New PM

There was sense, while listening to our new Prime Minister’s maiden speech outside 10 Downing St, that we were all looking to her and her new cabinet to sort out all our problems. 

The language is all about how ‘I will do…’ this and that. This is all good but somewhat at odds to leadership in the real world. 

Surely part of being a leader is letting us know what we all would be best spending our time doing. 

A general going into battle would sound very odd giving a speech about what he (or she) was about to go and do. Clearly those listening would be told about what ‘we’ are going to do and how ‘you’ are going to play your part. 

Interestingly, I can’t help thinking that Churchill’s best known speeches were about what ‘we will…’ do. 

Why can’t it be about ‘we’ in peacetime and surely now is as good a peacetime challenge as any to enlist the ‘we’. After all if we all take ownership of the future we have a chance of making this Brexit thing work. 

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Never fails to make me happy

This is a difficult one to explain but without fail seeing or hearing our Guinea Fowl lifts my spirits.

There is something unique about the Guinea Fowl. They are totally free and yet they know us, trust us and return every night after a day’s foraging. They go where they please. They are not the brightest of birds but they always stick together, never abandoning their own. They can stand up to the fox or an over enthusiastic dog, escaping to the trees only if their raucous message isn’t getting through.

I caught a glimpse of them this morning…

Free roaming Guinea Fowl foraging in the parkland.
Free roaming Guinea Fowl foraging in the parkland.
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From Sennicotts to Syria

Taking some time today to pray at St Mary’s Sennicotts for the Syrian Refugee Crisis and issues in the region.

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Beautiful day, beautiful place and a great job by the team preparing the church with guidance on how to process and how to pray for the tragic situations our fellow citizens of this world find themselves in.

Extraordinary to be reading in our newspapers that we might be a step closer to finding evidence of Martian life and yet down here on planet Earth we also read that USA and Russia can’t agree on what response to have to Syria and so the suffering for millions continues.

If we read in years to come of a similar conflict taking place on another planet between its discovered residents I think we would all (world leaders included) find it quite easy to know what should be done.

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Grape mystery

If grapes help to make a party is it possible that a party can be used to make grapes?

By no means do we know everything about every plant in the garden at Sennicotts.

The surprise harvest
The surprise harvest

But some things we do know. For instance we know that the vine on the terrace does not produce grapes. We know this because it has never before produced grapes in the decades it has grown in its current location. We know it because we have been told it is an ornamental vine – not a producing vine.

So you can imagine the puzzled wonder that came over us when the leaves fell off the vine this Autumn. There, hanging outside the window were large bunches of dark grapes.

The first line of enquiry was what magic ingredient had the gardening team added to make such a thing happen? Answer, nothing different. Pruning and feeding unchanged.

We know 2014 had been an excellent growing season from other fruit and veg in the garden but in the past good growing seasons had not resulted in fruit. We went through the options: had we cut back trees allowing new light? – nothing new this year. Could it be the age of the vine? Is it finally old enough to bear fruit? – we don’t know of a vine taking this long to fruit.

So what was different this year? Our attention turned to June. The terrace was covered in a marquee for a weekend as part of our birthday celebrations. Could this have made the vine fruit?

  • Was it the shelter from the marquee?
  • Was it the heat from the two up-lighters under the vine (above which the most fruit was produced).
  • Did the pressure washing of the paintwork have something to do with it.
  • Did someone spill wine on the roots??
  • Was it the music and dancing???

If it was an element of the party that could be recreated (without having to throw a party every year) the cause would be fascinating to know. The intervention in the growing conditions was only for a very short time period. Could we recreate a timely intervention in future years?

Perhaps the only thing we do know is that they taste delicious and this vine is definitely not just an ornamental vine.

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New lease of life for our garden machinery

I was checking out a go-karting expedition online this month and found myself browsing the company’s tech blog. In it they were discussing a problem they had with the 250,000ltrs of fuel they purchase each year.

The go-karts kept loosing power and then stalling.

This struck a chord as a number of our two-stroke engines in the garden machinery seem to be running poorly despite us taking the usual running and maintenance precautions.

In the karting tech-blog they were explaining that the current requirement to add at least 5% ethanol to unleaded causes problems if your fuel system has any moisture in it. The ethanol mixes with the water creating a sludge that causes the running problems. The solution was cited as occasionally adding a product called Wynns Dry Fuel.

I rushed out and purchased some Dry Fuel and sure enough we are already seeing improvements in the garden machinery.

Couldn’t help wondering how much garden machinery servicing could be avoided or improved with this knowledge.

For a fuller explanation of the issue see the tech blog here.

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Accident in B2178 – driver trapped vehicle

The scene of the accident at the ‘usual place’ (the junction of B2178 and Salthill Rd). The injured driver had to be cut from his vehicle.

Another accident on the B2178 at 11am on 14th September 2012.

Involving a pick-up and lorry. The pick-up pulled out of Salthill Road into the path of a lorry.

The driver of the pick-up was attended to by the ambulance service and had to be cut from his vehicle by the fire brigade before being airlifted to Southampton Hospital.

The Police shut the B2178, Salthill Road and Hunters Race for over two hours.

The Injured driver being airlifted to Southampton Hospital


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