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    Let’s Have An Open Thread

    by Clairwil on 13th June, 2009 at 3:05 pm    



    Hello all,
    I seem to recall saying that I’d aim to do one of these every weekend. In fairness I did aim to do it but the gardening season being at it’s peak just now meant my attention was elsewhere. Still better late than never and I think we could all do with a bit of cheering up.

    Years ago an acquaintance of mine remarked that she hated politics and couldn’t be bothered with the the tories or the conservatives. At the time I thought she was an empty headed buffoon but now I’m starting to see her point. Politics it dominates the news but it’s rarely good is it? So on this thread we shall ignore it and talk only of jolly things.

    I’ve spent most of the day out in the sun wearing factor 5000, lest a repeat of the other weekend’s terrible sunburn incident should occur. Sunburn in Scotland, I can’t actually remember when I was last afflicted on my home turf. I wasn’t idling outdoors today but weeding and planting the public flowerbeds on Wilson Street in the city centre where I was tickled to be joined by a big fat bumblebee frolicking amongst the lavender. So that’s a bee added to today’s wildlife sightings of a cat, a worm, two slaters, a sparrow and a ladybird. Honestly it’s like being on safari round here at times.

    I am partial to a bit of nature around the place so I was pleased to hear that badgers are making a comeback. I must confess I didn’t know they’d been away. I just assumed they were avoiding me for some reason. Hedgehogs also shun me, I’ve never seen one in real life or a badger live come to think of it. Mind you this news of the badger revival comes from a survey in which members of the public are asked to count animals in their gardens so I can’t help but wonder if there is a bit of showboating and one upmanship going on. You can’t blame folk who wants to put in survey results like ‘we saw our dog and a magpie in our garden’? Why you might as well just scrawl ‘our garden is rubbish’ on the survey and have done with it. No far better to casually lob a badger onto the list and be thought of as a great suburban conservationist than a nobody with a shit garden.

    I’m off out to plant some sunflowers but I’ll be back so let’s have your jolly nature tales, weekend plans, amusing links and tales of hi jinks to perk us up over the weekend.


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    39 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Amrit — on 13th June, 2009 at 5:02 pm  

      Politics it dominates the news but it’s rarely good is it?

      I KNOWWW, man! It would help if the general negative bent of the news was eased a little by news of those politicians who actually DO their jobs (well). Only Private Eye ever reveals that!

      I’m meeting up with somebody I dissed on my blog tomorrow! Classy, eh. Let’s hope I don’t put my foot in it…

    2. chairwoman — on 13th June, 2009 at 5:20 pm  

      I get Goldfinches on my bird feeder, and occasionally a Woodpecker as well as the normal garden birds and I live in London.

      Foxes too, but no Badgers (boo).

      Now wasn’t that boring.

    3. marvin — on 13th June, 2009 at 5:32 pm  

      I had always assume badgers were cute and cudly type things, what with the friendly portrayal in kids TV show Bodger & Badger, Badger, as we all know, loves mashed potatoes.

      Until I heard the report that Iraqis were terrified of man-eating badgers. Which led me to look up badgers. Apparently the honey badger is thought by some to be one of the most vicious animals in the world world.

    4. BenSix — on 13th June, 2009 at 5:43 pm  

      When I was about ten or eleven we went on holiday to a little cottage in Yorkshire. There was a curved staircase that connected the upper and lower floors, and next to that was a ledge. Sitting atop the ledge was a large, stuffed badger.

      I went up the stairs sideways, facing the wall, every time.

    5. Billy — on 13th June, 2009 at 5:57 pm  

      Badgers are fantastic, although I wonder if I just think this because:

      a) They have striped faces
      b) The Wind in the Willows

    6. Clairwil — on 13th June, 2009 at 7:42 pm  

      Wow peace talks! Are you taking along a trained mediator or do you just plan to run if things get scary?

      A woodpecker is impressive but alas I’ve never seen one of them in the feather. Goldfinches seem to like hanging about my office for some reason.

      That is terrifying. Imagine ending your days savaged by a badger.

      My parents took me to a pub a while back where the hallway was full of a rather tatty selection of stuffed animals with really dodgy glass eyes. I stayed in the beer garden. Still you were very brave -was the badger rearing up on it’s hind legs or low down as if making ready to pounce?

