27 February 2015

Normal service resumes.

Half term is over and the office is as busy as ever.
Plenty of training course information is pouring in and the Training Directory is gradually being updated. Job adverts continue to keep arriving and the Jobs Online section is constantly changing and this week's edition of CJS Weekly is 22 pages including the Work Days calendar for next month plus 45 adverts for paid posts and an additional 33 for voluntary roles.  We see many unusual ways of describing roles or attributes of the person being sought but this week one advert (for a Recreation Manager) has a new one - the applicant requires the "ability to 'pull a rabbit out of a hat'", budding prestidigitators should get their applications in now!

Lots and lots of enquiries by phone and email as well as contact forms from the website and yesterday we took part in the careers fair at Writtle College, they are the opposite end of the country from us so our presence was a virtual one and long conversations about starting your careers and useful skills were held via twitter.  The Focus information provided for Student Volunteering Week was also popular. Our web stats have some Himalayan type peaks over the past couple of days!

AW's family had a lovely time on their visit to The Big Smoke. Elder daughter met 'her' penguin, here he is: Ricky the Rockhopper, with a Humboldt for company and two fish-steelers aka a black-headed gull and grey heron
Ricky the Rockhopper at ZSL London
 And the younger was all agog over Dippy.
Dippy in the Central Hall at NHM
Although Mum and Dad were slightly concerned about the crush of people (it does seem a bit of a scrum in there!) and hands were very firmly held the whole time they were away.

Fairtrade Fortnight, runs 23 February - 8 March

Let me start with a shocking statement:
I don't always buy Fairtrade products.
This is usually met with disbelief, shock, horror, downright amazement. However, there are some very valid reasons behind that statement, it's not just there for the shock value.

Fairtrade is wonderful, the organisation has fantastic aims and has made an incredible difference to thousands of people's lives.

But I have mixed views about Fairtrade or to be more precise I have problems with some of the retailers of Fairtrade. Despite how wonderful Fairtrade is I believe 'charity' begins at home. When something is produced in the UK as well as overseas I will always buy British especially when that something comes from our agricultural industry. My problems with Fairtrade began when our only local supermarket at the time (the Co-op) began selling Fairtrade above all other products, including British produced ones. For example Silver Spoon sugar disappeared from the shelves to be replaced with Fairtrade sugar, similar cost, not really any difference in quality or flavour so what's the problem? I prefer to support British farmers and choose to buy produce with the Red Tractor symbol. Our farmers play a vital role in keeping our countryside the green and pleasant patchwork we know and love (they don't do it alone, I work at CJS so I know just how many people, organisations, volunteers, funds, agencies etc., etc., are involved!). It's not an idyllic playground but a working factory and the managers of that factory are frequently struggling and I want to support them and in so doing keep the familiar diverse landscape and all that it supports - from people to beetles and everything in between. I fear that sometimes we can get caught up in the feel good factor of organisations such as Fairtrade at the expense of homegrown. It's human nature to like the positive glow of feeling "I've done something good" by supporting this cause or that charity but unfortunately sometimes we are unaware of the impact of that elsewhere; we automatically assume that supporting a good cause is the end of it, that something like Fairtrade is only competing with nasty big exploitative business, but sometimes, just sometimes it's not.

Having said all that and torn apart the system I'll put it back together!
Support your local producers first. The more local to you the better, go back on the high street and buy meat from known sources, swap veggies with your neighbour, support your milkman (a rarity these days - we are so fortunate), buy British seasonal flowers for Mother's Day instead of hothoused ones from overseas, in the supermarket look for the Red Tractor and RSPCA freedom food labels to support British farmers or the MCS ecolabel for certified sustainable fish. And when it comes time for pineapples and bananas (or chocolate or cotton or coffee or tea or....) then look for the Fairtrade label and support this excellent cause.

But, please,

let fair trade begin at home.

20 February 2015

Phone call for a scarecrow...

