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Sunday, 11 July 2010
Red Deer

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These are red deer relaxing under a tree. According to the British Wildlife Centre:

Red deer are Britain’s largest native land mammal and, together with the roe deer, are our only native deer species. All other deer species have been introduced.

In all deer species (except the reindeer) only the male has antlers. Antlers are shed each Spring and immediately a new set starts to grow, taking 16 weeks to reach full size in August. They are made of a type of dense and very solid bone and whilst growing are covered with a hairy skin called velvet which is shed when the antlers have reached their full size for that year.

The stag uses his antlers to fight other males during the mating season, known as the rut, which lasts for three weeks in October. You can see past years antlers from our stag in the reception area.

Apparently there is a population of 316 thousand red deer in the UK.

Posted by bigblue on 11/07/2010 at 08:41 AM
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Saturday, 10 July 2010
Polecat

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This is a polecat, described by Wikipedia thus:

The European Polecat (Mustela putorius), also known as a fitch, foumart, or foulmart, is a member of the Mustelidae family, and is related to the stoats, otters, and minks. Polecats are dark brown with a lighter bandit-like mask across the face, pale yellow underbody fur, a long tail and short legs. They are somewhat larger than weasels but smaller than otters, weighing between 0.7 kg for females to 1.7 kg for males. The European Polecat is the wild ancestor of the domesticated ferret.

Strangely I can see no sign of a a “bandit like mask”, but I notice the animal has distincitve face markings.

Posted by bigblue on 10/07/2010 at 09:14 AM
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Friday, 09 July 2010
A summer bud and a flower

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I don’t know what plant the bud is from, but I assume the flower below is a daisy.

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Posted by bigblue on 09/07/2010 at 08:32 AM
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Thursday, 08 July 2010
Collapsed market

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One suspects (hopes?) that the market for this stuff will now be dead for the next 2 years at least.

Posted by bigblue on 08/07/2010 at 08:10 AM
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Wednesday, 07 July 2010
A Walk In The Woods With Robert Frost

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Overcast but warm,
The day dry, unusually.
Walking the woods with the dogs
As many times before.
Lucy and Tig, away in the rough dark deep,
Yipping with the scent of deer, excited.
Ruby, river scrambling, biting
At the bogwater, wagging, from the shoulders back

Along the old familiar track, into
The clearing where the roads diverge.
I stopped and stood. Which way to go?
Think of another Poet, and roads not taken.
Yes, I’ve been here before. This way I came.
That way I saw a squirrel once.
And down that way a badger
Straight on, the Mill Pond where ducks dabble.
Behind me then a stag, stares my way, and
Startled, slips into the wood.
I think again of Robert Frost and look a different way.
I stand a while. I turn, retrace my steps, recall, relive,
I’ll write this down, and this will be
The road I’ve taken.

by Martin Swords, June 2007.

A response to Robert Frost’s Road not Taken.  Elsewhere, Reginald Cook has written about an actual walk in the woods with Robert Frost.

Posted by bigblue on 07/07/2010 at 09:22 AM
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Go forth, with luck

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According to Wikipedia:

Number 4 (四; accounting 肆; pinyin sì) is considered an unlucky number in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death” (死 pinyin sǐ). Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the “4”: e.g. Nokia cell phones (there is no series beginning with a 4), Palm PDAs, Canon PowerShot G’s series (after G3 goes G5), etc. In East Asia, some buildings do not have a 4th floor. (Compare with the American practice of some buildings not having a 13th floor because 13 is considered unlucky.) In Hong Kong, some high-rise residential buildings literally miss all floor numbers with “4”, e.g. 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors. As a result, a building whose highest floor is number 50 may actually have only 36 physical floors.

Looking at the above photograph (taken in Wing Yip) I wonder if a supersticious person would rather “foursake” the free tin, or whether they would buy eight (of which two would be free).  The number four doesn’t seem to have been lucky for the person who printed the sign, as they misspelt “fourth” as “forth”.

Posted by bigblue on 07/07/2010 at 08:52 AM
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Tuesday, 06 July 2010
Safe Cycling

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Oxford is a bicycle friendly city, and I took the photograph above on a Sunday morning which is presumably one of its safest times of the week.  However just moments before taking the photograph we witnessed an “incident” (OK a near-incident) since the father (in the front group of the photograph) let the son cycle ahead and was shouting directions from behind.  I would suggest perhaps getting the child on wobbly bicycle to cycle on the inside of the father would be a better strategy.

Posted by bigblue on 06/07/2010 at 08:08 AM
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Monday, 05 July 2010
Oxted fox

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Last Tuesday, rubbish collection day, I left my rubbish out early and a fox got to it before the bin men. When I went out later that morning I found that my black bag (and those of my neighbours) had been removed by the bin men, but they had left a considerable amount of my rubbish strewn on my (and my neighbour’s) front lawn.  Of course I “scraped” it all up and put it in another bag, which I will put out next week.  This is the first time it has happened in a number of years: perhaps I put the bag out a little too early in the morning, or perhaps the fox is struggling with other food sources at this time of the year.

Anyway I was then surprised on Thursday morning to get a letter from my local District Council complaining about what happened and advising me not to allow this to happen again. If they had cleaned up the mess, then I would accept that they had something to complain about, however they left the shambles to me to sort out.  I grumbled at them on twitter and received the following reply:

Dear @bigbluemeanie, thanks for clearing up mess made by fox. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to discuss further and resolve problem.

It seems like an awful bother to go to when it took me a mere 10 seconds to clean up the mess of the fox. Although I appreciate that my District Council are a very busy bunch and couldn’t tear themselves away from the bin round.  It’s nice though that the pen-pushers back at the Council office are not to busy to correspond about this situation. 

PS The fox that is sunning itself in the photograph above is from the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield, and is not the guilty party.

Posted by bigblue on 05/07/2010 at 08:55 AM
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