The valley is a source of constant change, surprise and stunning views, even on a day such as today. Up here we can have sunlight and think it’s a good morning. However one glance down the valley tells the true story. If we can see across to the Mountains clearly then thats fine, the sun will shine it will be warm/hot depending on time of year. However, if like today we look out and can’t see the mountains then we KNOW it’s going to be a mixed/dull day depending on which way the weather pattern and wind is blowing. So the next sunny but blowy day I decided that after everything in the FFZone being soaked it was time for action!
The Fly Free Zone
Remember this? Well as you know we have the boys and discovered two things about the roof and the vine. First off the vine was so heavy it began tearing the netting with it’s weight. This meant that we couldn’t let the boys out without being there incase they found one of the holes. Then there was the little matter of rain, when it did, the wooden roof was basically a sieve, water poured in. So with summer on the doorstep bringing those nasty black biting flies we decided it was time to sort it out. I had already laid a new floor and tidied up round the pillars. Plant pots placed table and chairs in situ all looked very nice, then it rained!!!! so I thought, lets get this done. A visit to the local builders merchant sorted out the roof, 3 panels of painted corrugated did the trick, and new netting added the finishing touches. We did not remove the old netting it will stop the boys from damaging the new stuff when they fly around. So on a not so dull day we set to work.
I was up the ladder undoing the screws then passing the planks down to my wife, Earlier I had cut some cross members shaped the ends to fit the two supporting trunks then nailed them into positing. Finally with a little ‘heath robinson’ know how plus a wife with a broom (careful folks lol) I had the first panel up, then the wind got up! So whilst I was getting the bolts to secure the panel in place my wife was up the ladder holding on to the panel to stop it moving, one up two more to go. Surprisingly these went up quite quickly and were soon in place, then it rained. Not a lot, just enough to test the roof and know what IT WORKED!! not a leak anywhere. So I moved a water cube down to the side ran temporary guttering and it duly rained. We moved the vine to the side of the little house so it has a nice new home and is leafing away nicely, lots of green shoots, plenty of sun so hopefully we will get some grapes this year. The weather then kindly rained on and off over the next few days so the cube is now full.
Well it appears they were not successful with their first attempt at breeding but they are having another go. I have turned their nest box to face the wall so that the wind doesn’t blow straight into it. A necessity as over the past few days the wind has been blowing a hooley.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc Author
Posted in About my writing, Book Reviews, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birding, books, cafes, dogs, farming, forestry, gardening, goats, London, restaurants, rivers, sailing, spain, weather, wildlife, wine | Leave a Comment »
R.I.P “You are doing a wonderful job Jeremy, a wonderful job, yes indeed, St Margaret would be proud of you my boy.” “Thank you Prime Minister.” “Yes you walk tall in …
Source: Hunt For Destruction
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I am not a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn too much of a pacifist for my liking, however he is playing the EU referendum very well. Criticised by the Tory press for not supporting the Prime Minister…
Source: Referendum, But whose?
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Ok I will start with the garden as I have spent long wasted hours trying to get it organized in between bouts of a bad cold, so I finally gave in and decided to design the back garden with the help from Sir. We have almost finished landscaping it – not grand just a simple design based on the shape – and now the daffs and tulips are beginning to come through. The Hyacinths are nearly over, edging plants planted so I can finish off the bits and pieces before the summer heat arrives. These are wild daffs that grow in the forest, I rescued them from the digger about a year ago and they finally flowered this year. Their perfume is really something for such little flowers. As for the grape hyacinths this one appeared in the pot please don’t ask how it just did but you can see how small they are and they are all over the place, another one I have to move when digging.
I had a nice surprise when we visited our friends, my gardening mate said I have just the thing for you, grows like wildfire and spreads so make sure you plant it only where you need it. Pretty little flower but it self-seeds so will have to watch it, but it will do very nicely and add some colour to the back garden.
Now Euphorbia. I have been going on about these plants for ages how they are rampant up here so I thought I’d show what I mean. The bush on its own is the one growing in the border behind the house and these others are at the entrance to the forest. I thought they looked good with the wood behind them, and yes I do know they are poisonous. They are allowed to grow up here but if I have to move them I pull them up without breaking the stems so keeping the sap away. We have 5 different types from small heads to large double heads, but this is the first year I have seen such a display as above.
