Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Random Ramblings - logo

Finally, I have a logo for my blog. It has been created in Blender by a member of my family (check out blog: http://beakers-3-dimensions.blogspot.com/ ). Using the rambling theme, I decided that a representation of the 'white dog rose' on a rambling briar would be suitable. The words 'random ramblings' were made to represent stone so that the briar could ramble around them.

The background, hopefully matches the original colour.

Surprisingly, it was difficult to upload the image into Blogger as it only allows for two sizes - large and small. The large version took up most of the monitor screen whereas the small version squashed itself shyly into the left-hand corner. It took crop after crop and stretch after stretch - not to mention a few shrinking sizes into 'Photoshop' before I could finally upload the size that is at the top of my blog. I looked into the back 'edit Html' code hoping to see if I could tweak the size but this appears to be hidden - so I had to proceed with a front picture view only.


Did you feel the earthquake? The epicentre was apparently in Lincolnshire but the effects swept down to the Isle of Wight and up into Scotland. It has been the biggest for 25 years and measured 5.3 on the Richter scale. Thankfully as it occurred at 12.56 am the streets and gardens were mostly deserted and so toppling chimney pots, gable ends and roof tiles clattered to the floor without apparently damaging anyone. We have now been advised to expect after shocks from approximately 36 hours time.

Peanut - monkey nut

One of the most entertaining plants that a person can grow is a peanut or monkey nut plant. The nut must be in its shell, which must not contain any puncture marks or cracks in. Place the nut about one-and-a-half inches below the compost in a small to medium size flower pot. Sprinkle with water and after about a week a small mound of earth begins to erupt in the middle of the pot. Very soon the nut shell is pushed to the surface. Shortly after this, the plant pushes the nut shell out of the earth and above the soil to about two inches - it is at this stage that it looks like a little old man wearing a very large hat (the peanut shell). It soon tosses off the shell to reveal lacy leaves these are similar to pea leaves as it is a member of the pea family.

This plant grows extremely quickly and soon forms a very small pretty bush with bright little orange flowers. The plant is approximately ten to twelve inches in height at this stage, so can either be placed on a kitchen windowsill or outside in a tub.



The blackbird that calls his ever changing song from a nearby aerial has a very large territory that includes our back garden. Sometimes he and his brown mate pick over the emptied compost pile pulling out one red juicy worm after another. As I have said before, we have a cat (a very well fed cat) who always is most insistent that her dinner table remains quite full! Topped up with meat, fish and several varieties of kibbles that all have to smell and taste just right and if they do not - she simply turns her nose to the right and walks away. The blackbird has been profiting from these left-overs that the cat has chosen not to eat ... on a daily basis so-much-so that he now waits in a nearby apply tree, I would say patiently except that he begins calling and fluttering about as soon as I arrive in the garden, for me to place the small mountain of discarded cat food down. He swoops and buries his yellow beak deep inside the pile and tucks in. Before long, between he and the magpies, all of the cat food has gone. Every time I re-enter the garden he appears and waits in anticipation of another contribution.

Scratching Post

Our cat was around six months old before she began to stretch out her claws and pull them against wood to sharpen them. At first it was a small scrape against the fence then against one of the apple trees and finally it began in the house. I heard a a rustle and a scrape and a soft prickling sound, went to investigate and there she was scraping her small little razors up and down the linen basket. That was when we invested in the scratching post.

A host, of golden daffodils

Although it is February we are having many spring-like days with bright sunshine which is encouraging the flowers to bloom up to six or more weeks earlier than usual. Many of the daffodils are now fully out. However, some plants appear to be holding back and look as though they will flower later than anticipated.

We are very lucky to have wild primroses in our garden. A baby wild primrose was given to me over twenty years ago by an old country couple that lived in the wilds of Worcestershire. Their cottage backed on to craggy fields and they had wild primroses in their borders. This little baby primrose has only settled into one spot in my garden and has only spread approximately 6 inches. Here is a picture of it ... as you can see the leaves are especially short, so far, this year.

What's lurking at the bottom of my garden?

There are two compost heaps in our garden. One is an old-fashioned standard wire and wood surround whilst the other is a square plastic modern construction that is completely sealed with a flap-off lid. When I say completely sealed that does not account for the small slots just above its base.

