It has been several weeks since the last Secret Life of The Compost Heap post video. There has been a lack of subjects. I moved the camera to a new location for a week and recorded nothing but rabbits. Back at the compost heap, and the odd fox and badger. It was cold, so maybe they were keeping out of the cold, snuggled down somewhere.
After filming a few scenes of the rabbit hole, I repositioned the camera to look to the left of the rabbit hole where there is a wildlife path. Sure enough, badgers and foxes passed by. The foxes walking by and investigating the second entrance to the rabbit burrow. The foxes are rather camera-shy and can see the Infra-Red light. You can see one small fox being very hesitant. Alas, the Polecat has not been seen again. One domestic cat comes by regularly.
During the day one of our pheasants came by walking towards the bird feeders. You can see him run back a little later. Somebody must have opened the doorway to the house and scared him.
There is a short scene with a little field mouse. Cute.
Garden Bunny The most fearless wild rabbit I have ever come across!
The last few days have seen rain, and more rain. The field was totally flooded. The field pond went from empty to full in the course of a couple of days. The leaking garden pond is almost full. Not seen such high levels for years. This rain has added to a water main leaking outside one of our neighbours since at least March. I did wonder why one of our field gateways had been damp during the summer. The water apparently flowed to her ménage, which is well drained, and then through the ménage land-drains to the gateway. Thankfully Thames Water have at last fixed the leak. This though is worthy of its own story.
The rain has again attracted the Little Egret, and flocks of gulls, who suddenly descend on the field as if it were the seashore. If I wanted a house by the sea I would not have bought a house which is probably as far away from the coast as you can get in the UK. Not only do we have these coastal birds visiting us, we now have Garden Bunny. Such a fearless animal sitting eating our grass for most of the day, totally ignoring us as we walk around the house & garden, and the tractor which came into the garden to cut the hedges. One worry is that Rosemary saw some baby bunnies the other day.
By chance we saw the International Space Station fly over us on Sunday night. On the Monday and Tuesday I took to taking photographs of it. The first ones taken on Monday were short 30 second exposures. The last photograph taken on Tuesday at 23.45 was for the full duration of the visible portion of the flight. Unfortunately camera was not pointing quite the correct way, so we don’t see it fade out.
After the weeks of rain, it was decided not to allow unnecessary vehicles on the shooting field. Instead, we would meet at Ludgershall village hall and be transported to the field by a vintage tractor (1980 Fiat) and trailer. Two trips were required. We can thank Jim for arranging this mode of transport. It was a fun start and end to the shoot.
Awaiting us at the shooting ground we had five stands of ten birds each. These were beautifully set up by Brian and his team, along with festive Christmas names. This was also the first outing of new safety cages, strong and light. As you can see from the picture, the field was truly waterlogged. Despite the cloud, there was no rain to spoil the fun. The breeze did add a chill to the air, 8C feels like 5C.
After the tea and coffee break, (please remember to bring your mug), we had a flurry shoot. Teams of three were randomly picked and shot the flurry. Deceptively slow at first, putting you at ease, until two fast, demanding flurries at the end. The final two stands of the fifty bird shoot then completed the shoot. In all 36 members and friends shot.
Village Hall and Lunch
Back at the Ludgershall village hall lunch had been prepared. An excellent buffet meal of meats, salads, baked potatoes and desserts. A big thank you to Celia, Shirley and Ann. After the meal, the prize giving.
We had our usual Christmas this year, complete with our countdown meals, all planned on a handy Excel Spreadsheet. One change was made, a meal was swapped around because the original was deemed too complicated for a Friday pub night.
Our Christmas Eve had Phil and Selina over for our usual cheese fondue. The fondue set is one of the few possessions I brought to the family, which still exists. The set must be more than 40 years old.
Christmas Day had Julian join us for our traditional Christmas Turkey lunch. (I cannot get them all to agree to a swap to a goose.) Nothing was forgotten, except the amount of gravy made was somewhat lacking, so there was no gravy in the sandwiches on subsequent days. Traditional Christmas pudding was on offer, with Jack Daniels Butter, along with Christmas Pudding Ice Cream,
Leftover food kept us going for a week in various reincarnations. No turkey curry, and somehow the bread sauce found its way to the back of the fridge and was not discovered for well over a week. (I think this deliberate on R’s part.)
New Christmas tree this year. Gone has the natural tree with falling needles, and now a metal and plastic affair which should see me out.
Selina had originally bought me the Michael Eavis and Emily Eavis “Glastonbury 50” book for Christmas. It would have been a brilliant choice. Unfortunately, I had already bought it back in November. R had not communicated this fact to Selina when she had asked if I had purchased any books recently. Luckily, Rosemary told me that Selina was enquiring about my book purchases, so I reminded her of “Glastonbury 50”. Quickly she phoned Selina, but it was too late; Selina could not cancel the order. No matter, it was passed on to Ravi, one of the friends whom I took to Glastonbury.
During Christmas Day, I read several tweets from Glastonbury fans who had received multiple copies of the book. Several with two copies and at least three had three copies of the book.