Rural Reflections

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Badgers

Once, entirely by accident, I caught a badger. We’d been having problems with foxes, and the badger had wandered into the live trap up in the orchard, no doubt...

The pub

One of the first things that every journo learns is that “dog bites man” is not a story. “Man bites dog” is much more interesting. Similarly, “village pub not...

Gene genie

One of the disadvantages of having a Y-chromosome is the tendency to make lists of things which need fixing (a pair of X-chromosomes would of course allow me simply...

Welcome to Royston Vasey

A tough decision to make last weekend – whether to join village friends at the local cider farm for the annual Wassail, or stay in and watch the latest...

Wanted: a minister for mud

  I was amused to read this week that there are no fewer than 30 government ministers entitled to attend Cabinet meetings – but that not one of them...

Ram-a-lamb-a-ding-dong

I’m sure we’ve all heard the one about the small child, gazing in wonder at a new-born lamb, who turns to his father and asks “where do lambs come...

Chop chop

I recently ticked off something that’s been on my to-do list for 25 years, and installed a couple of wood-burning stoves. The house had two empty spaces (a little-used...