Thursday, 13 January 2022

Report on River Pollution

 The citizen scientists of the Friends of the Upper Wye have contributed to a government report on pollution in rivers which has just been published, along with groups for other rivers, like the Ilkley and the Windrush.

The conclusion the report came to was that the majority of river pollution is caused by farming, followed by water companies releasing sewage into the waters.  Run-off from roads is also mentioned.

According to the academics from Lancaster University who were involved, the phosphates in the River Wye come from poultry (44%), sheep (28%) and cattle (28%).  They say that massive reductions in poultry and cow manure are needed to get the river back to net zero for phosphates, as well as no further spreading of phosphate fertiliser on farmland.  They also recommended that planning permission be refused for any further intensive chicken farming in the catchment area of the River Wye.  That's going to mean a huge change in farming methods - and the manure from twenty million chickens has got to go somewhere....

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Don't Touch Dead Birds

 As if one pandemic wasn't enough, there has been a resurgence of avian flu in the UK.  Wild birds have been badly affected, especially waterfowl, and the government advice is to call DEFRA if anyone finds a dead bird, so they can collect it, find out how it died, and so work out how the disease is spreading.

There are also a lot of farmed birds in the area, as anyone with an interest in the River Wye catchment area will be aware.  So far there have been confirmed cases of avian flu at a chicken farm near Shobden and a turkey farm in Clifford (I had no idea there was a turkey farm in Clifford!).

Most cases of bird to human transmission of the disease take place when the human is in close proximity with the birds for a prolonged period of time, for instance cleaning out the sheds, but it's still not a good idea to touch any dead bird found in the wild.

According to the government website, all bird keepers, even people with just a few chickens in the back garden, have to take biosecurity precautions, including keeping the birds indoors apart from very specific circumstances, and even people who have a flock of fewer than fifty birds are strongly advised to register with DEFRA.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Michelin Star for Local Restaurant

 I don't usually read Business Live, but I got an alert in my emails with an article about two Welsh restaurants which have been awarded a Michelin star.  One is SY23 in Aberystwyth, and the other is Chapters in Hay.  They've always placed great importance on sourcing local ingredients, and this seems to be one of the reasons that the Michelin star was awarded.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

New Photographic Exhibition

 Thru The Lens has a new exhibition for the New Year.

It's called Golden Valley Faces, and is a selection of vintage photos of people who lived in the area over a hundred years ago.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

New Year's Eve in Hereford

 I went into Hereford to do some essential bits and pieces, and also to look at the Sales - which were rather disappointing.  I was looking for some new shoes to replace the Victorian style ankle boots I found at the Red Cross shop (the heels finally disintegrated), but I didn't see anything that looked quite right.

I had a break from shopping at the Antique Tea Rooms near the Old House.  It was New Year's Eve, and it was warm enough for me to sit outside with my coat open to enjoy my pot of Oolong tea.

That's not normal.

That's climate change right in front of our eyes.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Brook Street Pottery Closes

 I'd known that Brook Street Pottery was going to close for a while, but it was still a surprise to walk past the shop the other day to see it empty, with only one or two pots left in the windows.

It's not disappearing entirely, though - Bill will still be making his pottery in the workshop at the back of the shop area, and selling online.  The website is

Friday, 31 December 2021

Happy New Year


I think this is my favourite picture from 2021, from the World War Two weekend in August.