Mar 14th


By Bill W

Going through an old box I found a rounded, flat bean about the size of the palm of my hand. I picked this bean up many years ago on a beautiful little beach at Hushinis, Harris, Outer Hebrides, I was told by locals that it had floated it's way to Hushinis all the way across the Atlantic Ocean from South america or the Caribbean.

It's difficult to describe, but that area has a strange but wonderful smell, and holding the bean to my nose now after 20 odd years, I can still smell Hushinis on it.

I lived in the area for a couple of months and I had an inflateable boat which I used to go to The Isle of Scarp from where I fished in total privacy. I hear people telling me how clean and clear the water is in Greece or other countries, but believe me, the water around this area is so ultra pristine, I could almost shake hands with the fish I was after.

Back to the bean. Holding it, it feels rock hard and shiny with all the handling over time, and although it has no monetery value, I wouldn't part with it because it reignites the memory of my super time in Harris.

I'm sure that I'm not the only DropByer to go beachcombing, so please, tell me and all our other friends about your 'finds'.


Feb 13th

The Result of Science?

By Maureen J

Rain has fallen in record-breaking amounts for months. Living in rural Carmarthenshire for the last twenty years, I have become aware of many physical as well as environmental changes.

We did get the occasional downpour that caused a flash torrent which picked up and carried a collection of debris along our country lane. As we are on a hill, it followed the natural contours and headed down to the brook that flows around  the village of Ferryside where it joins other tributaries as they feed into the Towy river that eventually joins  others in Carmarthen Bay.

Currently, all lanes and small roads in the surrounding countryside are awash with mud; the result of run-off from grass verges squashed and squelched under the huge wheels of giant tractors, milk tankers and articulated monsters delivering animal feed while incidentally doing some road-widening at the same time.

Last year, several surrounding fields were ploughed. It was the first time this had happened in the twenty years since my arrival. They were subsequently planted with corn which may have been intended for cattle-feed or bio-fuel. The ground was first sprayed with herbicide causing the fields to shrivel into rusty desiccation within two or three days. They were subsequently ploughed, further sprayed with cow-slurry and phosphates while being ingeniously tilled and drilled with seed in one mammoth operation. The results yielded bumper corn crops; possiby prompted by current EU farming policy, since more than one local farmer was involved.

Following the harvest, the fields have lain fallow without grass or plants of any kind – just acres of skeletal stalks sticking up from the mud; the whole resembling those battlefields depicted after World War I. With no plants soaking up the rain, the road alongside one of the fields near my home has flooded after every downpour with the field itself resembling a lake at the end nearest the road.

At a time when the world is being asked to be more environmentally aware, why are farmers using herbicides that must eventually leach toxins into the ecosystem, contaminating waterways and creating situations whereby fields are so poisonous they cannot grow grass. Is all this the result of science?

Feb 10th

Pale Blue Dot


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Dec 10th

Feeding birds in Winter


Fieldfare in snow with apples

A wrinkly old apple makes a great festive treat for thrushes like this fieldfare - a winter visitor from Scandinavia

Image: Steve Round


At this time of year, life can be tough for birds. A cold snap can mean they need more energy - just to keep warm - and the short days leave less time to find food.But you can give them a helping hand, whether you have a big garden or a small windowbox.

1. Know your birds

Different species eat different things. Sparrows and finches like seeds; tits like fat; and thrushes and robins like fruit and worms. And starlings will eat just about anything. Make sure you're providing the right menu for your diners - find out what to feed birds.

2. Look out for leftovers...

Some of our own food can be good for birds – for example, fruit cake or mince pies, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, or apples and pears past their best. Try sprinkling grated mild cheese under trees and bushes for more timid birds like wrens and dunnocks.

3. But choose the right stuff...

Birds probably won't eat your unwanted Christmas Day sprouts. And putting out turkey fat is a big no-no - it's so soft it'll stick to birds' feathers and stop them from keeping waterproof and warm. Avoid anything mouldy or salty (too much salt is poisonous to small birds).

4. Don't poison your pets!

Birds love dried fruit. But if you have a dog, don't put grapes, currants, raisins or sultanas within their reach. Vine fruits can be toxic to dogs.

5. Keep water in bird baths and ponds unfrozen

Birds need to drink and bathe every day - even when it's really cold outside. A pond or bird bath is great, but even an upturned bin lid or plant saucer can give birds the water they need.

