Making a wormery

Try out and see what your worms like and don’t like, but be ready to rescue them if you put something in they don’t like. There are several lists of things to use and don’t use and it isn’t consistent. So beware. If in doubt leave it out if it is for a veg patch. If it is going on a flower bed I’d say try it and see!

If there is a smell to the wormery it is not functioning properly and you’ll need to look at why. Check it isn’t waterlogged and undergoing anaerobic respiration, just get your marigolds in there and ix it up. Is it slimy? Make sure it doesn’t dry out as the worms need to be moist. Getting the water levels right in a big bin is harder than in a small bin.

Kiwi the Parrotlet

Image drawn by filibusterfrog @filibusterfrog

These are in chronological order so scroll down for the latest videos!

Kiwi’s first Grape

“Football” Training

Turn down the volume there are lots of loads screams!

I hadn’t quite appreciated how her “football” skills are coming on. Her new training involves taking out her screwdriver and passing it to me. We’ve got as far as lifting it up, but then it gets thrown on the floor. Maybe we should stick to beakball!

Kiwi’s Football Training is really coming on

“Football” Transfer Window.

During lockdown I spent a proportion of my time training Kiwi the parotlet. For a 1/3 of a sunflower seed I think she plays quite well. Ill try to find an original one where she was less predictable.


Including Kiwi’s first Christmas, she shows how much mischief she can cause when she eats through Christmas presents, eats Mr Physics’ shirt collars and starts eating the pieces of the Christmas game “Photosynthesis”. Finally she gets into real trouble when she eats through the homework!

March 2021

Teaching Kiwi to skateboard. She received a skateboard for Christmas but wouldn’t go near it, but with lots of tiny pieces of sunflower seed and patience we’re getting there! Keep an eye out for improvements

I’d like to train Kiwi to enjoy the skateboard Santa got her for Christmas. Initially she wouldn’t go anywhere near it. I then got her close to it by covering it in a yellow postit note and finally with lots of coaxing she will sit on it, although still not confident. She hates the ruler more so I must borrow one of the ramps from work!

April 2021

Kiwi has a bit of a thing about trying to get in my cup of tea. I decided to let her in, so cleaned the cup and watched!

17th April 2021 Kiwi exercising for treats first thing in the morning.

I still need a good video of Kiwi demanding the radio be switched on/off or the channel changed. You don’t believe me do you? Well I’ll get on eventually.

October 2020

Glynne Rachelle Dawson

13th June 2020

Glynne Rachelle Dawson Edinburgh Castle

I got a parcel left on the doorstep this morning. I was surprised to find it was a belated Christmas present I’d sent to a school friend being returned with a note saying “not collected”. I don’t know about you but I’ve never had a parcel returned. I thought this very odd so decided to check. Imagine my absolute shock to discover that my bubbly, funny, intelligent school friend died on 17th April 2020 on her own in her flat.

The returned parcel.

Glynne had so many friends across the country and remained friends with countless people across the years. As she worked as an air traffic controller, before 9-11 she often used to hitch a ride in the jump seat on planes. Cheap travel allowed her to travel the world and I got postcards from loads of wonderful destinations, but she especially loved the skiing in Austria and other European countries. I think there was loads of skiing and lots of partying after.

Glynne Rachelle Dawson Linlithgow Palace 2009

I’m sad she never got the parcel and knew that she wasn’t forgotten Christmas 2019 and throughout the rest of the year as she was on my mind so much over this 2020. We’d been sorting Gran’s house and didn’t really do Christmas! She was a popular woman and we had lots of laughs, especially for the 24 hour sponsored fence we did. I was always jealous she got the Wilkinson engraved sword as a memento. I hope she is at peace. Thinking of her family. RIP

Glynne Dawson Linlithgow Palace 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson August 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson Aug 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson Aug 2009

The pictures above are from a wonderful few days we had together in August 2009 visiting loads of places in the central belt. I think she’d just got her wonderful new camera.

What I notice about all these photos and all my memories of Glynne is how she always had the most amazing smile.

We didn’t see each other often but she was there in the back of my life since we started the same school and she will be missed by so many. RIP Glynne Rachelle Dawson who we always thought of as the girl in the school with the most exotic name!

