# Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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This interesting looking creature is a ladybird spider. It is one of Britain’s rarest spiders and is in the news because it is being reintroduced at a nature reserve in Dorset. The spiders were once thought to be extinct but recently numbers of them have been rising. The spiders get their name from the distinctive ladybird like markings on their backs. They spend much of their time underground and as such are rarely seen. In 1994 there was thought to be just one colony of the spiders remaining in the UK with only 56 individual spiders remaining. This has led to a conservation efforts to increase numbers to more than 1,000. The program has involved captive breeding and releasing the spiders back into the wild. Conservationists have found that the best way to transfer them to their new homes is in empty water bottles which work as temporary burrows until the spiders become established in the local heathland.

posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:47:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you are visiting the beach this summer then you might want to keep an eye out for turtles. The Marine Conservation Society has asked the public to report any sightings of leatherback turtles during August. Apparently it is a peak time to spot the creatures in UK waters and see whether there are any areas where conservation measures may be needed. The turtles arrive from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to feed on jellyfish which this year have been seen in large numbers in the Irish Sea. There have already been a dozen turtle sightings this summer but it is hoped many more might be spotted.

posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:45:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My latest courgette experiment has been courgette chutney. The courgette jam was a lot nicer than expected so flushed with success I decided to try a chutney. I used a good 10-14 courgettes chopped into small pieces some tomatoes, a couple of onions, a few pints of cigar vinegar and a couple of bowls of brown sugar. This was all boiled until thickened and actually smells quite nice. It needs a few months to mature so the final taste test will have to wait but its looking like a good way to use up a large batch of courgettes. Now what to do with the other 30?

posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 9:45:24 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, August 15, 2011

According to this article essential oils could be behind a rise in unexplained house fires. It seems that more people are using essential oils on pillows and towels. This linen is then often washed at low temperatures and put into a tumble drier where it can catch fire. The problem is that the linen needs to be washed at 40 degrees plus for the oil to fully break down otherwise it can linger on the linen and as it is highly flammable can cause a fire hazard. It’s not really something I have considered but I will certainly be more careful when washing linen that may have residues of oils still on it.

posted on Monday, August 15, 2011 10:20:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 14, 2011

Courgette Jam 001After a few months of eating courgettes for pretty much every meal, I am exhausting the recipe possibilities. Having tried many of the nicer sounding ones I came across an idea for courgette or marrow jam. I haven't really made mine to a recipe but have basically used about 15 courgettes and a good sized piece of root ginger which I chopped and boiled until tender. I then strained the courgettes through a sieve and added the equivalent weight in sugar before boiling to the setting point. It’s an unusual taste similar to a marmalade but is quite tasty. I still have many more courgettes so might make another batch although I do also have an interesting chutney recipe I might give a go.

posted on Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:55:30 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This is interesting it’s a giant Satsuma that has been created by crossing a Satsuma with a mandarin and an orange. It is about six times bigger than an ordinary Satsuma and has been developed naturally from Asian fruit.  Called the Satsumo it will cost £1.99 per kilo and will soon be on sale in Marks and Spencer.

posted on Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:33:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, August 13, 2011

Now that we have had our 5 month scan we feel more confident that everything is ok with our baby and have begun to purchase some essentials. I guess the main problem is when it’s your first child you never quite know what the essentials are. There are lots of lists available suggesting endless things to purchase but how many of these do you really need? I guess we really won’t know until the little one arrives. What did you purchase for your new baby and how much of it really got used?

posted on Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:48:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is interesting is a scheme being launched in Wales where shoppers will pay for their carrier bags with the proceeds being donated to a good cause. Customesr will pay 5p per bag which should raise around £50 million a year for charities. The scheme is due to be introduced in Wales from the 1st of October and there are already calls for it to be introduced across Britain. The Welsh administration believed the scheme will cut the number of bags used by as much as 90% as well as generating between £2million and £3million for good causes in Wales alone.

posted on Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:45:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-2021850-0D44E42000000578-559_468x469This is interesting its a rat that uses the toxins from a deadly plant to protect itself from predators. The Crested Rat from East Africa does this by gnawing on the bark of the Acokanthera or poison arrow tree. The poison is then absorbed into hollow hairs on the animals flanks. When attacked the rat’s fur bristles as a warning, however, if the warning is ignored and the predator bites the rat it receives a mouth full of toxins and will soon die of heart failure.

