Friday, 30 January 2009

Marathon match in Australian Open..

Phew! Just finished watching the Nadal v. Verdasco match and what a semi-final it was, with over five hours of jaw-dropping tennis. Nadal is now through to face Federer in the final on Sunday (BBC2 8.30am).

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Star of the week! The RDA

I've decided in all this pessimism over the state of the economy it's worth remembering there are some optimistic people who work hard, give up time, make people's lives better and are generally a good egg and the unsung heroes (and horses) of the hour...so I'm going to start a Star of the Week thread and this week it goes to the Chalkdown RDA, who I had the great pleasure of seeing in action today with my kid and his class. Brilliant!

It's the RDA's 40th anniversary this year - I wish them well and you can learn all about their work here.

Million dollar traders...

I watched the last episode of Million Dollar Traders last night and was suprised to find that this group managed, while not making a forune, to fare better than a lot of hedge funds did during the recent stock market seizure. It was a shame the programme did not delve deeper into the selection/training programme and out-of-hours thought proceses of the novice traders but it was interesting to see a snap-shot of the industry that we all love to hate at the moment.
Most revealing were team management skills. I'm sure I wasn't the only one yelling 'sack them!' as the management dithered for weeks over who to keep and how to sort out the distractors in the team and the team itself was reluctant to self-regulate. At the very least they could have rearranged the seating plan....

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Garden blogs, for when it's too wet to get out in the garden...

You can catch up with what's happening in the garden at:
Ripplestone Garden

and the garden diary is here on Folia along with a whole community of gardeners worldwide.

For fab proper gardening blogs try:
Blackpitts Garden
(lots of links on this site to other fab proper gardening blogs)

The Gardeners' World team blogs here on the BBC website.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

White tailed eagles in the UK?

Last weekend was the RSPB big birdwatch weekend which, sadly we were unable to take part in due to being elsewhere rather than in our garden. I am delighted to note though that this year the thrush has returned and most of our resident birds seem to be doing well.
While out and about last weekend we were driving back over north Dorset and in a field I saw what I thought was some kind of white-headed eagle. It was far too big a bird to be a buzzard (which have a very different head and shoulder shape). My first thought was it was an osprey but have no idea why an osprey was sitting in field up on the Cranbourne Chase... if anyone has spotted eagles or indeed, flies birds of prey, in that part of Dorset, let me know, I'd love to know what it was I saw.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Heathrow-On-Sea? (car chaos crisis for south-east!)

I was very interested to read about Boris Johnson's floating airport plans yesterday and read with particular amusement about the new road links (widening the M2 - isn't that just what we've had for the last ten years?)because I presume Mr. Johnson was having a laugh at the south-east's expense.

Anyone who has spent a miserable morning in a car on the motorways in this corner of Kent when there has been an accident on one of the motorways, (not to mention gridlock should there be an accident on both the M2 and M20) and maybe a ferry dispute or chunnel fire as well will be understandably appalled at the thought of adding into that mix traffic from an international airport plus the proposed extra traffic from KIG.
In a perfect, green world we would all get the train from our front door to the plane but this isn't a perfect world and most people will try and get to the airport by car which would mean pretty much having to tarmac over the whole of Sheppey to support parking space. Remember how bad it was getting on and off the island at peak times before the new bridge?

As for extending and widening the M2, I would not be happy about seeing more of the North Downs being chewed up for an unnecessary transport scheme. The way to reduce short-haul flights to Europe is not to build another airport but build better rail links out of London to the north from the new high speed terminals and utilise Europe's high speed network and incentivise business use of this rail network.

As a final note, when the motorways clog up in this corner of kent, the towns do to, Maidstone, Medway, Gravesend, Dartford, backing all the way up to the M25...and causing chaos for businesses and schools - the alternative to Heathrow expansion is not expansion just a bit further round the M25!