Sunshine at last

Today for once the sun shone brightly all day, but despite this it was still bitterly cold only reaching 9°c so for the first couple of hours I stayed inside and as usual for a monday, I tidied up the house and cleared the laundry as well as the dishes.

At around 11am I ventured outside feeding the fish and filling up the birdfeeders. After a coffee I got my gardening clothes on and my wellington boots and set to work in the garden.

Yesterday I brought home from work some unwanted timber slatts and decided it would look good as a picket fence just by the back gate. Unfortunatly the tranquality of the garden has been shattered by groundwork going on in the neighbouring field as the housing development has now it seemed been passed and diggers and dump trucks thunder up and down during the day.

After fixing the fence at one end and securing it at the other I set to work giving it a coat of preservative just to protect the wood from any deteriation in the next few weeks. Once the weather warms up a little I will go out and get some more preservative and give all the wood in the garden a spruce up in preperation for a long growing and gardening season.

Next job was to put up yet another birdfeeder,clean the bird bath the refill it with fresh clean water. As the day was still bright I then thought I’d get ahead and cut and drill the boards ready to put them together in the coming few weeks.

I’d nearly finished the raised vegetable bed (just needing to cut and drill one piece) so I continued cutting the legs and side boards for the raised vegetable trug. It took me around an hour and so far I am pleased with the results.

I resisted cutting it too long and hopefully the tunnel fittings I have stored away will fit over the top making it a suitable growing enviorment.Once completed I headed inside for a bite to eat and a hot bath.

Joys of being in nature

Gardening is a popular pastime, but will you be taking it a step further and go bare in the garden this summer ? Depending on your body confidence levels, naked Gardening may or may not be marked in your diary. If it’s not a fixture on your calendar, here’s the lowdown: Naked Gardening Day takes place in May and it’s the first Saturday of May, every year, and it’s pretty much what it says – a day when everyone is invited to embrace the joys of being in nature, au naturel.

But is it really such a good idea?

While we accept gardening stark naked could be sort of liberating, we’re also aware of all sorts of possible secateur-related injury. So what side of the fence do the experts fall on? “Many people do their gardening naked on a daily basis (weather permitting of course) and for those people having a ‘day’ to celebrate it would make them feel included and nude gardening a socially sanctioned behaviour,” says Dr Elle Boag, senior lecturer in Social Psychology at Birmingham City University. It sets you free “This is a good thing psychologically as it bolsters positive self-concepts,”

For those who do not usually participate in nude gardening, having a dedicated day of the year whereby nude gardening is celebrated might encourage people who enjoy novel experiences to engage in this type of behaviour without the constraints of embarrassment. It gives you confidence: For both types of people who would not normally participate in nude gardening, engaging in such behaviour can have positive psychological outcomes; the first type the person can experience increased psychological arousal that is used to facilitate further ‘risky’ behaviours as they are viewed as positive by the individual.

The second type of person might be likely to view the anti-sociality of their behaviour as a means of increasing their positive self-views (such as self-esteem and self-efficacy). So, overall, gardening naked can lead to a real sense of self-directed positivity which can only be argued to be a good thing. It ups your vitamin D: We’re always being told we need more vitamin D, and low levels have been linked with increased risk of rickets, cancer, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease and even dementia.


So what’s a good way to up your levels? Get outside – vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight.
And what’s a good way of topping up your levels even more?

But it also exposes you to sunburn…

While some sun on your skin boosts vitamin D, too much sun on your skin will just lead to irreversible sun damage – be it immediate painful sunburn, or long-term cancerous melanoma. Of course, you can (and should) put sun cream on, but reaching all your nooks and crannies can be hard enough when you’re clothed, so doing so with no clothes at all must be impossible.

Let’s face it, while the dream of naked gardening might involve gambolling about, flowers in hair, in some wild and idyllic countryside mansion’s lawn, most of us live in towns and cities with overlooked or even shared gardens. Again, you do the maths. The police in the UK have issue new advice recently with regards to reporting nudity and it says that many activities that people do naked are perfectly ok and will not be acted on.This chart gives a better idea of what is and what isn’t going to actioned on.

