January Sunday Morning Musings From Beetley

Well for once some retribution might be due for the ‘entitled’. Prince Andrew (now just ‘Andrew’) has to fight the sexual offences allegations in court, and lost his free ride thanks to his mother. It seems more likely he will pay off the accuser, as he will not appear in court in America, so would be destined to lose the case.

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The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had to apologise to parliament for breaking the laws surrounding Covid lockdowns. That sparked speculation that he is on his way out, and in advance of the report commissioned to investigate the accusations, he has seen fit to ‘disappear’. Many of his former political allies and friends look very uncomfortable as they try to defend the indefensible in his absence.

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If you read my recent post, you will know that Julie celebrated her birthday on Friday, and had a lovely day. We both enjoyed an excellent celebratory meal that evening.

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Ollie’s fur has still not grown back, but he seems healthy and happy otherwise. Unfortunately, he has started to notice the antibiotic tablets in the meat we wrap them up in, and on a few occasions we have had to force them down his throat. That is distressing, but he needs to finish the course. He has to go back to the Vet next week at some stage for his treatment to be reviewed.

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The time is coming for our five-yearly trimming of the Oak trees. Our neighbour thankfully took on the task of getting estimates for the work, which should happen before the end of March. This year, they varied wildly, with one company wanting to charge more than three times the estimate of two others. It is an annoying job, as it has to be done by people approved by the Council Tree Officer. He then inspects the work after. So we can’t just employ a willing man with a big saw!

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The sun is out again this morning, but it is still a chilly 5C. At least no rain is forecast.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. I am cooking a venison casserole for dinner tonight.

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Think Twice About Cutting Down Trees

I found this photo online. It made me even more convinced that we need to think twice about cutting down trees that were not deliberately cultivated for timber.

This tree was felled in America, in 1891.

It started growing in 550 AD.

Before Mohammed was born.
Before The Battle of Hastings
Before America was discovered.
Before the Declaration of Independence.
Before The Battle of Waterloo.
Before the US Civil War.

Compared to that tree, we humans live our entire lives in the blink of an eye.

How many trees can you eat?

Jim adds some commonsense and home truths to the Carbon Removal debate. And he’s right. As much as I love trees, you can’t eat them.

Jim Webster

It’s a lot of years ago now. My father and I went on this farm walk organised by the Country Landowners Association. In some parts of the England and Wales, the CLA seems to have a preponderance of major estates and landowners, and in other parts of England and Wales most of its members are small farmers.

I think I was about sixteen at the time. What happened was that one of the big local estates (Holker) had had a tenant retire and were wondering what to do with the farm they’d now got to worry about.

So they had the walk, split us into groups and asked each group what they’d do with the farm. Which is as good a way to go about this sort of thing as any I suppose. But at sixteen what fascinated me was how the groups could be sorted by eye. The farmers…

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Monday: A Late Message

Beetley was hit by an unexpected power cut today. From 14:56 until 21:38, we had no electricity at all.

So it was a cold sandwich for my dinner, and an exceptionally boring evening with no computer, Tablet, or TV.

I will do my best to get to all your posts and comments sometime tomorrow.

So much for modern living! Power cables ‘affected by trees’. The trees were there decades before power cables, so you think the power company might have known. 🙂

Country living!

Best wishes to everyone, Pete.

Ollie: Back on Hoe Rough


***All photos can be enlarged, by clicking on them***

For a long time now, there has been a sizable herd of cows and their calves grazing on Hoe Rough. This has meant that I have been unable to go there with Ollie, and have had to find other places to go, to extend his walks. Earlier this week, the herd was removed, so I took the camera over there this afternoon on our walk.

On the way, Beetley Meadows was finally showing some Autumn colours in the surrounding trees.

This tree has fallen into the river, and been left there by the local Nature Trust. Last week, I spotted some squirrels using it as a bridge across the river. So today, I waded into the middle, to get a photo of it. Sadly, no squirrels crossed it when I was there.

Some of the trees have already lost most or all of their leaves, like this one on the riverbank.

And these tall ones nearby.

We crossed the main road, and went over to Hoe Common. I got as far as the private lane that leads to a large farm.

For November, it was excellent weather, even though it was almost dark when I got back at 3:45 pm.

