Tag Archives: cotswolds

Grafton game fair family day – 7th May – Help for Heroes

At Wilton Water, Wilton, nr Marlborough in support of Help for Heroes amongst other causes. Check their website here for details.

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letters to the editor – disposing of unpopular leaders


So our Prime Minister and his government believe that it is acceptable to have an unpopular leader assassinated. Perhaps they should be carefull of what they wish for….

I think that we should be told.

Yours faithfully

Surprised of Swindon

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thank you Wootton Bassett, and thank you Your Majesty

The folks down the road at Wootton Bassett have been doing something that has seemed sadly lacking in recent years, other than by minorities, in paying their respects. To have been acknowledged in this way is not something that they sought, but that makes it all the more of an honour.

And well done to our Queen as well for bestowing the honour. Royal support has also declined in recent years along with the standards of decency, and it is acts like those  that the people of Wootton Bassett have shown that demonstrate just how far standards have slipped in this country.

So thank you to both town and Queen for standing up for something good and right. As a son of the Royal County I salute you both.


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wiltshire wildlife encounters – a death in the forenoon

Our flock of starlings is starting to recover. 18 months ago one of our neighbours grubbed up the patch of shrubs and brambles where several hundred would roost at night. Presumably they found somewhere else to rest and we saw very little of their spectacular pre-bedtime aerobatics, and things were quieter, last year.

This year they have been more prevalent again, but yesterday morning one fell victim to a sparrowhawk who, having stunned its prey, managed to catch it almost outside the bedroom office window, almost colliding with the house and having to land and re-group. Its mate arrived seconds later and looked on before they both went off the devour their catch.

With the prevalence of kites and common buzzards along the highways we frequent, having now had a peregrine and an pair of sparrow hawks in our urban garden it is almost like my childhood days in the country for birds of prey.

I like all sorts of the wildlife that surrounds us, but starlings are one of my favourite birds with their irridescent colours, even if their behaviour is somewhat scandalous with all that noise and bickering. Sad to see what die so brutally in some ways, but it is a fact of life that there is a food chain in nature and that survival is all about competition.

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more joys of shopping + London2012

Reading of the desecration of some of my old haunts that is going on in order for the 2012 Olympics to take place (I sold commercial vehicles spares and other things all around that patch back in the 1970s) I was prompted to thoughts of how we could scoop some extra medals from the home event.

Competitive shopping! Once again this weekend the Berkshire Belle and I have been out there scrounging for some nosh in both Cheltenham and Swindon and, as ever, we have had to pick our way through the ranks of those who see the weekly shop as some sort of assault course.

This is not a phenomenon we come across in other countries, so Team GB could be in for some world domination here; we could have different classes for different age groups perhaps. The OAPs hunt in packs, younger folks that can’t shop without the mobile phone clamped to the ear whilst savaging the opposition with their trolleys and so on. And then the men’s class would be for the “I’ll show the other half how it’s done” dash round in record time with points scored for casualties on the way, whilst the lady’s class would be more along the lines of ” can I take so long getting my purse out to pay that everything the next person in line has bought goes past its sell by date”. And there could be a family class for the greatest number of aisles blocked  to other shoppers while we all stand and debate.

If nothing else we should be able to win on sheer naked aggression. Every weekend I go into therapy for ankles clipped by countless shopping carts and friction burns from arms that have been shoved across my face to grab something.

And we certainly play it as a body contact sport. The Berkshire Belle and I  have mutual grounds for divorce after every trip to the shops on the basis that we’ve had far more physical contact with total strangers that we’ve managed with each other.

If Team GB want a good medal haul at London2012 next year then Competitive Shopping is clearly the way to go.

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My most viewed post of 2010 on John’s Jottings?

As 2010 draws to a close I have been looking back at my Jottings over the last 12 months to see what was popular and what wasn’t so much.

The two clear winners for John’s Jottings are the one on Natural Disasters (Acts of God) and Am I a LibDem, both of which have also had a bit of a resurgence in interest lately, albeit that they were both a bit more topical with regard to the general election. If you missed them first time round please click on the links to have a look.

Anyway, thanks for reading these, and other posts around my blogs. I hope that you all have a peaceful and prosperous 2011.

