Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Love is like a Butterfly

Or so they sung in Carla Lanes unfunny sitcom. Certainly both have been pretty damn scarce this year up at chez Rich. Just one butterfly seen to date and not a sniff of romance. Or even casual sex.

On the whole UK butterfly species are not doing to well. Of the 59 butterfly species that breed regularly in the UK and Ireland, more than three-quarters of species have suffered a decline since the 1970s, with numbers of several species down by more than two-thirds. But its not all bad news. The Essex skipper, comma, holly blue and speckled wood have all increased their range northwards thanks to global warming, and after a long period of extinction in the UK the large blue has been reintroduced from Sweden and is thriving at a number of sites. But these are the exceptions. And its habitat loss that’s the problem.

But even is a small garden you can help. Plant nectar rich plants such as buddleia, aubrietia and Sedums. But you also need places for caterpillars. And they like indigenous plants. Long grass, ivy, common trefoil, thistles and nettles amongst others. You really can have an attractive garden that’s also good for butterflies. Or a wilderness like Chez rich that should be good for butterflies. Except that I have seen just one solitary butterfly this year.

Perhaps its just still too cold up on my Telford hilltop. Its certainly going to be a brave girl who bares herself in the heating free arctic of my house. Maybe warmer weather will bring more butterflies. I certainly hope so. And as for sex, well I can always pay for that.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Its always the Americans fault.

Frogs are in massive decline. Partly like nearly every other species this is due of course to global warming, habitat loss and general human shittyness. However, frogs also have to deal with the global spread of a nasty fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (catchy name huh?) which has amongst its symptoms, Death. (for frogs, not humans before you go off into a weird tabloid driven bird flue hysteria...)

Now, the North American bull frog is a strict follower of US foreign policy. In that it has invaded many countries and habitats where it is not wanted. It then goes on to out eat and out compete (and sometimes just eat) the local inhabitants. Now it turns out that the good old bull frog (Rana catesbeiana to its friends) is also a carrier of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis but does not pop its clogs as a result. It just gives it to the local frog population & wipes them out, in a sort of 'collateral damage'. The chytrid fungus has now entered the UK frog population & is doing its thing. But its ok, its probably just another friendly fire incident.

Ok Ok, cheap humour. Especially as the fungus probably originated in Africa & may well have been introduced into the global frog population as a result of British pregnancy test experiments. (yup, they used frogs for pregnancy tests - but I've no idea how. I just have this sick vision of frogs on strings, I'll leave that).

For those of you who are interested in frogs, Jen has some good stuff.

Dead Birds, Live frogs.

I have four pairs of blackbirds nesting in or around the extensive wilderness of Chez Rich. This weekend I had 3 dead young blackbirds in the garden. Either Magpies or Cats. And, since I think Magpies are protected, I'm blaming the Cats. Worse, I found the body of an adult female. She had got some plastic mesh wrapped around her neck and had hung herself in the pine tree. So not much hope for her chicks. Blackbirds are one of the species that are doing pretty well still, despite mankind’s best efforts, but its still rather sad to lose so many.

On a happier note, I have a frog. Not from the tadpoles (although they are just starting to grow legs - Red tells me that according to Muppet science this makes them Pollywogs) but an illegal immigrant. Now I have worked long and hard to build a wildlife pond & frog des res. But does Mr frog use it. Oh no. He's in the half completed formal pond. I'm not sure how he got in, but I'm damn sure that there's no easy way out. So I'm there with a net. For 40 minutes. Getting crosser & less pro frog by the second. Just as I am about to accept that I have lost this particular battle of wits and leave him to rot, he decides he's had his fun & jumps into the net. So he (she, it) is now in the correct pond & hopefully will spend his evenings devouring my excessive slug population. Now, if I can just get some bats to deal with the mosquito explosion all will be good.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yo - Finland

Your vote can make a difference. I personally feel there is a very real case for making voting compulsory. Not perhaps in such trivialities as general elections, but certainly for the cultural desert that is Eurovision.
Yup, on Saturday night, suitably beered, I settled down to watch the Eurovision song contest. Unfortunately, with so many countries now entering there are heats and we lose some of the dross. But by no means all. It was also in Greece, and Sir Terrence is not at his most bitter and vitriolic when he’s not cold. He also seemed less inebriated than usual, which disappoints. Still, he did refer to some of the score presenters as ejiits and demand their removal from our screens.
But the real joy of the evening was the entry from Finland. Lead by a badly resurrected undead Roy Wood and supported by a selection of lord of the rings orc extras, they banged out a sort of Van Halen for the musically challenged. Fantastic. I voted for them. Several times. The joy of automatic redial. And Finland won. Stormed home by a long way.
Better yet, this means that next years contest will be flooded by bad European power metal in fancy dress. And Joy, It will be held in the freezing wastes of Finland. So Wogan should be at his most evil and drunken. I can hardly wait.

