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Shrub

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Shrub last won the day on November 1 2020

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  1. Shrub

    Recognising Bird Song

    I was thinking either I haven't been very observant or they are very late this year (or both). It has been cold. Or as returning migrants their Brexit paperwork was incorrect and they weren't being let in. I've always assumed the swallows fly at whatever height the most insects are flying, so it does makes sense that when it's about to rain the bugs go looking for cover and would be nearer the ground. Will make sure in future a raincoat is close to hand when they're flying below head height!
  2. Shrub

    Recognising Bird Song

    Heard my first cuckoo of the year Tuesday and saw first swallows today. Not birds but I was on board the boat in the attached story. Frequently see harbour porpoises but these dolphins were so much bigger! Probably was a once in a lifetime sighting. A cracking day all round, perfect weather, good fishing and the wildlife bonus; the unusual sightings we often have at sea especially when we're well offshore have become an important part of the day for me. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-56993118
  3. Shrub

    " Line of duty " TV

    You're not alone Steve!
  4. Are the maggot farm mincer and neighbouring pigs available for discreet hire? Asking for a friend...
  5. Shrub

    European Union - In Or Out?

    Switching from David Attenborough to Delia Smith, I spend a week every summer down in Torbay wreck fishing and a few years back I was talking to the B&B owner one day about cooking mussels and shellfish and she told me a traditional West Country version is to replace the wine with dry cider and the onions with leeks. It does work a treat, subtly different. Unless you Devonians think it's a waste of cider?! Another recipe, when another angler wondered how edible conger eels are, she said get a big pot, place your eel section in the bottom and weigh it down with a large stone. Top up the pot with 3 bottles of red wine, cook, then throw away the eel, try eating the stone and drink the gravy...
  6. Shrub

    European Union - In Or Out?

    Well you're not dead yet! You're fine because you're cooking them, that will kill any potential nasties in them and avoiding unopened ones is a good backup. Oysters generally are more of a problem in the food chain because most are eaten raw. It's supposed to be even safer in the winter or in months with an 'r' in them, the theory being there's usually more bacteria in the water during the warmer months. They also spawn in the summer so the commercial fishermen leave them alone, but you taking a few isn't going to make a difference. I did have a quick peak at the map for Teign and it's all grade B waters There's not many better freebie meals than the one you described! Hope you get to enjoy some more this summer!
  7. Shrub

    European Union - In Or Out?

    That's pretty much the same all over Europe, unfortunately. It used to be a poor man's food in Victorian times, they were cheap and plentiful and reputedly they used to sell half a billion a year through Billingsgate fish market. Where it started going wrong for them here was all the lovely untreated sewage being pumped into the rivers, overfishing and the massive amount of shell and gravel extraction from the sea for building work in Victorian times; they need a gravelly sea bed to grab onto when mature and they lost that in many areas. The really hard winters in '47 and '63 hit them hard then a parasite arrived and virtually wiped them out. The Pacifics were introduced in the '70's to replace them, they're bigger and much hardier and are ready to sell within a year and can be eaten all year round, whereas the natives take 3 - 4 years, can only be taken in winter ('r' in the month) and are sensitive to any changes in environment - but are so much more tastier!. The local oystermen have done a brilliant job of re-building stocks here and they get on really well with the conservationists that are monitoring numbers and practices; there's none of the antagonism you usually find between two such parties. Mersea, Whitstable and Falmouth are the only native oyster fisheries left now. The established populations are resistant to the parasite now but fears of spreading it to any small, un-fished non resistant colonies has made it difficult to re-build numbers elsewhere, but the Pacific seems happy pretty much everywhere and the oystermen make more money from them due to their speed of growth and easy going nature, so the situation isn't likely to change. Apologies for going a bit David Attenborough there, but I find oysters and pretty much anything that lives in the sea so fascinating! -
  8. Shrub

    European Union - In Or Out?

    The King of Belgium who famously (well famously around here) until Brexit used to have a box of Mersea oysters delivered weekly may go for it! Any nation that dips chips in mayo could probably also stomach a few dodgy oysters!
  9. Shrub

    European Union - In Or Out?

