Tag Archives: bears


I recently had a message to congratulate me on four years with Word Press. I’ve written 1,304 posts in that time. That’s, conveniently, 326 a year. If I’d written one more, or one less, it wouldn’t have worked out so well.

The fact that I find this important probably means that I need to relax more.

As a child I used to avoid the cracks in pavements and, coming from an unpoetic family, I didn’t even know about the bears; I just didn’t step on cracks.

Anyway, any milestone is welcome as it gives me a chance to reflect and write a lazy post.

At this point I intended to start using photographs from the last few years, but the curse of WP struck my media library, again, and everything ground to a halt. They need some more details from me, including what happens when I try a different browser.

I get confused, that’s what happens.

And I can’t get into the blog because I’ve forgotten how to do it and what the password is. I have it set up on the only browser I use and I can get straight in. Changing this is an uncomfortable experience. I will have another try tomorrow.

I’m beginning to see a pattern here, and that’s not the end of it.

I’ve been trying to address letters in the manner specified by the post office. They say:

  • The name and address go on the bottom left corner of the front of the envelope or parcel.
  • Use a clear and easy to read hand writing (or font if you are printing the address).
  • Use a pen or ink that is clear against the colour of the envelope or parcel.
  • Left align the text (no centred or ‘stepped’ lines).
  • No commas or full stops.
  • Leave a generous margin around the address.
  • Place the correct postage on the top right.

Obviously we make a few changes, as you may have noticed from my photos. We tend to stick the address to the right and the “generous margin” can be a bit tight at times. I posted 70 florins overseas today. It cost £16. You try getting 30 stamps on a envelope and leaving a “generous margin”. Not going to happen.

The thing that really causes grief is the fifth one – “No commas or full stops”. I did a couple, but the need to punctuate properly made it a very uncomfortable experiment. I’m back to proper punctuation, as beaten into me fifty years ago, and it feels much better.

I’m seriously beginning to think I have to relax a bit more, step outside my comfort zone and let go of my comma fixation…




Who is the Best Bear?

I’ve been struggling today – having written over a thousand words and deleted most of them. The remaining fragment is saved as a draft and may never be published, which is ironic when you consider the subject is publication.

The trouble is that I kept getting bogged down with the misery of a serious intro.

So I’m now just going to get straight to the point.

The subject is bears, specifically which is the best bear, with a digression into bears that might have been,

Our bear, as seen in the picture, is Farmer Ted. He’s a bear known to only a few, though he is an excellent fellow and sound on rural matters.

His main competition comes from Rupert, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington and Yogi. I’m also fond of the Bulgy Bears, though they aren’t as well known as the rest. Number Two son has just nominated the three bears of Goldilocks fame, Kung Fu Panda and Bear in the Big Blue House. I’ve also just thought of Aloysius from Brideshead. Even better, I actually remembered how to spell it.

So, first question, who is your favourite bear?

My second question is – who else do you think wasted their talents instead of writing about bears?

If T S  Eliot had concentrated on his lighter side and produced a bear book instead of messing about with the Four Quartets he could have been onto something. He did alright with cats so I don’t see why not.

There’s also Barrie, Grahame, Sassoon, Gavin Maxwell…

Memoirs of a Bear Hunting Man would have been a much fairer contest and Ring of Bright Water would not have ended well for the man with the shovel.

Bear of the Baskervilles anyone?


Bowie, Bears and Staxtonbury

There’s been an outbreak of bears in Yorkshire.

We were coming back from a day out on the coast last year when we first spotted them. It was twilight at the time and too dark for photos. This year we were better prepared and managed to take some photographs.  There is another group about 200 yards away, but that would involve parking by the side of a fast bit of road, obstructing traffic and putting my life at risk for a picture of a teddy bear made from straw bales.

They are advertising Straxtonbury. Follow the link for more information and a video including pictures of last year’s bears.

They are at Staxton, in case you want a look. Or pretty close to Staxton, I’m a bit hazy on the geography.


Ducks and Sunshine

It’s one of those Saturdays where I had nothing in particular to do.

Leisurely breakfast, drop Julia off at work and take a walk round the park in the sunshine.

It’s not a bad life. I didn’t go shopping because there was a queue for the car park (which would have dispersed my feeling of well-being) and I couldn’t go on anywhere to take more photographs because I really needed to get to grips with something that looks like work.

Life can’t be all ducks and sunshine.


Arnot Hill Park – ducks and sunshine

My sister reminded me last night that I have a cookery book I haven’t used yet. She didn’t actually say that, she told me it was currently on sale at half price and did I want her to get me a copy.  At that point I guiltily recalled buying it just before Christmas, flicking through it and putting it to one side for later.

