Jan 27th

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

By LJ E

RSPB THE BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 28-30 Jan 2017

 

Joining in with Big Garden Birdwatch is simple and enjoyable - and a great excuse to watch your garden birds.

Here's our step-by-step guide...

  1. Choose a good place to watch from for an hour from 28-30 January. Which window gives you the best view? Make sure it's comfy and you have the essentials within easy reach - a nice, hot drink and your favourite biscuits - and somewhere to jot down what you see. On the website we've got a nifty counting tool to help you keep track of what you've seen. 

    If you haven't got a garden that's no problem. Just pop down to your local park or green space and join in there.
  2. Relax and watch the birds for an hour. If anyone disturbs you, you can tell them you're busy being a scientist!

    Count the maximum number of each species you see at any one time. For example, if you see a group of three house sparrows together, and later another two, and after that another one, the number to submit is three. That way, it’s less likely you’ll double-count the same birds.
  3. Come back to the Big Garden Birdwatch website and tell us what you’ve seen. Or use a paper form, available to download here. It’s FREE to post back to us.
  4. That’s it! By taking part and telling us what you see, you'll become an RSPB citizen scientist and help us find out more about garden wildlife - so take a big pat on the back from us.
Jan 21st

If I Should Die

By Mary B

If I should die before the rest of you

Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone

Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice.

But be the usual selves that I have known.

Weep if you must.

Parting is hell.

But life goes on.

So sing as well.

 

Joyce Grenfell

Jan 6th

Epiphany 10 facts.

By LJ E

 

Ten facts about the Feast of the Epiphany

  1. 1.The three Kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) represented Europe, Arabia and Africa respectively.
  2. 2.Hundreds of years ago, roast lamb was traditionally served at Epiphany in honour of Christ and the three Kings' visit.
  3. 3.Whoever finds the small statue of a baby Jesus hidden inside their slice of the Rosca de reyes throws a party on Candlemas in February.
  4. 4.In some European countries, children leave their shoes out the night before to be filled with gifts, while others leave straw for the three Kings' horses.
  5. 5.According to Greek Orthodox Church's traditions, a priest will bless the waters by throwing a cross into it as worshippers try to retrieve it.
  6. 6.In Bulgaria too, Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the sea and the men dive in - competing to get to it first.
  7. 7.In Venice a traditional regatta that started as a joke in the late 1970s has been incorporated in the celebrations of Epiphany Day.
  8. 8.In Prague, there is a traditional Three Kings swim to commemorate Epiphany Day at the Vltava River.
  9. 9.In New York, El Museo del Barrio has celebrated and promoted the Three Kings' Day tradition with an annual parade for more than three decades. Thousands take part in the procession featuring camels, colorful puppets and floats.
  10. 10.The day's activities involve singing holiday carols called aguinaldos.

 

Epiphany also means.....'A moment of sudden great revelation or realisation'.

Jan 5th

What to do in the garden in January

By Mary B

What to do in the garden in January

 

There's always something to be doing in the garden, whether it's pruning, tidying or sowing, so we've put together our top gardening tasks for January.

 

***** Cold Weather Update *****

 

With warnings of a cold snap you may be concerned that some of your garden plants, which have shown signs of growth, may be damaged. Here is some advice from a horticultural team on how to best protect your plants.

Even in mild areas, tender plants that cannot be left outside with protection should really be taken into the greenhouse or conservatory when there is risk of a cold snap. In cold areas, you are best moving things inside much earlier, in the autumn. Any tender lants that are being over wintered outdoors need protective straw or fleece.

In cold spells, protect non frost-proof containers (terracotta pots for example) with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece, to prevent them cracking. Grouping the pots close to a south-facing wall may provide additional protection to the most vulnerable ones.

Protect newly planted trees, hedges and shrubs from cold winds and frosts, which can loosen and lift the roots. Gently re-firm them in if you notice this problem, and erect a temporary netting windbreak if there is no natural shelter. Thick dry mulches will protect the roots from cold, and branches can be covered with fleece, or even packed with dry straw and then covered with fleece, for tender plants. A wooden frame with clear polythene stretched over it does a similar job for evergreens without blocking the light, but don’t let the polythene touch the leaves, as condensation could freeze or cause rots.

If you find that some plants are damaged by frosts etc, then they may well need a bit of a boost when they regrow in spring. We recommend mulching with compost and using fertiliser such as Incredibloom etc as this will help the plants when they need it.

 

Jan 4th

Never too old!

By LJ E

I have just read this article on the BBC news site.....

Shall we get the tandem out again Phyl?!

 

French cyclist Robert Marchand sets

new record aged 105 

Image copyrightAPImage captionLonely at the top - Robert Marchand goes for another record at the national velodrome

He may not be the fastest cyclist round a velodrome, but he is easily one of the oldest. 

 

Robert Marchand, 105, sets a new hour cycling record for over 105s near Paris, 4 January 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Marchand has clocked up 105 years and now a new record for the furthest distance cycled in one hour.

The French cyclist managed 22.547km (14 miles) at the national velodrome, t

aking the top spot in a new category - for riders over 105. 

Mr Marchand already holds the record for those aged over 100 - 26.927km - set in 2012.

He "could have done better", he says, but missed a sign showing 10 minutes to go.

"My legs didn't hurt," he told BFMTV. "My arms hurt but that's because of rheumatism."

To be fair, he had admitted before the event at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome

near Paris that breaking his previous hour record would be tough.

"I'm not in such good shape as I was a couple of years back," he told AFP news agency.

"I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike," he said.

 

Robert Marchand, 105, sets a new hour cycling record for over 105s near Paris, 4 January 2017Image copyrightAPImage captionEnfin - Robert Marchand completes his record-breaking hour

Hundreds of spectators cheered him on trackside. 

