Thursday, May 29, 2008

Visual DNA

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

What Dog's Really Do When You're Out

And The Winner Is!

For the last couple of months I've been doing a TV viewers questionairre online.  It's quite straight forward, and as a reward (and as long as I complete at least 10 questionairres a month, they're daily so that's not hard) I get entered into a monthly prize draw.
I thought this was a bit of a cop out, you know do they really enter me?  Well obviously they do because for the two months I've been doing it I've won a prize twice!  Two £5 Amazon gift tokens!  I always used to be one of those people who would say, "I never win anything."  Well know I'll just have to stop saying that won't I!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Green Conscience?

If you had the power would you lower peoples household expenditure, although probably only temporarily, or try and make a step to preserving the planet for the future of mankind?  Tough call?  Put like that probably not, but nevertheless not easy.  Given recent press I expect Gordy to cancel the fuel duty rise because he's a gutless wonder, not for any other reason.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bond is Back

Feeling My Age

I think there are times in everyone's life when you realise how old you are compared to those around you.  I had one of these the other day, when I realised that some of my work colleagues are significantly younger than me, and that perhaps I am to there eyes becoming an old fogey.  Now I fully admit there are times when I take on my grumpy old man persona to the full, normally when shopping in the supermarket and there are loads of screaming kids running around totally out of control of parents who are not willing / too lazy to make them behave.  At these times the urge to kill does rise, but it's mainly directed at said parents, particularly as I was never allowed to behave that way when I was there age.....there see that's probably all the proof you need....."When I was your age"!
I have long since lost the urge to frequent a nightclub, preferring to stay at home and put up my stomping shoes in front of the TV watching a DVD, since my GF has been ill we have been doing more of this than normal and watching most of our movies at home rather than catching them at the cinema, but when we did we would try and save money by catching them on an Orange Wednesday and getting in for half the normal admission price.....there more proof......watching the pennies!
Then there is the garden.  Check out my blog in detail and you will see an increasing rise in the number of posts about gardening.  Now admittedly alot of the things we are growing are vegetables to feed ourselves with and reduce our reliance on supermarkets, and lining their pockets with our money; however I swear that a few years ago, gardening was not on my list of spare time activities.....there proof point three.......gardening!
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning, honest.  Just stating that I am starting to notice my age more than perhaps I did say a year or two ago, and make note that tastes change over time.  Who for example could say hand on heart that the first time they drank, say coffee, that they liked it?  See tastes change, and so do interests.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

While we were walking the dog yesterday in our local forest, we came
across a pack of 'Brownies' (the girl scout variety, not the chocolate
version). They were walking in a long crocodile and making loads of

When I led school groups on forest hikes, there were times when we all
walked as close to silent as we could get, to see what we could see.
Often this meant that we would see far more wildlife than if we were
walking normally. I say normally because it's actually very difficult
to walk silently if there are twenty of you and most are under
sixteen! Anyway I digress.

As the brownies approached I saw just off the path less than 50 metres
away a young female roe deer. She was in the open and standing stock
still watching the brownies approach, I don't think she'd seen us.
Quickly I clipped the dog back on his lead (he doesn't tend to chase
deer but I didn't want to take a chance). As the brownies drew level
with us I put a finger to my lips and pointed, heads swivelled as
slowly one at a time mouths fell open in amazement. Magical.

The deer stood for a while and then eventually turned and walked back
under cover.

Later that evening I had a second close encounter. I was sitting in
our conservatory looking out at the garden, when a large shadow came
overhead. Surprised I looked up to see a heron landing on our garage
roof. Now he's probably the one who's been killing the fish in our
pond, but nevertheless I wanted to get a picture. I didn't manage it,
he flew off (fish-less, I hasten to add), before I could get the
camera organised.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some Blog Housekeeping

I've making a few changes to the side-bar of the blog, deleting some stuff, and adding some other new (hopefully cool) stuff.  So now, courtesy of those nice people at Feedburner, you can subscribe to my blog feed via email!  This means that you don't have to keep coming here to check whether or not I've updated.  Feedburner will send you an email with the post instead.
I've also been accepted to join the natureblognetwork, which is pretty much what it says on the tin.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Urban Hawks