Last week we had a phone call, nothing unusual there, we have lots everyday.  The person at the other end wanted to talk about careers in rural areas, also not so unusual. What was different was that she was a journalist from The Times writing a piece for their Graduate Careers special and wanted a few insights about jobs in the countryside.  Details were taken, an outline was emailed and an interview arranged for a few days later.  The results were in Thursday's edition.
So why a scarecrow? When this was relayed to Niall (who was overjoyed) he claimed it was only to be expected as CJS is obviously 'out standing in the field'. Boom Boom!
Some things never change (which is actually really rather nice).

Our mention in The Times Graduate Careers special amounted to one paragraph in a short article covering the breadth of working in rural areas, not specifically countryside jobs.  I think the journalist was quite disappointed when I explained exactly what CJS does especially when I said that we were publishers and not a recruitment agency, she did seem surprised that countryside jobs could be in inner city areas (didn't fit the article profile I assume).  However, despite that we're still chuffed that she contacted us for information.
For some more in depth useful information have a look at our Helpful Hints page, it's currently being rewritten so if you have any suggestions or requests please send them across.

Maybe we should have mentioned more about the joys of rural life! (aka anyone got a tow rope?)
Wednesday morning there's a knock on the office door, "I'm a little bit stuck can you pull me out?" said a visiting friend, after a lovely evening catching up the family had stayed overnight in a local BnB but it turns out that on their way home they decided to check out 'Hogsmeade' station (their words, without its dressing it doesn't look like anything from Harry Potter, but there's some info and pictures here) and pulled into the lane end to park.  They're not really country folk and parked - or rather tried to - on the verge only to get well and truly stuck.  Although I have a 4x4 I don't actually have a tow rope (must have left it in the old landie when it went to pastures new and I never got round to getting another one) or a tow bar, but HB (to the rescue again) has both. So she nipped home and arrived back only to discover that in their last towing adventure the tow rope had snapped, so we're all standing around looking at bits of rope when a friend goes sailing past, reverses up and quickly solves the problem with a series of splices and knots.  After which the bogged down car was gently tugged from the mire and everyone can get on with their day.
Made for an interesting start to the day...

Talking about day break, the dawn chorus has got into full swing in the last couple of days.  This morning there was a beautiful song thrush at the top of the ash tree singing his heart out, a robin blasting away at the top of the Christmas tree, blackbirds on the shed and greenhouse roofs and a starling with inflated throat burble-chattering away on the telephone wires as a gaggle of geese flew overhead heading north gabbling away to each other.

PS Thursday was the start of the Year of The Sheep according to Chinese astrology. Goathland has more sheep than people, with ratios akin to Australia so that makes us a little interested in how sheep impact our daily lives.  Apparently after the energetic Horse this coming year is going to be a smooth year, a time to relax and make peace with oneself (um, not sure I'll have the time for that....), a year of harmony and tranquility. It sounds wonderful.  And then we looked a little further: I'm an ox (strong willed and stubborn), we also have a couple of snakes (wily deep thinkers), a rooster (stands on top of their midden and crows) and a monkey (quick witted and intelligent) amongst others.

13 February 2015

Is it bedtime yet?

Normally we're not in the least bit bothered by triskaidekaphobia even on a Friday, it's just another day.
But this week?
That's turning out to be a whole different story...

I knew it was not going to be a good day when I got up to discover the aga had gone out and wood stove had only a few embers left - which fortunately flared into life with a little paper and kindling to warm everything up.  It's been an odd, busy week.  Monday saw the latest edition of CJS Focus published. Thursday it was the turn of just about THE biggest edition of CJS Professional we've ever published, that kept us occupied for several days.  HB's computer is suffering from a multiple personality disorder with internal temperatures ranging from-55 to a fiery +50 all at the same time.  It's either that or (more likely) it can't count, however the little fire symbols were rather worrying, but IT say it's fine, for now, but will change some pieces of hardware soon....  The fire extinguisher is on standby by the corner of her desk.

