Swallows Return (Quick Links 121)

My car went in for it’s annual MOT this week, unfortunately it failed and needed some work, but all has been put right now, and it’s good to go for another year. I’ll need to get a couple of new tyres soon as well, but they’re good for a few more miles.

Not having a car for a couple of days meant a slight change in plans but I managed to get everything done, just perhaps not in the order I’d originally planned.


I mentioned last week about the blue tits gathering dog hair from the garden. Well I managed to capture them in action in this short video.


I saw my first Swallow of the year this week (a week later than last year). I haven’t seen any Swifts or House Martins yet, but they’re normally later sightings for me anyway. I also saw a couple of black caps just across the road from my house. They used to be regular garden visitors but I haven’t seen one in the garden for a couple of years, so it’s good to know that they’re still about, and maybe they might find the garden again.


Work – I heard back about the work that I was involved for the tender for a few weeks ago and unfortunately we were unsuccessful. This was very disappointing as I thought the bid was strong. As yet we’ve not had detailed feedback so I don’t know where we fell short, but I am quite interested to find out. This means that at the moment there is no paid work on the horizon, so I need to hustle a bit and get that changed around.

Had a couple of work related meetings but they’ve been in the diary for a while.


Allotment – The forecast for the weekend was wet, but in reality it has mostly been dry to this point at least. It meant I managed to finish clearing the old purple sprouting broccoli patch, dig it over and add some compost, ready for new crops. It will likely be the site of the coming years leeks and sweetcorn. For the latter I still need to devise my badger proof enclosure to stop them eating all the cobs before we get a chance.


Currently Reading – I finished   “Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin’s Lakes” by Jessica J. Lee [LINK]. Haven’t really gotten into anything else at this point, been a bit busy with other things.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


Total Ban on Neonicotinoids – [LINK] I’ve written about this numerous times here, but at long last a total ban on these chemical pesticides has been declared. Hopefully it’s in the nick-of-time, but it is good news for once. Understandably the manufacturers are not happy about it (but they wouldn’t be really would they), but everybody else seems happy.

 


A short one this week, hope you all have a good week ahead.

Marathon Man (Quick Links 120)

Well this week has seen a real change in the weather, suddenly much warmer and brighter, I’ve made the switch from wellingtons to hiking boots on my dog walks and if this keeps up there’s a real danger of shorts – you have been warned! We ended the week with some thunderstorms last evening and a drop of rain, but the sun was back out again this morning.

It gave me a proper opportunity to get into our garden at the start of the week and do a few jobs that I’ve been putting off because it was too cold / wet / unappealing. It was really nice to be out in the garden and an opportunity to see what’s going on. I saw more butterflies in one afternoon than I’ve seen all year so far. It’s a far cry from those snow-days of just one month ago!

I also gave my Mum’s lawn it’s first cut. It had dried out sufficiently to allow a mower on without sinking in. The mower started (nearly) first time, which is always a relief after being in the shed for the winter. I also took her over some seeds and planted out some cabbage plants in her raised beds.


I had a dental check-up this week. I really don’t like going to the dentist. It’s not a phobia – I just don’t like going. Don’t like my dentist much or the way he treats his staff, and I think he charges too much (although to be fair I have no comparison). I keep saying that I should move to another practice, particularly as my current one isn’t that close to home and the only reason I keep going is because it’s where I went as a kid, but the guy who was my dentist then has long since retired. Anyway check-up was fine, nothing needs doing, so now I have 12 months to source another dentist.


 

Work – A couple of virtual meetings this week, but quite quiet on the work front.


Allotment – The seeds that I sowed last week are starting to germinate. I was worried that they might get frazzled as they are under plastic at the moment, and had visions of having to resow every single one, but my fears were unfounded and they seem to be doing okay. I gave them a good water and covered them up again.

I also harvested our first rhubarb and made a crumble with it – yum!


Currently Reading – I finished  “Travels” by Michael Crichton [LINK], and started reading “Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin’s Lakes” by Jessica J. Lee [LINK]. The latter got me thinking about how I learnt to swim, and I wrote a short post on it.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


Hummingbird “Love Charms” la chuparosa – Until I read this National Geographic article, I had no idea that this was even a thing. We don’t get hummingbirds in this country, but I know if we did I’d be trying to attract them to the garden like I do the other birds – as I sit typing this there’s a blue tit pulling some of Ruby’s fur out of a feeder that we’ve put out for the birds to provide nesting material, Ruby provides this cast-off fur when we brush her.

I suppose in a way I shouldn’t be surprised. As a species we humans have exploited just about everything else and every other species on the planet for our own ends. For birds the records on shooting song birds in Malta [LINK], and the persecution of birds of prey in the UK in favour of providing a few rich people some “sport” [LINK] are equally abhorrent. Why is it that we just can’t respect other life on this planet? When are we going to stop destroying our own home?


Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom – I was looking forward to this, but now I’ve seen this trailer, I think I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD, seems to be more of a rehash of Jurrasic Park: The Lost World, than fresh ideas.


The Meg – Looks like it might be fun in a bad B-movie kind of way, but again I’ll probably be waiting for the DVD or Amazon Prime release.


Solo: A Star Wars Story – I think they’re releasing this a little soon after Episode VIII, but I’ll probably go see this on the big screen because, well, Star Wars etc. etc.


That’s all folks, my car’s due an MOT next week and I’ve got a couple of meetings in my diary but otherwise if this nice spell of weather continues I want to try and get out and about.