Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cleaning the Wandle May 2012

This month the clean up was in Sutton. Not quite the search for the source of the Nile but certainly well upstream to recent clean ups. The river divides around Culver's Island and we split into two groups to tackle both branches.

Wandle community clean up May 2012

I was running half an hour late; by the time I got there the safety briefing was over and people were in the water. The river was fairly free of large scale rubbish such as shopping trolleys and carpets and the wading crew had it well under control so I decided I would do "wheelbarrow duty" for a change.

Wandle community clean up May 2012

In this load was a child's swing. It does make me wonder about some parents - the example they set for their children and the lack of concern for the world they will be leaving for them.

Wandle community clean up May 2012

This stretch more leafy and pleasant than some of the  concrete culverted, inner city stretches with grassy banks and leafy cover. Plus a lovely sunny day. Another good clean up.

Full set of pictures on Flicker:

Official blog on the Wandle Trust Website:

Tally this month: 1 car tyre, 1 bike tyre, 1 teddy bear, 1 sun lounger, 1 chair, 1 suitcase, 1 artificial Christmas tree, 1 metal tripod, 1 plant pot, 1 scooter, 1 jumper, 1 tarpaulin, 1 tent, 1 mattress, 1 carpet, 1 dustbin lid, 1 metal drum, 1 clipboard, 2 bike wheels, 2 road signs and a tonne of so of unidentified junk.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May Bank Holiday 2012 - Networking, Twitching, Relaxing

A long weekend thanks to the May bank holiday. Everywhere else (most of Europe at least) celebrates May Day (International Labour Day) on 1st May. The UK holiday is on the following Monday so we always get a long weekend. As usual our weekends have a packed agenda.

First up "networking" as I call drinking with ex-colleagues. Up to 1400 of us worked for BT on the Care Records System programme (that is correct - one thousand, four hundred). I left about three years ago. One of my ex-colleagues arranged a reunion drink in the excellent Knights Templar, a former banking hall. Good to catch up with peeps.

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 01

Saturday it was down to Ringwood for dinner with old friends Bob and Lynn. The next day we went for a couple of hours stroll round Blashford Lakes, a series of former gravel pits now a nature reserve and bird sanctuary.

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 02

A well kept secret it was right on our doorstep when we lived down there and we never knew. It was only 2 miles away and we drove past it every day!

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 03

We stopped at a number of hides and saw all manner of birds. Not sure I could name them all but this one I was pretty confident of. Also a real close-up viewing of a great spotted woodpecker and a pair of goldfinch.

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 04

The walk from our hosts house and back took us along Dockens Water a typical New Forest stream complete with wild primrose.

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 05

Afterward we said our goodbyes and went off to Grayshott Spa for 24 hours of relaxation.

May bank holiday weekend 2012 - 06

Over the 24 hours we had massages (two each), a power walk, Mary had a manicure and I did a Yoga class. We finished with a healthy lunch and then home to the cats.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Urban gardening

Having an urban garden doesn't present the same horticultural opportunities as the half acre we used to have at Avon Cottage. The answer is lots of pots, tubs and grow-bags. We always grow tomatoes and some kind of pulse (peas, runner beans or broad beans) and, the last couple of years, potatoes. The latter have been a disappointment - a lot of waiting and watering for not much more than the seed potatoes that went in. This year, against my better judgement, I have been persuaded to to give them a third chance.

Urban gardening - 03

Last year's potatoes (centre stage)

This year I have gone for alternative roots vegetables. I have used two of the potato bags for carrots and beetroot - so let's see how they do.

Urban gardening - 02

L to R: runner beans, carrots, beetroot, broad beans, red (bell) peppers, lettuce, olive tree (with wild strawberries), potatoes (plus rocket, aka rucola, off screen).

The trees and shrubs have taken a bit of a drubbing. The shrubs from me and the trees from from an aboricultural company we employed to do tree works. Our neighbours suggested that our trees could do with a trim so we decide to get in tree specialists to quote not only for our trees but the house on the *other* side. This with a view to getting them to share the costs with me doing all the planning application required as we are in a conservation area.

Urban gardening - 01

It's pruning, Jim, but not as we know it.

In the end we paid for both gardens to be done. Not as altruistic as it sounds. Next door is owned by a housing association and occupied by deaf people so, I guess, counts as a charitable donation, if you wish, and we get the benefit of more sunshine in our garden.