Monthly Archives: September 2017

26th September, 2017. Noddle Hill nature reserve, Bransholme, Hull.

Discovered this amazing nature reserve Sunday afternoon. Covering a very extensive are and accessed by a narrow circular path (muddy in places), with some offshoot paths, with the area around having been left to grow and thicken naturally. Also a large fishing lake and a smaller managed wetland area designed to accommodate parties of school children (see picture above). Beside the path an occasional metal slat seat, not many but the ones that do exist are located at points that give a good panoramic view (particularly one with the tower of Swine church clearly visible in the middle distance). Definitely to be visited and supported. It has a website giving further details and location.

26th September, 2017. Autumn all around.

For the last week migrating geese have been in evidence over the Humber Estuary region. Whether they are stopping-off en-route further south or planning to stay each morning just after dawn they can be seen rising from their roost and setting-off inland to feed, eventually after much cackling and apparent disorder they settle into their formation (see above), but the calling continues. How intriguing it would be to be able to interpret their calls.

Almost to the day the arrival of the first migrating geese is accompanied by the departure of the last migrating swallows. Let’s hope they make it.

Leaves on many trees changing colours already, some local willow trees (not sure if they are black or white willows) have shed all their leaves.

15th September, 2017. Cassini-Huygens.

The final day of the wonderful Cassini mission and the aerial robots study of Jupiter’s outer atmosphere – as well as Huygens on-the-surface study of Saturn’s largest moon Titan. A fantastic achievement of modern science.

14th September, 2017. Farm animal welfare, pt.2.

I have never been supportive of the idea of vegetarianism as a response to concerns about farm animal welfare – by reducing the market one is not necessarily improving the existence of those animals still in the system. However with a growing world population and demand for meat going-up faster vegetarianism would put some brake on the pressure to rear farm animals simply as economic units.

One way to hopefully improve things is to be a responsible consumer. As regards this local area for example ‘Mick and Mark’ sell a wide range of sausages using free-range pork reared by ‘Anna’s happy trotters’, M. and M. mostly sell from a van at markets and farmer’s markets but also retail from behind the old Tasty Foods building on High Street, Barton.

Tesco sell ‘outdoor reared’ pork meat which I assume means what it states. Co-op now advertise that all their meat retailed is from British suppliers, but, of course, this means mostly factory farmed meat (Co-op use to pioneer free-range meat sales!). Waitrose retails quite a lot of free-range meat as does Sainsbury’s, although here some stores stock less than others which is frustrating for discerning customers.

At Mr. Harrison’s restaurant ‘The Old Tile Works’, Barton the initial intention was to use free-range meat from his farm – I am not sure if this is still the case.

‘Pink pig’ farm near Scunthorpe is, I think, an entirely free-range meat outlet.

The remaining butchers in Barton don’t seem to bother with free-range meat whereas Fields butchers in Anlaby retail quite a lot of free-range meat along with non-free-range. I don’t think butchers in Hull and Hessle make much effort on the free-range front but some might that I am not aware of.

Above picture taken from Anna’s Happy Trotters leaflet. A large field of housing for free-range pork production can be seen beside the A134 between Stradsett and Wereham, south-west Norfolk. The produce goes to Sainsbury’s.

13th September, 2017. Recent highlights.

Gave my talk on the River Hull last Wednesday 10 – 11 am at Hull History Centre as part of an extended programme arranged by Hull Civic Soc. for the national Heritage Weekend and to compliment Hull’s City of Culture status this year. More attenders than I had expected.

For Barton’s contribution to the national Heritage Weekend Ian Wolseley organised a very extensive programme of events in collaboration with Heritage Lincolnshire and I did the guiding at Tyrwhitt Hall on Sunday pm as my contribution.

Forthcoming events – Friday 15th at Joseph Wright Hall in Barton a presentation by Dr. David Neave on Lincolnshire landed gentry families, co-supported by the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology as their Rex Russell memorial lecture.

On Saturday 16th some members of the British Brick Society are visiting Barton.

On Tuesday 19th a guided walk in the afternoon round Wansford village, near Driffield and beside the upper River Hull and the Driffield Canal (see above image of the five-arch bridge the river at Wansford).

13th September, 2017. Farm Animal Welfare, or lack of.

Today was  global day of action against the transport of live farm animals, particularly the ‘long-distance transport’. The current government have indicated some sympathy with this objective and in the past claimed that it was the E.C.’s that allowed ‘long-distance’ transport to continue (context of Brexit). In fact DEFRA publish detailed regulations regarding the transport of livestock, these enforced – if they are – by VOSA. These regulations do allow ‘long-distance’ transportation (that defined as over 8 hours duration) if certain regulations are complied with.

A recent under-cover film made by Compassion in World Farming activists shows appalling conditions being suffered by cattle on long distance transport on the Turkish border, having endured these horrors the creatures are often then destined to be slaughtered in an inhumane way by those who put religious dogma above fellow creature welfare. Sheep and goats often suffer the same experience.

About a week ago the team at Compassion in World Farming discovered that the draft Brexit bill deliberately did not include the statement that farm animals are ‘sentient’ beings, this defined as able to feel pain or suffering and able to experience ‘joy’. After a long campaign in the 1990s the EC did incorporate this statement into EC law. So does this slyly open a door to poorer animal welfare standards – poorer standards which see farm animals, particularly in factory farm environments, as economic commodities, not sentient beings. A petition to be presented to the government is being raised by the Compassion in World Farming charity.

Of course with modern factory farming units and transport vehicles we never actually see the animals as they are never in a field and not visible as the lorry passes, so ‘what the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve’ – so we just buy the meat!