03 October 2014

Autumn with a crackle

According to the Met Office we've had the warmest (and possibly driest) September on record.
30 September 2014 - Early Met Office figures show this is set to be the driest September across the UK since records began in 1910, with exceptionally low rainfall for many parts of the country. Read more
And, despite our week of mist and fog we can well believe it, windows open, lightweight  jacket if any at all.  However, October arrived and changed all that, yesterday (2/10) there was a sharp overnight frost and gloves and zipped up jacket were needed for early morning dog walking and mid-afternoon we actually gave in and had half an hour of heating in the office.  Today the sun is shining but the wind is particularly blustery and it is certainly cooler. As if that wasn't enough on Wednesday seen out of my distracting window was the first goldcrest of winter and the yew is full of song thrushes and blackbirds performing acrobatics to pick the berries from the ends of the slender branches.  The hawthorn and rowan are both stripped clean and the elder is not far behind.  However, our bird feeders are not swarming as they have had to become an intermittent feeding station as there is a lot of trichomonosis in the village (find out more about this nasty disease here). This means that the feeders are being cleaned even more frequently than usual and as soon as a possibly infected finch is sighted the feeders come down for a day or two and the whole area is cleaned and disinfected (we're getting though a lot of formula H and arkclens!).  However, we think (hope) that there is enough naturally available food in the area but if, and when, the weather turns wintery we'll think again about our feeding and cleaning regime.

The invasion of the eight-leggers continues to cause consternation not helped by the vast amount of media coverage it's being given this year, see the multitude of articles and news stories on google here.  Apparently it's a particularly good (or bad depending upon your position) for spiders.
Niall offers this advice:Conquering Arachnophobia:
The Spider problem is directly proportional to the size of the beast. This is the Sid Factor, also called the Sidatiousness of the beast.
Wee Sid is a minor problem, rates less than 3 on the Sidatious Scale and can easily be swept aside or even rescued.
Mid Sid has a Sid Factor of 4 to 6, visible eyes, and may require a sheet of kitchen roll to expedite its removal.
Big Sid has a Sid Factor of 7 to 9, has very watchful eyes, and may require more than one person plus a long implement to deal with it (NB: This is not always a ‘rescue’, depending on the circumstances, and may be achieved in any manner, preferably humanely).  
Mega Sid has a Sid Factor of 10 and is much more a matter of personal survival, very close to a national emergency, and the use of Tyson the Dyson or a Henry is often justifiable...
Good luck!
I'm leaning towards a pet tarantula - an amateur spot of CBT, familiarity breeds if not contempt then at least not revulsion.  Not sure that idea is going to float but if I keep suggesting it.... watch this space (web?)

The latest CJS Weekly has gone to print, 18 pages this week with plenty of jobs and news too, digital editions will be dispatched soon.