Rural Reflections

Let us (s)pray that nothing goes wrong…

Something you might think I would have learned by now is that almost every initiative I try to take on running this place has some unintended consequence.For example, the...

Brexit and brown flags

So far, very few of the millions of words written about last week’s Brexit have touched on the environment.It is a sobering thought that many of the reasons why...

Always going the extra mile

The patch of oil on my garage floor is now so large I’m thinking of joining OPEC. Unfortunately the oil comes not from a deep well of latent riches,...

Economics of the real world

Another year, another show over. By the time you read this, planning for 2017 will be well underway.For me, the stand-out story of last week’s Royal Cornwall Show was...

The last 10 seconds

As scholarly readers of the Cornish Guardian, and William Shakespeare, will know, Hamlet was not talking about chickens when he said “I must be cruel only to be kind.”I...

Skinning knuckles or drinking beer

Hard to believe, but once upon a time I might have been an engineer. This weekend I had good reason to wish that 45 years ago, history had taken...

Show time

Only two weeks to go. There’s an eerie calm about Wadebridge right now, as if people know what’s coming and they know how to deal with it.The show was...

Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing

You can’t walk very far along a country lane in North Cornwall at this time of year without noticing the riot of wild flowers in the hedgerows. The smell...

Life is too short for all the paperwork

A young chap called last week to ask if he could look at my trees. He was from Western Power, and as the company had not looked at the...

The perils of chicken shit

If there’s one aspect to poultry-keeping which I really dislike more than any other, it’s cleaning out the chicken shed.It’s one of those jobs which I can always find...

I’m a believer

In 1999 I made a television documentary about The Beast of Bodmin Moor. Armed with only a video camera, I spent two weeks in a tent, near Bolventor, in...

When the owl sings, the night is silent

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword, which sadly turned out not to be true for the 71 journalists killed last year for trying to do...

Putting the fox in charge of the chicken coup

It is often said that as a nation, we care more about animals than we do about children.  A small and very subtle change to the way we approach...

I have now joined the Holy Order of Bee Keepers

Einstein seems to have been right about most things

Exciting times up in the orchard, where my first colony of Cornish black bees arrived this week.   There can be few people more ignorant about bees than me.  Until...

Weeding without tears

When it comes to gardening, I am what could only be described as a reluctant participant.I think it was Rudyard Kipling who said: “Gardens are not made by singing...

Finders keepers

One of the many curious aspects of living in an old house is the bizarre stuff you can just find, and then ponder what secrets it holds. Rarely can I...

The new Jerusalem

A full-page, anonymous, advert last week condemned Cornwall as a “developers’ paradise” because of the perceived rush to build new houses on green fields wherever they become available.Cornwall Council...

Notes from the new frontier

I have never been to the village of Miserden, in Gloucestershire, but I am in no doubt that it must be hell on Earth. Miserden this week won the...

Counting my chickens

It’s official – spring arrives next week. The Met Office tells me that March 1 is the key date on which spring starts. The weather forecasters say it will...