6. Put out the right amount of food

Only put out what will get eaten during the day. This is important if you want to avoid unwanted visitors like rats. It'll also mean that there aren't big piles of mouldy food on your bird table.

7. Keep it clean!

Dirty bird feeders and bird tables can help spread diseases. Make sure you clean them regularly to keep your visitors healthy and happy. And always wash your hands after feeding the birds!


My personal advice.........Please don't risk going into the garden to feed the birds if there is any risk you could slip and fall. Hopefully a neighbour (more agile and able) nearby will be feeding and watering the birds. Only go out when there is no danger to your health and wellbeing.

Nov 21st

Getting Your Money's Worth

By Bill W

Now this is what I call 'Getting Your Money's Worth', and what a lovely couple.


I wonder if anyone on DropBy has kept their appliances as long?

Nov 15th

Autumn/Winter Hedgehog Alert



Autumn/Winter Alert!!


Keep Hedgehogs Safe in Autumn and Winter alert

As the night time temperature decreases to below 5 degrees Celsius the wild hedgehog is likely to be preparing for hibernation. Hedgehogs hibernate because their natural food supply (beetles, earthworms and caterpillars) is in short supply. If they didn’t hibernate, then without food they would almost certainly die.
There are less than 1 million hedgehogs in the UK compared to over 36 million in the 1950s. There are lots of things we can do throughout the year to keep them safe, but during autumn and winter these simple things will help prevent the wild hedgehog becoming endangered and dying out completely. This may happen before the turn of the next century unless we all take action.

Create access between gardens - Throughout the year hedgehogs need to roam between 12 and 15 medium sized gardens at night searching for food and during the breeding season (June – September) for mates. Please make a gap in or under your fence or gravel board of about 5 inches square so the hedgehog can access neighbouring gardens and find enough food to survive. You can buy hedgehog friendly gravel boards to make access easier.

Provide food and water - During Autumn and winter they need extra food and water. If they a very low weight (below 500g 600g) when they go into hibernation they may not survive They like meat based cat or dog food in jelly, meat based cat biscuits and sunflower hearts. They also need water throughout the year. Please put a large bowl of fresh water (a saucer of water is not enough) out every night to avoid dehydration. Hedgehogs can drink up to 1/3rd of a litre of water each night and dehydrated hedgehogs die very quickly. Follow this link for details of how to make a feeding station to stop cats eating the food..Please do not feed hedgehogs bread or milk as they are lactose intolerant and will be ill.

Watch out for young underweight hedgehogs - These are known as Autumn Juveniles and tend to be born in late August/September. They are at great risk of dying over winter because they will not have gained enough weight to survive. If you see any young underweight hedgehogs (weighing less that 550g) in your garden at night please call your local hedgehog rescue for advice. Do not remove them from your garden and try and care for them yourself, as often they need specialist care and a health check to rule out other health problems such as internal parasites. These, if present, are life threatening.

Take action if you see a hedgehog out during the day - If you see any hedgehog out during the day looking ill, injured or lying around and not moving in a purposeful manner call your local hedgehog rescue for advice immediately, as time is of the essence. Sick or injured hedgehogs can die within a few hours and need specialist care. A hedgehog can look well but have internal parasites or injuries or be severely dehydrated and they can die very quickly.


Other things you can do include………

Check before gardening - Hedgehogs are nocturnal and sleep during the day in leaves, compost, and bushes. PLEASE BE EXTRA CAREFUL IF YOU ARE USING A STRIMMER OR DIGGING as many hedgehogs are injured or killed in this way.

Check before lighting bonfires – Hedgehogs love nesting in log piles and as bonfire night approaches it is crucial to check the wood pile before lighting the bonfire. Use the end of a broom to gently poke around at the base of the fire or if you can dismantle the fire and assemble it in another area of your garden on the day it is to be lit.