Body Positive ?

Body positivity is having a moment, from Instagram accounts started by models to social media movements and hashtags embraced by everyone. But one unexpected body positive movement has come in the form of nudity—and not just online. The idea of stripping down in the name of equality and body positivity is not a new one. From college campus underwear runs to nude swims such as the Sydney Skinny, undressing in public has always made a statement, albeit a controversial one. But it’s possible the plethora of unclothed activities and the popularity of #FreeTheNipple have made going au naturel far more natural.

New York, of course, has embraced the trend, from coed topless book clubs to protests in the buff. In June, Times Square became the scene of an enormous body positive protest, replete with body painting. Artist Andy Golub convinced 200 people to drop trou in the midst of Times Square, and not because they wanted to become desnudas or challenge the Naked Cowboy. Instead, their purpose was to preach self love, acceptance and of course, body positivity with custom messages on their chests and backs. The event was called Body Notes Bash, inspired by the inspiring messages on the Union Square subway Post-It note wall that sprang up in the wake of the election.

Over three hours, the nude models were painted publicly with the saying of their choice. While it was certainly an opportunity for these people to embrace their bodies, it’s unclear if it made others more comfortable with nudity, especially as Times Square is a place almost exclusively visited by tourists who are expecting to see unusual happenings. Perhaps if they stripped in the midst of the Financial District it would have been more notable, although there likely would have been an arrest or two.

The latest body positive moment was courtesy of a plus size woman who protested nude inside of Dorothy Perkins at the Kent Mall, acting as a mannequin. Onlookers believed she was objecting against the ultra-thin mannequins in the window, practically expected in all department stores. Police escorted her out, but not before plenty of people photographed her political moment.

These nude moments are just as important as the hashtags they correspond with, in making changes to how the body positive movement is viewed, especially since they show that everyone has a right to body positivity, not just models. But only time will tell if the nude protests enact change, instead of just offering slightly salacious photographs.

This is a repost the original post can be found here: Original Post

Balmy 8°c

Monday 4th

It’s Monday afternoon and I’ve spend most of this afternoon sorting out paperwork, while the rain keeps falling outside. I didn’t have very much expectation of getting outside into the garden today and with an extra day off this week,hopefully tomorrow may be a little kinder.

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I needed to run into town this morning and managed to pick up a indoor azalea, as well as a hellebore and two bare root climbers. Later in the afternoon, I also watched a film called “The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels” which tells the fascinating inside story of Apple Corps, The Beatles’ very own multimedia corporation that became one of the most colourful, outlandish and chaotic companies that ever existed.

Once I’d sorted out all the paperwork, I put on another “Beatle” related programme, the Classic Albums programme on catch up,this time featuring John Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’ album. This was Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album which notably peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 Chart and No. 8 on the UK Albums Chart. The album marked a deeply personal project for the philosophical singer-songwriter.

Many critics and fans deem it to be Lennon’s finest solo work. He touched on themes of child-parent relationships and deep personal pain. He penned all of the tracks, several of which bear a haunting, pleading tone like the bluesy song “Mother.”

Tuesday 5th

Today was the day I did venture out into the garden again, after many days of putting it off. The temperature was a little better hitting a balmy 8°c  but more importantly, I had six shrubs and two climbers, as well as a hellebore to getting into the ground or into pots. Afterwards I hoped it was the springboard to put me in the mood for more gardening in the next few weeks when time permits. Maybe it’s just the lack of any sunshine or even blue sky that’s put me off doing anything constructive apart from some housework or maybe I need a Vitamin D top up.

That’s how the day started, without energy and I finally got out of bed after watching TV. I had been awake since 5.45am and it was nearly 11 o’clock and I had just sat there without any inspiration to do anything. After having a coffee and emptying the dishwasher I finally got dressed and ventured outside.

