Friday, 10 February 2017

Whale strandings in NZ

Sadly, hundreds of whales have died overnight on a New Zealand beach after a mass stranding thought to be the largest in decades.   The Department of Conservation (DOC) discovered 416 pilot whales had beached themselves at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island, with more than 70% perishing by the time dawn broke on Friday.  DOC staff and dozens of volunteers were on hand this morning trying to save the remaining 100 whales.

Peter Wiles, who was one of the first volunteers to reach Farewell Spit, said “It is one of the saddest things I have seen, that many sentient creatures just wasted on the beach.”

Andrew Lamason, a team leader for the DOC Takaka area, said the stranding was the largest in living memory, and although he had “no clue” why the whales had beached themselves this time, Golden Bay was conducive to strandings because of its shallow bay, which made it difficult for whales to swim out once they’d entered.

At high tide, at 10.30am, the 100 remaining whales were successfully refloated, but early in the afternoon at low tide 90 of them re-beached themselves. DOC staff and up to 500 volunteers are now focused on keeping the surviving whales as healthy as possible until the next high tide at lunchtime tomorrow.

The stranding at Farewell Spit makes it the third largest whale stranding in New Zealand’s recorded history.

In 1918, 1,000 whales beached themselves on the Chatham Islands, and in 1985 450 stranded at Great Barrier Island off the coast of Auckland.   New Zealand has one of the highest rates of whale strandings in the world, and since 1840, more than 5,000 whales and dolphins have beached themselves on New Zealand shores according to DOC records.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Port Sunlight Tea Rooms

I have done posts on the model village of Port Sunlight before - both on my Rambles blog (the Edwardian tea rooms) and on my 'On the Wirral' blog (housing styles and the memorial).  I've also done various posts on the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight.

Port Sunlight is somewhere that Partner-who-loves-tea and I regularly visit and we called in there last month and had tea in the tea rooms that used to be the Post Office.

The Post Office and houses in Greendale Road shown here were built between 1891 and 1894 as part of the model village of Port Sunlight. Built by Lever Brothers to house the workers in their soap works the village was characterised by wide roads and broad pavements. Many of the buildings here were built to look like they were from the Tudor period, this is known as 'mock Tudor 'style.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Fisherman's Cot, Bickleigh, Devon

This is where Partner-who-loves-tea and I stayed a couple of weeks ago.  It hardly needs any words.

Our room - the one with the light on and the open door.

Our patio

The view at breakfast

The dining room and bar from outside by the River Exe.

The view from the outside tables.

Some of the bird life - a Dipper

and a Grey Heron.

The room was spacious, comfortable, and warm enough to make toast in, the food was good and the service very pleasant.  What more could one ask for?

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Books I read in 2016

Diana Gabaldon – Outlander aka Cross Stitch (Reading Outlander series for second time)
Diana Gabaldon – Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander)
Chris Lavers – The Natural History of Unicorns (NF)
Diana Gabaldon – Voyager (Outlander)

Diana Gabaldon – The Drums of Autumn (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – The Fiery Cross (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander)

Diana Gabaldon – An Echo in the Bone (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – Written in my own Heart’s Blood (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – The Custom of the Army (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Plague of Zombies (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon –  The Space Between (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (novella) (Outlander)
Gail Pool (Ed.) - Other People’s Mail (Only dipped into –
A A Milne ‘The Rise and Fall of Mortimer Scriven’ good the rest poor)
Diana Gabaldon – The Private Matter (Lord John)
Diana Gabaldon – The Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John)
Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Diana Gabaldon – The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Hellfire Club (Lord John) (novella)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Succubus  (Lord John)  (novella)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Haunted Soldier (Lord John) (novella)
David Gerrard - The hidden places of Wales (NF)
Catherine Le Nevez - The rough guide to Wales (NF)
Robert Harris – Lustrum

Ruth Goodman – How to be a Victorian (NF)
Andrew Taylor -  An Air That Kills  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  The Mortal Sickness (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  The Lover of the Grave (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -   The Suffocating Night (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -   Where Roses Fade (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  Death's Own Door  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  Call the Dying (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor - Naked to the Hangman  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor – The American Boy

William Hartson – Mr Hartson’s Most Excellent Encyclopaedia of Useless Information (NF)
P G Wodehouse – The Luck of the Bodkins (again)
P g Wodehouse – Love among the Chickens (again)
Rosemarie Jarski - Wrinklies' Wit and Wisdom (NF)
Yaffa Claire Draznin – The Victorian London's Middle Class Housewife: What She Did All Day (NF)
Jacqueline Simpson – Green Men and White Swans (NF)
M M Kaye – Death in Kashmir (recommended by Danielle)
M M Kaye – Death in Berlin
M M Kaye – Death in Cyprus
M M Kaye – Death in Kenya
M M Kaye – Death in Zanzibar
M M Kaye – Death in The Andamans
Rebecca Tope – Malice in the Cotswolds

