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  1. The summer house.

    There was a program about ‘Capability’ Brown on the television, visiting various of his landscape gardens. I am unsure which, but one of them had a ‘Summer house’. Of course it was no wooden shack at the bottom of the garden, but an imposing building with spires and French windows, probably larger than the average terrace house, Well, that was how it looked across the valley on the other side of a lake; distant, set on the edge of woodland.

    One approached it, however, from behind, ...
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  2. Long term winners

    The rats are back. A bit quick, but I knew it was just a matter of time, there is no solution, they will outlive us all in the end. It is strange how so many people recognise this fact without quite understanding why it is so certain. Sure they realise that they are omnivorous, reproduce rapidly, very adaptable, and believe in their intelligence and resistance to radiation, but these are individual characteristics. A general principle, backed by evidence, is what convinces me though.
    ...
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  3. Two ships that never sailed.

    Last time I said, ‘That is another story’, it was like this...

    As a twenty-twenty one year old I worked on the beach in Mallorca, where I taught sailing, hired out boats, and worked with a Spanish boy who owned a speed boat to teach water skiing. When people came and asked if they could hire a boat at first I had asked ‘Can you sail?’, but quickly found that there is a class of person, invariably male, who will say ‘Yeah, I can do that’, regardless of ability. After having to get ...
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  4. Charming.

    The weather has been cold in this part of the world, with some strong North winds, up to 50mph we were told. They have dropped now and it is cold, but it is clear, so the urge to get outside is strong, to stay there, maybe not quite so strong. There is plenty needs doing before the garden comes back into life, but now is not the time for much of it. The layer of litter and dead leaves may harbour all sorts of potential problems, it will have to go before Spring, but for now it is the winter blanket, ...
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  5. Odds and ends

    Someone I know coming the other way flashed their lights at me, and the chap in front stuck to the speed limit all the way through the village, were these two events related? Probably.

    I came across the phrase ‘He thinks he is a teacher, but he is only an instructor’. Now who does that remind me of?

    Bulbs are poking green shoots through the snow. The survival abilities of the frail amaze me, a petal will bruise at a touch, wither in week, or a day, and yet return every ...
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  6. In the car

    I look at other drivers and wonder, ‘How much driver training have you had? And, what quality was it?” When you pootle along the dual carriageway at forty five to fifty mph in fifth, being, if not ecologically friendly, at least less damaging, there is time and opportunity to reflect and observe. Not that I am purely being holier than thou doing that speed, a fifteen to twenty percent fuel saving is enough to count heavily when you live on a fixed income, and I get more enjoyment from the music ...
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  7. More rodents.

    I visited my friend who has a balcony of plants, he has had problems with mice. They have invaded and undermined the base of one of his largest containers; he was alerted by the spoil heap.

    One of the first attempts to control the depredations of rodents must have been the invention of earthenware storage jars and brick granaries about four thousand years ago. We have been at it ever since and the rats and mice have used us to transport them to every continent and most islands, and ...
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  8. Rat attack.

    There have been rats, they recur periodically around the food sources; the compost bins and aviary; aviary wire keeps them out. I have a platform built of pallets I have covered with aviary wire using a staple gun. The plastic bins sit on top of it and present a rounded surface that is impervious to rats. Ventilation, drainage ,and protection. From time to time there is a system failure; some pallet wood becomes rotten and sinks, or the little door they put on the front of the bin distorts a bit. ...
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