Create garden pond access - If you have a garden pond please make a sloped ramp or provide stepping stones for the hedgehog to climb out if it were to fall in, otherwise it will drown. A plank of wood covered in chicken wire is ideal

Raise garden netting above ground level – A hedgehog can lose a leg and die if it gets caught in garden or sports netting. Please put garden netting above ground level and remove sports netting at night

Cover drains and deep holes – Please make sure drains are covered as curious hedgehogs can fall in and injure themselves or die if they are unable to get out

Supervise your dog in the garden – Follow this link for tips on how to keep hedgehogs safe from dog attacks


Oct 24th

The Frog

By brenda r

This is one of my favorites 
A frog goes into a bank, and hops up on the desk of the loan officer. ''Hi,'' he croaks.''What's your name?''
The loan officer says, ''My name is John Paddywack. May I help you?''
''Yeah,'' says the frog. ''I'd like to borrow some money.''
The loan officer finds this a little odd, but gets out a form. ''Okay,what's your name?''
The frog replies, ''Kermit Jagger.''
''Really?'' says the loan officer. ''Any relation to Mick Jagger?''
''Yeah, he's my dad.''
''Hmmm,'' says the loan officer. ''Do you have any collateral?''
The frog hands over a pink ceramic elephant and asks, ''Will this do?''
The loan officer says, ''Um, I'm not sure. Let me go check with the bank manager.''
''Oh, tell him I said hi,'' adds the frog. ''He knows me.''
The loan officer goes back to the manager and says, ''Excuse me, sir, but there's a frog out there named Kermit Jagger who wants to borrow some money. All he has for collateral is this pink elephant thing; I'm not even sure what it is.''
The manager says: ''It's a knick-knack, Paddywack, give the frog a loan; his old man's a Rolling Stone !

Oct 17th


By brenda r

Something to ponder...



You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. 

It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. 

I know that I lived them all...

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is ...the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...

How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go? 

I remember well ...seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like... 

But, here it is ...wife retired and she's really getting gray ...she moves slower and I see an older woman now. She's in better shape than me .. but I see the great change ...  Not the one I married who was young and vibrant ...but, like me, her age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. 

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore .it's mandatory! 'Cause if I don't on my own free will .I just fall asleep where I sit! 

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life, unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and the ability to go and do things. 

But, though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long

it will last...this I know, that when it's's over...


Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done ...things I should have done. But indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done.  Its all in a lifetime... 

So, if you're not in your winter yet .let me remind you:

 it will be here faster than you think. Thus, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! 

Life goes by so fast. So, do what you can today because you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! 

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life ...therefore, do your best today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift

to those who came after. Make it a fantastic one." 


Jun 20th


By phillip J W

June seems to have been so very quiet on here - & yet I thought it was simply because I couldn't get on to say anything!  

Some time very early in the month I seemed to get myself locked out & have only just managed to get back in by changing my pass word.  

Technology has always managed to baffel me; usually because I posess a rather obscure logic, but having managed to sign-in again - as I say, no one apperes to be 'around to play.'  

Nice to know I can get back in though!

May 4th

Hedgehog Awareness Week




Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

By the British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Hedgehog DrinkingHedgehog Awareness Week takes place the 30th April - 6th May, and hoggy events are being prepared all around the country! Organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the initiative is an annual event, which aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how we can help them.

This year’s focus is on the harm done to hedgehogs by strimmers and cutting machines. Every year they cause many terrible injuries or deaths and the BHPS is asking everyone to check their gardens carefully before using any machinery. As well as checking areas before cutting, there are other ways that we can help our hoggy friends.  We can:

• ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden –
  a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls
• move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it
• keep netting at a safe height
• check compost heaps before digging the fork in
• stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons
• cover drains or deep holes
• ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools if they fall in

They have produced water proof stickers that are being sent to councils, tool hire companies, grounds maintenance teams, etc free of charge on request (email  The stickers remind operatives to check areas for hedgehogs before using any machinery.  Once the group have received the stickers and sent the PHPS a picture of them in action, they will be added to their Hedgehog Heroes Roll of Honour!

BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, said “We are asking people to pledge to do at least one positive thing for hedgehogs during the week.  We look forward to receiving pictures of the hedgehog hole or home you create, or from the event you organise!”

There are a number of different ways in which you can get involved with Hedgehog Awareness Week:

• Organise an event such as a cake sale, fun day, sponsored event, coffee morning or jumble sale. If you are organising an event please let BHPS know as soon as possible so that they can keep a comprehensive list of events across the country.

 • Contact your local council or tool hire shop and ask if they will use the free stickers on their machines.

• Display information in your local garden centres, schools, libraries, etc.  You could also post leaflets in your area letting people know how they can help hedgehogs (information and leaflets are available directly from the BHPS)

© DropBy 2010-2018