Below is her obituary

Glynne Rachelle Dawson

Miss Glynne Dawson Southampton Miss Glynne Rachelle Dawson of Southampton has passed away at Southhampton, aged 53.
Born in Chesterfield Glynne was a local resident for 20 years.
Loving daughter of Aileen, sister to Carol and Angela, sister-in-law to Peter, dear aunt of Karl, Andrew, Craig, Claire and their children Jake, Leah, Thomas, Sophie and Amelia.
Glynne formerly attended St Helens school, and Manchester University, graduating with a physics degree. She trained as an Air Traffic Controller in 1987 in Bournemouth and was posted to West Drayton as a Radar Controller and subsequently moved to Southampton and gained her current post Airspace Development ATCO.
Glynne enjoyed cruises to Norway, following Southampton FC and socialising with family, friends and colleagues.
A private funeral service Took place on May 5, 2020 at Brimington Crematorium.
Funeral Directors: Co-op Funeralcare, 276 Newbold Road, Newbold, Chesterfield. (01246 211041)

Published in Derbyshire Times on May 7, 2020


The Best MIL

Joan Hargreaves

(no middle name- she regretted that)

18/08/35- 22/04/20

“Hello, this is Jim and I’m Joan, come in”. They were the first words my future mother-in-law spoke to me. They were an easy going, accepting, intelligent, thoughtful and very caring couple and sealed the deal that I’d found the right family I wanted to join. I mean the OH was pretty amazing so to get the bonus of amazing in-laws just convinced me to sign the contract before anyone else usurped me. In my attempts to appear worthy of joining this respected family I broke 2 items washing up and did something else so badly wrong. But very soon these two lovely people would become such a special part of my life and as important as my parents. I was brought up to respect the older generation and never refer to them by their first names so soon I had MIL and DIL (mum and dad in law) and everyone I knew generally referred to them by this term. We soon found out that we had similar tastes and it turns out OH and I decorated our bedrooms in exactly the same wallpaper at the same time without knowing it and it was quite strange describing this over the phone (no mobiles then) and realising that it was the same paper. I was only complimented on what I wore when it was clothes MIL had chosen for me and sometimes we ended up wearing the same skirts, etc; although despite a 30 year age gap she always looked better in them than me. Over the years and many wonderful meals, we grew to sharing some of our deepest secrets and I was never judged.

The most incredible moment I remember was at DIL’s funeral on 31st December 1998, he was 62. I said to MIL that Ken can walk you up the aisle and I will walk behind you. She grabbed me by the arm and said “You’re as much my daughter as he is my son.” And that isn’t underestimating the love she had for her only son.

Eventually MIL became Gran, but she’d offered mothering and counsel to so many people at various difficult points of their lives and always with such wisdom and nonjudgmentalism. With the kids she would wrap them in a warm towel if they were having a bit of a strop and gently massage their heads and hands with a hypnotic calming effect. She loved gardening, travel, food and wine and always had time for others. She cared for DIL during his illness with selfless compassion and would have continued as long as necessary. They were a rock for each other.

Her special friends at family, well most of them, Grandson took the photo, on her 80th birthday

Then we began to notice some forgetfulness, missing things, especially her purse when on holiday in Paris with the children. It got serious one Christmas when we noticed a routine each morning when she would head for a Christmas card from her brother who had deceased, which she’d obviously saved. Each morning she was drawn to the card and picked it up, and read it and then looked pained and shocked. In hindsight we ought to have moved the card, but we were younger and not as wise then. Then there were the phone calls to the police about taking her address book, which would be on her shelf or in a cupboard. She put the marmalade in with the cups, as she likes her tea and marmalade on toast. Each moment we were on edge whether she was safe, she’d call at 10 minute intervals having a slight inkling she’d spoken to us. OH often had to jump in the car and drive the 4 hour round trip to sort a problem. So it was with a feeling of failure but reassurance we had to persuade her into a care home.

The amazing and very caring staff at Westfield Care home in Lockerbie have come to love her in just the same way as others who knew her all her life have come to love her. From her phase of eating chocolate oranges, through to chocolate buttons much of her day was spent with food: no change there! Her memory was poor but her mind had so much still of the intelligent woman, who hated the idea that people might be saying things without consulting her. (So I apologise to you Gran for including this insight, but it was part of who you became and I know you’d want to give comfort to others) MIL could still tell a joke and laugh at herself, but never making others feel bad, only better about themselves.

All I can hope is some of her character, wisdom, intelligence and values rubbed off on me and become part of my personality- the cooking certainly hasn’t, but she passed that on to the OH so that is OK.

Hearing that this horrible covid-19 virus had caught up with her was devastating, but as a woman, born just before the war in Blackburn she was a fighter and she fought as long as she could. Then came the devasting news that we couldn’t attend her funeral, not even her son and daughter in law. I felt gutted. Not to be there when she slipped away and leaving that job to her Westfield Care family was tough, but not to be at her funeral was going to burn for a long time. So I decided to make my own tribute, which you can see in the video.

