Saturday 31 August 2013

Famous Today - Prosecution Tomorrow.

Following the Jimmy Saville case, a number of entertainers who were teen idols in the sixties and seventies, have been arrested and accused of indecent assault and even rape of under aged girls. Of course there is no excuse for this in the eyes of the law, or indeed at all for the truly innocent; but it is certainly a fact that many girl fans who were a shade under the legal age limit, were determined to get laid by the celebrities of their dreams, or by anybody who was famous, especially if they played rock music. They were a part of the sixties generation in which many people believed that was what you did if you had the opportunity.
Now, all these years later, some of these self same stars from the days of yore, are been hauled into the courts by some of their willing victims, who with maturity, have come to conclusion that they were taken advantage of. No wonder the old codgers look so bemused as they face judgement day here on earth, at an age when many of them will soon be shuffling off for an even higher court of celestial reckoning.
Recently a popular group of famous boy-band stars, "One Direction," attended the premier of their new film in London. Thousands of enraptured girl fans, most of them in their early teens, waited to welcome their idols. They all seemed incredibly keen to draw attention to themselves and display just how deep and sincere their worship was.

One couldn't help but wonder just how far they would go with one of their heroes, given the opportunity and some encouragement. But perhaps we need not worry. Many of the placards these girls displayed said "Marry Me" instead of "Sleep With Me." Perhaps the decencies are being preserved. 

Friday 30 August 2013

Wood Pigeons.

Over the years I have tolerated these plump and pushy birds. I have rescued them innumerable times when they have entered the greenhouse to feed on our produce and then been too dumb to get out. I have allowed them to feed from the bird table, even though they devoured most of the food placed there, thus denying the smaller birds a decent feed. I have let them trample all over our daffodils and I have never seriously contemplated harming them.
But of late, it seems that this treatment has encouraged more than ever of them to frequent the garden and they are starting to be a significant pest. Unfortunately,  they are too large to be tackled by our also numerous Sparrow Hawks, which can take out a Collard Dove but do not attack the Wood Pigeons. 
This has resulted in me shocking myself, with the thought that I should cull some of these birds. I don't know whether I can steel myself to do it, but just in case, I have been reading through pigeon recipes and looking at an excellent video about how to pluck and gut them. (View.)
Macabre or what! No, just cost effective game control and usage in the countryside. It couldn't be more natural.  

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Thursday 29 August 2013

The Old Woodman.

Whilst on a woodland walk today, I got to thinking about an old chap I knew in my secondary school days. His name was Mr Butterworth and I would sometimes come across him when I was out walking the woods with our dog "Rusty".
At the time he was about sixty years of age, rather skinny and always dressed in that no-fuss country yokel style, that was just about standard in countryside and farm workers up until the end of the second world war; waistcoat, gaiters and even down to a knotted handkerchief round his neck. He was a woodsman who worked by himself in "Balls Wood" Hertford Heath, which was managed by the Forestry Commission.
Butterworth was a shy and retiring man and it took quite a long period of time to get to know him. In passing I would wish him good day and he would just nod in reply. However, his collie companion was much more friendly and gradually the ice thawed and we got talking.
When moving work from one location in the wood to another, the first thing he would do, was build himself a hut, rather like a den, which would be hidden out of sight in the bracken. It would be constructed with a green branch framework and thatched over with bracken. It was only a temporary shelter, but it kept out the wind and rain. Here he would keep his tools and old army rucksack.
In a safe spot near the hut he would build a slow fire on a hearth of rocks and a billycan of water would be on the boil for making tea. One day I was offered a mug of tea and that was how we got talking. The subject we had in common was an interest in nature. At the time I was often in the wood to check on the progress and safety of a Tawny Owl's nest which contained two owlets. My host was really adept at finding nests and he would often show my the superbly camouflaged nests of ground nesting birds. How he found them always amazed me, as this was something I was not good at.
One of the things that he taught me, was how to set a rabbit snare. First you had to find a run in the grass and then from the patterns of tracks, identify a place where the rabbit would take off in it's next hop. You would then peg the snare with the wire loop open above that spot. When the rabbit next came down the run, especially if it had been startled, it would be snared and that would be the end of another pest which was destroying his young saplings. If the rabbit was not eaten by foxes during the night, he would skin and gut it and place it a pot over the fire to make a stew.
Other tracks that he showed me were those of the elusive Muntjac deer, which in those days were not as common as they are now.
Although he was tremendously knowledgeable about his work and the wildlife that surrounded him, he was not at all interested in the news of the larger world. I remember him being completely disbelieving that mankind had visited the moon. He found that to be totally beyond the bounds of reason.
After I left home and went to sea, I never had a chance to meet this character again. He was part of a dying breed and I was lucky to have had a chance to share some of his wisdom. He lived in the nearby hamlet of Goose Green. A couple of years ago I visited the area and walked in those woods with my son. They are not so well tended now that there is no longer a dedicated resident woodman to care for them.


Monday 26 August 2013

Terrific Tea Treats The Teeth.

Somewhere in the jottings of news today, I read that research has found that drinking four cups of black tea a day, even if they contain sugar and milk, can act as a preventative against tooth decay.

Just how does that work one wonders? Do the tannin stains build up so quickly that they coat the teeth completely and make them impervious to the nasty germs that do the damage?

If brown teeth are healthy teeth, we won't be smiling too often.


Sunday 25 August 2013

Lardies In The Gym. (Gym Slips 9)

Enorma and Tubitha (not their real names,) are large ladies in that peculiarly British fashion. They are about 40 years old, but somewhere in the lost decade since they were thirty, things have gone badly out of control and their body size has ballooned, until they both resemble huge roly-poly silk worm cocoons, complete with external bingo-wing appendages. This of course, is not a healthy state of affairs and it is to their credit that they have decided to do something about it.
That something is a spot of hard exercise in the gym. This is day one and undaunted they are struggling to mount the treadmills.
Editor's note: I was going to continue this sketch with some panted dialogue between these new exercisers, but unfortunately they stopped coming to the gym. That was a pity, because they talked a lot about someone called  "Skelly," who was it seems, very slim and was therefore a person that they loved to find fault with. It was also a pity because their good intentions apparently vanished.