Saturday, 10 December 2016

a damp day

It was a damp day, too damp to work outside and anyway I am nursing my potential cold while it decides whether it is turning into a proper thing or not.  I feel rather clammy, and definitely not like contending with damp.  Instead I spent the day going through the piles of magazines, catalogues, leaflets and other accumulated paper on my desk, reading some, rereading others, and binning quite a few.  I don't know why Peruvian Connection have sent me quite so many catalogues given how infrequently I buy anything from them nowadays, though somewhere in the secondary pile of paper on the kitchen table I know there is their most recent mailing, which is exactly the same as the previous one but has a code to get free delivery until Christmas.  Their t shirts are initially expensive but eventually cheap on a cost per wear basis because they last so long without coming apart or morphing into a shape bearing no resemblance to mine.  I am still wearing some I bought from Peruvian Connection before we bought this house, which dates them to some time before August 1993.

One of the magazines was the annual report of The Barn Owl Trust.  Alas, 2016 has not been a good year for barn owl breeding.  The Trust blames the cool, damp spring which meant that nesting started late.  Life has not been good for barn owls generally in recent years, with loss of habitat and food, too many barn conversions and loss of nesting sites, and road traffic accidents.  A terrifying proportion of young barn owls are killed on roads before ever managing to breed themselves.  I always feel very warm towards The Barn Owl Trust and would volunteer for them if they weren't based in Ashburton, Devon.  As it is I pay my subscription and each year I buy our Christmas pudding from them.  They are excellent puddings, made by a small firm in the Lake District whose marketing strategy is to distribute their puddings through charities.  I ignore the annual articles in the press giving ideas for a change from Christmas pudding.  Why would I want a change?  I like Christmas pudding and we only have it once a year.

An article in one of the beekeeping magazines reminded me that having left most of my bees with a super of their own honey to feed them over the winter instead of taking all the honey and giving them sugar syrup, I ought to have removed the queen excluder that prevents the queen from going up into the super so that she can't lay there.  Otherwise, if the entire cluster of bees moves up to use the stores in the super the queen will be left behind and will die of cold.  So far it hasn't been that cold and anyway they should still have plenty of stores down in the brood box so no harm has been done yet.  I am left wondering what I then do in the spring if the queen has taken up residence in the super and started laying eggs there.

An advertisement in the RSPB magazine for plain wool cardigans looked quite hopeful.  Good quality, pure wool cardigans in a single block colour, no stripes or patterns or extraneous buttons or sparkly bits that are supposed to make them fun but are just annoying, are surprisingly difficult to find.  I like merino, which is soft but wonderfully hard wearing and tends not to bobble.  Cashmere may carry its aura of luxury but it has a price tag to match and is not hard wearing at all.  I had a look at the advertiser's website, mentally dismissed the cardigans with brass buttons (such a waste), and bookmarked the site for later, since when it has been stalking me across various news websites.

Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and sunny and we are supposed to be going candle making.  Fingers crossed.

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