posted on Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:41:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, August 12, 2011

If you do then you might be part of a dying group of people. According to this article many of us prefer to simply carry cards and never have any cash on us. It seems one in eight people do not feel the need to carry cash with them and rely on cards. If this is the case it could mean more companies move towards contactless cards for small purchases. I must admit to never having much cash on me but I do always have a little just in case.

posted on Friday, August 12, 2011 11:15:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

With both the allotment and the vegetables in the garden coming along well we still have no shortage of vegetables. We are still knee deep in courgettes despite me freezing a massive batch. The latest crop to be to ready is the runner beans and once again there are far more than we can hope to eat. I spent an evening processing them by blanching them for about 2 minutes in boiling water, cooling them and bagging them for freezing. We now have a freezer full of beans and courgettes so there should be plenty to see us through the winter.

posted on Friday, August 12, 2011 10:55:56 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, August 11, 2011

article-2022496-0D4C22A300000578-630_224x570article-2022496-0D4C23BA00000578-892_224x703article-2022496-0D4C523F00000578-774_224x562According to this article Debenhams have recently launched a range of dresses inspired by the royal wedding. It seems there has been so much demand for dresses in the style of the ones worn by Kate and Pippa that this collection has been released. One of the dresses is a dress inspired by the bridesmaid dress worn by Pippa Middleton which will go one sale for £170. It is quite a nice looking dress which I imagine will sell quite well at that price. A dress based on the one worn by Pippa at the evening reception will also be released. This one is a green emerald gown which will sell for £99. A flower girl dress has also been released on sale at £48 and a black cocktail dress based on Kate’s wedding dress is also part of the range.

posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 10:43:27 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article hot dogs are undergoing something of a reinvention. It seems there are a few companies out there that are starting to create good quality hot dogs to be proud of rather than the pathetic frankfurter in a bun you might be expecting when you think of hot dogs. The article highlights one man called Cooper who sells his hot dogs at Dulwich’s North Cross Road. He creates high end bespoke hot dogs. His basic hot dog consisting of a 100% beef served in a bun starts at £2.90. He also has more adventurous creations such as The Mexican Elvis containing steak-and-pinto-bean sauce, a thick slice of cheddar, jalapeños, onions, hot cheese sauce and guacamole. The Dogfather with chorizo and mozzarella, homemade marinara sauce. The Snoop Dog with bacon, cheddar, spring onions, bbq sauce and corn mayo and The Slum Dog saag aloo, onion bhaji flakes, curried mango mayo and jalapeños. They all sound far removed from the hot dogs I am used to and well worth a try.

posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 10:37:06 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 10, 2011

According to this article our garden birds are currently being hit by an avian pox virus. The virus which leads to warty tumour like growths on birds has been affecting a wide range of birds including dunnocks, house sparrow, starlings and wood pigeons. The worst affected birds, however, seem to be great tits which seem to suffer from much more severe infections. Conservationists are calling for member's of the public to help track the spread of the disease by looking out for birds with symptoms and reporting them to the RSPB Wildlife Enquiries Unit on 01767 693690. It is thought the virus is spread through direct contact between birds and also indirect contact via perches and bird feeders where the birds congregate. You can help by keeping any bird tables and birds feeders disinfected to try and prevent the spread of any disease.

posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:38:20 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This is interesting it’s a virtual supermarket on a train platform. Posters of supermarket shelves stacked with items are pasted onto platform walls. The user points their smartphone at the items they wish to buy and the goods are then delivered to their home address. The system has been successfully trialled at Seoul station in South Korea and could soon be coming the UK. Personally I can’t really see how it would work in our cramped, overcrowded tube stations at rush hour. What would be more annoying than rushing for a train and having to avoid not only the other commuters but also people standing with their phones doing their weekly shop.

posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:36:01 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article which suggests they are the most endangered group of animals. A report has found that 36% of freshwater wish are threatened. They are faced with problems such as overfishing, pollution and construction. Among the greatest risk of dying out are several UK species such as the European eel and Shetland charr.

posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:30:28 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback