Sunday, August 23, 2009

The apples of my eye...

Went down to the allotment yesterday for the first time since our holiday and was astonished by the crop of apples from our tree. Actually the tree looked ill-prepared for it too as a major branch had split under the weight. So I picked a month's supply (at least!) for us and left the rest on, but a lot of people are going to get a bag of apples as a pressie in the next few weeks. This is both a nice thing and a pain about growing your own - you get too much of one food in a short period of time. Pain as it makes playing at being Tom & Barbara Goode impossible, but nice as you get to share. Got some onions and tomatoes in more sensible quantities and I'm still plucking the odd strawberry off some plants in the garden too.

As I mentioned earlier in the year, I'm trying my best to keep some blooms all year around. In the garden it's all gone a bit green, but our huge buddleia and a couple of other stalwarts are keeping the insects happy, and the sedums (seda?) are on their way. In the allotment we have some beautiful Dahlias which were crawling in bees yesterday, the sunflowers are about to open, but despite its beautiful white trumpets, the bindweed is mercilessly ripped out.

Speaking of insects, I got nature's full spectrum of beauty and the beast when I went for a run on Wednesday. A raptor of some sort took off up through the trees at my approach, a kingfisher flitted along the river and a wasp went out of its way to sting me on the elbow, all within 2 minutes. They seem to be going for me this week, don't know why...

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Puzzle answer

The answer to my puzzle is that the UK is the biggest cumulative emitter of carbon dioxide per capita as shown in this graph presented by Prof James Hansen when he testified on behalf of the Kingsnorth demonstrators.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back home again...

Got back yesterday from a wonderful, relaxing and rather sunny fortnight in the Yorkshire Dales. Our rather spacious 'cottage' was in Askrigg in Wensleydale where All Creatures Great & Small was filmed. While tourism is obviously a big part of the economy, there isn't the cramped, rushed feel you get in, say, parts of the Lake District. We were able to get a lot of local produce: our beer, bread, milk and, of course, cheese was all produced in the village itself or very near by. We spent the time walking, cycling, reading and doing the odd tourist cliché like the bizarre but brilliant Forbidden Corner. Didn't watch any TV for a fortnight.

It's a beautiful part of the world, although the dramatic limestone landscape has been exposed by man - for centuries Wensleydale was a hunting forest. It is notable that the next village to us, Bainbridge, became a centre for forestors. Obviously their job was not to maintain the forest but to clear it for livestock - the stands of trees left over were few and far between. Parts of Swaledale between Reeth and Richmond gave a glimpse of the natural post-ice age environment.

I've really enjoyed holidaying in the UK for the last few years. OK, you take your chances with the weather, but some of my trips have been much more memorable than many trips abroad. This was no faddish 'staycation' - surely the most annoying neologism of the century - but part of a deliberate effort to make up for all the long distance flying I did in my twenties and early thirties. It helps that I get bored very quickly sitting on a beach all day!

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Trick question

I'm off on holiday for a couple of weeks (in Yorkshire - no flying etc), so I thought I'd leave you with a puzzler.

Q. Which country is the biggest contributor to climate change?

A. The UK.

Do you know why? Post your explanations in the comments.

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