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The joys of motoring #6

So there I was, heading off up the M5 in Jennifer Jaguar with plenty of time to get round Brum and to my seminar around the M42/M6 interchange when the warning signs told me that the M5 was closed between junctions 6 and 5. Oh, well. Off at J8 and across via Pershore, Evesham and Stratford upon Avon and pick up the route again from that side.

Why is it that some idiot has failed to manage to drive along a piece of road where we’re all going the same way without driving into something? I know that I’ve asked  this before, but I do get the feeling that some people have to take their brains out before they get behind the wheel.

Despite my having left with time in hand I got to where I was going an hour later than planned. Not too bad under the circumstances, but I reckon I could have shaved another 15 minutes off that if it wasn’t for two other pieces of brainless activity (or non activity actually) on the part of my fellow car peddlers.

Firstly, why is it that so many people arrive at a roundabout and then stop and look to see if anyone is coming? Look as you are getting there and you can see whether or not you need to stop. If there’s no need to stop, then don’t.

Then there is the traffic light brigade, the worst example of which this morning was in Evesham. I’m eight cars back in the queue at a red light. The lights change. What seemed like three days later the person at the front woke up and moved off. A couple of the others followed fairly promptly, but the rest had to think about it. The bloke in front of me must have had to get the manual out to see which pedals did what as the one in front of him had almost got through the lights before he moved. And then the inevitable; he’s 30 feet from the lights and they start to change. All of a sudden he’s realised what the pedal on the right does and he goes for it, and is undeterred as the lights go red just before he gets there. Through he goes as I coast to a halt at the line.

So thanks to all you people who each wasted a few more seconds of my life again today, and thanks also to whoever caused the problem on the M5. I only missed 40 minutes of the seminar that I’d paid £400 (plus VAT) for because I know my way around and could find a different way. One of my fellow delegates wasn’t sure enough to try a diversion and missed three hours of the seminar.

The joys of motoring?

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Police helicopter to move – more fun with the media?

“Police helipcopter to move” screams the headline on the placard!

Goodness gracious! What could this mean? Has it been on static display outside Police HQ all of these years? Have they finally found the budget for enough fuel to fly it? Are they going to take it away on a truck?

The thing has been in regular movement since they got it. It has been flying around where I live for years, so has the local rag only just got wind of this or could it be another example of sloppy standards in journalism?

The latter of course. Yes, I know roughly what they mean in that there are ongoing issues about the shared service with Wiltshire NHS, but why should I have to interpret a simple headline? Surely accuracy would be better? “New base for Police helicopter”, for example, says it all.

Please stop dumbing down. We need better standards if we are to get this country back on its feet. The media are in the front line along with teachers and, first and foremost, parents.

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wiltshire wildlife encounters – the Falcon!

I was standing at the kitchen window admiring our flock of Sparrows. Allegedly in decline, but not for us this year; we have 25 – 30 at a time. Watching them flit around is a genuine pleasure for me and presents a peaceful moment or two to distract me from other tasks.

So there they were, and then they weren’t. Now I’m used to their disappearing act when something alerts them and they fly off en mass, but this time they dived low and into cover. Before I could ponder this too much a grey shape flew in from behind the cherry tree to land atop one of my bean-pole wigwams. Oh, it’s a pigeon that’s spooked them I thought, but…

The arrival was a blue/grey colour, but a little taller and slimmer than our fat pigeons. A barred chest, and white markings on the head framing cold eyes and a hooked beak. Perched there with steely talons was a falcon. I thought first maybe a Sparrowhawk, but the colour was wrong; no it was a Peregrine.

It surveyed the garden for about 90 seconds, sat tall on its perch, then took flight at high speed and roosted briefly in a neighbouring silver birch before flying off out of view.

I’ve not seen a Peregrine since I was about 13, and then only in flight. To have one barely 15 feet away was a rare privilege. I worry for my precious Sparrows with someone like that in the neighbourhood, but nature is nature and, as I’ve written here before, she can’t be controlled by the likes of us.

A special day.

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An interesting range of books – Roving Press

An interesting web site and range of books, and nice to be able to promote something local. I’d recommend a look.

Home – Roving Press.

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