For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Wood pigeons are a pest! Eat more of them!

I'm doing my bit by roasting four of them on a bed of parsnips, with chestnut puree, potatoes and leeks au gratin, plus carrots, sprouts and boiled potatoes.
And my children thoroughly enjoyed them.  It is hard being a pensioner -- forced to eat wild game to keep down costs., which indeed I did.  Thanks to Cuckfield local's market in the Talbot, wood pigeons were on sale at six for £5.  Buy local and eat local; especially pigeons! 

Monday 13 December 2010

If you go down to the woods today....

If you go down to the woods today....

You're sure of a big surprise...
 Because today's the day that the [New England Wood Trust] volunteers have their [end-of-year-celebration] picnic.
 And a jolly good time was had by all.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Wilmington to Jevington circular walk

This 8.5 miles walk, from the Mid Sussex Ramblers' programme, lead by Paul, passed under the Long Man, which was shrouded in mist and frost.
From the ridge of the Downs were fine views of Alfriston and its church, zoomed below.
Ascending a sheltered valley, the hawthorns were festooned with litchens in an amazing way.
In the 12th century St Mary's churchyard, Wilmington, is an even older yew tree.
As you can see, it needs a little assistance to remain standing.
Click on any picture to expand it.
Thanks Paul and Sue for a great walk.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

More frosty weather

Today's walk, from the Mid Sussex Ramblers' programme started at Ardingly reservoir.  There the frost had melted on the trees.  As we climbed only a few hundred feet higher towards Balcombe, we entered a still-freezing zone that was magical.
Frosted holly.
Click on pictures to expand them.
How about this for an interested sky?
My meteorologist brother Rick, observed that "Looks like stratocumulus to me - a typical layer cloud. Vertical development is limited by a temperature inversion.
Generally the lines of cloud (called streets) will be at 90 degress with the wind direction.
The bends in the lines are probably caused by orographic effects - surface physical features like hills.
Hope this helps."
Thanks Rick.  I'm not quite sure what an orographic effect is but the sky looks impressive. 
 Underneath the railway viaduct near Balcombe.

Monday 6 December 2010

The Snow in Surrey lasts longer than in Sussex!

It was almost Arctic in Surrey this morning.  And Yes!  It was me that cleared this pavement of snow.  Why don't we follow the German practice of clearing snow outside our properties and banish the UK urban myth of being sued if you clear it and someone falls over? 
Wake up UK!  The English are rather insular in their thinking.  Think about the "Big Society" and clear your own roads and pavements, as happened here.
 Meanwhile, in Sussex, my rubbish bin was rather beautifully decorated by a hardy spider, don't you think?

Saturday 4 December 2010

Thursday 2 December 2010

Winter weather

Gardening today consists of knocking the snow off shrubs, whose branches might otherwise break under the weight of snow.

No driving today.  My camera was in the boot of the car, which is the only reason that the snow is brushed off.
New England wood was very pretty but hard work walking in two feet of snow.  I didn't go far.

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