A few weeks ago some type of creature began to enter the plastic compost bin through the small open slots. It tunnelled its way through the mounds of vegetable peelings and pulled some of them back through the slots. A mound of soft dark loamy earth appeared between the small garden shed and the compost bin.

So far, although I have poked about in the bin, looked in the space under the shed and generally glanced around and about I have not been able to discover what this little (it must be little to have squashed in through the small slots of the bin) creature is. The cat has taken a particular interest to this part of the garden and regularly does an early morning sprint to this spot. Yesterday she ran straight to the back of the shed where she patiently sat. After an hour or so she began to play "peepbo" with every member of the family that entered the garden ... but there has still been no sign of this mystery little creature.

Snails - hibernating

So far it has been a mild winter. We often use old house bricks to balance the flowerpots on. This serves two purposes - it increases the height of the pots and helps prevent them from being attacked by slugs and snails (at least sometimes). We have been cleaning out around the pots when this clutch of snails were spied squashed in the airspaces of one of the bricks. This is the first time that I have ever witnessed snails hibernating!

MORI - Survey

Never say never! I never fill in surveys but when one recently arrived on my doormat from Mori and it contained questions regarding the NHS I thought I would fill out this survey. I completed and posted it. You can imagine my surprise when this morning I received the exact same survey yet again addressed to me.

This duplication has now caused my belief in the results of Mori surveys to completely dissolve. I wonder how many other people have perhaps completed duplicate surveys and could even have filled in particular surveys more than twice! May be I shall receive the same survey for a third or even a fourth time.

I have never been a fan of surveys but now have no faith in them either!

Raw Milk - does it offer hope to ALL ailments?

There has been much talk of late with the health benefits that Raw Milk may bring. It has been inferred that children brought up on farms that have had occasional drinks of Raw Milk have access to more of the antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which it is claimed boosts the human immune system (allegedly also reducing occurrence and symptoms of asthma, eczema, hay fever and other such allergy ailments). If this is true, then it surely would make sense to see whether Raw Milk would offer health benefits to anyone with more serious illnesses. Raw milk also contains 'good bacteria' that help the human digestive tract to work more effectively. The western world spends millions of pounds purchasing yoghurt and live culture drinks, etc to bombard our bodies with 'good bacteria' perhaps more should be done to tap into the natural resource of untreated milk and milk products.

Most cows milk today is sold either as pasteurised, homogonised or ultra heat treated (UHT). To pasteurise milk it is heated to 71°C for 15 seconds then immediately cooled this process kills off all of the harmful and good bacteria, as well as some of the vitamins. Homogonised milk has the fat particles 'blasted' evenly throughout the milk where they remain in suspension (the cream is unable to float to the top of homogonised milk) it also is pasteurised. Allegedly claims have been made that this type of milk is difficult for the human digestive tract to process. Ultra heated milk (UHT) is similar to sterilized milk. It is heated to a temperature of 135°C for 1 to 2 seconds which gives it an unusual flavour.

Raw milk does have concerns that need to be considered - it needs to come from herds of cattle that are free from tuberculosis and brucellosis and it must be collected and bottled in complete sterility to avoid infections such as E-coli being passed on.


Perfect 10

The family cat is 10 years old this year although you would never realise with some of the kitten-like poses that she has. These are the latest pictures of her, taken this week, lying in her basket.

American dreams turned sour

Beckham has been left out of England's latest side which effectively means that he will not be gaining his 100th cap any time soon. When Beckham decided to go to the USA to play football, many in England wondered why. Some however thought, why not.

Well those who sat on the sidelines are now finding out why some were vehemently against the idea. He apparently is short of practise and not match fit to play on the England side to gain his 100th cap. He needs access to games on a regular basis to have any chance of winning his way back into the team.

There are those who believe "for old times sake" that he should just be allowed to play so that he can gain the precious 100th cap but surely this cannot be right. Each place on a team really needs to be earned and each game needs to be played to the best of a teams ability so that at least we all know that they have tried their utmost to win. If, with the very best and fittest team members they then go on to play their very best and lose at least we as onlookers do not feel cheated!