Seeds to plant…….soon !

In previous posts I mentioned I had put up an arch over the path and ordered some shrubs from Thompson & Morgan, this was back in December.These were going in a little bed I was going to dig on the left,when they arrived. They duly arrived on Friday and by Monday the weather had warmed up again thankfully.

I dug the small bed on the left hand side and planted four shrubs in the bed as well as the two climbers which I got yesterday. All these were bare root, so after rehydrating them in a bucket of water I popped them into the ground. The shrubs I put in were: Forsythia Intermedia,Spirea,Deutzia Scabra and Ribes Aureum.

The two climbers planted by the arch being a Lonicera Honeysuckle and a Yellow climbing rose from that stalwart gardening suppliers…Poundland (sic). Hopefully these will all do ok and add a good comparison to the quality roses on the other side of the arch. I also planted the other two shrubs, 1 Weigela Rosea and a Symphoricarpos Albus into pots.

After they went in, I gave the bed a top dress with some fresh compost, a good water then set to work potting the hellebore I also bought on Monday,but this time from Morrisons. After checking the forecast for the next 10 days, I got out all the plants that I’d temporarily put under fleece,while the frost was hanging about, then tidied up and went back inside.


February is here

Its February at last last and we’ve got rid if January which as the song goes “January..sick and tired you’ve been hanging on me” was hanging around to long. February has brought more cold weather and snow which we hadn’t really seen much of this year so far.

I’ve been taking a few day off recently to rest and recuperate and plan ahead what to do in the garden when its warm enough to venture outside again. I’ve been stockpiling decking boards with a view to building another raised bed and even a raised planting bed with legs.

I’ll be attaching freebie covers when the time comes and i’m looking forward to it but its again this has been very much hampered by the weather which has been cold,miserable,snowy and damp.I’ll no doubt been planting vegetables in them,probably the varieties that are the easiest to grow as I’m just a mere novice.

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Today which is Friday I managed to grab the camera and get a few shots of these Magpies on the bird table and sorted out my bare rooted shrubs which arrived from thompson & morgan yesterday.

In between times i’ve been watching TV and listening to music mainly The Beatles but also Bruce Springsteen,Metallica and Paul McCartney.

It was 50 years ago today…

The Beatles‘ rooftop concert was the climax of a project originally titled Get Back. It was conceived as exactly that, a return to their rock roots in a desperate effort to restore unity when business and personal chaos threatened to destroy the band. A documentary crew filmed the Beatles rehearsing and recording new material for an “honest” album, free from the studio wizardry that had dominated their recent work.

The experience pushed the group to the point of disintegration, but they needed an end to the film. So 50 years ago today,on January 30th, 1969,the band climbed five stories to the top of their Apple Corps headquarters and played their last concert together. The album and film were ultimately released in May 1970 as Let It Be, their swan song. Here are 15 little-known facts about the Beatles’ final bow on the world stage.

The concert was originally going to take place in an ancient amphitheater. Or on a cruise ship. Or in the desert. The Beatles had many ideas about where to perform the climactic concert for their new film,too many ideas. London venues like the Palladium and the Roundhouse were some of the more level headed propositions, but most were pretty far-out. The Sahara desert was floated as a potential location, as were the Giza pyramids, and even the QE2 ocean liner.

A 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater in Tunisia was seriously considered, and location scouts were sent to investigate. “The Beatles were to start playing as the sun came up,” explained director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, “and you’d see crowds flocking towards them through the day.”

But nothing was ever agreed upon. As enthusiasm for the project waned, the band opted to do something a little simpler and closer to home. Guest keyboard player Billy Preston recalls that it was John Lennon who had the idea to stage the concert on the roof of Apple headquarters. Lindsay-Hogg says it was his idea. Others attribute it to Ringo Starr. The concept sounds inspired, but in retrospect it speaks less to creativity and more to laziness.

