My badgers won’t eat their veg

Badger in gardenNow then, the subject of badgers, for a few people, is a hot topic. And it is for me too…cos I’ve got loads of them! Not as pets, my adopted badgers are still as wild as can be, but I’m lucky enough to get close to these magnificent beasts on a regular basis. ‘Meles Meles’ or ‘Auld Brockie’  as I like to call them, have a reputation for being vicious little tinkers. If you show yourself to my Brockies all you see is a herd of badger bums legging it the opposite way. Now if you were to corner the animal, that’s another thing. There have been occasions when I’ve seen a fox and a Brock competing for the same food, the fox is shooed away by a nonplussed, but very determined badger. In my mind Brockie is tenaciously robust.

Last night had four of the greedy tykes snuffling away in the garden as I sat watching them. They were feasting on some fine treats: honey roasted sausage, peanuts and a few plums. No wonder their heads were down. A previous evening I had a few vegetable pasties that were ready for throwing. I put them out and the next day three very tidy piles of veg were found. They took their veg dodging seriously as they had nibbled every bit of pastry from around it. Reminded me of my childhood days with veg on the Sunday dinner plate.
And here is one of the handsome devils an arms length away one summer evening.

ToadyWhich brings me onto the Badger Watches that the Forestry Commission set up. We have one in October. Only a tenner, and don’t forget to bring a torch. Booking is essential. Phone: 01434 220242

On Sunday 1 September there was a Kielder Viaduct Open Day held at Kielder Castle, over 60 people visited the display. If anyone has any information or old photos of the viaduct (we only have one photo with a train on it…are there more out there?) speak to Julie Webb at the Kielder Village Store or David Walmsley at the Heritage Centre Bellingham.

As we move towards autumn, the mushroom and fungi can be found out and about Kielder. The Mushroom Workshop takes place at Kielder Castle, run by Gordon Beakes.
I love this time of year, the colours are fantastic. I had the fortune to find this wonderful array of fungi last year. I shall let the photos do the talking.

Toady 1As the Dark Sky Bid by Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Northumberland National Park nears completion, Northumberland County Council are rolling out their new Dark Sky Compliant street lights. The Council have replaced one of our sodium lights; these lights are quite intrusive in that the light goes everywhere. This is where our ‘light pollution’ comes from. The difference is quite stark, the light uses LED bulbs to emit a tungsten white light down. When you look above the light you can still see the stars. Absolutely brilliant. The two houses that were affected by the light pollution streaming into their windows have informed me that it’s so effective they have to put their lights on in the evening.

I drove past last night and it’s akin to having a trick played upon you: the street and path are lit with this bright light. As you approach you are unable to see the source of the light, but you know it’s there. And here is the trick – because the sky above it is dark and you can see the stars (or clouds…) with the thin profile of the LED I found that the light blends in to the sky and is difficult to see. Try not to stand directly underneath and look up as all you get is a lighthouse-style brightness in front of your eyes and white dots for minutes afterwards.

The big win for everyone is on power and money. With the cost of electricity going up all the time, the new lights use in the region of half the energy of the sodium lamps. Secondly the LED system requires much less maintenance. It’s a win win situation as far as I’m concerned.

All of the lights will be replaced by the council in a county wide manner, well done!

New and oldOk, onto something completely different….ghosts! Did you know that Kielder Castle is often hired for the evening to host paranormal activity searches? (Forestry Commission conditions apply)
After the relevant paperwork filling (of course!) the group are able to utilise most of the castle to conduct their investigations. With a lot of mixed results! There have been books written and plenty of YouTube coverage. See what you think about this lot.

For something a little less technical is the Halloween Family Fun Party at Café at the Castle on 31 October. Fancy dress, pumpkin competition, games and stories. Booking essential: 01434 250100.

Geocachers have been busy this last month with a new Geocache having been placed out ‘in the wilderness.’ Congratulations to ‘Big Lad’ who took a day off to find this particular cache and soak up the Kielder atmosphere. Unfortunately for ‘Big Lad’ the selected day was a rainer…..all day. But that did not dampen his spirits and his comments show just how much he enjoyed the day.

If you are in the area, pop into the shop, speak to myself or Julie and we can put you on the right track with any updates or info on line.

Two visitors arrived outside my shop last week. The first had travelled far and she was exhausted. Slumped against the shop wall, each breath a labour as her strength ebbed. Not wanting to interrupt I left her and went about my business, to find that she was no better a while later. I had to step in; she really was in need of some help. So I gave her a teaspoon of honey. Ten minutes later she flew away to flowers anew.

BeeMy good lady decided on a particularly sunny afternoon to sit outside with a cup of tea and a friend, feed the birds and watch the world go by. The birds showed their appreciation by tucking in to the food and generally enjoying themselves, that is until a large bird introduced himself and ruined all the fun. A goshawk settled nearby to observe his possible feast and to check us humans out. Julie found herself in a major quandary….does she continue to feed the birds and offer them up for sacrifice? The jury is out at the moment but I really would like to see that goshawk up close, camera in hand! Watch this space.

On 18 October 1963, Kielder Community First School was officially opened. Built to house 120 children and to offer facilities for the community it meant a lot to the young village.

25 years later the ‘Silver Jubilee’ for the school at its present location was celebrated.

School cupSo plans are afoot with the Parish Council and Kielder Community Club to hold a small celebration of 50 years. This will be held at Kielder First School hall on the afternoon/evening of Friday 18 October, with plans for a bar, children’s entertainment and a buffet. Ex pupils are welcome along with anyone who wishes to celebrate 50 years of community and education with us.

As the Marathon and Run Bike Run weekend fast approaches the organisers are eager to recruit willing volunteers for marshalling and assistance. I enjoyed my weekend as a marshal and take my hat off to all who ran/shuffled/limped past me at the dam. It was a great weekend with an atmosphere that if bottled could inspire millions.
This year we have the Decathlon Gold medallist Daly Thompson taking part in the Run-Bike-Run which is on the Saturday 6 October.
For further information contact the Kielder marathon team on 01434 689 040 or email
Kielder and Falstone Parish Councils will be offering refreshments to all on the day, pop in and buy a cuppa and a cake.

Daly and SteveWhich reminds me, I have an appointment with a brew now. Take care and I’ll see you in a few weeks.


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