A sunny weekend

This is a long weekend in England, as Monday is a public holiday for (a belated) May Day.
Traditionally, we might expect some doom and gloom from the weather news. But no, we are forecast to have a relatively warm 18 degrees, and sunny weather, for the whole three days. They even suggested that it might rise to the magical 20 C (70 F) on one or more days.

At first, I was excited. Dry dog walks, more drying out of the mud, and no chilly nights to anticipate.
But then reality set in. This will mean that I will actually have to cut the (now dry) grass that is halfway up my legs in height. A long day of mower-toil, and constant emptying of the grass-box, as I tackle both the main lawn at the rear, as well as the smaller areas at the front and sides.

Once that is done, I will be left with overgrown gaps in the patio, and the vast collection of small sticks and bits of branches that have fallen from the oak trees since last October. And that’s not allowing for the leaf-clogged gutter pipes, or the various natural debris to be seen around the property.

So much for enjoying the sunshine.

A dull day for photos

riverbank-snowdrops

Today started out bright and sunny. But as was to be expected, by the time I got out with my camera it was dull and overcast, with rain predicted for this evening. I took some photos anyway.

Some of the spring flowers are trying to sneak through, no doubt encouraged by recent mild temperatures.
yellow-flowers

Ollie wasn’t at all interested, so decided to snack on some juicy grass instead.
ollie-eating-grass

This fallen branch has been invaded by moss and fungus already.
fungus-on-fallen-branch

During the last few months, many trees have had their roots weakened by flooding. This one has fallen into the small river, and has been left to nature.
fallen-tree

The mud is still around, though the temperatures are forecast to drop considerably by next weekend. It was a pleasant enough walk, despite grey skies, and flat light.

A cold day with the camera

golden-oaks

After yesterday’s frosty walk, I was again rewarded with bright sunshine today, so resolved to take my camera along on the walk with Ollie, and to venture a little further once again. I got the changing trees above, then carried on to find more.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

First of all, the frosty grass that I missed taking yesterday. This was at 3 pm.
frosty-grass

I then came across a tree that was clinging onto its green leaves.
dscf0522

Sitting for a while in the peace and quiet, I could hear a sound all around me. It took a while until I could identify it. A sound like a woman crossing and uncrossing her legs repeatedly, the swish of nylon against nylon. But there was no leggy lady nearby, and I eventually realised that this sound was being made by falling leaves, brushing against others as they made their gentle descent from the uppermost branches.
dscf0525

I carried on in the direction of the disused railway, spotting this mighty ancient oak preparing to shed tons of leaves anytime now.
large-oak

I have used a similar photo previously, but this time I captured the scene in late Autumn, the trees lining the tracks with various shades of colour.
disused-railway

Ollie often refuses to stand still for photos, but this time I managed to get him as he set off on the path beside the railway. He has his dark winter fur now.
ollie-by-the-tracks

A rewarding walk, despite the cold. Almost two hours in bright sunshine, just before the sun started to set.

Life in the 1960s

One of the side effects of the recent weather, has been the disappearance of many of our normal TV channels. We use a service called Freeview. It connects to the TV for free, once you have got the system in your TV set, or as in our case, via a PVR.

The aerial on our house is pointing out in the right direction, but has recently been affected by being overgrown by the branches of the oak tree at the front. So when it is windy, or raining heavily (almost every day) the signal breaks down, and we receive a message that there is ‘No Signal.’

Over the past few days, this problem has been exacerbated by wind and rain, once again. Tonight, we finally lost most channels completely, so I am ‘News Blind’, and most of the film channels have also disappeared too. This has created an interesting dilemma. Do we watch the poor output- basically crap – of the channels still available, or do we just forget that we have a TV? We can watch DVD films instead, or things that are left on the PVR. But as it approaches 10 PM, maybe we should chat, or do something like read a book?

I write a lot about the weather, as I am sure that you are aware. However, I think that this is the first time that it has affected TV reception so badly, that we have to consider the alternative of life without TV. It reminds me of the 1960s. Only two channels, poor reception, and little to watch in the late evening, unless you had a really strong signal. So much for embracing the ‘Modern Age.’ It doesn’t seem to be up to our expectations.

Then again, what is?