Darwinian Gardeners Wild Flower Walk

On March 4th a group of gardeners were led by Chelo on a wild flower walk along a section of the Via Verde. Chelo trained as a park ranger, and is an expert on wild flowers. Along the way we saw a good selection of spring flowers which thanks to the recent rain were abundant. We learnt to recognise several plants which are good to eat; the leaves of wild rocket, wild Swiss chard and Purple Mistress (moricandia arvensis) and we tasted the flowers of Vipers Bugloss, which look pretty in salads. Chelo pointed out some wild flowers which would do well in our gardens, due to their drought and pest resistance. Along the way she knew where to find orchids, and we several Sawfly and Dark Bee orchids. She also explained how the yellow Cistanche (known in Spain as Wolf’s Penis) is a parasitic plant and how a small purple ‘weed’ is being used in the fight against breast cancer.

Darwinian Gardeners 3a

An unexpected bonus were the ruins of a large Roman Villa and the quarry for wash stones. The rain clouds were gathering, so we walked briskly back to our cars, reaching them just as it started to rain. The walk was followed by lunch at the Siena Restaurant in Mazarrón.

Darwinian Gardeners

As well as our regular monthly event, the gardeners this month had the opportunity to visit a private garden whose owners specialise in growing cacti. In the older part of the garden, which has been established about 15 years, there was a wide variety of cacti and aloes. The owners talked very knowledgeably about the care and propogation of their plants. In another area of dry garden there were many more cacti and aloes, many of them in flower-
Three comercial-size greenhouses contained breeding stock, including new varieties hybridised by the owners. Here were cacti, succulents, lithops, and aloes in varieties too numerous to mention.
We were able to buy plants for our own gardens, and were entertained to home made cake before leaving for lunch after a thoroughly enjoyable visit.Darwinian Gardeners

Our regular monthly event was a visit to the Astronomcal Observatory at Puerto Lumbreras

Our regular monthly event took place on the evening of February 24. A group of 27 gardeners visited the Observatory in Puerto Lumbreras. We joined the coach at various locations around Mazarrón and were driven to the Bocadillón restaurant in the centre of town, where we had a very nice meal.

Observatory 2a
Then an exciting drive on a narrow, winding road up to 800 metres where we found the Observatory. After a brief film we split into 2 groups. In turn, one group used the telescope where, one by one, we saw bits of the moon magnified 700 times, while the other group went outside to look at the constellations – The Great Bear, Orion and Cassiopeia stood out, the others were more difficult to see due to the brightness of the moon. All very interesting and informative.

observatory 1a

Darwin Day 2018

The Annual celebration of Charles Darwin´s birthday took place on February 12th. It is 209 years since Darwin was born. This year´s entertainment was a film show by our member Deryck, of the RHS gardens at Wisley, and also film of a variety of beautiful local flowers and insects. This was followed by the third instalment of our member Annie´s talk on Charles Darwin´s voyage of the Beagle.We left him on the west coast of South America, and look forward to hearing about his visit to the Galapagos islands next year.

This was followed by lunch, after which we sang happy birthday and consumed the birthday cake.

Darwin Day Cake

Gardeners Visit Aguilas

On January 14th 2018 a group of 37 of us drove to Águilas in order to join the Tourist Train for a guided tour of the historic Railway. We met by the Railroad Monument, a locomotive built in 1889 in Glasgow.  After an excellent introduction, in English, by our guide Anabel, we drove to the Railway Museum, located below the railway station.   Here we found  a fascinating photographic exhibition and tools used throughout history, as well as several models of trains in motion.


Gardeners 2018  

The next stop was at the start of the Sendero del Hornillo, we walked along the elevated path, where several tunnels and mineral deposits are located.  Anabel explained how the mineral trains unloaded their cargo into the storage tunnels below. At the height of activity, from 1903 until the civil war, around 84 trains per day brought silver, lead and iron down to the port.  We then admired the loading platform from the view point above.  

Anabel then led us into one of the storage tunnels, recently refurbished and now a museum.  The walls were lined with pictures taken at the beginning of the twentieth century, by the British manager at the time.

