Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog migration

A new consolidated mistletoe blog, with all the versions going back to 2004 (there was some in 2003 too, but that's in the wrong format) are being combined for 2010 onwards at;

All updates for 2010/11 winter season will be there...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2008/09 mistletoe season update


If you've dropped by looking for news about mistletoe for the 2008/09 mistletoe season you're in the wrong place.

I'm using the typepad site again this season (don't know why - I have to pay them and Blogger is free, so maybe I'll return here soon). But for now point your browser thisaway for mistletoe news...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

News September 2005:

News September 2005:
The new 2005 Mistletoe Diary is now available - click here Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 27, 2004

Boxing Day Ramble - ancient trees and a bit of mistletoe 1

A beautiful sunny day, so Caroline and I set off for the Haresfield topograph (next hill along from Haresfield Beacon). We take the 'low road' across the fields to start with, planning to return via the 'high road' through Standish Woods.

This gives a rare opportunity to view (and photograph) the splendid old specimen oaks of Standish Park Estate in low winter sun. There are lots of these ancient stag-headed trees, mostly in field centres rather than margins, which gives away their origins as parkland rather than boundary trees. Standish House is now part of Standish Hospital - and has been for decades and the parkland is now enclosed, but these trees hint of past glories. The status of the hospital, just vacated by the NHS (see blog for 2003) is unclear, though we understand it will stay in health use (and there are a few peacocks left, despite fears outlined in last year's blog).

We are concerned about the trees though - as most are in severe decline and some are now falling. I know nothing about the Estate's management regime, but must assume they are sympathetic to these trees simply because they are still there! Perhaps the estate are following best practice guidelines for ancient trees, and recognising their landscape, historical and nature conservation (lots of rare wood-boring insects) value. Or perhaps they just like them.

Standish Park trees - just two examples Posted by Hello

Boxing Day Ramble - ancient trees and a bit of mistletoe 2

The fields are wet and muddy, as is the lower part of the ascent - one step forward and half a step back through the steep sheep pasture. But I speed up as I can see a group of hawthorns with Mistletoe just on the edge of the enclosed area. This low winter light is wonderful for mistletoe and I want to get there before the sun drops too much.

This is a typical small mistletoe colony at the edge of its normal tolerance - above this (modest) height it won't grow here, on the exposed Cotswold Escarpment. There are about 6 decent-sized plants in the hawthorns, plus a few tiny ones. But in hawthorn even decent-size is small compared to apple, poplar or willow. A good mix of male and female too - the male obvious because of the lack of berries but also because of the slightly larger flowers, just opening out now.

Mistletoe below Haresfield topograph - context, male plant, female plant and another female against the sky... Posted by Hello

Boxing Day Ramble - ancient trees and a bit of mistletoe 3

I take a few pictures into the sun, against the sky and with the sun on the berries and then it's off to the topograph, where we find the world and his wife, plus dogs, children etc, 'cos if you're lazy you can simply drive to here. We pause briefly but there're too many people here - so we walk on rapidly, through the woods and back down through the hospital at dusk

Haresfield topograph 26th December - a view northwest (out of the sun) and southwest (into the sun). Note the (very) distant Severn bridges (both of them) on the extreme right. The foreground steam is from Stonehouse creamery - a distinctive but unattractive landmark Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 26, 2004

kiss me kwik hat

Spent Christmas Day (and much of Boxing Day) wearing a Kiss Me hat with plastic mistletoe dangling over it. I thought it was rather fetching, and it did keep my head warm, but not everyone was so keen. I'll post a picture when Mary (my sister) has emailed one to me...

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Mistletoe Mixture

Christmas Eve at last - and I can be sure that after tonight mistletoe queries will reduce dramatically - not that I don't welcome them, but it's always a relief to have a break after a mistletoe-filled November and December. It's not just me, Caroline agrees with this as well (probably more so).

