Sunday, 21 March 2010


First thing Sunday morning:
A big group of people clustered around the 'water feature' on our housing estate, opposite our house.
They have a camera and seem to be filming something on the ground, or in a plastic tub.
Curiosity is peaking.
I get showered and dressed.
Another peek outside and they are still there.
I have to find out what is going on.
I go over to them and apologise for being nosy. They are quite freindly about it and they tell me they are doing a survey on the wild life in the pond.
They have a small tub full of newts which they show me.
These are all Greater Crested Newts.
They group of people are a local amphibian society and they are checking the population of the Greater Crested Newts around the area.
This is a rare and protected species in the UK and they seem to live in our local pond in quite some numbers. Our housing estate is built on what was once a small farm and the farmhouse still exists to one side of the main estate. The pond was I believe a dewpond, which was something, found on farms from ancient times and were used for watering cattle.
When we were looking at out house with the intention of buying, I was told that the completion of the estate had been delayed considerably by planning permission being held up because a local group protested that this was a habitat for the G C Newt and as such could not be disturbed. A survey was done by the developers and the land declared to be free of newts and so the houses were built including our house. Since we moved in we had found newts answering to the description of GC Newts and wondered about the accuracy of the survey. It seems it was not altogether thorough. However, the developers did leave the dewpond where they could have filled it in and built another house. Maybe there was a clause in as much as they could build so long as they left a place for the newts. Whatever the case they seem to have survived.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


A few days ago we had a bit of a fright, the house started to fill with smoke and we were racing around trying to find what could be on fire. We eventually tracked it down to our living room, where we normally have a lamp running on a timer to switch on when it gets dark. I noticed the light was not on when it should have been and looked at the timer but it seemed to be ok. I then looked at the low energy lamp and found that it had burned out, literally. I am now a little worried about these lamps. I have been using them for many years because they are cheap to run but an old fashioned filament lamp is just a bit of wire in a glass bulb and cannot catch fire. Does this mean that my nice low carbon low cost lamps are a fire hazard? This had not occurred to me before, but I do know they contain electronic components a bit like those found in older TVs before flat screens were introduced and these caught fire often enough for household insurance to become more expensive.

Spring and so on

Well, spring seems to have sprung here in the south of the UK and as predicted by various groundhogs, it is decidedly late. We have been able to get into the garden and do a bit of long needed work. Soon we will be able to take the covers off the more delicate plants and we will start to be worried about keeping everything watered. The lawn will need mowing regularly and I will start to wish for winter again.

We had a strange problem with Joy’s car recently when the boot (trunk across the pond) kept opening itself occasionally when no one was near. It did not happen often or regularly but we would suddenly find it had opened all by itself. So we contacted the VW dealer who sold the car and they made a number of helpful suggestions no doubt in the hopes of it not having it come to them to sort out. In the end we had proof on camera that it was happening by itself because we have security cameras that wake up the recorder when they see movement. Although we did not actually catch it opening, we had a visual record of when it was shut and when it was open and what’s more it had opened when we were several miles away from home. The dealer thus convinced we were not senile went on to find the fault.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

When I were a lad....

Whatever happened to telegraph poles? . I suddenly realised recently that they have nearly all gone. You hardly ever see more than about four wires on the very few remaining poles that you sometimes see around town. Years ago, every main road had at least one row of poles all they way along it, festooned with dozens of wires.
On occasions you would come across a large olive green van parked nearby with about a dozen men lounging around whilst one man was up the pole fiddling around with the wires. When the wind was just right, certain telegraph poles in the more exposed places would make a strange humming, singing noise as the wind blew through the wires and my cousin and I would press our ear to the pole to listen to this eerie sound.

First attempt

So here I am with my brand new blog and I am lost for words. I seem to have bloggers block.
No doubt I will think of something to say later on.