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Friday, April 30, 2010

London Open Garden Squares

I was browsing through the English Heritage magazine last night when I came across a photo of Bushy House Gardens. Now I know young Trisha visits Bushy Park a lot but she's never mentioned it.

I read a bit more and found it was publicizing the London Open Garden Squares Weekend. I believe the first one was in 1998 and it has been annual since 2003.

There are a number of squares in the city of London and they were built for people. Some of them are gated and locked and can only be used by residents of adjoining buildings. For the weekend some of them and other Lodnon gardens are open to the public. For instance I'm at a meeting in central London next Thursday and it's adjacent to Portman Square garden which is locked to riff raff like me! but will be open for the Open Garden Squares Weekend.

Unlike the Heritage Open Days weekend there is a cost but £7.50 in advance or £9 on the day covers the whole weekend. If you can get to 2 or 3 it may be worth it. Also I imagine some of the gardens will be free.

I'll have to look at the list and see if it's worth a trip up. A brief look seems to suggest it might be worthwhile. There are 200 Gardens signed up so far.

The London Open Garden Squares weekend is scheduled for the weekend of 12th and 13th June and curiously I am not on holiday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Traditional Orchard Project

A year ago the Traditional Orchard Project was launched.

Since then 12 new orchards have been created and 27 existing orchards restored, with over 2,200 heritage fruit trees planted so far.

To celebrate the first ever ‘Full Bloom Festival’ is underway. It started on April 25th at Cothele in Cornwall and runs to May 9th at Acorn Bank in Cumbria.

Also, as this link reports the Natural History Museum is encouraging members of the public to start counting blossoming cherry trees, to see if climate change is having an impact on when they flower.

Orchards are wonderful places. Not only do they provide fruit but are great for birds and bees and they look nice!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Nation of Sailors

You really couldn't make it up.

A man set off on the river Medway, from Gillingham in Kent, and headed for Southampton. He had bought the boat the previous day! And set off with a Road Map!!

He had run out of fuel circling the Isle of Sheppey at Elmley Marshes. He had been given the advice to "keep England to his right" but had got confused at the Isle of Sheppey. I do wonder what he thought the two road bridges connecting Sheppey to Kent were.

According to Neville Crane of the Isle of sheppey HM coastguard rescue team.

He was very short on expertise, even shorter on safety equipment and had no navigational equipment whatsoever on board.

He was absolutely aghast that he had used three tanks of fuel to get from Gillingham to Elmley, which was only the very first part of his journey to Southampton... when he could do the whole journey by car in less than one tank.

He had no idea of the magnitude of the journey he was undertaking.

We did tell him where places to refuel his boat will be situated but we did impart the invaluable advice that in our opinion he'd be better off making the journey by train.


I mean I ask you!! The English Channel is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.

According to the coast guard this is not unheard of. One "sailor" was surprised his Sat Nav didn't work at sea.

Nelson, Drake, Cook and Raleigh must be sinning in their graves!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RSPB draft Llama's to protect nesting birds

I do like this story.

The RSPB have drafted in two Llama's to protect eggs and chicks of wading birds at the Marshside reserve in Southport.

Llama's are highly territorial and it is hoped that they will keep animals such as foxes at bay and therefore protect the eggs of Lapwings and Redshank..

Monday, April 26, 2010

Exercising my prerogative.

I've seen a lovely male Yellowhammer and a Little Owl driving today!

When I got home Saturday my election papers sat on the mat. I have dutifully filled them in and posted them back.

There seems to be a certain amount of paranoia about a hung parliament at the moment however be that as may I am a supporter of some form of proportional representation. I'd like it explained how one party can get more of the vote but get less seats? Madness if you ask me.

In my constituency its a two horse race, the majority was 94 last time, so any Lib Dems needn't bother voting. In some constituencies if you put the right colour rosette on a Donkey they'll vote for it. I'd hope PR with a single transferrable vote will at least make people more likely to vote and it may stop the donkies !