Now for those of you who know these things I have a little task. Above and below are photos were taken of two different plants one of which, I think, is Borrage what the other one is I do not know, but again they grow in abundance here. If anyone can tell me what they are I would be grateful. I just let them go if they are in the garden as they make a nice display I collect seeds but I can’t sow them to early as the ants munch everything up here, bit like a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
We do not know who this is but he is light enough to sit on a piece of grass and only bend it. I did think it was a Sky Lark as we have one or two up here, what ever he is he’s welcome. We have not seen our Robins this year but Boris Blackbird is going strong so is the little Wall Walker he nested under the little house roof again. We have seen a Little Owl but not been able to get a photo yet, and today we saw our first Blue Tit. There are plenty of Great Tits about and we have heard the Nightingale, it woke Michael the other morning just before it got light. So I can say that the forest is gradually getting back to normal, although we haven’t seen any Wrens down the track we have seen them along the river road. I also have a secure place where I tip the unwanted seed when cleaning the Boys out and the wild birds go there. I have noticed that there are green shoots growing so will be interesting to see what come of this.
Talking of which unfortunately we have no news on this front. They are still sitting but as we have been told by a breeder they are a young pair so they may not produce any young this time round. We wondered if moving them in and out was disturbing them so we are in the process of sorting out the FFZ to make it more ‘Boys’ friendly, new netting and replacing the old roof then perhaps they will nest again and produce babies. In the meantime they are still shouting and fighting over things. Calling to the other birds especially the Black Redstart. But the funniest thing was when the song bird started singing they sat and listened no squawking or shouting they just sat there, wonderful. Oh and they will always be the Boys or Big Moma X and the Cooler King to me they are soooo funny.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birding, birds, boats, books, farming, forestry, gardening, restaurants, vineyards, weather, wildlife, wine | Leave a Comment »
When An Idea Hits
This is how I feel when a new book hits me. A Plymouth Story had been wandering around for some while, here and there I wrote things down but nothing had fallen into place nothing solid or tangible, just odd ideas and feelings. Then one day from out of nowhere something nudges you or pops into your head and there it is, the story. I have been used to characters dictating the way things should go so it was a bit of a shock when A Plymouth Story finally popped up as it had been hanging around in the background, always there but not quite ready.
Strangely enough it wasn’t the boats in the marina where we went for coffee on a Sunday evening, or even the sea that was the trigger, it was this picture of the sun just coming up over the distant mountains that did it. As I stood there watching dawn come tumbling across the valley, I remembered times when walking the dog I would stand on the beach and watch the sun rising over the horizon. A sight that always made me think of sailing ships seeing a new day or perhaps sighting the enemy, of sailors watching the sun slowly climbing up the sky forecasting a warm day . Little did I think as I stood there that one day it would inspire me to write a story.
Putting The Story Together
I have always been interested in sailing ships and their history, perhaps it was the fact my birthday is on Trafalgar day, maybe a bit of Nelson got me, who knows. What I do know is that my thirst for historical facts and figures, plus battles won and lost, fights, skirmishes, sneaky goings on and the personal history of those in charge has driven me to acquire a small library of books and information. Visits to museums, Portsmouth docks, the Victory and Warrior all contributed to my knowledge and writing. My first attempt at this was the Jason Watson series. A look at the social side of life the things that were and weren’t acceptable, how the rich and powerful lived and carried on treading a line that was outwardly correct but inwardly often immoral. But it was not totally what I was after.
I wanted a personal story of life aboard ship for the ordinary sailor. Most men were pressed into the service or sent from prisons. So this is where I started from no rich parents to provide money and a step on the ladder, just an ordinary man who lived and worked on land on this basis I began to form the character of James.
A Plymouth Story
This is not Plymouth but Dartmouth, but try to imagine its Plymouth in the 1700’s and you’re looking at a street. Now imagine the houses without the main road and lighting. Instead picture cobbled streets leading down towards the jetty and sea wall. Picture houses packed together, horses pulling carts over straw covered streets to try deadening the noise. Boys or men pulling hand carts along with sea chests on them on their way to an inn, people selling goods or just calling out to friends. Into this comes a chandlers clerk, hardworking and honest, but at the beck and call of a mother who wallowed in her ill-health demanding this and that, a man with no life of his own. Watch as on his way to the apothecary for more medicine he is knocked on the head and wakes up far out to sea onboard the Frigate Amazon. This is a story of adventure, life onboard the Amazon seems strange to this man, but James has a thirst for learning, now you have the beginning of an adventure.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Book Reviews, Our Life | Tagged America, American war of independence, Chatham, doctors, medician, naval history, Nelson, Plymouth, Portsmouth, royal navy, sailing, St Barts hospital, West Indies | Leave a Comment »