In the mean time there have been all sorts of odd little niggles - a recalibration of Facebook pages designs and the frequency of feeding posts out to personal profiles, google changing things again (600ish pages to be tweaked), the back room bits on the daily email going haywire and as we roll with the punches we become progressively more amazed at events both in and out of the office.  By mid-morning on Friday the bouts of slightly manic laughter were increasing in frequency and the desire for a duvet, a mug of something warming and a good book were getting ever harder to resist, but resist we did and despite it all our third publication of the week has gone to press.  At 21 pages this week's edition of CJS Weekly is slightly smaller but still significantly larger than last year's average size. It has 67 adverts for paid posts plus 11 voluntary roles.


Have you seen the advert that begins "Mum, there are penguins in my bedroom"?  It's been on the radio regularly but it was only the other night I actually saw it on TV and it's cruel!  Evicting all those lovely penguins, very nicely (I must admit) being ushered out by the boiler repair man - BUT, poor penguins, they're homeless again.  After being so popular over Christmas and welcomed into everyone's homes only to be turned out once it gets a little bit chilly.
To borrow from Dog's Trust: "A penguin is for life, not just for Christmas".  
So saying AW's elder daughter is going to meet her adopted penguin at the zoo over half term and is very excited, her younger sister is almost as excited about seeing Dippy (Natural History Museum's diplodocus) before he moves.

12 February 2015

CJS Professional: February 2015

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.
It's another big one, this month running to 89 pages!

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Principal Ecologist, amec foster wheeler (Edinburgh, Penicuik)
Seasonal Field Surveyors , Ecology Solutions (Hertfordshire office base, surveys UK wide)
Assistant Ecologist, amec foster wheeler (Edinburgh, Penicuik)
Ecological Clerk of Works and Field Ornithologist, Energised Environments Ltd (Glasgow)
Graduate Trainee: Seed Research, Procurement & Treatment, Maelor Forest Nurseries Limited (Welsh/Shropshire border)
Papay Heritage Ranger Harnessing Papay’s Rich Heritage project, funded by the Coastal Community Fund (Papa Westray, Orkney)
Ranger, Crowborough Town Council (East Sussex)
Ecologist, Aspect Ecology (Oxfordshire)
Wildlife Records Inter, Exmoor National Park
Director, Woodland Heritage (flexible location)
Local Wildlife Sites Surveyor, West Yorkshire Ecology
Head of Conservation & Development, the Chiltern Society (Chesham, Buckinghamshire)
Forestry Manager, Treelands Limited (Stirling)
Ecological Project Officer Five Rivers Environmental Contracting (Salisbury)

Other adverts:
Do you work in the countryside sector?  The Countryside Management Association (CMA) is the professional body in England and Wales for rangers and managers of countryside and any green spaces, whether urban or rural.  CMA is running a survey of people across the profession, you don't have to be a member to take part, more details in the edition.

CJS Notices
CJS Focus on Volunteering
This edition includes CJS Focus on Volunteering in full.
NCVO provide a lead article on volunteering and diversity, with lots of tips on how best to attract, motivate and retain volunteers. CNP detail their Mosaic project and how volunteers can get involved. CSA provides some information on how to use social media to best effect and how to involve volunteers in the process. Find out why there’s never been a better time to employ an Apprentice. Steve Rogers analyses some very interesting data on toad patrols he has helped to organise in North Yorkshire. This edition also includes 111 specific volunteer positions most included only in the Focus and many adverts for projects, websites, work days & volunteering offers. Read it here

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for  April 2015 Click here to read
The Species Recovery Trust is immensely excited to unveil the Golden Ticket 2015.  
As part of our commitment to fostering the next generation of aspiring conservationists, this year we are offering one individual a free place on ten of our training courses, normally worth £750.

If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact them to include their courses (you're not committing yourself or them to anything, and like most things with CJS it's free!)