Born on 26 November 1911, Mr Marchand puts his fitness down to diet - lots of fruit and vegetables, a little meat, not too much coffee - and an hour a day on the cycling home-trainer. 

A prisoner of war in World War Two, he went on to work as a lorry driver and sugarcane planter in Venezuela, and a lumberjack in Canada. 

No stranger to sport outside cycling, he competed in gymnastics at national level and has been a boxer. 

The current men's hour record is held by the UK's Bradley Wiggins - 54.526km - which he set in June 2015.

Jan 4th

2017.

By phillip J W

Well hallo all !

I've probably not ventured along here in quite a while, sorry.

...What with one thing & another I've been kind-of busy, in a day-dreaming-retired-person kind of way

but this morning I thought, being as how it is early January, I ought to mention how the sun crawls desperately low behind the trees up the bank [I don’t expect it to rise above the roofs of the Front St shops today] - & yet it is a warm encouraging sunshine.

This neck of my particular woods isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I have taken it up as Home.  

It's how I go forward this year.

I hope your year is happy. 

Jan 2nd

Wonderful news for 2017

By LJ E

 

 

China - The World's Largest Ivory Market - Bans All Ivory Trading And Processing

December 31, 2016

 

On Friday, China's State Council announced a ban on all ivory trading and processing activities.

China bans ivory trade
Credit: Wildlife Aid

China is currently the biggest ivory market in the world - about 70% of the world's trade ends up there.

Conservation group WWF welcomed the latest news, calling it a "historic announcement... signalling an end to the world's primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa".

The commercial processing and sale of ivory will stop by March 31, and all registered traders will then be phased out, bringing a full halt to the market by the end of 2017.

Jan 2nd

Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot

By Mary B

FOUR QUARTETS - T.S. Eliot

BURNT NORTON

(No. 1 of 'Four Quartets')

  

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction

Remaining a perpetual possibility

Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo

Thus, in your mind.

But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves

I do not know.

                    Other echoes

Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,

Round the corner. Through the first gate,

Into our first world, shall we follow

The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.

There they were, dignified, invisible,

Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,

In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,

And the bird called, in response to

The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,

And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses

Had the look of flowers that are looked at.

There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.

So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,

Along the empty alley, into the box circle,

To look down into the drained pool.

Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,

And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,

The surface glittered out of heart of light,

And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,

Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

 

 

 

II

 

Garlic and sapphires in the mud

Clot the bedded axle-tree.

The trilling wire in the blood

Sings below inveterate scars

Appeasing long forgotten wars.

The dance along the artery

The circulation of the lymph

Are figured in the drift of stars

Ascend to summer in the tree

We move above the moving tree

In light upon the figured leaf

And hear upon the sodden floor

Below, the boarhound and the boar

Pursue their pattern as before

But reconciled among the stars.

 

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,

Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,

Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.

And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

The inner freedom from the practical desire,

The release from action and suffering, release from the inner

And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded

By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,

Erhebung without motion, concentration

Without elimination, both a new world

And the old made explicit, understood

In the completion of its partial ecstasy,

The resolution of its partial horror.

Yet the enchainment of past and future

Woven in the weakness of the changing body,

Protects mankind from heaven and damnation

Which flesh cannot endure.

                                          Time past and time future

Allow but a little consciousness.

To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,

The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,

The moment in the draughty church at smokefall

Be remembered; involved with past and future.

Only through time time is conquered.

 

 

 

III

 

Here is a place of disaffection

Time before and time after

In a dim light: neither daylight

Investing form with lucid stillness

Turning shadow into transient beauty

With slow rotation suggesting permanence

Nor darkness to purify the soul

Emptying the sensual with deprivation

Cleansing affection from the temporal.

Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker

Over the strained time-ridden faces

Distracted from distraction by distraction

Filled with fancies and empty of meaning

Tumid apathy with no concentration

Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind

That blows before and after time,

Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs

Time before and time after.

Eructation of unhealthy souls

Into the faded air, the torpid

Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,

Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,

Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here

Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

 

    Descend lower, descend only

Into the world of perpetual solitude,

World not world, but that which is not world,

Internal darkness, deprivation

And destitution of all property,

Desiccation of the world of sense,

Evacuation of the world of fancy,

Inoperancy of the world of spirit;

This is the one way, and the other

Is the same, not in movement

But abstention from movement; while the world moves

In appetency, on its metalled ways

Of time past and time future.

 

 

 

IV

 

Time and the bell have buried the day,

The black cloud carries the sun away.

Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis

Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray

Clutch and cling?

 

    Chill

Fingers of yew be curled

Down on us? After the kingfisher's wing

Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still

At the still point of the turning world.

 

 

 

V

 

Words move, music moves

Only in time; but that which is only living

Can only die. Words, after speech, reach

Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,

Can words or music reach

The stillness, as a Chinese jar still

Moves perpetually in its stillness.

Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,

Not that only, but the co-existence,

Or say that the end precedes the beginning,

And the end and the beginning were always there

Before the beginning and after the end.

And all is always now. Words strain,

Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,

Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,

Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,

Will not stay still. Shrieking voices

Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,

Always assail them. The Word in the desert

Is most attacked by voices of temptation,

The crying shadow in the funeral dance,

The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.

 

    The detail of the pattern is movement,

As in the figure of the ten stairs.

Desire itself is movement

Not in itself desirable;

Love is itself unmoving,

Only the cause and end of movement,

Timeless, and undesiring

Except in the aspect of time

Caught in the form of limitation

Between un-being and being.

Sudden in a shaft of sunlight

Even while the dust moves

There rises the hidden laughter

Of children in the foliage

Quick now, here, now, always—

Ridiculous the waste sad time

Stretching before and after.

 

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