Preparations were made, with scaffolding planks laid to support the weight of the gear. A few minutes before the concert was due to start, the band huddled in a small vestibule at the top of the stairs. They had cold feet. “George didn’t want to do it, and Ringo started saying he didn’t really see the point,” says Lindsay-Hogg. “Then John said, ‘Oh, fuck it,let’s do it.’” The Beatles racked up many firsts over the years however this wasn’t one of them Jefferson Airplane performed on a New York City rooftop several weeks earlier.

Mercifully, the guerrilla happening was preserved for all time by director Jean-Luc Godard, who filmed the incident as part of his One A.M. project. It’s unknown whether the Beatles were directly inspired by the Airplane’s antics, but press coverage (not to mention their friendship with the band) would have likely made them aware of it. The film is directed by the secret son of Orson Welles — allegedly.

Having worked with the Beatles on their recent promotional videos for “Hey Jude” and “Revolution,” American filmmaker Lindsay-Hogg was the logical choice to direct the Get Back project. He arranged an army of cameras to capture the moment from all angles, sending a crew into the street, the adjacent building, and the Apple reception area — not to mention the five cameras on the roof itself. The result is some of the most iconic concert footage in history.

Film prowess may be in his blood. In his 2011 autobiography, Lindsay-Hogg revealed that he believes himself to be the only son of cinema giant Orson Welles. His mother, actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, publicly denied the rampant rumors, but she allegedly acknowledged the truth to family friend Gloria Vanderbilt. When Welles’ oldest daughter supported Lindsay-Hogg’s claim, he submitted to a DNA test. The results were inconclusive.

Lennon and Starr wore their ladies’ coats. It was 45 degrees in London that raw January afternoon, and that doesn’t account for the icy wind whipping over the West End buildings. Impending fog had ruled out an expensive helicopter aerial shot, and the threat of rain was very real.

These conditions were not ideal to making rock and roll. “[My] hands [are] too cold to play the chords,” Lennon muttered between songs, and Apple Corps exec Ken Mansfield held a constant stream of lit cigarettes so George Harrison could warm his fingertips. To ward off the winter chill, Lennon borrowed Yoko Ono’s fur coat (as he did on occasion). Ringo Starr also donned his wife Maureen’s red raincoat.

The microphones were wrapped in women’s pantyhose. The cold gusts also proved to be a problem for the delicate studio microphones recording the drums and guitar amplifiers. In need of a quick shield to minimize wind noise, tape engineer (and future Pink Floyd cohort) Alan Parsons was dispatched that morning to buy women’s pantyhose. “I walked into this department store and said, ‘I need three pairs of pantyhose. It doesn’t matter what size.’” he recalled in Guitar Player. “They thought I was either a bank robber or a cross-dresser.”

It was their first live performance in over two years. Famously cited as the Beatles’ last concert, the rooftop gig was also their first live performance in more than two years. While they had played “All You Need Is Love” and “Hey Jude” before a studio audience on television during that time, those numbers were heavily bolstered by a backing track. The roof was their first truly live show since their final tour ended on August 29th, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. They also made a small break from tradition by varying their classic stage placements. Lennon took the middle spot with Harrison to his left.

George Harrison’s guitar was the first of its kind. The Telecaster that Harrison played throughout the rooftop concert was custom made for him by master builders Roger Rossmeisl and Philip Kubicki as a gift from Fender. The company was launching a new line of all-rosewood guitars, and presenting the prototype to a Beatle was good publicity.

After many hours of labor, the guitar was flown to England in its own seat and hand-delivered to Apple headquarters. The builders weren’t sure what became of the guitar for over a year, until they bought tickets to see the Let It Be film and saw their handiwork on the big screen. “I was so thrilled I almost jumped out of my seat,” remembers Kubicki.

