Saturday, 31 August 2019

Biddulph Grange

Whilst we had a spell of bright weather, we decided to go on a mystery tour.  We ended up at Biddulph Grange and walked in the gardens.
Whilst there, I ventured into the Fossil Gallery to see how the restoration work is progressing.  All of the fossil replicas are now in place and the rock types in the stratification band are slowly being added, using new material.
It seems that the mammoth tusk was a problem.  All of these tusks have different dimensions and curves, so the original tusk would be needed to replicate into the recess in the wall.  The current tusk looks like a modelled object and stands out against the rest of the collection which has been replicated very effectively.  The results so far are of the highest standards.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Big ears and the tree stump

 Today I have completed the extraction of the big Leylandii stump near the back of the garden shed.  It took about 5 hours overall to dig it out and cut the roots with hand tools (over 4 days).  The last part of the job was cutting out three big roots on one side and freeing it from the ground.  The next job will be to order a skip and put this and the remaining branches and greenery in for disposal.
 One of the foxes was out early this morning, 8:30 instead of 9:15ish.  These cubs are now adult size and they are looking very healthy and alert.  This one came to see what I had been doing in the garden, checked out the stump, rolled on the soil in the bed where I had picked the last of the potatoes and peeked around the side of the greenhouse at Rosie in the conservatory.
Usually the light levels are too low to photograph the foxes now, but the early visit was a camera call that I could not miss.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Exit Leylandii

 At the top corner of our garden are the remaining 3 Leylandii trees.  The time has come for them to go.  They have been a high maintenance, light excluding problem for 20 years.
 Our neighbour's brother is cropping their hedges and I have agreed to order a skip for both jobs if he fells my trees with his magic tools.  He has a long reach chain saw.
 The skip took most of the hedge cuttings and about 2 trees.  What is left will almost fill another skip, that is going after next pension pay day.
 I have stacked some of the cuttings at the back of the shed, there are also some of next doors cuttings in a pile at the apex of their garden. They just need dropping over the fence to the back of the shed to be cut up for the next skip.  Only 3 stumps to dig up now - That is the hardest part of the job.
There is a stack of cuttings on tarpaulins on the side lawn, but they will be cut up by tomorrow and piled at the back of the shed for the time being.

Time for a rest now.........

I have a native tree to plant when the debris is cleared away.  I planted it in a pot 2 years ago, ready for this event.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Gliding from Pocklington to Camp Hill

 I have designed a set of gliding airfields for X-Plane recently and thought it would be a challange to fly between two of them in a glider.  My choice of route was from Pocklington airfield in the Yorkshire Wolds, to Camphill in the Derbyshire Peaks.
My choice of sailplane was the Antares 20E.  This glider has an electric propeller that can be deployed to gain height in an emergency, but my intention is only to use the device as insurance.  A winch launch to 1000 feet is my starting point.
From Pocklington it is essential to fly in a southerly direction to Goole, then across east-south-east to Derbyshire and Camphill in order to avoid airfield no fly zones.  The glider will not make the journey in still air and out in the flatlands, rising air thermals are the only source of uplift.
Here, I have lift as I circle in a rising column of air.  The increase in altitude is slow and the thermals are not as frequent as I would like, but I manage to maintain an altitude between 1800 feet and 3000 feet for most of the flat terrain.
Heading southeast, the nav. panel shows the Camphill code ahead.  I just need to keep a general heading in that direction now.
Past the Ladybower Dams and with a little hill ridge riding on the air currents I am now in sight of the Cement works chimney near Castleton.  Camphill is on the left at the top of the ridge.  I am going in on a visual approach.
Down on the ground and I did not need the insurance pack, the aircraft batteries are still at full charge.
All, of the Navigation points for the flight were found and, apart from not setting the destination ground pressure to reset the altimeter, all went well.  Camphill is 1202 feet higher than Pocklington.  From a 1000 foot cable launch, thats not bad.