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Muntjac have some impact on Nightingale numbers?

Apparently between 1994 and 2007 Nightingale numbers dropped by 60% and its range shrank towards the South-east, with concentrations limited to Kent, Sussex, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Now a study by Chris Holt of the University of East Anglia suggests that this is because deer are eating the woodland undergrowth the birds need for nesting, a new study has shown.

It has been suspected this has been the case for some time and the prime culprit is the Muntjac. Muntjac are capable of breeding all the year round and have no natural enemies. Their browsing is causing major changes in the structure of woodland vegetation.

Mr Holt's research at Bradfield Woods in Suffolk found that the density of nightingales was 15 times greater in areas that were free of deer.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcoming back some old Friends

I went to the Forest this morning with a spring in my step - the sun was glorious.

There was a Yellowhammer asking for his cheese in the car park!

Lots of birds singing, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats. Winter has been consigned to history and spring has moved in.




Who are you looking at?






Blackcap - I saw lots of these!



Willow Warbler





Chiffchaff



I was early for breakfast :D so was wandering around taking the above when I heard a familiar sound that took me back to last year. TERN!!! I got a quick view. Would he just fly on? No he'd landed and was sitting just North of the tern raft! Lets hope he finds a partner soon.

There are four Grebes and one pair were sitting on a nest.



I stopped in at Dad's for a cuppa and a sandwich then headed to Rye Meads

LOADS of warblers. Sedge Warblers singing out and a few Reeds have made it back. I got good views of a Cetti's Warbler! quite a few calling out. Also a Little Egret. It was a lovely sunny stroll.








The first of many young coots.


There were no rare birds just a lovely sunny day in the company of old friends.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mr H G Wells

One of the books I took to read on my holiday was In The Country of the Blind by H G Wells. It is a collection of short stories labelled as Science Fiction.

Of course most of these stories don't seem like Science Fiction today and I wonder how many really were when they were published in the 1890's and 1900's. But they are definitely a hint of the fantastic.

They are an enjoyable read and interesting because there Victorian/Edwardian setting is so different to one we know today.

Wells is a writer who today is best remembered for his novels like The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and the War of the Worlds, I have to say his short fiction is worth reading and stories like The Star and The Door in the Wall hold up very well.

I'm not sure how read Wells is today but his work is easily obtainable 100 years after it was written and I suspect he'll be read in another 100 years.

If you've not read Wells then I recommend you check out the Time Machine and then maybe In The Country of the Blind and other stories.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clever Crows

I've commented before about the Caledonian Crow and their use of tools.

Now scientists have discovered that the birds are able to use three tools in succession to reach some food.

Check out this link on the BBC website for more and some footage of the Crows at work.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birds and Butterflies

Earlier posts have gone off the front page so
Saturday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday

Well home ! I went down Rye Meads.




Chiffchaff






Comma


Speckled Wood



Orange Tip

Churches, a castle and reading in the sun.

The sun is back!

So my first church tick of the trip

766 St Mary, Withersdale Street

The church is a mile or so from the village sat next to a farm house. It's a simple farm chapel






the beauty of visiting England's churches is that everything is different.

767 ......, Wingfield

The church looks no different than many a rural church until you reach the wonderful chancel. The details on the arches hints that something special awaits. Wingfield contains tombs of the De la Pole's Dukes of Suffolk, one of which is memoriam of Elizabeth Plantagent sister of Richard III and Edward IV. Her son was for a time heir presumptive.
















This is a Hudd it was used in the late 18th /early 19th century when a priest conducted a service at graveside in bad weather. Quite rare and I've never seen one.


On to Framlingham. It was home to the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk and its fine church (been before) contains their tombs as well as that of the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, he married in to the family.



















Close by is the ruins of their Castle.












I then went to the picturesque Thorpeness.








The unusual building is available for holiday lets.

A few birds.









I found a nice spot for a read and soaked up the spring sunshine.