Wednesday, 1 February 2023


Is it me? 

I can find nowhere to discuss agriculture or food, climate change or nature recovery in the Labour Party consultation.. Green? 
‘Roundtables’ closed. 

First cut not the deepest

In the world I grew up in, one could mow a lawn during the October half-term and not need to revisit until February. I recall the lawn management regime advocated by DG Hessayon. Monoculture. Close-cropped. Scarified. Weed killed. Fertilised.

And the world I grew up in did not tolerate a species-rich lawn .. ‘Weeds?!’

My dad wouldn’t recognise a lawn with ‘no-mow’ sections to support invertebrates. He’d scratch his head at the close-nibbled ‘lawns’ around the vole burrows in the grass.
And would have thrown his hands up in horror at the twenty five mole hills I counted yesterday. 

This years mild winter has seen the lawn become a thick thatch over six inches long.

So, while the wind is blowing and the grass is dry it’s time for the first mow of the season before the crocus appear.

Still on a high setting so not to stress the grass, the lawn now looks like a raggedy shag-pile.

We have lived a charmed life so far. Cockchafer beetles immigrating invertebrate quidditch snitches buzz and crash into our summer moth light. They lay their eggs in pastures and lawns. Cockchafer grubs are as irresistible to badgers as are chocolates to my elderly mum. Our next-door neighbours have had their lawn utterly trashed by local badgers on nocturnal bug hunts. It’s coming.

After the cut, a cubic metre of organic grass cuttings awaiting incorporation into the compost. And half a wheelbarrow of mole hill soil for incorporation into our own potting compost or for adding to the compost bins where we hope our slow worms will once again thrive.

The final touch on the lawn will be the running feet of children: the best part.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Working in the Woodland Garden.

Our Woodland Garden is heading towards its early year best. 

Snowdrops are now in nodding flower.

The winter aconites we planted along the drive edge in memory of Sue and Kris are forcing their way through the thick mulch of autumn leaves.
Wood chipping paths

Clearing wheelbarrows full of herb Robert, couch grass, forget-me-nots and lots of ivy runners.

Wood chip & leaf mulches; beds edged with rotting logs; standing deadwood; logs & branches laid into the mulches …. it’s mycorrhizal party time!!! 

Weeding & mulching paths.

Adding new logs to those crumbling in log-edged paths.

Sawing out thickest elder stems.

Ivies grow up trees to provide cover and then to offer a late-season nectar source; shrubs cut tightly to give dense sites for nests

Trimming hollies, beech.

Coal tit nest box sited at foot of Scots pine.

Blue tit nest box attached to Wizard Tree.

More hard work awaits…

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Garden recording

‘We’ve got an hour before we go out. Let’s do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch’.

And within five minutes a red kite had flown low through the garden.
Then our first male Brambling of the year.
Eleven little feathered lollipops joined the party too.

Pale brindled beauty 

Then down in the Cedar Walk, the moth light attracted four chestnuts and five pale brindled beauties.

A song thrush was in full song this morning.

Sunday, 22 January 2023


Garden in winter.

Frost continues.


Thursday, 19 January 2023

Government fails its own test

Isn’t this bloody awful..?

Tories accused by own watchdog of failing to keep environment promises.

No progress found on 23 targets from 25-year green plan for England as wildlife declines at ‘eye-watering’ rate.

The blandishments of Labour

Readers of this blog know how disaffected I am by the approaches of both our political parties to nature recovery.

The Conservatives sit firmly in the pocket of privilege - those who own much of our countryside.

Labour, as an urban party, fails to understand or empathise with rural communities or the needs of nature.

At least I had a reply from Lilian Greenwood MP - unlike Jim McMahon, the Labour Environment spokesman who fails to engage.

Here’s my letter to Lilian and her earlier letter to a friend who wrote in my behalf.


Dear Carol,


Thank you very much for your email and for sharing Rob Carlyle’s email with me.


Please find below a letter I have recently sent to one of my constituent’s about this matter for yours and Rob’s information. I hope the below clarifies the Labour Party policy on this issue:


“We should all have the right to clean water. No one should have to worry about enjoying coastal hotspots and swimming in sewage-infested waters.