John Lennon needed cue cards to remember his own lyrics. John Lennon always had a problem with lyrics. Paul McCartney often recalls seeing Lennon on stage singing his own ad-libbed words to the Del Vikings’ “Come Go With Me” on the day they met in 1957. Wanting to get things reasonably correct for the film, the Beatles asked Apple office assistant Kevin Harrington to kneel just out of camera view and hold up a lyric sheet for “Dig a Pony.” Lennon still managed a memorable flub during “Don’t Let Me Down,” singing something like, “And only reese we got the blootchy-koo.”

There were other songs performed on the rooftop that day. While 21 minutes of the concert made it into the final Let It Be film, the actual performance was twice as long. During the 42-minute set, the Beatles played “One After 909,” two complete versions each of “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Dig a Pony” and “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and three versions of “Get Back” — plus various incomplete takes, including a line from the Irish folk song “Danny Boy.”

The set list may have ended up being longer. Because the concert was cut short by the police, fans have spent decades theorizing what other songs — if any — the Beatles might have performed had they continued. Some eagle-eyed rock scholars have noticed equipment in the background of the Apple roof set that went unused, including an extra keyboard, a lap-steel guitar and what appears to be an acoustic-guitar microphone positioned by McCartney.

Were folky songs like “Two of Us” originally in the mix? Was McCartney going to try out some of his piano-based ballads like “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road”? Could Lennon have used the lap-steel guitar as he did on “For You Blue,” giving Harrison his first (and only) solo vocal of the day?

Billy Preston received the only official Beatles co-credit. Friends with the Beatles since touring Europe with Little Richard in 1962, Billy Preston is the MVP of the entire Get Back/Let It Be project. Band relations had deteriorated so badly that Harrison actually walked out on the sessions, vowing to quit the group all together. To clear his head, he attended a Ray Charles concert, where Preston happened to be playing organ. Harrison invited him back to the studio to jam with the rest of the Beatles. His warm nature soothed tensions and his keyboard chops added a dose of excitement to the formerly dreary proceedings.

Preston’s sparking musical contribution on Let It Be speaks for itself. Lennon even lobbied to make Preston a full member of the band — an actual fifth Beatle. “It’s bad enough with four!” McCartney supposedly replied. Even so, his importance was recognized on the single release of “Get Back,” which is credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston.” Barring unauthorized reissues, it was the first time that the Beatles credited anyone on their records in this way.

It’s the last sound you hear on the Beatles’ final release. Although Abbey Road was the final album to be recorded by the four Beatles, Let It Be was the last to be issued in May 1970, weeks after the group’s split made headlines around the world. The black-trimmed cover gave it funereal quality, and fans anxiously studied to the parting message from the foursome that defined the Sixties.

As “Get Back,” the last track, draws to a close, the sound of John Lennon’s voice can be heard: “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.” It was a self-effacing remark made at the end of the rooftop show, poking fun at the many auditions the band failed over the years. It was also a humble nod to the band’s unprecedented success — and, inadvertently, the perfect Beatles epitaph.

The text is reposted the original can be found here: Original Article

Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

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28th January

Today is the final day of the RSPB’s Big Garden birdwatch (26th – 28th January) and for the fourth year in a row I took part and submitted my results. To be honest I’ve noticed a drop in our friendly flying visitors this year,but I’m not sure whether its because the farmer has sold the neighbouring fields for housing and he’s stopped growing and plowing or its just the heatwave we experienced last summer taking its toll.

Unfortunately the last two times I’ve participated in the birdwatch the weather has been very windy and despite the bountiful feast I’ve made available to the birds, the numbers have been a little disappointing.

I did seen numerous Jackdaws and Pheasants though but numbers were down for Sparrows and I didnt see one Starling. Reading some news from another website all might not be lost as they reported:

“With reduced habitat and less people feeding at feeders the numbers of birds plummeted to 4,300 this year. This was our lowest in the last 10 years, and down 3,400 birds from last year. Even European starlings took a hit, dropping to 133 from 709 last year.”

You can see below my results and the visitor in the tree, who maybe was doing a count of his/her own.

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