      Well until I wrote this thread badgers did have a pretty good press. Now we have Marvins maneaters and Bensixes zombie badger to contend with! It is perhaps just as well we don’t see much live badger action.

    7. Clairwil — on 13th June, 2009 at 7:53 pm  

      ‘Badgers are mammals, so therefore they have live young and do not lay eggs.’

      ‘The giant squid is the animal which has the largest eyes. Its eyes can reach up to 25cm across, that is the equivalent to the size of a volleyball!’

      ‘The 12-spot ladybird lives on pine trees. Other ladybirds can be found using pine cones for hibernating in throught he winter.’

      More animal facts here

    8. Amrit — on 13th June, 2009 at 8:13 pm  

      Clairwil -

      Technically, peace has been made so it shouldn’t be TOO awkward. There wasn’t really that much of a beef at any point. She is a grand lady, and she took my overly-harsh criticisms of her well.

      YES to The Wind In The Willows. Once I finished that (I failed about 4-5 times to read it fully), I was glad.

    9. BenSix — on 13th June, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

      Oh, it wasn’t a fearsome creature - just nosing about near the bannisters. Presumably in much the same position as before its unfortunate union with an oncoming car.

      My sympathy on the pub front. In one of my favourites there’s a fox, framed and hanging from a wall; jaws bared and legs stretched out before it. Looks as if it tried to jump through and got stuck.

    10. Billy — on 13th June, 2009 at 8:33 pm  

      I’ve seen a woodpecker in Richmond Park. They are very noisy.

      In my local now refurbished pub there is an ancient mounted badger head. It has lost the stripes and now just looks sinister.

    11. A Councillor Writes — on 13th June, 2009 at 8:49 pm  

      There is an occasional green woodpecker in our communal back garden. Noisy beastie. We used to have owls as well, but they disappeared after the Tornado.

      Being only a half-townie, I’ve seen badgers and it’s always worth remembering that they aren’t small and cute. They are impressive, quite large(2-3ft long), low-slung beasties, with impressive claws. They like wet cat food.

    12. douglas clark — on 13th June, 2009 at 8:58 pm  

      I’ve always thought stuffed animals, as per Ben Six, a bit voodoo. But that’s just me. I’ll be scared of my own shadow next.

      What was that! Aargh!

    13. douglas clark — on 13th June, 2009 at 9:10 pm  


      We have lots of wild animals in our street. I think some are foxes, but the vast majority are humanoid.

    14. Amrit — on 13th June, 2009 at 11:35 pm  

      Sorry to ruin the open thread, but this is really interesting:


    15. billericaydicky — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:58 am  

      The bottom of our garden is Victoria Park the largest non royal park in London. Lately we have been visited by a young fox who likes to preen himself and sunbath on the lawn.

      A vet I know told me that badgers carry a form of TB that is easily passed to cattle and is the reason that they are culled. They cannot survive in urban areas like foxes.

    16. billericaydicky — on 14th June, 2009 at 8:02 am  

      Yes, a good article by Nick Cohen, as usual. I sometimes think that in the fields of conspiracy theories and intolerance there is little to choose between the far left and the far right.

    17. Clairwil — on 14th June, 2009 at 12:35 pm  

      There’s a very angry magpie on the loose round your way. It made a frightful row the other morning trying to smash it’s way into Mr Clairwil’s house. Be vigilant. It is a monster.

      I’ve heard badgers can be quite nasty if you annoy them. Apparently my nearest badgers like in Pollok Country Park, though I’ve never seen them. It’s a bit like the deer along the road from my house. Everyone has seen them except me!!!

    18. Ravi Naik — on 14th June, 2009 at 1:44 pm  

      The unlikely friends of the Holocaust memorial killer.

      The problem with Nick Cohen’s article is that he believes that there is an alliance between these groups (“former fascists and communists, secular Ba’athists, radical Islamists, Russian nationalists and America firsters”), as we if they shared common beliefs and common goals. What links them together is the fact that they dislike American exceptionalism, unjustified wars, and the way Israel is dealing with the Palestine issue. However, the majority of people agree with those issues as well. So what is his point?

      He is just badgering the Left the only way he knows how.