People are rightly shocked at the shameful frequency of sewage discharges and the resulting damage to our most valued, delicate river habitats. The situation is a disaster for our natural environment and ecology and a significant public health issue.


We are in a dirty water emergency, with water companies discharging raw sewage into English waterways over 1.2 million times between 2016 and 2021.


I believe insufficient action has been taken to tighten regulation to stop water companies using discharges as a day-to-day measure instead of only in the most extreme circumstances.


The Conservative Government published its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan in August 2022 which will require water companies to reduce discharges into designated bathing water and high priority nature sites by 2035 and all sites by 2050. I do not consider this a real plan as it does not eliminate sewage dumping into our natural environment and could see millions more spills by 2035 based on 2021 data.


I want to see mandatory monitoring of all sewage outlets, the proper resourcing of the Environment Agency to properly enforce rules, and a legally binding target to end 90% of sewage discharges by 2030. I would also support automatic fines for discharges and a standing charge penalty for discharge points without monitoring in place.


In my view, failures to improve should be paid for from company dividends, not through customer bills or lack of investment in the system. I also believe water bosses who routinely and systematically break rules should be held professionally and personally accountable by striking off company directors and imprisonment for allowing serious leaks.


I also welcome the Office for Environmental Protection’s investigation into the regulation of sewage overflows.


Our water infrastructure is at bursting point with billions of litres of water wasted daily alongside these sewage discharges. We need a plan to address it.”


Best wishes, 



Wednesday, 18 January 2023

rainforest carbon offsets are worse than worthless,

Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows 

Investigation into Verra carbon standard finds most are ‘phantom credits’ and may worsen global heating.


We celebrate a Nottinghamshire morning of good frost.

And a sunrise over New Farm that painted the sky.

✔️ Spirits lifted.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Climate arsonists

“Banks and finance institutions that have signed up to net zero pledges are still investing heavily in fossil fuels, research has shown, leading to accusations they are acting as “climate arsonists”.

There is a real human cost to this for us and succeeding generations. It is the scientific consensus that hundreds of millions if not billions of people will be forced to migrate due to climate change within the next few decades. A lot of those people will end up dying. 

Monday, 16 January 2023

In flower …

The honey bees were in flight at the weekend. Possibly just ‘cleansing’ flights rather than foraging.

As we prepare for a good frost tonight, the garden was making itself  itself ready for the early pollinators to follow:
Evergreen honeysuckle 

Cyclamen coum

Hellebore foetida


Winter aconite



Daffodil Rijnvelds Early Sensation


Heather Erica carnea

Viburnum Bodnantense ‘Dawn’

Saturday, 14 January 2023

Corruption by another name…

Within our constitution the monarchy is allowed to challenge proposed legislation if it affects their interests.

It is called ‘Kings Consent’

Today, in The Guardian..

‘The government wrote to the then Prince of Wales in 2019, seeking approval for legislation that had implications for his estates’.

I wrote to Mark Spencer MP in June 2022 about what was then termed ‘Queens Consent’.

In any other sphere this would be labelled ‘corruption’.

Corruption is defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. 

There. I do.

Disaster at sea..

A marine catastrophe off Teesside has alarming implications for the PM’s cherished ambition of developing freeports..

This Times article is behind a paywall. 

Mass poisoning has suddenly killed off most sea life for 30 miles by the Tees. 
Toxic industrial pollutants disturbed during the creation of the UK’s new ‘Freeport’ are causing a marine catastrophe in the seas of north east England.

Thursday, 12 January 2023

Exxon knew….

What a surprise!! Exxon cynically rubbished global warming to protect its own business while their own science predicted exactly what is activists have predicted for years…

The oil giant Exxon privately “predicted global warming correctly and skilfully” only to then spend decades publicly rubbishing such science in order to protect its core business, new research has found.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Why can the Spanish do it!

Our rivers are destined to be used as open sewers by our water companies for the remainder of our lifetimes.

Meanwhile ….
29 billion euros invested by Spanish in water-management