Showing posts from November, 2011

Whither FWAG, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group?

Formed in 1969 by a forward thinking group of farmers and conservationists, including Eric Carter, FWAG ( has done a huge amount to integrate profitable farming with farm conservation in the UK over the past 40 years.It is disturbing to hear that the organisation is likely to go into administration, with the potential loss of many excellent county advisors and their highly respected Technical Director, Jim Egan.I am working with Jim on the multi-partner Campaign for the Farmed Environment ( and can vouch for the drive and professionalism that FWAG brings to the partnership.I also worked with a predecessor of his, Richard Knight, who instigated comprehensive evidence and technical support for the county advisors on the ground.It would a real shame if this experience and excellence was lost at a time when there is no real agricultural extension service in the UK, but the need for sustainable production is probably at its most acute ev…

Bali 2

Our transfer to Ubud was booked for 11:30, so we had a leisurely breakfast, pack and final photo session before departure.Our driver took us up into the hills to a delightful villa on a hill top with stunning views over a valley of rice paddies, forest patches, villages and up to low peaks.We had a lovely lunch, brought up to us, sitting in an open verandah with the vista in front of us.The garden was delightful, with many flowers and orchids.Back in the Toyota, we headed towards Ubud – the roads are small and motorcycles plentiful, so you do not get anywhere fast!Our driver was keen to show us the delights of craftware and we agreed to stop where they had woven materials.We liked some of the trays etc. and selected some for a little bartering and came away happy.Alila Ubud was no disappointment, located at the end of a bricked road through small rice paddies and palm trees. Our de luxe room has a huge bed and a separate open air shower room with a large stone bath big enough for both…

Bali 1

Woke around 8:00 a.m. for morning tea.There were one or two people by the pool in the morning sun.Strolled over the alfresco dinning room for a leisurely breakfast – fruit, juices, toast, Balinese omelette and pancakes. Then a stroll round the site and into costumes to rest by the pool – very well-designed and set out.Towels on loungers under umbrellas and iced water served.We had a free spa treatment booked for 1:00 p.m. and walked over to be greeted with cold ginger tea.Decided on an hour’s Balinese massage each – oiled with their Signature scent and pummelled into a hazy daze to the sound of the waves washing in and out!

Had a late lunch and signed in for the Satay dinner at 8:00 pm.Took a cup of tea and cake back to our room and rested on our comfy verandah, where there is a big lounger for two overlooking the pool and lawns.The weather changed during the late afternoon and we were treated to a tropical deluge, complete with thunder and lightning.A romantic setting with the rain po…

Singapore 7

With the tour at an end, Hilary and I set off to explore Singapore.Our first port of call was the National Museum of Singapore.This was a fine building with a colonial classic style front, but an modern and airy main area.We had come to see the Musee d’Orsay exhibition of art and were not disappointed with some stunning pictures of the era from c. 1860 to the 1920’s.One of the best was by a Brit, of a girl by the sea, with light on the sea to die for.After that we headed for the Botanic Gardens, getting on at Dhoby Ghout and changing onto the Circle line.We had a bite to eat at the cafĂ©, then did the wonderful Orchid Gardens, then the Ginger garden, before strolling back via the Evolution garden – well done.Bathed and changed for Raffles, going smart, so we could get into the bar for a good seat.We both had the Singapore Sling Original, which slips down a treat, so you don’t notice the cost!Then on to Chimjes and selected a nice tapas bar for supper and a beer.Afterwards, we were join…

Singapore 6

A quiet morning by the pool, catching a bit of sun and drying kit.Preparations and down to meet for a 12:00 departure in the coach.We were at the ground for 13:00 and ready for the off at 14:00, the Aussies playing Scotland in the other semi-final. We were playing on the top pitch and started with some good play, despite the midday heat.We went 1-0 up and then 2-0, ending 2-1, despite another series of opportunities to score (yes, I shot wide on one) and a missed flick (not me).Still, we got the right result and face Australia in tomorrow’s final.
The evening saw us back in the coach for the tournament dinner – held at the Hollandse Club with c. 500 people in attendance.Good food, a couple of drinks, a few presentations and some great Bangra music.However, we were away by 10:15 (after the Aussies), in preparation for the final game.
Saturday dawned and after a late breakfast we again began preparations.Only 16 players can be named and play in internationals, so two of us would be standi…

Singapore 5

Phone call from 02920359001 at 02.39 – probably trying to flog 3, the mobile phone operator – I was not happy, as this is the third call I’ve had in Singapore.They will be hearing from me, when I get home.A bit later got a text from Hilary saying all going to plan and waiting to board at Schiphol, so replied to let her know she will need to fill in an immigration card on arrival.The alarm went off at 05:45, in time for a quick shower, change and downstairs for a light breakfast.The bus was ready for us and we were away for 06:20.We were at the ground for 07:00 – time for final preparations, stretching and loading with liquids – it was still, hot and humid, so the sweat was running freely. Most of the girls arrived by cab a bit later and gave us great support from the touchline.I was on at right mid/wing and forced three corners, Tim scoring from one to put is 1-0 up against the Kiwis.We generally had good possession, while the Kiwis tried to hammer the ball through to the odd front ru…

Singapore 4

A rest day after the Aussies and did a bit of editing in the hotel to mid-afternoon. There was a fantastic thunderstorm at around 2:00 pm and a tropical deluge – good to be inside!Then off to Little India for a walkabout – small shops and market – took the MRT south to Harbourside and looked out to Sentosa Island – a resort area.The cable car trip to the island and back to a hill location looks good.Perhaps Hilary and I can do it over the weekend.Later joined up with some of the lads to visit the Raffles Long Bar for a proper Singapore Sling with peanut shells on the floor.Just the one, as they are pricey! Off for supper at our local.

Tuesday – match day – Bill and I set ourselves the task of finding a Laundromat, so set off with bags of not too nice kit.Alas, the one we had found online was shut and really a drycleaners, so strolling the streets and malls to no avail.Back at the hotel, we tracked down a coin-op on floor 7 and Bill dried the kit beside the pool.A late game v. Singapor…