    19. BenSix — on 14th June, 2009 at 1:49 pm  

      My favourite part of the article is this…

      “In Voodoo Histories, his elegant evisceration of the paranoid mentality, David Aaronovitch points out that former fascists and communists, secular Ba’athists, radical Islamists, Russian nationalists and America firsters – people who would never have worked together in the past, and who indeed killed each other in the past – are fusing ideas and creating a new ideology.”

      So, in Aaronovitch’s evisceration of the paranoid mentality he, er, puts forward a really paranoid theory.

      Anyway - badgers…they could probably write a better column than this.

    20. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 5:22 pm  

      We are fortunate to have a badger set in our garden. I often spook them on the way back from the pub. Or is that the other way around :-). Now badger culling is a very contentious issue around here - its dairy county - and this is the one thing that sparks a vehement argument in the pub. I can’t understand the way we have spent millions investigating what is the best way forward, and then the government and the Convervatives have just totally ignored this science and ordered a cull - which is exactly the wrong thing to do as far as the latest research goes - utter madness and i have made my views know to the local farmer and councilors.

      Hedgehogs - - if you find a small baby one - don’t feed it milk - they get diarrhea from it. Best give them a bowl of worms.

      In Zoroastrianism - the Hedgehog/Vanghapara is ,along side the dog, one of the sacred creatures on the land because it spends all night eating slugs and pests. I think the penalty for killing one was very severe.

      http://www.zoroastriankids.com/animals.html for the sentimental views of Zoroastrian pets.

      Anyone seen a hoopoe yet? They sometimes visit in the summer - and always remind me of India.


      Anyway back to the cricket - its depressing listening.


    21. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 6:26 pm  

      Arghh - 12 - 1

      Suresh Raina has to do it now. A Super King no less. Yeah

      Anyone take up my tip for the Deccan Chargers?



    22. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 6:32 pm  

      Argh - he’s gone for 2.

      This is not good !


    23. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 6:50 pm  

      Ok today for the first time, i officially passed the Tebbit test…

    24. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:02 pm  

      Vik - Are you getting it over the internet?


    25. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:06 pm  

      Yeah at: http://richiweb.ch.vu/ …

      I’m actually watching cricket for the first time in years now, dont recognise half the names on either teams!

    26. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:07 pm  

      This is now the time to get going. they need 10 runs an over for 10 overs - a big task! I think its all over.

      Although Yuvraj has just scored a six on his first ball!


    27. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:13 pm  

      Yep its getting interesting… time to bust out the coronas!

    28. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:18 pm  

      Well 20/20 is the hamburger version. A quick tasty food but not for consumption everyday. I’ve banned my son from watching it - the shots are just not ‘cricket’ and as he is just learning, I don’t want him to get any odd ideas about how to bat. If he can play like Azharuddin I’ll be pleased. There has been a prog on the TV here about Cricket - and the last was about West Indian Cricket - brought back memories of my real hereos - Michael Holding and Andy Roberts.


    29. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:20 pm  




    30. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

      I think its all over now.


    31. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

      I’m not a big fan of T20 either. Did you ever read Fake IPL player’s blog during the IPL by any chance? It was fricking hilarious.

    32. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:25 pm  

      no - but I’ve found the link


      I’m hitting the whisky now!

    33. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:28 pm  

      Haha JFF, you are a typical Indian fan innit? Switch off the telly when things aren’t going great haha :).. I’m trying to explain cricket to my gf, but i suspect “better than baseball” isn’t exactly the best way of selling it to the Americans!

      Anyhoo read the Fake IPL player’s blog from the very beginning. His intial posts were awesome.

    34. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:31 pm  

      :-( true - you have me.

      This radio is getting frustrating! but brings back childhood memories of listening to a radio under the bed covers.


    35. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:41 pm  

      28 off 12 balls left!

      Fingers crossed X


    36. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:50 pm  

      6 !!!


      9 off 2 balls - still in by the fingernails

    37. justforfun — on 14th June, 2009 at 7:52 pm  

      Well played England. A deserved win.


    38. Shamit — on 14th June, 2009 at 8:02 pm  

      Where are you from Justforfun?

    39. Vikrant — on 14th June, 2009 at 8:19 pm  

      @Shamit: hint: He definitely fails the Tebbit test :)!

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