100 Years of Changing the Clocks – Why do we do it anyway?

This year marked 100 years of changing the time each autumn in the UK. Yesterday at 2am, on Sunday 30th October, British clocks reverted an hour, reverting to Greenwich Mean Time. It marked the official end of British Summer Time. We have to wait another 145 days (and about 18 hours at the time of … Continue reading 100 Years of Changing the Clocks – Why do we do it anyway?

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The best Country Dogs

My family has kept dogs for as long as I can remember. In my lifetime we have had: Welly, a wonderful (but absolutely crazy) springer spaniel; Tilly, a kind and loving black labrador; Nell (another kind and loving black lab but a lot more worried about the world); and Lotty, a yellow lab who is gladly still with us. Lotty … Continue reading The best Country Dogs

Secretary of State questioned over future of the environment after Brexit

Brexit has shaken up all government departments, but arguably none will be more heavily affected than Defra, which is directly impacted on by 25% of EU legislation. The worlds of food, farming and the environment are, quite rightly, heavily regulated but Brexit has the potential to shake up the situation and create a different legislative climate … Continue reading Secretary of State questioned over future of the environment after Brexit

Start the day with morning rituals

Many of us live our lives by the 9-5 clock restrainer, walking, driving, training or 'busing' to work or school a little before 9am, and returning at the end of the day to crash out, eat, perhaps watch television or pretend it's the weekend and do some socialising. As a writer I like to build … Continue reading Start the day with morning rituals

Brexit and the OECD challenge to subsidies

Every year the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) releases an 'Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Report' which looks at and assesses the various agricultural policies of the 35 OECD nations around the world, as well as 15 'selected partner economies'. The 2016 version was released back in June, but BBC Farming Today brought … Continue reading Brexit and the OECD challenge to subsidies

Housing, Neighbourhood Planning and Compulsory Purchase

Legalities regarding planning and compulsory purchase don't usually inspire a will to read on, but bear with me, as planning can fundamentally affect our lives, our communities and the countryside and any changes to it are worth taking note of. A couple of weeks ago, on 10th October, the Neighbourhood Planning Bill received its second reading … Continue reading Housing, Neighbourhood Planning and Compulsory Purchase

Conserving the Quantocks after Brexit

The mist enveloped the trees as I set out on a walk through Great Wood in the Quantocks. The autumnal environment of multi-coloured trees set the scene but this was augmented by conifers, established as part of this Forestry Commission mixed woodland. The trees stood tall and proud, pushing their way up through the misty … Continue reading Conserving the Quantocks after Brexit

Subsidies…dare we predict the future?

If you type in the phrase 'farm subsidies' into any search engine news feed you will find multiple references to the super rich receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds in subsidy for simply owning land. Under our current format of payments, driven by the Common Agricultural Policy, landowners receive payments for being just that, landowners. The … Continue reading Subsidies…dare we predict the future?

Reflecting on Big Questions through Local Places

On Monday I spoke to two groups about my book and the Tendring area of Essex at the Frinton Literary Festival. The Festival has been held since 2002, when it was founded by local literature enthusiast Philomena Dwyer, and is a wonderfully diverse yet compact celebration of the written word. Previous speakers have included Santa … Continue reading Reflecting on Big Questions through Local Places