Saturday, 31 August 2013


Ten years ago while builders were working on James' house, they helped with building up and renovating our kitchen fireplace. Following his instincts of always buy the biggest and best, Henry chose the largest woodburning stove possible. Since then it has worked tirelessly, keeping not only the kitchen warm (aka hot) and spreading heat throughout the rest of the house. We never really thought about maintenance (apart from riddling and emptying etc), but when we looked at it a few weeks ago it was obvious that time and heat had taken it's toll. So with the wonders of the Internet we bought a new Baffle Plate and Rear Fire Brick. The engineering involved was not so much precise and delicate as heavy handed, involving strong men and thick planks (no comments please!). It's all back together again and should burn even brighter and hotter. I ought to have taken a photo when the inside was exposed, but of course forget to. So here are some photos from 2003 (pre Blog) of it's transformation from seventies fireplace to the focal point of the room.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Back From The Show

 . . . and well done to everyone (cows, men, women and children).

Today was Grayrigg Show and Strickley was well represented in several sections. It's not just a livestock show (though sheep do feature heavily), but has classes for Produce, Photography, Handicrafts and Children (not that you are allowed to exhibit children - just their work).

We took three cows (2 cows in milk and a heifer in milk). The Dairy classes are interbreed and were keenly contested. We came home with two cups (Reserve Champion and  group of three), and an assortment of rosettes (including Best Pair and three firsts). And not forgetting small brown envelopes with cash in. (Not a lot, but the entry fee is only £1 an entry).

Robert and Chris have been busy this past week with their entries in the Collage,  Potato Head and picture classes; and both also came home with envelopes of money (free entry).

At the moment I've no photos of any of these successes, but here are James' prizewinning entries in the Photography section. I'm not sure of the top of my head what won what (or was second), but James also has a stash of Little Brown Envelopes.

And finally - these are large files and may take some time to display - but I wanted to do them justice.

Best Coloured Snapshot depicting a season

Best Coloured Snapshot of a view taken in the society's district

Best Snapshot of an animal or animals

Best Snapshot of child or children

Best any other snapshot

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Well done Elliot . . .

with passing
GCSE Biology
a year early
Onwards and upwards to next year now!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


16 acres
170 tonnes
300 litres diesel (200 for chopper and 2 x 50 for carting tractors)
4 hours

While the weather holds. . . .

. . more winter feed is filling the silage pit. Earlier this year we continued our practise of sowing three fields for "wholecrop". This year it was barley and peas, undersown with grass. Today the contractor has come with a huge specialist forage harvester and cut and chopped (all in one) the wholecrop. It's coming in by the trailer load and James is loading onto the rapidly filling silage pit. I haven't any photos (yet) as the fields aren't quite as handy this year (one on The Lots and then Front and Back Bank). I'm told that there's a very good crop of grass underneath, so we've plenty of grazing for this year, and next year the grass should do even better. All organic seed of course and only fed with slurry and FYM.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


The past two days have been a bit wet - over 3 inches in about 36 hours. After the rain stopped yesterday we were out in force with cameras. There had been a lot of rain, and the becks were running fast and overflowing and finding there own way across the fields, but we've seen it a lot worse. In February 2004 we had worse flooding. This was Before The Weather Station, so we've no figures, just photographs taken in similar places to use as comparison


 In February all of the stock (apart from sheep which we still had) were inside and warm and dry. This year we moved a few calves whose grazing was getting smaller and smaller, and some could see the rising water and moved onto drier ground themselves (though it was not very deep).
Smaller creatures also knew when to climb above the water.

© James Robinson 2013
© James Robinson 2013

And finally, from the safety of our car I took a short video with my phone. Hardly the world's best film, but it shows the speed the water was flowing.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Friday, 2 August 2013

Happy Birthday Judith

or, maybe "Joyeux Anniversaire" is more appropriate to a Robinson abroad

Thursday, 1 August 2013

July Weather

July has shown us how wonderful an English summer can be, with 18 consecutive days with no rain, and temperatures in the high 20's. It also reverted to type and since the 23rd there has been some rain every day. With yesterday's downpour the total of 3.783 inches makes July the wettest month this year. Click the link below for all the facts and figures, or visit our main weather page for other views.