar with such theology. Why else would he start talking “You have heard it said that you shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy”? It’s worth paying attention to how Jesus answers his own question!

And Walter Wink in his Engaging the Powers series has spent plenty of time highlighting the radical teaching of Jesus. Instead of hating we are to confront evil in a non-violent way that exposes the injustices in a way that cannot be avoided.

I might go further to say that a righteous hatred will seek to confront and transform the purpatrators yet without destruction.

Perhaps that is going a bit far because Jesus himself exhibited hatred and anger by name-calling “tell that fox…” “you den of vipers” “whitewashed tombs” etc. Not just name-calling; he also made a knotted whip, drove out sacrificial animals from the temple and overturned the tables of money chargers. That’s quite a few steps further than I could ever go myself or argue for!

Perhaps it’s enough to summarise things in the petition to “BE ANGRY AND SIN NOT’?

But this was supposed to be about Hope, as well as Hatred.

As I’ve thought and looked at. scriptures about God’s people and experience of hope, I’ve been surprised that very often the focus has not been on the end point, the final destination of hope. So often mentions of hope embrace the commitment to follow the ways of the Lord. To focus on THE JOURNEY rather than the destination. Sure the destination is what we want, but how we get there is ALL IMPORTANT!

I don’t understand prayer. The things that I pray for can seem impossible, and as it turns out, they often are! But perhaps the important thing is that we PERSIST in telling and asking God about what we care about most. God wants us to bring things to him, to show her (yes I’m mixing my genders) what we long for. We express our total reliance on the creator and it’s not dependent on the final destination. Again it seems to be about the journey. But thank God that we can see some final destinations!

So it seems to me that Hope and Hatred have perhaps more in common than meets the eye. Godly hatred acts like hope, by being faithful to the nature of Christ, to living in and practicing a non-violent obedience to the creator.

So in my terms, things like Antisemitism, Islamophobia, Zenophobia, Sexism, Bigotry, etc etc have no place in a believers life. No place for ‘hate-crimes’ for the faithful community. Perhaps the far-right evangelical world in the USA have a few more things to learn? As we all do.

So pray for those you love, for healing, success. Pray for those you hate, that they’ll be transformed by the great creator and start doing justice in place of their destruction, and, given the opportunity, confront in a transforming way. Speak truth to power; take a leaf out of Greta’s book and refuse to be intimidated.

Things that give me hope

I could have chosen a different title, perhaps ‘Things that make for peace’ but perhaps that didn’t resonate as well as my first choice.

I don’t know if I’m any different from anyone else? Perhaps living in China and only getting my news via the internet makes me more negative? But there’s too much terrible news at the moment. Massacres in El Paso and Dayton Ohio; well documented liars in positions of extra-ordinary power; natural disasters. They all tend to mask out the good news and sources of hope.

So where do I go for positive news? It’s often not from the great and the mighty, but from the personal and mundane.

The Scriptures teach that humanity is made in the image of God, so perhaps that hope comes from his creation responding in a way that fits the image.

I’m grateful for those stories of hard-pressed police officers reaching out to help beyond their official duties. I’m grateful for people who’ve worked for years to combat racism and prejudice in local communities. I’m thankful for those who’ve stood up for justice and peace on a larger scale, airing the message of Jesus to love enemies to the political powers and to work for de-escalation of international conflicts and to outlaw obscene weapons of destruction. I love reading about people reaching out to save animals caught in dire circumstances. I’m grateful for all those little acts of kindness, such as young people giving up their seat for me on the bus. I’m grateful for technology and science when it’s used to advance our quality of life and for those moments of inspiration, like the moon landings.

What gives me hope? In part, it’s a choice to live out the gift of God here in my little orbit rather than succumb to despair. And I’m reminded of Mr Rogers’ mother’s words on seeing disasters “Always look for the helpers”.

“I have a hope in God – a hope that they themselves also accept – that there will be a ressurection of both the righteous and the unrighteous” Acts 24:15, — even if I don’t understand it.

Authentic or Counterfeit?

The last 24 hours I’ve had these loud thoughts in my head which have deafened me to most other input.

As a faltering Believer, I’m becoming increasingly embarrassed by the term Christian!

Because ‘news’ very often means broadcasting about bad things that have happened, the term in the headlines has become associated with red hats, sexism, bigotry, gerrymandering racism, and not least, pussy grabbing presidents, all assisted by Fox News acolytes (Shep Smith excepted). But none of this has been ameliorated by millionaire TV evangelists or bogus faith healers.

I’m sure there are plenty of others out there who are equally frustrated.

Yet I’m thankful that I’ve known, and learned from, hundred of Americans and Canadians who’ve been struggling daily to place their feet in the sand where the man from Nazareth has trod. This carpenter became a refugee as an infant, learned from the people of the book about compassion and caring for the least among us. Later his teaching frequently exemplified the behaviour of foreigners, untouchables and the unclean rather than those who had been brought up soaked in “10 words”.

So where am I going with this? We need to continually discern what we hear and see and decide what is authentic and what is counterfeit. And this applies equally to every area of life, not just faith. Politics in the US and the UK over the last couple of years has given too loud a voice to the counterfeit. We need to be constantly aware and, as the carpenter once said, be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

The EU: some thoughts and why we need Ref 2

  1. Too much false information and lies were presented before the first referendum. (e.g. £350m a week to fund the NHS). In a court of law any conviction based on false information would  lead to the conviction being regarded as unsafe resulting in a re-trial.

  2. Probability of illicit use of personal data during the campaign by Cambridge Analytical/Russia etc.

  3. Probable gross illegal overspending of campaign funds by Leave campaign.

  4. To leave EU is a major constitutional change and should require at least a 60% majority before being put into effect, not a 52:48 split. Even golf clubs require a 60% change before constitutional changes are made. The EU is far more important than golf club issues.Remember the other referendum in the 1975? The country voted by a huge majority to stay in. That’s what I call, ‘The will of the people’.

  5. There are so many issues associated with Brexit that a simple yes/no question is completely trite. We need to know what the details are of any proposed deal are and we must have the option of staying in the EU.

  6. We’re loosing control. Currently we can effect /change the regulations concerning the world’s biggest single market. By leaving it we’d have no control.It is widely believed that EU overrules the UK in a vast number of occasions but the facts speak otherwise. While the UK has voted FOR over 2000 EU laws, the EU has only overruled British desires 55 times. Ref: here’s an exhaustive list together with “chaptre and verse” to correct all those lies that have been told for decades!

  7. The Leave campaign promised that there would be enormous opportunities by leaving the EU. So far I haven’t heard of a single one. Indeed the only ‘opportunities’ I’ve heard about are deals with the USA which would require us to import chlorinated chicken, and hormone treated meat from Australia. India and China are both more interested in trade with the EU than with the UK. In the negotiating room, the UK is small fry compared to the EU.

  8. Leavers don’t want a second referendum. If they were interested in democracy they’d support it. Farage himself said a 52:48 split would be unfinished business.

  9. There’s no better deal than the single market

Further links:

Fines for overspending:

Pro-Brexit links with Russian Intelligence:

Damage to existing trade:

Conservative MP raises questions