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Thursday, April 30, 2009

MEP's vote for action on Vulture

Some years ago the European Union introduced new rules to combat "Mad Cow" disease, this forced farmers to clear all dead livestock away.

This has meant that Vultures, most commonly found in Spain, have been forced to embark on some rather long trips to find food (one was spotted on top of a Brussel's bus shelter.

MEPs have now voted for a change in the law which will allow farmers to leave dead livestock in their fields - providing it is deemed safe and hygienic.


The other day I was reading a camera magazine (well alright I didn't buy it I was "browsing" in Tesco's :D ) and I saw this digital spirit level that fits into the flash hot shoe of a dSLR.

It as a series of lights that tell you when your camera is straight or its askew. Given that I have a problem with keeping the camera straight this might be a handy gadget to have. Its not overly expensive, very light and it got a decent review.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some Music

Just for Jan. Thinking of you today kid.

thought I'd end with this chap. I'm sure you are transported back to the Jazz Cafe. Can't think why :D

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009


I didn't watch Reggie Perrin Friday night (I watched the repeat Saturday night) instead I watched the new series on BBC2 about English Heritage and its chief exective Simon Thursley.

The first episode centred on Apethorpe Hall. Apethorpe was oringally built in the 15th century and was the principal seat of the Mildmay's and Fanes, Earls of Westmorland (there is a wonderful Mildmay tomb in the parish church). The house was greatly extended in the 1620's at the order of James I for his ‘more commodious entertainment.... and princely recreation there’.

The House and Estate was bought in 1904 by Leonard Brassey who sold the House and Garden's in 1949 (though not the estate) and it became an approved school. It was then bought in 1982 by an Libyan who then left it to rack and ruin, apparently it is became one of the leading buildings at risk in the country.

Following a compulsory purchase order (£3 million was paid) English Heritage took over the house and have spent £4 million (of taxpayers money) restoring the house but in this case, at Thursley's direction, the house was to be sold. Even after £4 million of restoration the house will still require millions more so any buyer will need to be very rich and alas for Thursley just as the house went on to the market we had a credit crunch.

It didn't help Thursley that the property has only 50 acres of land, poor access and that Lord Brassey has put up a Leylandi hedge to obscure his view of the house and thus cut the houses view of the park.

The programme was interesting, I'm not sure Thursley comes over that well (was it me or was he a tadge pompous?), the house is undeniably important and the obvious love for the house of its longterm (38+ years) caretaker George Kelley shone out (he was unpaid for 10 years). EH did at least get Kelley a well earned MBE.

If you click here you can see a tour of the house with EH's Nick Hill and an interview with Kelley.

Where now? There are summer tours (I may have to see about going). I suppose EH have no choice but to try and sell it, with out the park there isn't enough access for a tourist attraction and is there the money in these credit crunch times? Still it is sad to see such a fine building in such dire need.

Is the money spent so far a waste? To me no, can you put a price on a nations heritage?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quacks and flutters and a posey Sedge Warbler

Well the sun is STILL shining think it is scheduled to end tomorrow hey ho its been superb!!

This morning Dad and I went shopping and then I cut his grass whilst he cooked the roast beef!

After lunch I went to Rye Meads. Just a few photos.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

One good Tern.....

I headed over Hatfield Forest this morning. The Grebe by the shell house seems to have left its nest which is sad (the one at the other end was dilgently on the nest). On a good note there were 5 Terns over the lake and there were pairs on both tern rafts!!

It looked like I wasn't going to get many photo ops!

As I headed North of the lake there were Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and Blackcap and then my first Common Whitethroat of the year.

But then I decided stuff this lets try and get some flight shots.

and then a Grebe came into view....

A bit of a swan show.

Pied Wagtail perching


Swan portrait

And we'll finish with some terns

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