I have two sorts of cookery books – ones “for later” and ones with food stains. Really I should get rid of them because these days I mainly get my recipes from blogs I follow or from the internet. That means one pile is redundant and the other is a health hazard.

Time, I think, to open the book, work out a menu and write a shopping list.  Julia has already started it with three items. For those of you who like shopping lists, it reads:

Union Tea

Black Sloe Potash


You may gather that I have trouble reading her writing. It’s not a one-sided problem, as everyone has problems with mine. I have, over the years, managed to use a squiggle to replace most letters of the alphabet and developed a style of handwriting which even I have difficulty reading. This probably disqualifies it from being called writing.

However, bad as mine is, I still have to buy three items based on the list.

I’m off for another go at shopping now, before picking Julia up. I’m going to buy Lemon Tea, Black Shoe Polish and Beans. If there’s a problem I’ll tell her TESCO doesn’t stock Black Sloe Potash. Or bears.

Greetings from Procrastination Central

We have a half day off! Yipee!

I say “off” but Julia is out watering flower baskets and preparing for this afternoon’s visit and I am wrestling with the dinosaur that has been foisted on me as an office email system. Not a proper dinosaur (because that would result in a tremendous spike of schools wanting to visit) just an old clunky system. It’s probably unfair on dinosaurs to use their name like that, but life isn’t fair.

If life was fair I’d have a sleek modern email system that wasn’t currently frozen…

On a more positive note, this allows me time to blog without feeling like I’m skiving. Though it doesn’t alter the reality that I am, in fact, skiving. I’m also going through my Inbox and catching up on a few emails. The oldest goes back to April, though in my defence I must say it’s an invoice I sent that was “lost” by the recipient, who has a slow payment system at the best of times.That’s why I only started to chase it two weeks ago.

So, catch up on emails, catch up on paperwork, write two new pages for the “website”, design Farmer Ted marketing campaign and get ready for the visit this afternoon.

Oooops, they just arrived.


Farmer Ted picking fruit

72 hours

In theory I have 114 hours left before we begin Open Farm Sunday. However, as I need to sleep, eat, cook, shop, collect one of the kids from Sheffield and break off to answer queries from members of the public and farm staff  it’s likely that I have only 72 hours, or even less, to produce a stunningly informative display on modern farming. I have a broken printer and a laminator that regularly pleats the paper and things are not looking good.

To add to my general feeling of forthcoming disaster we’ve just had a meeting (and you know what I feel about them) and we’re now doing the Health and Safety stuff. That’s like a meeting but with the additional point that plants become hazards (poison and thorns), animals can give you nasty diseases and even the ground we walk on can leap up and break your ankle. It’s a dangerous old world out there. I hate to think what it would be like if we ever reintroduced wild boar or bears.

You may of course be asking yourself why I’m writing this instead of getting on with work, but the question contains it’s own answer. Most things are better than work, and blogging certainly beats typing up notes on growing wheat. If you ploughed up Wembley Stadium, which wouldn’t be a bad thing in my opinion, you could grow enough wheat to make a sandwich for every member of a capacity crowd. The only problem there is that if you grew wheat on the field you wouldn’t get a capacity crowd. Nobody has spotted that so far.

Now, this is possibly an interesting fact when you first hear it, but I’ve heard it more than once now. I’ve also told them that one of our fields will produce wheat to make two pancakes for every inhabitant of Nottingham and made various other calculations based on the towns and schools that people come from. Using information off the internet I even calculated that the woodland we are planting would absorb the emissions from several thousand cars.

Yes, I did say “using information off the internet”. Some of you will have spotted the flaw there. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say. I repeated an error found in several internet articles and produced a calculation that suggested we could solve the problem of global warming by all planting window boxes. This sounded a bit extreme so I did more research.

It seems I was wrong by a factor of several thousand.

I now have 71 hours left and Tim has just come in to tell me that one of the tents has broken in the wind, specifically the tent I’m supposed to be using at the weekend. Will be back later to put photos on.

Later: one pole is bent and another went through the roof of the tent. It’s fixable but we really could have done without spending the time on it.


Meanwhile the runner beans are suffering in the wind. I’ll try to save what I can but I’m going to plant replacements in the polytunnel tonight – fortunately I have toilet roll tubes in the back of the car.

That’s probably the oddest closing sentence I’ve ever used.


We had a successful day today with a dozen children making biscuits before going out on  a bear hunt.

Not that we have any bears in the UK, despite plans to “rewild” the place. We just had cardboard tokens and bags of chocolate.

The tag line of the poster “What do your bears do in the woods?” would really have leant itself to a talk on compost, but I was over-ruled and they ended up with chocolate.