Monday, 1 July 2019


Now that we are pet free, we have been able to venture out for a short break without commitments.
 Taking a new car on a long run was an adventure in itself.  It certainly sorted out any minor problems, though I am still getting used to all of the warning sensors.  It keeps telling me that I am close to a vehicle when I park - I have always been used to looking out of the car windows for that information.
 Rippon Workhouse was our first main visit.  This is only one of 3 surviving workhouses and it has a greater content than the Southwell workhouse which we visited some time ago.

We also spent a day at Durham, walking around the riverside and into the town.  Our main aim was to visit the Cathedral and have lunch on site.  Durham is a splendid city with lots on offer.
We found Andy Cap on the coast at Hartlepool Headland.  It was a bit out of the way, but well worth the visit to see the old church there.
In Hartlepool is the Royal Navy Museum where we were able to board the Trincamalee - The oldest floating warship in Europe.  This museum is a world class venue and well worth a visit.
The next day we were off to the Beamish Museum, but the World Cup Cricket event at Chester-le-Street forced us to make a detour to avoid the traffic.  We found ourselves at Lanchester where there are family related records, so we stopped off at the church and had a walk around the village.  What a splendid place it is.
Then off to Beamish.  This is another "must see" open air museum with towns, villages, farm, mine, trams, buses, railways and etc.  The entry fee is steep, but you get free transport around the very large site, and there are a selection of locals to advise and explain the exhibits and events.  Something here for everyone.  If you walk everywhere you will need a serious rest the next day.
Saltburn-by-the-Sea is a custom built seaside town, high on the coast, with a seafront that has to be walked down to.  There is a Funicular Railway that will transport you up or down the cliff for a small fee, and a pier with an amusement arcade.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Testing my new car

Recently, our next door neighbour has become ill to the extent that she can no longer drive.  She offered me first refusal on her car and, having enough money saved and knowing the cars history, I purchased it.  It was something of a surprise as I had intended to keep my old car for a couple more years.
 I have never owned two cars before, so this is a new experience for me.  The blue one is a good motor and I shall put it up for sale next month.  Having sorted the documentation, it was time to give it a spin out.  This is the first time I have purchased a car without looking at it or driving it.
 A trip to Thornbridge hall near Ashby in Derbyshire to meet relatives was the tester.  The car drives very well, though it does have a smaller engine than the old motor, so it needs a bit more attention to tackle hills.  It is also a squeeze to get it into the garage as it is 15 inches longer than the old car.

Another trip out took us the the Peak Park wildlife experience near Leek off of the Ashbourne road.
 Meerkats are a treat for younger visitors.  They are in a zoo compound, so you can only look at them over a wall.
 The wallabies on the other hand, are in a walk through enclosure and  are within touching distance. (handwash provided on exit)
 The penguins are also in a walk through compound and there is an underpass where you can view them under water.
 Grey Heron - waiting around for penguin feeding time.
Of course, some of the animals, like this Black Ruffed Lemur are quite curious.  No, I did not have any lunch in my camera bag (one of Rosie's photos).

Thornbridge Hall  Excellent Cafe and plant sales.

Peak Wildlife   Very enjoyable experience

Monday, 10 June 2019

Garden Review

 Earlier this year I had a chitting Anya potato in the veg draw.  I popped it into a pot in the greenhouse and this is what I have now.  Veg flan, new potatoes and salad for dinner today.
 The greenhouse is looking good with tomatoes, courgettes and other veg growing on well.
 At the top end of the garden, I have tidied up the cat run and added a few more plants and seeds.
 The mound around the old Leylandii we took out is looking more like garden.  The ropes have been used to coax the Holly stems to vertical.  They should be coming out in the Autumn.
Just 3 Leylandii left - the big one will be removed later this year and the other two will be trimmed down.  The mound of soil is almost gone and the rubble therein has been disposed of.