09 February 2015

Now published: CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

Our first look at Volunteering for 2015 runs to 39 pages in total. The lead article is from National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and they discuss volunteering and diversity also provide lots of tips on how best to attract, motivate and retain volunteers whilst ensuring diversity within a volunteer work force. The Campaign for National Parks has been running their Mosaic project since 2001, the project aims to introduce new people to national parks and the countryside, the Project Manager gives some details about what Mosaic does and how volunteers can get involved. Social media is now a main tool in any organisations promotional activity, Community Supported Agriculture provides some information on how to use social media to best effect and how to involve volunteers in the process. There’s never been a better time to employ an Apprentice.. so say the National Apprenticeship Service, how easy is it and why should you look to this form of employment to train future employees. They also provide some case studies from the Lake District National Park Authority. Toads will soon be making the perilous journey to their breeding grounds; Steve Rogers, Co-ordinator of Osmotherley Toad Rescue in North Yorkshire analyses some very interesting data on toad patrols, in a bid to answer the question ‘Can toad patrols make a difference?’  This edition also includes 111 specific volunteer positions most included only in the Focus and many adverts for projects, websites, work days & volunteering offers. Read it here 

06 February 2015

Doodle Day

Do you doodle?
Most people do at sometime or another: on the phone while on hold listening to another round of canned muzak, in meetings, in lectures, waiting for computers to unfreeze, install more updates.... plenty of opportunity.
Today (Friday 5 February) is National Doodle Day so I had the brainwave of putting together a little gallery of our artistic meanderings and fired off this email:

But then the problems began - you see I just don't doodle!  I didn't realise until I began looking for scribblings. I draw with a purpose. I scrawl words.  I make notes.  But nowhere in any of my plentiful note books could I find pictures or even sweeping lines.
Other pieces of paper in the office are adorned with flags, little round blotchy swirls, feathery birdy things, blocked in letters.  A few preliminary squiggles made it up onto my pictures / ideas wall above my desk at home.

(there's a distinct labrador and hare theme there, I wonder why!!)
TB gave me her doodle, in her words "I scribbled this representation of my deepest longings on the bottom of a job ad."
Where's the sunshine?

So I thought if we can't have sunshine the next best thing has to be wine... So into the gallery went my winey wordart from the wall.
And here is the gallery of some of our collected doodles:

No, it's not just an excuse to waste some time and scribble away it's all in aid of a very good cause: National Doodle Day supports the work of Epilepsy Action which is the working name of British Epilepsy Association.  Epilepsy Action is the UK’s leading epilepsy organisation and exists to improve the lives of everyone affected by the condition. As a member-led association, we are led by and represent people with epilepsy, their friends, families and healthcare professionals.Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age and from any walk of life, and globally over 50 million people have the condition. Epilepsy Action is here to support people every step of the way through living with the condition.

This week's CJS editions

We've not been wasting all our time this week scribbling away, we have been busy putting together a couple of very large CJS editions.
Over the past two weeks sub-ed TB has edited and typed up over 200 job adverts.  Wow, we are all in awe (and dreading when she goes away on a well deserved holiday next month....)
CJS Weekly has gone to print with 27 pages and this week includes a monster 39 page CJS Focus on Volunteering - more on that next week when it's published online.

 Stop press - I did a doodle! 
The winey wordart obviously inspired (if that's the right word) so here's a CJS-y one...


05 February 2015

Stories of apples.

"Never again would sweethearts be separated by that river."
Tall tales, fantastic fables and local legends....
This week is National Storytelling Week.