    I do hope that the exporters of live shellfish can start trading (safely) with the EU again and I don't want to shoot the messenger, but so much of that statement in the Mail is total and utter cobblers. The EU didn't 'suddenly' ban live exports of shellfish; the agreement clearly states in black and white, in plain simple language that only live bivalve molluscs from Grade A waters can be sent to the EU. Most of the UK's waters is Grade B and needs depuration before consumption. Depuration plants cost around £100,000 to build a small one, add another 0 to build a facility with the capacity to deal with the numbers some exporters require, they take up a lot of space and certainly round here where I live they would never receive planning permission to build them. So the vast majority were shipped to the Netherlands where they do have the facilities. Defra claimed that they had assurances from the EU that they could continue to export with the right animal health certificates, but the Shellfish Association of Great Britain had been asking for sight of that legal advice and agreement between the EU and Defra since September 2019; they did not get to see it until the crisis point in February 2021 when they saw straight away the supposed agreement was flawed, as they had suspected all along. It is also completely untrue to say that B grade shellfish are safe for direct consumption. Changing the grading overnight doesn't make them safe to eat and the oysters sold locally here continue to be purified in the small depuaration facility (more of a shed really!) we have on the island. I love my oysters, preferably raw and unadulterated but there's no way I'd eat one of our famous Mersea Natives unpurified. I'll be very interested to see how we've suddenly got cleaner seas. The grading is based on E coli numbers per 100g of mollusc flesh. Grade A must have less than 230, Grade B less than 4,600 in 90% of samples and not exceeding 46,000 in the remaining 10% - a massive difference in quantities between the two grades.Testing occurs around 8 - 10 times a year, Grade A waters can lose that grading with one bad test, around here in North Essex with low lying marsh land, fast tides stirring sediment in shallow waters, sewage overflows and agricultural run off grade A has never been achieved apart from one or two unique creeks. For five different coastal counties to be upgraded in one foul swoop is unheard of. There is no question that manipulation of the system has occurred or we have lowered our food safety standards - something we were told would never happen with Brexit.
  10. 'Benefit of hindsight'??? Only the terminally stupid couldn't see that returning elderly, ill old people untested from an environment with Covid to a care home with perfect conditions to spread a virus full of elderly, vulnerable people wouldn't end in disaster. Then again, as evidenced in a BBC documentary about the start of the pandemic a few months ago the government were using modellers who didn't see the significance of agency care home workers moving from home to home either...
  11. The last figures I could find reported that 4.5 million were waiting for routine operations at the end of 2019, that had risen to 4.7 million by the end of this January - I make that around 4.5% but that was in a year when referrals were way down due to people not visiting their GP's. What I think is far more telling is that the number of people waiting at least a year to begin treatment stood at 304,044 at the end of this January, compared to just 1,643 the same time the year before, a colossal leap. GP referrals for cancer fell by 11% this January compared to last year, urgent breast cancer referrals fell by 13%. And no doubt with lockdown these figures will have grown since January.
  12. Shrub

    Fly Fishing

    At last! After a 17 week wait thanks to the !@*&ing lockdown finally back out on the water. Pretty blowy with a cold Northerly we stayed fairly close inshore a couple of miles off Jaywick, beyond missile range! And a decent skate first cast. Ended the day with 17 skate, my son had 13 plus countless dogfish and a few whiting. All returned except 2 which will be dinner later in the week; always best to leave the prepared wings a couple of days in the fridge rather than eating straight away. Now sporting a wind scorched face but just great to feel that rolling deck beneath your feet again!
  13. Shrub

    Greatest ever improvement?

    The rule was reputedly brought in to stop Louis being used by all and sundry as a guest in Div 1, after he was guesting often for Newport in 1970. Shrimp's crash was actually in heat 4, his third ride of the afternoon, it seemed a routine first bend spill. It's scary to think I saw that 49 years ago.....
  14. Like my aforementioned mathematical conundrums, there's no way I'm checking!
  15. At least they'd smell nice!
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