Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Eye of newt ..

This time of the year the pond appears to grow blanket weed like a candyfloss machine. The weed holds onto the sides like thrift clings on the edge of cliff tops. It then weaves its way through the oxygenating plants twisting and choking them so thickly that the fish have to fight for both light and space. Having tried everything on the market there still appears to be nothing quite as effective as a hands on approach. A gentle tug until the slimy green wispy web of a million plants has been prized off its moorings. Trying to untangle its weavings from other plants is not quite so easily achieved.

The most difficult task is to try and avoid damaging the natural wildlife that lives in both the shallows and the depths of a pond. This time, in amongst the pile of slimy blanket weed there appeared to be a black shiny eye peeping back .. it was a young newt. The sweetest of amphibians had been rescued and placed gently back in the water of the pond, once most of the blanket weed had been removed.

Common Newt of Smooth Newt  - Triturus vulgaris - young newt

Common Newt or Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris) – young newt

The English drought of 2012

The Winter was considerably dry and with the lack of usual rainfall in the previous Autumn that meant we were reliant on heavy snowfalls and a wet Spring to top up the water table. We did have snow but nothing like the quantity we needed for ensuring plentiful water to be deposited in rivers,lakes, canals and reservoirs. Winter tumbled on into March and suddenly we had Mediterranean weather – beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the lower 20’s (Celsius). People tore off their Winter garb and quickly embraced T-shirts and light-weight Summer garments.

Several rivers have caused concern including the river Rye in Yorkshire, which dried up in places. This meant that the Environment Agency had to take action and save as many fish as possible from areas where the river had ‘ponded.’ 

As soon as we turned April over on the calendar their was talk of drought – hosepipe bans – water shortages – problems with dry crumbling soils – spoiled crops . . . then the rains began. Not the usual light showers followed by hours of sunshine but relentless heavy battering drops that thundered on and on day after day, April temperatures fell back down the scale.

Now we are well into May and still we are having showers and bleak, grey days and frosts in many areas at night. The water table in many areas has increased to such a point that most of the country is now not in drought, though the South-East is still in need of quite a bit more rainfall. Areas of the country have received quite large deposits of snow and others have had heavy hail storms. The rest of us are secretly longing for a lick of sunshine and a bit of warmth, perhaps just a hint that it may not be too long before we can don some Summer clothes and share some space with the bees!

May be?

This is the first year that I can remember, in such a long time, that English bluebells are still flowering well into the ‘merry month of May.’

Every year, as a child, my father would take me bluebell picking. Most of the bluebells in our area lined country lanes and grew in thick masses on the far side of brooks, streams and deep ditches, all of which supported tall, broad-leafed stinging nettles. For every other bluebell picked came a soft hair brushed against naked skin, a piercing pain and a bump or two as the rash appeared. Then a mixture of pain and itch and the urgent need to pick a dock leaf to rub on the wound and ease the rash.Bluebell English