M M Kaye – The Far Pavilions  (Excellent)

Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) - The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike -2)
Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) - Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike – 3)
Paul Hurley & Len Morgan – Chester Pubs (NF)
M M Kaye – Shadow of the Moon
M M Kaye – The Ordinary Princess
Elizabeth George – A Bouquet of Consequences (Insp. Lynley 19)

Laura Wilson – The Lovers (recommended by Danielle)
Laura Wilson – A Little Death
Laura Wilson – My Best Friend
Laura Wilson – The Wrong Girl
M M Kaye – Trade Wind
Laura Wilson – Dying Voices
Peter James – Dead Simple (Roy Grace 1)
Peter James – Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace 2)
Hulton Getty (Ed). – Best friends (NF)
Peter James - Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace 3)
Peter James - Dead Man's Footsteps (Roy Grace 4 ) (re-read)
Peter James - Dead Tomorrow(Roy Grace 5)

Natasha Pulley – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train
Anne Darling – The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts
Greg Iles – 24 hours
Wirral Journal Vol 1 (NF)
Nicci French – Blue Monday (Frieda Klein 1)
Nicci French – Tuesday’s Gone (Frieda Klein 2)
Nicci French – Waiting for Wednesday (Frieda Klein 3)
Nicci French – Thursday’s Child (Frieda Klein 4)
Nicci French – Friday on my Mind (Frieda Klein 5)
Nicci French – Saturday Requiem (Frieda Klein 6)
A E (Edward) Marston – Wolves of Savernake
A E (Edward) Marston – Ravens of Blackwater
Albert Camus – The Outsider (previously read in French – L’etranger)
Peter Brack – Wirral (NF)

Greg Dawson – ARWE, The Story of Arrowe, Pensby and the Liverpool Slave Trade (NF)
Greg Dawson - Tingvelle : a history of Thingwall and other north Wirral farming villages (NF)
A E (Edward) Marston – Hawks of Delamere
A E (Edward) Marston – Wildcats of Exeter
Peter James - Dead Like You (Roy Grace  6)
Peter James - Dead Man's Grip (Roy Grace 7)
500 Self-portraits (Read / admired for probably the fifth time)
Peter James - Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace 8)
Peter James - Dead Man's Time (Roy Grace  9)
Michael Jecks – Fields of Glory
 Kate Atkinson – Started Early, took my Dog
Tessa Barclay – To Die For
Peter James – Perfect People

Peter James – House on Cold Hill
Nicci French – The Red Room (for second time)
M R D Meek – If you Go Down to the Woods (Lennox Kemp 13)
Diana Evans – 26a (My book of the year)
Bryony Gordon – The Wrong Knickers  (second time)
Steve Earle – I’ll never get out of this world alive

Brian Sewell – The White Umbrella
Peter James - Want You Dead (Roy Grace  10)
Peter James - You Are Dead (Roy Grace  11)
Peter James - Love You Dead (Roy Grace  12)
D H Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover (for second or third time)
Jenny Colgan – The Little Shop of Happy-ever-after
Ariana Franklin and Sarah Norman – The Winter Siege (second time)

Michael Russell – City of Shadows
Michael Russell – City of Strangers
Luca Veste -  Dead Gone  (Insp. Murphy 1)
Luca Veste -   The Dying Place (Insp. Murphy  2)
Luca Veste -   Bloodstream (Insp. Murphy  3)
Luca Veste -   It Never Leaves You (S S - Insp. Murphy  3.5)
Luca Veste -   Then She was Gone (Insp. Murphy  4)
Cecilia Ekback – Wolf Winter
Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Prince of Mist (again)
Lorena McCourtney – Invisible (Ivy Malone 1)

Monday, 16 January 2017

A visit to Devon

Last week Partner-who-loves-tea and I paid a visit to younger daughter, son-in-law-and-friend-who-loves-otters and baby Katie.

Katie had smiles for her Grandma.

And for her Mum.

But she wasn't quite so sure about the strange bearded creature....

Talk to the hand!

On Thursday Katie fitted snugly in her car seat and her Dad drove us to Stover Country Park.  Mum, Dad, Katie and Grandpa had a walk around the lake.  It was wet, or rather, extremely wet.  All Katie saw was raindrops on the hood of the push-chair.

Katie may be the centre of attention for the visitors but Roland was more interested in a parcel with paw prints on it!

And Misty had to cope with the indignity of being picked up.

All too soon our visits were over.  I hope it's not too long before we see you again, Katharine Rose.

P.S. A special thanks to Partner-who-loves-tea.  Since I am no longer able to drive she has to do all the driving and when we travel long distances it can be hard work and tiring.   Some of this week's driving was in the dark and wet but fortunately the snow that was forecast kept away.

P.P.S. Younger daughter - please don't forget to let me have the recipe for the lovely dinner!

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