Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Item 1: The North York Moors
First off is our visit last weekend to the North Yorkshire Moors (correctly referred to as the North York Moors) to visit some good friends who relocated to that part of the country earlier this year and it was absolutely stunning.
It was our first visit to see them and to that particular part of the Moors.
We like to make the most of our time in the great outdoors and every holiday is usually spent camping in Scotland or Wales but these past few weeks have reminded me just what there is available within England and at a much shorter distance.
I think Scotland will always be my favourite part of the UK (followed by Northumberland) but our trip to the Moors, and recent visit to the Peak District has encouraged us to get back to more weekends away in the beautiful countryside nearly on our door step.
I didn't take too many photos in the Moors as we were busy chatting and enjoying the views and beautiful sunshine but I got a couple of good scenic ones and a few good group shots (with catalogue poses!) which I will not be posting! This is my favourite. (C & L thanks again for a top weekend, see you soon!)
Item 2: Halloween
Halloween is a holiday I have only recently developed a wish to mark in our house. Some of this has to do with the prospect of doing something fun for my nephew.
This week my sister and nephew came to stay and so we had an early party to mark the occasion with rubber bats hanging from the ceiling, flashing Frankensteins' monster dolls, bubble and squeak for tea, pumpkins and sparklers, games and car races, and a ghost hunt. It was a wonderful evening!
I also have a Halloween bucket in the hall full of sweets waiting for the 'trick or treaters'. We usually get a few accept for last year when our doorbell stopped working unknown to us! The year before I ran out of sweets and had to give out apples which I felt really bad about...although the parents seemed quite pleased!Happy Halloween!
Item 3: A Right Royal Day Out
I had a very interesting day at work yesterday. I attended the opening of a park I have been involved in the restoration of.
The park was opened by the Duke of Kent and following introduction to him, with curtsy, I walked along a section of the park with him and told him about the trees and the various methods we had employed to return them to good health following a 70 year period of agricultural land usage and absence of any such required tree care which had left the park somewhat ravaged.
He was very nice and quite interested which was good. I have never met a member of the Royal Family before and was quite relaxed up until 15 minutes before when I started to worry about fluffing my lines and noticed a large swarm of flies hovering about 2-4m above me in a column! I was standing near recently applied tree mulch and grassland and I am sure it wasn't just me but never the less, not what you want meeting royalty!
I am happy to say it all went well and the local paper chose a picture of me and the Duke for one of two pictures in the newspaper article so I guess that's my 15 minutes of fame! Anyway here is a picture of me and the Duke! (Image Credit: Sam Williams)
Item 4: Tree of the Week
I have been looking at at lot of these trees recently in many forms, the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa).
I have done a lot of work with them over the past few years as I manage several woodlands of predominantly sweet chestnut coppice or with a high sweet chestnut mix. The woodland pictured here was full of lapsed coppice, i.e. it had been left un-managed and the size of the multi stemmed re-growth was excessive and trees began to fail.
We had the woodland coppiced and the timber went to help build classrooms at a local educational facility.
The woodland has already begun to regenerate and we have planted it out with a mixture of oak, thorn, ash, birch and hazel, much as it was before the sweet chestnut began to dominate.
Sweet Chestnut trees are beautiful. Their leaves are striking and when they fall create a beautiful mat to walk on through a woodland, as do beech, and their fruit is prolific and very tasty when roasted, if you can get them before the squirrels!
If you have any near to where you are now is the time to harvest the nuts and get roasting.
Item 5: The A-Z of Music
Ok, so B......well there's The Bee Gees who I think have to be acknowledged; as you may remember I am a big John Travolta fan and there are obvious connections in Saturday Night Fever (top album!) but they have been consistently brilliant song writers and performers for years. And they thought Kenny Everett's impression of them was funny so extra points for a good sense of humour...because it was really funny!
There are the Bare Naked Ladies who I also feel deserve a mention. I have to say I am really only very familiar with the album Gordon which is blinding, if any one has other recommendations about them I would be happy to hear.
But hands down my B has to go to Mr David Bowie.
My sister has always been a big fan and I was lucky to be able to share in her excellent musical tastes and records while growing up. Thus David Bowie has been a favourite of mine since an early age.
I think of him as a proper song writer, up there with Bob Dylan, and someone with his own totally unique approach and style. And I think there's is something for all occasions in his back catalogue. (Image Credit: Star Pulse)
Item 6: Practical Household Uses For Vinegar Ref. 41.3
Ok, I am including this one as it made me laugh!
Champagne Vinegar - To make homemade champagne vinegar, store leftover champagne in an open, widemouthed (frog) jar at room temperature. In a few weeks it will be vinegar.
Isn't that brilliant! Ok, so I expect that champagne vinegar is very expensive, and possibly that there are amazing things you can do with champagne vinegar, but I know there will never be any leftover champagne in our house!
I am going to look into champagne vinegar and will post more soon.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
So, blogging about environmental issues...I have given this a lot of thought. There are so many things I could write about: don't leave your TV on standby, unplug the phone charger when the phone is not charging, turn the tap off when you are cleaning your teeth, but we all know about these by now don't we?
The environment is pretty much a daily issue in the UK and I expect in many other countries. We now all know there is an issue, we may debate whether we are responsible but surely we must all agree that whether the changes we observe are as a result of our actions or not we live in a wasteful society with room for improvement.
We have identified a problem and it is our duty to try and fix it. Maybe the Earth's environment is changing as part of a natural trend but is burying tonnes of non degradable rubbish in a hole in the ground as a method of waste disposal really a great idea?
Ok, lecture over. My recommendation to mark this event is this: try and eradicate one chemical from your household to mark this day. There are so many eco ethical products on the market, pick one and use it from now on. If it doesn't turn out to be the one for you then pick another. Any change is good change and small changes by many people make a big difference.