Years ago both Niall and I used to offer story telling as part of our freelance education ranger services. Telling not so tall tales of ghosts, ghouls, hobs and witches from our rich local folklore mainly to school children to but also to adult community groups. Niall took his own portable witches post to repel 'witch' Anthea's unexpected entrance half way through, I relied on a large very dribbly, guttering church candle and a flair for the dramatic to get the audience gasping. It obviously worked and we both got lots of repeat bookings! Maybe one day we'll write them all down….
 "And remember, never go hunting with a black dog"
(quotes from the stories of Beggar's Bridge in Glaisdale and Nanny P in Goathland)

It's been a busy week with what with story telling, Candlemas day on Monday (it was dull and drear so winter should have gone for another year… um not sure about that it's snowed all week), World Wetland Day (that one was in the news headlines, more here) and the launch of this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards (that was in Monday's blog, read it here and watch out for more updates in the coming months). As it that wasn't enough it's also been Bramley Apple Week.

blossom on the bramleys - hopefully it will be just as beautiful this year
The bramley is a venerable old variety, first grown from pips planted in 1809 by Ann Brailsford, in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. The house changed hands and while local butcher Matthew Bramley lived there a a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather, asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apple. Bramley agreed, but insisted the apple should bear his name - hence 'Bramley's Seedling'
For me a cooking apple just has to be a bramley. The house we lived in when I was a small child had three large bramleys in the garden, there have to be three because they're odd plants having a triploid chromosal pattern meaning they require not one but two other pollinating trees. We made chutney, apple pies, apple crumbles, stored a few and froze a lot. When we moved the new house had lots of cordoned eating apples but no cookers, but the trees were not doing well and eventually were felled leaving the victoria plum standing alone. However a few years ago having done a little bit of a redesign we had space for apple trees again and of course top of the list was a bramley, not having as much space as the previous garden we've got a crab apple as a pollinator. They did well for a few years but I fear we're not meant to have apples here, the house next door changed hands and they took down the garage totally altering the wind patterns. Both trees got thrown and although have been heavily pruned and pulled back up right they are struggling and we've not had a crop from either for a couple of years.

And we're not done, we're scribbling along tomorrow...

02 February 2015

Click, click, snap - photographs anyone?

British Wildlife Photography Awards competition now open

The 2015 Competition is now open for entries  

Your chance to win a prestigious award, with a cash prize of £5,000 and reach millions through national exposure. Help raise awareness about British wildlife and celebrate our natural heritage. Winners and commended entrants will have their work showcased in a touring exhibition and stunning book, and will be invited to an exclusive Awards ceremony in London.
The overall prize fund worth up to £20,000 includes products from lead sponsors Sky and Canon.  

The awards recognise the talents of photographers practising in Britain whilst also highlighting the great wealth and diversity of British natural history. A celebration of British wildlife as well as a showcase for photographers and videographers, both amateur and professional.

There are sixteen separate categories including animal behaviour, urban wildlife, habitat, animal portraits, marine life, the hidden secret world that lies in the undergrowth and a special award for wildlife in HD Video. Also two junior categories and a school award - to encourage young people to connect with nature through photography. 
CJS is pleased to be sponsoring the botanical category once again.  Plants and landscapes are much more our thing than moving animals - we're a bit short on patience (not to mention time) to capture anything other than a passing blur! Those of you who do have our utmost admiration.
Find out more about all the categories here: http://www.bwpawards.org/categories

If moving images are more your thing (we're not talking blurs here, unless it is a deliberate one of course!), then this category will be the one for you: Wildlife in HD Video sponsored by Sky+HD

In addition to still photography there is a great opportunity to capture wildlife in action and win an amazing prize. Be inspired by the video winner and commended entries in 2014. http://www.bwpawards.org/categories/wildlife-in-hd-video

And of course we can't leave out the youngsters, for all the budding photographers have a look at : Young People’s Awards  WildPix / BWPA, sponsored by RSPB Wildlife

Chris Packham, Naturalist and TV Presenter said "Each year the British Wildlife Photography Awards generates an incredible catalogue of splendid, exciting, imaginative and artistic images, proving beyond doubt that we have the richest palette of life to celebrate in our own backyard. Anyone passionate about protecting and preserving wildlife will be inspired by the British Wildlife Photography Awards, which in its sixth year has done more than any other award to raise the profile of British wildlife. 

So what are you waiting for?


