This wine really takes me back to our honeymoon about 18 months in the past when we tried a amount of South African white blends that genuinely impressed. Dilemma was, not many of them seemed to be in the Uk as soon as we would arrived back. This distinct mix is created up of Semillon (44%), Viognier (41%), Grenache Blanc (10%) and Roussanne (5%). Normal bedfellows they are as well…… Read More
In this age of tweets and curtailed messages what a delight it was this week when a ‘proper’ guide came my way. The ‘Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country’, packed with gorgeous images, is a landmark publication for the all-natural atmosphere in the conurbation. It gives a detailed account of the wildflowers and other plants discovered from Brownhills in the north to Longbridge in the south, and from Kingswinford in the west to Walmley in the east. In the pioneering spirit of the locality it is the very first such guide dedicated to an urban area, and is the culmination of years of dedicated recording and analysis by neighborhood botanists, ably led by Professor Ian Trueman of Wolverhampton University, Mike Poulton and Paul Reade Read More
My final column focused on a report about the reduction of plants and animals in recent decades in Britain. There was a sense in which that report looked back, so it was helpful that its visual appeal coincided with the publication of a guide* by George Monbiot containing some daring ideas about how we may possibly move forward in nature conservation. The tips, going below the standard identify of ‘rewilding’, captured the media’s curiosity. Read More
I have been noticing more reports of nuthatches in gardens lately, which is not also surprising as, as opposed to numerous other species, their numbers are rising. This delightful minor bird is about the size of a excellent tit but appears far more ‘triangular’. This is simply because it has a quick tail, a comparatively flat head and a pointed bill, manufactured to search longer by the black stripe working from its base via the bird’s eye to the nape of its neck. It has a blue-grey back and chestnut and white underneath parts. Read More
I have been residing in China for six many years, and even though I have gotten to grips with a lot of of the factors of Chinese residing – navigating my way across busy roads with no getting flattened by a flock of cyclists, chow-ing down on the huge variety of foods that might not be to my liking – but smiling and generating yummy noises anyway, and, though I can’t boast to be capable to manage the effects of downing shots of China’s favourite tipple, ‘Baijiu’, I have at least learned how to ‘keep it down’, as it were. But irrespective of these many skills/survival techniques, I nonetheless find that I am an outsider. Not just simply because I appear different to a majority of society, but as I get older, my private lifestyle is shining the spotlight on me as the odd one particular out. Read More
If we collected a variety of intelligent phones from a random group of men and women from about the globe and checked which apps were the most well-liked, I would guess that the BBC app may be a typical option, Facebook…obviously, and probably, most annoyingly, Angry Birds. Nevertheless, if you were to take the smart phones from a random group of people residing in Beijing, I would guess that nearly all of them would have an app regaling the gory details of China’s everyday air quality index. It has become a morbid habit of us all. “Have you noticed the index these days? Off the chart.”, “I know, I know. We’re screwed.”
January has constantly been one particular of my favourite months. It marks the beginning of the New Year, when I am thrilled and hopeful that fresh opportunities are coming my way, and I am even now wonderfully deluded into thinking that my New Year’s Resolution will final the rest of my days. The starting of 2013, nonetheless, was not so joyful for these of us residing in the Chinese capital. Beijing was shrouded for a amount of consecutive days in thick smog. So thick in truth, that some days, I felt as even though I could have taken a knife and sliced myself a chunk of air (a notion that could or might not have been a result of breathing such air).
We have no choice but to accept a amount of compromises when we determining on a area to dwell. 1 may love the tranquility and peacefulness of the countryside, but detest that they have to commute miles and miles to buy a pint of milk. Another might really like the heat and humidity of living in a south-east Asian nation, but despise the seedy underground globe and rabid mosquitoes. For these of us who pick to reside in a city like Beijing, we happily fill our inquisitive minds with the great culture and lap up the plentiful possibilities, but ‘tut’ and eye-roll at the spitting in the streets, the smoking in the elevators, and the relentless pushing and shoving on the subway. But hey, no area is perfect. It really is human nature to uncover annoyance even in the most heavenly of destinations, e.g. “The sand so hit it burns my feet on my tropical island!”, “” Ahh, first globe issues.
Sunday 24th February marked the official finish of the Spring Festival vacation and the official celebrations of the Chinese New Year vacation. On Monday, the a lot of men and women who took extended holidays to be with their households, as properly as school little ones, will return the grind. The hedonistic vacation days of limited site visitors and minimal smog have come to an end – just as we were commencing to get used to the ‘calmer’ side of Beijing. Read More
How we British enjoy to moan about the rain. I am confident after on a time, I almost certainly moaned about rain, also. Yes, yes, I am pretty confident I did. With my frizzy hair, a light spattering of water can ruin an hours well worth of straightening efforts. But now, how I cherish the odd event when rain falls on the arid city of Beijing. You see, rain not only waters the plants and keeps issues lusciously green it also clears the air – including that great moisture that helps make every single breath feel like an invigorating flush via your entire body. It really is like Colgate-flavoured oxygen. I miss it. In fact, it’s one particular of the issues I look forward to most about going house. After a twelve-20 hour flight property, standing outdoors in the ‘fresh’ English air is a feeling I cherish Read More
When I was asked to consider component in the Chablis Blogger Challenge 2013 I was naturally keen to get concerned. What I hadn’t expected even though was to be asked to match the two wines (each Chablis certainly….) with takeaway food. Chablis? With a takeaway? Really? It by some means felt disrespectful. Shouldn’t we be treating the wines to something a bit classier?! Fortunate I hadn’t currently stocked up on smoked salmon and cod roe… Read More
In the wake of the so-named horsemeat scandal along comes an initiative extolling the virtues of eating insects! Is nothing about our diet sacred anymore? Insects as meals is the theme of an occasion in London in April called, somewhat curiously, Pestival 2013. The topic will also be covered in a forthcoming BBC Television programme. As with horsemeat it turns out that a good deal of folks in the world eat insects from selection, and we are all, even if unwittingly, consuming them and their merchandise anyway. Read More
I have previously touched on the subject of environmental and ecological literacy. The most current consultation on changes to the Nationwide Curriculum after once more highlights the problems. Phrases and numbers are emphasised, as they must be, but educating about safety of the all-natural globe and the impacts of climate adjust, is inexplicably downgraded. How will our children be able to comprehend and deal with the catastrophic injury we are inflicting upon the normal globe, if the knowing they require is not handled with equal importance to literacy and numeracy? Read More