Finlands Lordi & Irelands Lord T. (Terry's on the right).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ya ya - ate worms - not a Scot - ya ya

So I ate worms. It was a bet. And a bet is a bet. But tougher than I expected. In the past all I had to do was wave a spade in the direction of my garden and worms abounded. But once they know your eating them its a different game. A lot of rummaging through the rain filled sod as it were. But finally I have worms. So to purge them of dirt you let them spend 12 hours in damp cornflour. Fine. Yvonne lends (gives possibly) me cornflour. Worms are left to roam. I come home from work to find the cornflour has set into a solid block, imprisoning the worms. A good rinse free's them. Boy do they wriggle. But after 12 hours imprisoned in concrete so would I. They still looked happy as I dropped them into boiling water.
I'm a wimp. I hate killing things. I'm no veggie, if other people do the dirty work I have no qualms. I just don't - you know, like killing things. I'm a wimp. Still, boiled the crap out of the worms. Forced Gaz to eat one (no point owning a dwarf otherwise) and when he wasn't sick I took them to the pub. And we ate. Congats to Me, Gaz, H, Denis and Becky. (actually, Becky got a tase for them & we had to restrain her.) Unfortunately, the pictures of worm cooking did not come out. But there are a few of worm eating.

The one I ate was very gritty & very bitter. Not a pleasant experience. I can't see them becoming a regular part of my diet.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


My father kindly bought me a new bed for a houswarming present. And it has arrived. And its huge. I'm sure it wasn't that big in the shop. I'm 6'2" and I struggle to get on to it. Short people will need a ladder. It also has very low friction coasters. And my bedroom has a laminate floor that, like everything at chez Rich is far from level. So every time I move at night the bed takes off across the room. This means its important to switch off the bedside lamp before getting into bed. Reach out an arm once your in bed and the bed skates away and only stops when the lamp is completely out of reach. This morning the bed had somehow turned through 90 degrees & was pressed up against the wardrobe. Still, it adds a frisson of excitement to the waking up process.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Frogs in the making...

The Tadpoles are growing fat. Mainly by eating my hugely expensive pond snails - the B**!"!!*s.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Who owns the fish?

There are five houses in a row and in five different colors.
In each house lives a person from a different country.
Each person drinks a certain drink, smokes a certain cigar and keeps a certain pet.
No two people drink the same drink, smoke the same cigar or keep the same pet.

* the Brit lives in a red house.
* The Swede keeps dogs.
* The Dane drinks tea.
* The green house is on the left of the white house.
* The green house owner drinks coffee.
* The person who smokes pall mall rears birds.
* The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
* The man living in the house right in the centre drinks milk.
* The Norwegian lives in the first house.
* The man who smokes blends lives next to the man who keeps cats.
* The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who smokes Dunhill.
* The man who smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.
* The German smokes Prince.
* The Norwegian lives next door to the blue house.
* The man who smokes blend has a neighbor who drinks water.

So, who owns the fish?

gotta eat worms

Due to a drunken bet with the aero-alkie that is Uncrowned, I have to eat worms. I belive you just soak them to purge them of their gritty contents & then shallow fry. But any further recipies or info will be appreciated.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pond II

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


My friend Gary has rendered himself homeless. So he is staying with me until he sorts himself out. Given that he's had 40+ years to do this and not come close, this is a little worrying. Fortunately, Stinky the hedgehog (search the archives if you care) has been released back into the wild. But Puffers the tortoise is staying with us. And so far Puffers and I are getting on. However, everytime we (Gaz & I, Puffers doesn't drink, she's a tortoise) get drunk (most nights) Gary and I argue. Fortunately this in no way affects our friendship. Unfortunately I may have to kill him an bury him under the cellar floor.