(just you haven't noticed that address yet....)

For inspiration, this is last year's overall winning entry, isn't it wonderful.
The Tourist by Lee Acaster

30 January 2015

Too good to be true?

By nature we're (mostly) a suspicious species or maybe it's learning through experience that when an offer seems too good to true it usually is!
Last week we had a phone call from a slightly worried Dad, his daughter had applied for and been accepted onto an Operation New World course,  they had received the information and Dad just couldn't believe it: training, a week on the Canary Islands, help with finding a job and all free.  Because the advert had been seen on our website he contacted us to find out if it was genuine.  We were delighted to be able to assure him it really was a good as it seems. 

Operation New World is an educational Charity established in 1992 in order to provide self-help programmes for unemployed young people. They aim to increase employability skills so that participants get off 'Benefits' and find worthwhile jobs. The success rate is very high: since 1992, nearly two thousand young have completed the course with 90% finding jobs or re-training shortly afterwards.
Anne Leonard, Chairman of the organisation says: "I wanted to help young people who could not get jobs and were getting depressed on the benefits system."

Find out more about Operation New World on their website: www.opnewworld.co.uk/ 

Sometimes, if you put your cynicism aside, you find genuinely good people doing fantastic things, like the note from the 'man on train at table with glasses and hat' giving a young mum a psychological boost and £5, because he says "What goes around, comes around." Wouldn't be lovely if this was such a common occurrence it didn't raise such a stir and go viral across the media network?

The countryside sector has a big heart, you only have to visit any one of the hundreds of reserves and parks across the country to see the volunteers in action and enjoy the fruits of their labours. People help out in all sorts of ways from the big jobs like path maintenance or litter picking to the smaller ones such as checking on collecting tins or simply recording sightings of animals or plants.

Where have all the finches gone?
The latest BTO Garden BirdWatch results show that there has been a significant decrease in the number of siskins seen in gardens and on feeders this winter. We can't remember the last time we saw a siskin in the garden, the numbers of goldfinches have dropped too although we have seen many more goldcrests than ever before.  In fact we've actually used far less bird food this year than for several years, and it feels that I have thrown away quite a lot of the seed which went rotten at the bottom of feeders - which makes the cleaning much more difficult, however, the fat always seems to be eaten up before it deteriorates.  Whether the decrease in bird numbers in the garden is down to the weather or that a cat has moved in next door is a debate for another day!  However, this morning I lost several minutes watching a pair (I think) of robins, we are at the cross over of robin territories and it is not unusual to have more than one or two taking careful turns at the feeding station. This morning the pair in question were sitting on opposite sides of a tree almost pointedly ignoring each other, one was definitely a female but the other refused to turn around to let me get a clear look to see if it was a male.
Last weekend's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch was the biggest, most successful ever with over 115,000 survey submissions and incredible four million birds counted over two days.  The full results won't be known for a while because you have until 16 February to submit your results.   If you took part would like to do it again, more regularly then you could join BTO's Garden BirdWatch.

23 January 2015


"It's a penguin! Keith, look there's a penguin on the post over there!"
I don't remember this being shouted along the beach at Whitby (I was in a pushchair at the time) but I am reliably informed this is what my Mum excitedly relayed to my Dad on one of our first trips to the beach, probably some time early November.  Dad said it was in fact a guillemot, a bird Mum still enjoys watching but no longer gets confused over, no penguins here (although we do have a polar bear - sort of).  Mum will be the first to admit her early years in an industrial mill town were not spent learning bird or flower identification; however, she has since spent several years and very many happy hours pouring over the books and filling in the gaps in her knowledge.

By DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

So why am I talking about penguins?  And no it's not because we've been shivering under an icy blast.  Or because Tuesday was penguin awareness day - yes, it's real and it even has a website; but because the Telegraph ran a story, possibly coincidentally on Tuesday, about people reporting lost penguins in Scarborough (they were of course guillemots and razorbills) we tweeted it out as bit of light relief and it became our top tweet for the week!  Most people had a chuckle and a wry smile, however, some comments were a little less than kind, not everyone has the advantage that we have had of spending time (and effort) learning to identify natural history, some because they have no interest, others because they simply don't have the opportunity.  The latter often devour the information when it's available: through TV programmes such as BBC's Winterwatch (on now) and articles online and in newspapers; the former group are much harder to reach. The Environmental Education and Outreach programmes of our many wonderful organisations do their best to help both groups, by providing opportunities, opening eyes, supplying information and guidance.  If you'd like to join their ranks and help people, like my Mum, learn the difference between guillemots and razorbills, never mind penguins, read last year's Focus on Environmental Education, the adverts may be a little out of date but the articles are just as relevant today as when we first published them in May 2014.
And this week's edition of CJS Weekly has quite a few educator posts in amongst the 93 adverts across 23 pages.  This week also has the Training Calendar of events happening in March

19 January 2015

Blue Monday?

Apparently the third Monday in January is "Blue Monday".  The most depressing day of the year, Christmas is well and truly over and the daily humdrum work is getting monotonous.
Well our Blue Monday is certainly one to be avoided:
  • Slushy / icy snow everywhere including the roads (no plough or grit) AW had an interesting trip to work this morning.
  •  My desktop computer is very blue, blue screen of death in fact, fortunately I have just got a new laptop  - but that only has half the software I need and until about 20 minutes ago no printer.
  • Then just to cheer us all up British Gas sent us yet another mis-addressed demand, apparently Mr Chris Field of C J S News owes them rather a lot of money and rather than trying to make contact with Mr Field someone has simply sent the letter to us - if you google C J S News our address is top of the results. When the first one arrived last year I spent rather a long time on the phone explaining we don't have mains gas and that our electricity is with another  company.  They promised the letters would stop and our details would be removed from the account but some may be in the system and to return those marked as 'not known at this address'. Which we've done with the two other letters which arrived since and will do the same with this one.  They're rather good at this, sending a letter to the Prince of Wales pub about an outstanding amount for HRH Prince of Wales (see article on BBC here)
If you're suffering the Blue Monday blues and want to change your job or just want to see all the countryside and wildlife news here's a offer from CJS to cheer you up. Sign up this week to CJS Weekly Digital and we'll give you a 25% discount off standard prices, that means you can get a copy for as little as 56p a week, less than a pint of milk (sore point) or a loaf of bread.  There have been over 170 adverts for jobs this year already, so what are you waiting for? Subscribe here.

16 January 2015

Lies, numbers and statistics

Mark Twain credited it to Benjamin Disraeli but then again it could have been Thomas Huxley who first said:
"Lies, damned lies and statistics."
Well, whoever it was it's crept into our language and is a universal acceptance of the fallibility of statistics or more precisely the manipulation of numbers to prove your point.  Which is why I like to see the raw numbers as well as the quoted stats, so here you go, see some of ours from this past week:

We're not entirely sure why our Facebook pages have suddenly leapt in popularity, all we did was put one link from one page to the other and a small notice in the daily email and there you go a 7,000% increase in page likes! Stunning, we must do it again sometime....

In the mean time we'll plod on with the usual day to day business of putting out CJS, the latest Weekly edition has gone to press and digital editions will be available very soon. all 22 pages of it with 93 adverts this week, 69 for paid posts.

