A rant about journalistic idiocy

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Technology!

Twice in the last week the Guardian has excelled itself in printing stories so stupid that I had to check to make sure I hadn’t woken up on April 1st. The publication of a new report on climate change has been the occasion of a great deal of speculation, not least in the Grauniad, and first off the chocks was a report that scientists are thinking of spraying aerosols of some compound of nitrogen into the upper atmosphere in order to create conditions that screen the earth from sun – that’s to say that make artificial cloud. Then later another report came up with the brilliant idea that maybe advanced robotic bees could pollinate plants, replacing the ones we’ve already killed with neonicotinoids.   Continue reading “A rant about journalistic idiocy”

Bit of a botanical binge

Went for a walk along the clifftop in the direction of Porth Dinnlaen and somehow decided to start recording plants in flower. I had, in a sense, gone equipped because I’d taken a GPS and a notebook and pen, and it did rather slow us down. We were out for two and a half hours and managed to walk three miles in total. It was a very grey day after a night of rain and so we wore gaiters in anticipation of mud, but in fact the land here seems to drain very well and we didn’t really need them. Stella has bought a new pair of 3/4 height walking boots to try to support her ankles and so in order to match her I put on my old Scarpas, the ones I did the Camino with, and we set out looking rather imposing I imagine. My old boots are probably the most comfortable I’ve ever walked in but they have the fatal (potentially) flaw of suddenly giving way on wet rock, which makes clambering around on beaches extremely hazardous. Happily there was only one slip today, but it rather puts me on edge.

I was thrilled with the total of 37 plants in flower. It’s the most I’ve ever recorded in one day, and it took several hours back at the cottage to double check and verify them. I was surprised how many I’d got almost but not quite right, however it’s a step in the right direction and I’m getting better at checking for the vital information to record, and taking the right photographs for reference later.Here’s the list – the BSBI record numbers are in the big black notebook but I couldn’t fit them here tidily and in any case they don’t matter just for the diary. I wonder if I should send them to the County Recorder – there’s nothing at all rare or unusual but they do mark the existence of a plant for future reference (global warming, for instance). One plant in particular I’d never heard of Tutsam – Hypericum androsaemum – I was excited to ID it. I was also delighted to recognise 2 different species of Heather.

Achillea millefolium Yarrow
Armeria maritima ssp maritima Thrift
Atriplex prostrata Spear Leaved Orache
Bellis perennis Daisy
Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed
Centaurea nigra Lesser Knapweed
Chamerion augustifolium Rosebay Willowherb
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle
Crithmum maritimum Rock Samphire
Digitalis purpurea Foxglove
Erica cineria Bell Heather
Erica tetralix Cross Leaved Heath
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Heracleum spondylium Hogweed
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog
Hypericum androsaemum Tutsan
Hypochaeris radicata Cats Ear
Impatiens glandulifera Indian Balsam
Jasioni montana Sheeps Bit
Leontodon saxatilis Lesser Hawkbit
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle
Lotus corniculatus Birdsfoot Trefoil
Origanum vulgare Wild Marjoram
Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain
Plantago major Greater Plantain
Plantago maritima Sea Plantain
Potentilla anserina Silverweed
Pulicaria dysenterica Common Fleabane
Rubus fruticosa agg Bramble
Sambucus nigra Elder
Senecio jacobaea Ragwort
Silene dioica Red Campion
Sonchus asper Prickly Sowthistle
Taraxacum officinale agg Dandelion
Torilis japonica Upright Hedge Parsley
Trifolium pratense Red Clover
Tripleurospermum inodorum Scentless Mayweed

As well as plants we had some delightful moments on the beach, where a grey seal came quite close inshore and stared at us with apparent interest. After a minute or so she slipped beneath the waves and disappeared from view, but on our return walk we spotted a very similar looking female hauled out on a rock. She was very pregnant and looked as if she might give birth to her cub at any moment. Big as she was, her movement across the rock was so ungainly and must have made her very vulnerable. We guessed she might have come inshore to find a safe place to have her cub. She was a truly beautiful animal.

We also saw a Shag with three fledged young, sitting on what seems to be a favourire place. There were also a number of Ravens around. We saw five in a field, scrapping in a desultory way halfway between playing and fighting. The only butterfly was a Common Blue feeding on Birdsfoot Trefoil which seemed rather sleepy and allowed me to get close enough with my phone to take a picture.

Later we drove to Whistling Sands to look for the sloe trees we picked from last year but they’d been flailed this year and there was no fruit to be had. The afternoon was turning increasingly grey and miserable and apart from being too warm could have been mistaken for `November it was so gloomy. So we drove through Aberdaron but didn’t feel tempted to get out in the drizzle and came back to the cottage. As a long shot we decided to see what the sloes were doing in the garden and the lane down to the beach and to our great delight we picked five and a quarter pounds of lovely ripe fruit, enough to transform two bottles of gin! With the Damson Vodka we’ve already made we’ll have more than enough to keep us going for the whole of 2018.

I had forgotton to mention that it’s the second anniversary of our retirement.