Over the last week I've seen buzzards circling near home.  Now given that we don't live in the middle of the countryside, that is a little surprising.  I've only seen a single (male?) on two separate occasions, so conceivably it could have been the same bird on both occasions.  I can't help but wonder whereabouts they actually are, given the distance probably they are actually circling over the agricultural fields towards the edge of town, but still they are close enough to see with the naked eye, and close enough to identify through binoculars.  If I have the time next time they are around, I will try and get a little closer to see if I can identify where they are more precisely.  That said I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were actually quite close to town, as it seems that birds of prey are by, far-and-away one of the most adaptable species in terms of living in close proximity to humans.
Probably the most famous of all urban hawks are the Red Tailed Hawks of New York City.  Who I think have probably been been around, nesting close to central park since the mid-1990's.  For more information I suggest visiting either Marie Winn's website (author of Red Tails in Love) or for some absolutely stunning photographs
Urban birds of prey are on the rise in the UK too.  This Guardian newspaper article covers this today.  Closer to my home, you can also see the live cam-feed of the Chichester cathedral peregrine falcons here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wild Flower Meadow

Finished preparing the ground, and have sown the seed for our mini wild flower meadow.  I'd include pictures, but at the moment, it just looks like bare earth.  When things start to grow and germinate I will.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sad News

Yesterday my GF found one of the baby goldfinches dead in the garden.  We thought that they had fledged and left the nest on Tuesday, so we're not sure if this one didn't make it or whether he came back to the garden and something else happened.  As he was lying quite close to our pond, I am wondering if his first flight from the nest ended in splashdown in the pond, and as a consequence he drowned or became exhausted by the time he had escaped? 
Really quite upset that he didn't make it, I only hope that his brothers / sisters did, having watched the progress right from the time their parents built the nest.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Spread Out The Good Times

For days now I have been waiting for a few things to come in the post, four secondhand books and a couple of CDs.  They were all ordered separately, and from different places at different times spread out over the past week or so.  Everyday around lunchtime one of the texts to my GF has been any post?  I like getting things in the post, that aren't bills it adds a little something to the day, particularly if it's been a bad one.  Each day I've had a reply of nothing for me, or that a bill or bank statement has been delivered, but no signs of books or CDs.
Now I know that they will eventually turn up or I'll get my money back, 'coz that's the deal.  What is looking more like happening though is that they will all turn up on the same day, and I'll get all my excitement in one go, rather than spread out over a few days.  If might sound like no big deal, but sometimes it's the little things.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Three or Four?

Have a look at this photograph, do you count three chicks or four? Having looked at this and the other photo's I took this evening I'm pretty sure that there are four chicks in the nest, although it's hard to say because to know for sure would mean we are too close to the nest.
Posted by Picasa


Oh dear, I really am a bad blogger, not one new post in over two weeks (this originally said over a week, but it's taken me so long to getting around to finishing this post that it's now two weeks)!  I can put this down to a number of other things that have been taking up my time some of them mean that blogging really does have to take second place, but the others just seemed to have edged it out.  The latter I am a little annoyed with myself, because as I have said before I actually like writing things here.  It's never going to be a blog award winner, and there are many, many far better blogs than mine (hint: have a look in the side-bar under regular reads), but I enjoy it.
So what are those multitude of things, well actually I could probably get the list down to about four with out trying hard, and split that equally between the higher priority than blogging and the lower/equal priority to blogging.  The former are work and looking after / supporting my GF who is still not well.  Work is the 9 to 5, and then being tired in the evenings.  Supporting my GF is much more complex as there are many things that she is simply not well enough or able to do, and obviously these are why they are more important than sitting down to right a post.
The less important are the garden and gaming.  I've written several posts about the garden, and as GTA IV came out this week I could write lots of posts about that (but other blogs are there well ahead of me so I won't).  The last couple of days however given the fact that it's a bank holiday weekend have meant gardening.  The work started last weekend, with clearing an area of patio to plant some wild grasses and flowers for insect habitat has been going on a-pace.  The ground has had to be lowered a bit, and this has meant multiple trips to the tip with bags of mainly builders rubble, as this seems to what was under the paving stones.  Fortunately there is enough soil there too, so at least we won't have to bring in loads of soil to finish the job off.
Anyway I think suffice to say, I am a crap blogger, and if I am ever to improve I really must write more often, which I will try to do, but I make no promises.  In the meantime however, I am alive, just time stressed!