15 January 2015

CJS Professional: January 2015 edition

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Happy New Year from the CJS Team. We're delighted to let you know that we have been able to keep advertising rates the same as last year.
There is now a wider range of options available but we have also simplified the online information pages to make it easier for you know which is the best options for you.
One new feature for 2015 is the addition of the option to embed a video into your advert. More detail here.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Nature Conservation Ranger, London Borough of Redbridge
Project Co-ordinator (hands on), Nimrod Environmental (Barnsley)
Arborist/Trainee Arborist and Grounds People/Tree Planters, Glendale Arboriculture (new contracts in London Borough of Hillingdon and London Borough of Harrow)
Ecology Consultant - Abingdon, ADAS
Seasonal Rangers, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
Estate Fencing Labourers,  Traditional Estate Fencing (Leicestershire based)
Estate Worker - Plant Operations and Maintenance, Ferne Animal Sanctuary  (based Wambrook, Chard)
Tree and Landscape Officer, Braintree District Council
Landscape Officer, Exmoor National Park
14 Seasonal Rangers, National Trust for Scotland (all properties particularly: Culzean Castle & Country Park, Glencoe Estate, Threave Estate)
Two chainsaw operators,  Kleen Kutt Ltd (Devon and Somerset areas)
Forestry Worker, Whitbourne Estate (Herefordshire)
Game and Gamekeeping Officer, BASC (HQ, near Chester)
Woodland Habitat Officer, Borders Forest Trust (southern Scotland)
Conservation Projects Manager, Trees for Life (across Scottish Highlands including Dundreggan Conservation Estate)
3 Month Survey and Monitoring Training Placements (x 12) Natural England Nurturing Nature Conservation Skills using National Nature Reserves (reserves across England)
Graduate Ecologist - 6 month contract, Tyler Grange LLP (Stroud, Gloucestershire)
Wildlife Supporter Officer, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Project Co-ordinator,  The Wilderness Foundation UK (Essex)
Paddock Fencing Operative,  Professional Paddock Care (based Sleaford, Lincolnshire)
Senior Farm Ranger, Hampshire County Council (Staunton Country Park, Havant)
Project Manager, Northumberland County Council
Community Engagement Officer - Wildlife Gardening, Part time (3 days per week), Surrey Wildlife Trust
Pennine National Trails Partnership Manager, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Other adverts:
Cost-free course with week in to Canary Islands, run by Operation New World

CJS Notices
CJS Focus on Volunteering
The lead article from National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) will cover best practice in volunteer recruitment and inclusivity. Along the same lines the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) describe their successful Mosaic project and how it has helped get more people involved.
Apprenticeships are increasingly being advertised with CJS, the Skills Funding Agency have written an article about Apprenticeships in the countryside.
This edition will be published on Monday 9 February, included with CJS Weekly on Friday 6 February and in full in the next edition of CJS Professional on Thursday 12 February.  There's still time to send us your volunteer vacancies, details of volunteer conservation parties and work days or simply a please come join us plea! Send us your details here, and remember you can advertise free of charge (it's limited but it's free!). Deadline is a strict 30 January.

Top headlines from the past month including over Christmas: Click here to read

Training Calendar for  March 2015 Click here to read
If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact them to include their courses (you're not committing yourself or them to anything, and like most things with CJS it's free!)

13 January 2015

Signs of spring - hooray!

Whilst out for our daily trip to the Post Office to collect the papers Dido was distracted by a flapping flashing white-ish thing in the hedgerow so we had to go and investigate.   Turns out it was part of someone's bin liner - hardly surprising considering how windy it has been and the number of bins lying on their sides.  Having discovered it wasn't anything to be worried about Dido was ready to carry on but something else had caught my eye, there in the hedge bottom were the first spikes of Lords-and-Ladies or Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum for the latin botanists).
Lords-and-Ladies and Hammamelis (top right)
The first celandine leaves were also there brightly glossily green.
Another not so welcome discovery was that of a hedgehog skin, neatly emptied of all hog leaving just skin, prickles and feet (I didn't think a photo of that would be quite so welcome).  We don't have many hedgehogs in the village so to find a dead one is not good but it raises the question what was a hedgehog doing out and about in the middle of January when it should be safely tucked away sleeping peacefully?

What is a more welcome sight are the first ribbon flowers of the witch hazel in the garden, gently releasing their sweet perfume in the morning sunshine.

As it is only the middle of January maybe it's not a case for "hooray!" just yet.