The mistletoe madness starts today at 0730 hours, with the postman delivering a large box. Still in bed, and with the house-alarm set, I'm not entirely a respectable figure dashing to the door, but I s'pose nothing shocks a postie. The package is the Lachenal china (see previous blogs) and I'm keen to unwrap it - it's just like Christmas! After lots of polystyrene and bubble-wrap I finally get my prizes, and cracked and chipped as they are I'm v pleased to have them.

Back to bed and next jolt is at 0750 - my mother rings to ask had I been watching? Er, no. I'd apparently just been on BBC TV Breakfast News talking about the bugs that live on mistletoe, but I'd missed it. No matter, I knew what I'd said - I was there when it was recorded... But good to know it was on - there was a possibility it was just going to be on News 24 and so inaccessible to most people I know (including us here - no digital TV coverage for Stonehouse - we should get a reduction in licence fee...).

And then the Royal Mail at the door again! This time with a mistletoe print from 'The Graphic', an illustrated London paper. This is a famous picture from the December 1876 edition, all the way from Canada, courtesy of Ebay. Pleased to have it, slightly saddened it's yet more evidence these old papers are simply being cut up and sold as individual sheets, but I bought it so mustn't grumble. Though I spent some time perusing a print stall at an antiques fair in Moreton-in-Marsh yesterday, and whilst tempted by the prints displayed did get put off by the idea they were effectively dismembered books.

And then they call AGAIN! A third postie and third van - not v efficient (?) but it is Christmas and I recall from my stints as a temp postman (c 1980, 81 and 82) that it is pretty busy down the sorting office. This time it's yet another Ebay win - I won't go into details but its a pack of mistletoe-branded er, romantic stuff, from Tennessee. Mistletoe stuff from Canada, France and Nashville, all within an hour, not bad.

Just time to relax a bit before a scheduled call from BBC Radio Glos at 0830. About mistletoe of course, and the current media pre-occupation with the bumper ('record' if you believe the media) harvest this year. But no prob and happy to help.

And now no mistletoe for ages (and can nip down the Co-op to get breakfast) - well, until 1015, when I do a scheduled call to Radio Essex. this one is more interesting, as they have a local wholesaler on the line who's recently been over to France to harvest material, and Matt Shardlow from Buglife talking about the invertebrate life of mistletoe. So Matt and i do a sort of reprise on the BBC TV piece from earlier, and the wholesaler chap (Bill) talks about what makes good saleable mistletoe.

The Buglife link is interesting - their Christmas newsletter covers the mistletoe inverts in some detail - will see if I can upload a copy to the blog - and/or provide a link...

And then no more mistletoe all day... Apart from hanging some up - it is Christmas after all...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

When the red red robin goes blog, blog, bloggin' along…

Hey hey! Am in the Guardian again already! Well, almost; the blog has a link from the Guardian blog site (if it's gone from there already try the blog archive). And the blog has been blogged about on Jane Perrone's horticultural blog . I'm beginning to feel a part of the blogging community - but am also slightly embarrassed as my main site is looking tired and out-of-date and all these new visitors might notice. Must do more housekeeping more often… The trouble with websites is that simply updating isn't enough - there is always a desire to redesign or upgrade (must keep up with the virtual joneses) and that provides an excuse (for me at least) to delay updating until the redesign. I'll shut up now and think about doing some website housekeeping…

But before I do, I've just found out that BBC Radio 4 You and Yours programme covered the Tenbury Mistletoe Market today - and also a piece on a French importer at New Covent Garden Market in London. I contribute a bit (natch) too. To listen point your browser at the beeb and follow the links through to Radio 4 and You and Yours or go direct to the You and Yours page. If visiting today you'll find it on the 'listen again' link - if later try the last 7 days link and pick Tuesday (not sure when they update this - might be whole weeks in which case 'Tuesday' might be last week until this weekend - if you see what I mean). The mistletoe item is from about 9.30 minutes through to 17.30 minutes.

Am tempted to comment on that poll about Tony Blair being voted the least likely to be kissed under the mistletoe, but won't, as I need to go and write my Christmas Cards (and yes I always leave it this late - it isn't Christmas yet and cards sent weeks beforehand seem to be missing the point...)