How many solar panels can you eat?

Another great post from Jim. Whatever your views on environmental issues, remember that we cannot eat trees or solar panels. There has to be more balance.

Jim Webster

It’s interesting that both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have spoken out against covering farmland with solar panels. You do wonder if finally, people are beginning to wake up a little.

Personally I think that, whether he intended to or not, Putin has created a watershed in history, but not perhaps in the way he intended.

If we go back to the start of the century, Ed Miliband put the green levies on energy. But at the same time a lot of other things were put in place, all nicely set ten, twenty or even thirty years ahead. Politicians were kicking unexploded bombs into the long grass secure in the knowledge that by the time these things happened and the public started feeling the pain, they’d be long retired on a good pension and their successors could take the flak.

When they were announced, the ban on the installation of…

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Easter Sunday Musings From Beetley

My Easter greetings to everyone who is celebrating today as a religious holiday, whatever your religion. It is one of the few days left when shops still close all day.


We are spending the day quietly, treated just like any other Sunday. This year, we are not even having a traditional roast dinner. Turkey at Easter is still popular here.


Most of you will know that we had a lovely surprise on Friday, the announcement of the ‘secret wedding’ of one of Julie’s daughters on the island of Cyprus.
Congratulations from me to the happy couple.


On the way back from the celebratory family meal, I had warning lights coming on in my car. Investigating in daylight yesterday, it would appear that the ‘sealed coolant system’ is leaking, or the electric fan is not working properly. I had to add water to the overflow tank of the radiator for the first time in 10 years. I am hoping that will cure the issue for now, but I suspect a wallet-emptying visit to a car repairer is on the near horizon. And just when I had finally got permission to drive again too!
(In case you were wondering, my new driving licence has still not arrived after 11 weeks.)


Ollie was supposed to have a much needed bath and claw trim on Thursday. I took him to the groomer that afternoon, only to be told that the lady that looks after him was off sick with Covid-19, and we would have to rebook for another time. There are so many dog-owners in this area that getting an appointment is on a par with obtaining an audience with Queen Elizabeth.


Next weekend, the tree surgeons are returning to finish the rest of the Oak tree in our back garden. (Wind speed permitting.) It seems that finding qualified abseilers who can cut branches is also in the dog-grooming category.


Have a happy day, whatever you are doing.


Surviving Eunice

Today the British Isles have been hit by Storm Eunice. Supposedly the strongest winds seen in this country for thirty years, with gusts of up to 100mph in some areas.

In the Republic of Ireland, a man was killed by a falling tree as the storm swept in from the Atlantic.

1,800+ homes in Scotland are without power.

Schools that are not on half-term holiday have been closed in many regions, and people who can work from home have been advised to do so.

Major bridges are closed all over the UK, and rail services to and from the West Country area have been cancelled.

Many sea ferries and some coastal shipping have also been suspended, as only the largest lifeboats can be used in this weather.

The rare ‘Red Alert’ has been issued, and the residents of London have been advised not to leave their homes.

Trees are being ripped up by the winds, especially in Wales, which has been hit hard. Despite serious warnings, and some precautionary evacuations, there have been no reports of severe flooding so far.

Trampolines and garden furniture have been blown out of back gardens, fences flattened, and many parked cars wrecked by falling trees overnight. Government advice is not to drive on any roads anywhere in the country unless it is essential.

Here in Beetley, it is a case of so far, so good.

The force of the wind in the early hours has caused some power cuts locally, which we have not experienced so far. I cancelled a trip to the Vet in Swaffham to collect Ollie’s repeat presciption, as the journey involves a major road used by many large trucks. Being close to those in such windy conditions can be hazardous if they are blown over.

But Ollie has to go out, so I am just back from Beetley Meadows and Hoe Rough. A few of the smaller, thinner trees are down, though the large Oaks seem to be riding out the worst of it, despite losing lots of small branches and twigs. The river is at a normal level, so there will hopefully be no flooding locally.

Checking the weather news, I note that we are still due to get the worst of the winds after dark, until at least 9pm or later.

Wish me luck!

A Sunny February Morning With The Camera

Brilliant sunshine this morning, despite a chill in the air. I took Ollie out early, before the winter sun got too low in the sky. Over to Hoe Rough, with the small Panasonic Zoom Compact in my coat pocket.

(All photos are posted from Flickr, and can be enlarged there by clicking on them)


The little camera has a 24-720 zoom. To show the extent of that, I took two photos from the same spot.

Wideangle, 24mm eqivalent.
Full zoom on the distant tree, 720mm equivalent.

By the river, the snowdrops were out in abundance.

But it hasn’t been cold enough for the mud to freeze, so I still needed my Wellington boots.

An ingenious cow-watering device. They push their snouts against the yellow lever, and it sucks water into the reservoir from a pipe placed in the river.

Ollie was happy to have his photo taken today. I think the tiny camera covering less of my face calms him down.

After a much-needed drink in the rainwater pool that never dries up. You can see where the fur has not grown back on his legs and back.

I sat down in The Dell, and he came for a stroke.

Then I was able to get more photos of him as he stood around waiting.

That rainwater pool, with the river beyond.

Some trees were felled there a couple of years ago, as their roots had been undermined by the river flooding.

The logs were left as habitat for creatures, and Nature is finally reclaiming them.

A walk of just under two hours, rewarded with some photos, and the fact it was not raining. 🙂

The Tallest Tree In The World

Continuing my tree-themed posts, I have researched the tallest tree. It is called ‘Hyperion’, and is a California Redwood in the Redwood National Park.

It is 600 years old, and stands 380 feet tall. (116 metres)

To give you come idea of how tall that is, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty, taller than Big Ben in London, and more than twice as high as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

So the world’s oldest tree and the world’s tallest tree are both to be found in the American state of California.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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


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.