My personal recommendation would be ECOVER who produce a brilliant variety of household cleaning products that really do work. They are a worldwide company and can deliver refills thus saving on containers! Or, just type eco ethical products into your search engine and see what comes up. I have found a whole heap but many of them are UK only so it is perhaps better if you look for yourself.
If you have already eradicated all chemicals from your life then good for you and give the money to Greenpeace instead!
I do not believe that looking after our planet has to be totally life changing for the individual, but if the individuals make the small changes the results will be life changing for the planet. Thank you.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
'On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. That means we need you!'
If you are interested please follow this link, or click on the button. My thanks to Macs Niece.
If you can spare two clicks please pick any buttons of your choice and help these worthwhile charities for free! Thank you!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
An easy way to periodically clean out soap scum and disinfect your washing machine is to pour in 450ml (2 cups) of white distilled vinegar; then run the machine through a full cycle without any clothes or detergent. (1001 Practical Household Uses for Vinegar 2007)
Item 2: The A-Z of Music.
This is another new and hopefully regular item….well at least for 26 weeks! I have recently compiled a list of favourite artists for every letter of the alphabet. It was not easy and some letters ended up with several contenders! This weeks letter is of course A and I am afraid for me there is only one A in the music world……oh pants I just thought of another. Ok but AC/DC aside (sorry guys) this weeks A is ABBA!
Now I don’t feel I can leave it there as I am a big AC/DC fan, both with and Bon Scott and Brian Johnson; although Bon Scott was not the first lead singer with DC, I think most will agree he was the best. But there will certainly be no shortage of rock bands in this A-Z and I hereby pledge to preserve the A spot for DC the next time I do this!
So ABBA. Where to start! I have been listening to ABBA since I was a small child courtesy of my Mum and Dad’s records and have remained a fan ever since. They are kings of pop…in fact I feel their music is almost too good for pop, certainly by todays standards! Their harmonies are beautiful, their rhythms infectious and their songs timeless. All Hail ABBA! (Image Credit: Get ABBA)
Item 3: Song of the Week
As you may have read I saw Rush at the weekend. This weeks song is one of theirs; they played it at the gig and it also encompasses a great love of my life, the radio. Have a read of the words:
Rush - Spirit of Radio
Off on your way
One likes to believe
There are many songs singing praise to radio and the faceless DJ who gets us through the day. Pilot of the Airways, Charlie Dore is another favourite of mine.
I listen to Radio 2 throughout the day, every day, especially when I am out on site. I do lots of travelling for work and from Wogan to Evans (Or some days Kennedy to Harris!) it is a real joy. Good DJ's and good music have become an excellent travelling companion and have also got me through some tough times whether I am stuck in traffic or just having a bad day. All Hail Radio!
Item 4: Location of the Week
Sunpat and I usually trek off to Scotland or Wales for our holidays each year. We both greatly enjoy the great outdoors and take ourselves off with tent and supplies to immerse ourselves in it for a couple of weeks.
Last weekend a friend who we went to see Rush with suggested we make the journey to the venue by Snake Pass in the Peak District, a place I have not been to for many years and somewhere Sunpat had never been.
The last time I was here we drove through the pass without stopping. I remember it always being dramatic and beautiful but over the years I had forgotten just what surrounds the pass and this visit has inspired us to make some shorter trips throughout the year to the Peaks to explore further.
The Pennine Way also crosses the Peak District. It is a walk I have long wished to undertake however as you are looking at approximately 3 weeks walking it is a little hard to fit into a normal working year. We have discussed it though and hope to fit it in either next year or the year after.
As a final note I would like to say today is also an important day of note - Happy Birthday Mum!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
For anyone who is not familiar with Rush here's a quick intro to the band: Geddy Lee, Bass, Keyboard and Vocals, Alex Lifeson Guitar and Vocals, Neil Peart Drums.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
(Image Credit: Google, Album Fly by Night, Rush 1975)
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
This is the first edition published in 1977. For any Tolkien enthusiasts...or Middle Earth enthusiasts, it's a must.
Also, check out the Tolkien Companion. It answers lots of those questions!
Happy wondering. (Image Credit - Tolkien Library.)
- Life of Pi, Yann Martal (Bengal Tiger, Orangutan, Hyena, Zebra)
- The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective, Kathy Albrecht (Weimaraner)
- Whale Song: A Novel About The Greatest and Deepest of Beings, Robert Seigel (Humpback Whale)
- The Loops, Nicholas Evans (Wolves)
- The Enormous Crocodile, Roald Dahl (Crocodile)
The birds develop a darkened, to be accurate chocolate brown, plumage over their head for the breeding season; it's breeding plumage.
By the end of the year all that is left of the breeding plumage is one dark spot behind each eye as seen below.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
It's a favourite past time, both the purchasing of the food and the administering! And surrounding yourself in a flock of hungry birds is an awesome experience. Nature up close and personal!
I also spent the early morning buying more bird food for the garden inhabitants. I greatly enjoy getting in the supplies, and had the added bonus of a money off voucher and a free bag of daffodil bulbs this time.
Anyway the flocks at the water were very generous with their images, and I had a great time watching as well as photographing. There will probably be more pictures over the next few days! (Still working on the song by the way.)
Monday, October 01, 2007
Now this was a tough one, so many pictures! I am currently using my favourite photograph as my identity image, I have therefore chosen 'Portal' as it comes a close second, not for being my favourite photograph but one of my favourite images derived from a photo I took.
I would like to dedicate this item to the namesake of this blog, and her partner in crime. I have not posted images of them before however, they have been an integral part of my life. I give you Mojo and Pink.