Bunhill Fields

I’ve previously mentioned that I walked through Bunhill Fields, an old nonconformist cemetery opposite the Wesley Chapel in City Road in London.

Although much of the area is in a “natural” state, part of it has been set aside as a “nature reserve”, so that it is even closer to “nature”.    It’s stated that the intention is to provide a habitat for invertebrates and birds, with log piles, nesting boxes etc being available.

It’s overseen by Friends of City Gardens.   Their website provides an insight into what’s going on here.   I see that Bunhill Fields aren’t actually in the City (they’re in the Borough of Islington) but are managed by the City of London.

I was interested and pleasantly surprised that biodiversity is taken so seriously in an area that many think of as perhaps the epitome of urbanisation.


Local laws – and feeding animals

I volunteered some time ago to participate in surveys run by our local Council.    Leaving aside the issue as to whether the Council ought to be conducting surveys using self-chosen respondents, a recent survey raised a number of possible revisions to “local laws”.  One question was to the effect whether there ought to be a local law making it an offence to feed animals in public places.  It was explained that this was aimed at people who fed pigeons and feral cats.

I wondered how I ought to respond.   Ought the Council get into the business of micro-managing people’s lives to this extent?   But at the end of the day, I decided that the “good” outweighed the “bad”, and that feral cats and the flock of pigeons at the local station – encouraged by a person who regularly feeds them – ought to be discouraged.

Tactfully (?) the explanation didn’t comment on whether any such law would also discourage the feeding of possums in the park, an issue that over the years has been controversial in Carlton North.


Choice – and “free range” eggs

I still read Choice magazine, although sometimes its passion for causes leaves me a bit cool.   One such cause that Choice has come back to again and again in recent months (and on-line, too) is the matter of “free range” eggs.  They’re upset that eggs can now be labelled (and also see here) as “free range” if the hens are stocked at densities of up to 10,000 per hectare.  Their preferred stocking density is up to 1,500 per hectare – a point that they’ve made a number of times in recent months.

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t worthy issues here.  However, all the emphasis on this aspect of egg labelling seems to me to be a bit shrill.   Choice’s concern doesn’t seem to be welfare of the chooks (not a word about the animal welfare aspects of “cage eggs”, or even “barn laid” eggs).   My cynical mind suggests that the real concern is that the density figure adopted has made it possible for large scale producers to get into this segment of the market, presumably at the expense of smaller producers, one of which is actually named in the current issue of the magazine.   But isn’t the real issue whether consumers are properly informed?

I observe that the figure of 10,000 is less that the originally proposed figure of 20,000 that parts of the industry were pushing for and also that if specialist producers really think consumers want eggs laid by hens at the 1,500 density then why don’t those producers promote their eggs on this basis, bearing in mind that all producers of “free range” eggs now have to state the stocking density on the label?   True, it’s apparently open to state “one hen per m²” which may sound better than 10,000 hens per hectare, but surely not a lot turns on this?


At Merimbula

We had a pleasant couple of days at Merimbula.  The apartment was nice and we ate well at the Wharf and Vicolo.   The latter Italian restaurant is particularly noteworthy;  great food and very authentic.   Although it’s tucked away up a laneway, it’s obviously well-known.   On the Tuesday night when we went, we couldn’t get a booking for our preferred time and even later in the evening, each time a table was vacated, it was re-set and used again.  We also had a look at Dulcie’s Cottage;  clearly quirky but seemingly popular.  If we’re ever that way again, we shall certainly try it.

I went for a walk beside the lake, but only spotted one pelican.

Only one pelican to be seen!
…but there were some statues to compensate
The estuary

Spider web

We were really impressed by the large, carefully-constructed spider web in our courtyard.   The spider had obviously gone to a lot of trouble.

img_9709aIt didn’t intrude on our activities so we decided to leave it there, but unfortunately later in the day it had gone.  Perhaps one of the birds that frequent the area (encouraged by the bird bath)  had flown into it?