Lastly we rode around the bay so that we could have a better view of the "Embarcadero del Hornillo",  the majestic ore loading platform built in 1901 by the Compañía Britanico de Ferrocarriles del Sureste.
The tour finished at 1:30, perfect timing for lunch.  We walked to the Fu Zhou Chinese restaurant, where we enjoyed an excellent meal.

Are you a Humanist ?

This is a more or less serious set of questions designed to help you think about whether you are committed to a religious view of the world and how this affects your moral beliefs. However many people have a fairly mixed collection of beliefs, and few are completely consistent, so it is possible that none of the profiles below truly reflects your world view. But they do give an indication of what most humanists believe – and don't believe.

Which of the following statements is closest to your point of view? (You can choose more than one answer to each question if you need to)

1 Does God exist?

A) I am sure there is a God ruling over the universe.
B) It depends what you mean by God, but I think so
C) I don't know.
D)There is no evidence that any God exists so I'll assume that there isn't one..

2 When I die …

A) My soul will go to another place where I will be rewarded if I was good and punished if I was bad.
B) I will survive in some kind of afterlife
C ) That will be an end of me.
D)I will live on in peoples memories of me, or because of the work I have done, or in people's memories of me.

3 How did the Universe begin?

A) God created it
B) It was set up by extremely intelligent aliens from another universe, who drop in every now and again to see how we;re doing
C) I don't know.
D) The scientific explanations are the best ones available, no gods were involved.

4 The theory that life on earth evolved gradually over millions of years is..

A) Just a theory. My religion tells me the true story
B) Likely to be true, but I think my God had a part in it too.
C) Probably true, because my science teacher said it was true.
D) True, there is plenty of evidence from fossils, DNA and other sources, showing that this is how it happened.

5 When I look at a beautiful view I think that ….....

A) it must have been designed by God
B) it would be a nice place for a motorway.
C) this is what life is all about – I feel good.
D) we ought to do everything possible to protect ths for future generations.

6 I can tell right from wrong by...........

A) reading a holy book or listening to a religious leader
B) I don't really think about it much, people should just do as they like
C) accepting what my parents and teachers say.
D) thinking hard about the probable consequences actions and their effects on other people

7 Its best to be honest because ….....

A) my religion tells me so.
B) it's usually against the law or the rules to be dishonest.
C) people respect you more if you're trustworthy
D) I'm happier and feel better about myself if I'm honest.

8 Other people matter and should be treated with respect because.........

A) God created us all in his own image.
B) they are useful to me
C) they are people with feelings like mine
D) we will all be happier if we treat each other well.

9 Animals should be treated..........

A)with respect because they are part of God's creation.
B) however we see fit – they don't have souls and were created for us to use.
C) kindly because they are sweet and fluffy and nicer than people.
D) with respect because they can suffer too.

10 The most important thing in life is.......

A) to have a good relationship with God.
B) to make lots of money.
C) to preserve the planet for future generations.
D) to increase the general happiness and welfare of humanity.

Interpreting Your Answers

This is a more or less serious set of questions designed to help you think about whether you are committed to a religious view of the world and how this affects your moral beliefs. However many people have a fairly mixed collection of beliefs, and few are completely consistent, so it is possible that none of the profiles below truly reflects your world view. But they do give an indication of what most humanists believe – and don't believe.

All or mostly A's You definitely have a religious faith and Humanism is not for you, though you may agree with humanists on some issues, especially if you collected a few C's and D's.

All or mostly B's You may have some religious beliefs, or you might still be exploring ideas and not made up your mind. Some of your choices are not very ethical – so you're unlikely to be a humanist.

All or mostly C's Your answers are fairly neutral, perhaps a bit dependent on authority or other people,or pure emotion. Humanists try to think, and to think for themselves. You may be an agnostic, or a humanist, or vaguely religious, depending on your other answers.

All or mostly D's You are a humanist or very close to humanist thinking. Many people are, often without even knowing it! Humanists don't agree about everything, and you may have collected some other answers too, though if they include A's and B's you're unlikely to be a humanist.