Showing posts from May, 2015

Red Kites

Only 20 years ago I had to travel to Wales to see red kites.

A majestic looking bird that feeds mainly on carrion and was once common all over London, and other cities where refuse was to be found! After years of persecution they had become extinct in England.

Then in 1989 and over the next few years 90 birds were reintroduced to England from Spanish stock. The birds were released in the Chilterns, and initially placed into wooden release pens on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border before being set free. The first successful breeding in the Chilterns took place in 1992, and since then numbers have steadily increased to approximately 400/500 breeding pairs. If you drive the M40 you will see red kites.

Other reintroduction programs continue but all are in the midlands and north of England and Scotland.

So I was thrilled to see a red kite on my way to work this morning. I live on the South coast and although we have lots of buzzards now, I’ve never seen a red kite this far south. I w…

Elderflower Fields Festival - a first timer's review

So our first festival of the year this year has been and gone (and doesn't time fly when you are having fun!)

DD and I took our new tent to the Elderflower Fields Festival. We arrived on the Friday, straight after school (so about 5pm) thus missing some of the gigs and the film showing of Malificent *sad face*

But after sorting out our wristbands (delayed due to a power cut!) we set off with our stuff to pitch up. We found a spot by a pond, and like all festivals it was busy but friendly. We sorted out pitch in two trips to the car with the festival trolley (steep hills!) and by about 8pm we were all done. We were also tired out! So we ate and then dozed about, sat around and generally did nothing at all until bedtime - lazy campers! (and did I mention they have flushing toilets and FREE showers?)

On the Saturday we woke early and discovered we had no gas for the cooker! How spiffing that Elderflower Fields had realised this would happen and had arranged for the Lewes Outdoor sho…

A Day out at Plumpton College

Fairly near where  I live are several agricultural colleges. Plumpton recently had an open day and Dd and I went along to see what was on offer (and because they had food, crafts and a dog show!)

Once upon a time DD wanted to be a farmer, sadly she no longer does, but it was still a fun day out (despite the rain) and we enjoyed watching the sheep shearing and the carriage driving, as well as the birds of prey (I covet a Harris Hawk)

 There were representatives from the South Downs National park too (one ranger had a particularly fine beard!)

 And the terrier racing was just hilarious, mostly inexperienced dogs, some took to it straight away even nipping back to the box to be ready for the next race while some just looked confused! Brilliant to watch, enjoyable chaos.

I didn't take any pictures of the pigs though. They use rather intensive methods, farrowing crates (they looked awful) and dock the youngsters tails as they are kept indoors and so bite and fight. It was the on…

The centipede, the fairies and the deadnettles

My walk in the bluebells woods reminded me of a story from my childhood, something my grandfather told me on our walks in the woods years ago.

Long ago when the world was far less complicated than it is today the fairies were up to mischief. The fair folk have always loved tricks and they love to cause trouble so it should come as no surprise that they took great delight in teasing the centipede.

The centipede struggled each morning to put on all of his shoes, it took him until nearly lunchtime to even be ready to go out for morning tea with his lady friend, what with sorting all the shoes and lacing them all onto his little feet. So the fairies thought it was terribly funny to hide his shoes!

They hid them at first all over his little centipede house, but later they went as far as the stream, making the poor centipede have to walk all in the damp mud in his stocking feet! They were such bad fairies, and how they giggled when they watched him from behind the bluebells.

One particular …

A walk in the English countryside

I don't know where you live, but here Monday started with gorgeous weather. As it is spring and I live relatively close to woodland, my husband and I decided to talk a walk in the woods to look at the bluebells. We were not disappointed. It was a perfect morning, lovely lighting through dappled trees, bird song, and spring flowers.

We saw so many flowers that I have made a list to give you an idea of what you look for if you go out in the next few weeks. If you have children (and maybe even if you don't) an I-Spy or other spotter book can make a walk fun, definitely grab yourself some sort of identification book, you can borrow them free from libraries as well as buying them. Or take a picture of each flower you see (I took quite a few) and use the internet to identify them when you get home. There is charming folklore about many English plants (more of that in later posts)

So here is my walk in pictures...

And we saw a huge long list of flowers too, many of which I photograph…

Five Reason to Go to the Elderflowerfields Festival

I don't mind telling you that I am all ready for the first festival of my festival year. For a change I have a new one to experience, and it's fairly local to me - so good new, I won't be arriving knackered after a long drive. Fingers crossed for no traffic jams. So apart from meeting me, what would you expect at Elderflowerfields, well according to my spies you can expect a lot of fun! And lovely scenery, and the top 5 things are:-
The So Sussex Sunday picnic has become something of our trademark and is one of the highlights of the weekend. It's the perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends and family (or even strangers), and it's all included in your ticket. We are pretty sure ElderflowerFields isthe only festival in the world to supply every guest with a free shared picnic filled with delicious tasters of local produce. And then there's the legendary chocolate cake...
THE ACTIVITIES ElderflowerFields has more free activities on offer per chi…