I know there is washing on the line and the garden isn’t tidy but that is just how Gran would have done it. Enjoy the birds rather than miss them for tidying up.

If I’ve illegally done something with the music I apologise, but hopefully they will get a few more sales, it is Jesus Remember Me Taizé Songs, the bird song is just in my back garden and cannot be bought from Amazon. I did the video twice as the first one had the volume down and I didn’t know if it would record, but during that one a gust of wind sent all this snow like stuff from the lime /linden/ tilia tree. It was like angels crying.

Then just before we went for a walk we found a beautiful potted sunflower on our coal bunker, in an M&S bag, so I knew this was from Graham Mundell the undertaker. He had rung last night and asked if we wanted flowers for Gran, and I explained she loved sunflowers. He asked where I could get sunflowers at this time of year and I explained that he better not get it from flying flowers as I’d sent some into Westfield and they were so shrivelled up. Not sure if they were actually dead, but it wasn’t the type of flower you want to send in as a thank you, more of a floral “dear John”. So he said he’d send his wife into Markys and find something, so he’d obviously had some great luck and the garden flowers with the sunflower were full of perfume. Gran would really have approved. I’d asked for a photo of the funeral, not because I wanted to be macabre but I wanted a link to Gran, the sunflower did that much better than any photo.

Thanks Graham Mundell Annandale Funeral Director

We had a meal today to remind us of Gran, on a Friday night after a week at work, we’d often make the trip to Ulverson to catch up and chill for the weekend. The meal was usually braised steak and a baked potato as it was forgiving of traffic jams.

So we didn’t get to the funeral, but all the messages and flowers sent over social media showed plenty of people were huddled up with their memories of one of the most amazing women I know, and she was my MIL.

Miss you Gran xx


Well Now I am a little alarmed and wish that I had been able to have further discussions with the funeral director. I had assumed Gran was cremated at Rouchan Loch Crematorium on the outskirts of Dumfries. When I contacted them as our Rector said he was conducting a funeral of one of the other residents of Westfield who had died of covid19, so I investigated.

P.S. I’ve just heard back from the crematorium and we could have attended the funeral.

Here is the information you are looking for.
In these unprecedented times immediate family members may attend a private funeral service.
We recommend up to 4 to 6 people but an absolute maximum of 10. Immediate family means: Spouse or partner; parents or carers; brother/sister; children.

In addition, the government states:

•  Mourners must remain 2 metres apart.
•  Mourners should observe social distancing rules when travelling.
•  Mourners must follow the strict guidance on hand hygiene.
•  Mourners who are unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are part of a household with possible coronavirus infection, should not attend.
• In addition, mourners experiencing any symptoms of any potentially contagious illness should not attend, e.g. flu, colds, sickness and diarrhoea etc.

I hope this clarifies things for you.
Kind regards,

Rouchan Loch Crematorium.

So why were we told we couldn’t attend? Now I feel we’ve let Gran down.

Further info from 5th May

I thought the following information below might be helpful. It was sent from Roucan Loch to all Funeral Directors in Dumfries and Galloway on the 31st March 2020.

Dear Colleague,

Following last night’s announcement that the first coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway, the Inspector of Cremation supports that Roucan Loch has implemented the following:

  1. The cremation may take place but strictly with no attendance.


  1. The funeral arrangements are delayed for a period of 14 days from the date of death, to accommodate the quarantine period for relatives. Only after 14 days can the Funeral Director contact Roucan Loch to arrange a time for the service, which may be attended by immediate family only.
Further Information 6th May

New update: I had assumed Gran was cremated at Rouchan Loch, our local crematorium but it wasn’t there or Edinburgh. I’ll now need to chase that one up. Sorry Gran.

Life in Lockdown- day 2

I thought I might try to keep a written diary of these weird times in a tiny Town in SW Scotland. I’m starting with day 2 as I didnt get out on day 1.

Firstly let’s look at the positive, spring is here, the cherry blossom is out on the trees and it made me think that when this is over new life will spring from the old.

Tip of the Day

I’ve just sorted out a whole bunch of pens that don’t work. I put them in the bin and wish I hadn’t. Instead clean it off, pop it in your pocket and use it as an extended finger, like an aye aye. It’s great for putting in your pin for card payments. When you’ve finished put it in the bin.

Town at 9am the town was dead. I walked in the middle of the road to take photos and only 1 van travelled through town as I walked through. The Co-op fruit and veg aisles were back to normal but there were no loo rolls, pasta, or tins of soup, tomatoes etc bean, Ive noticed no shop runs out of sweetcorn.

The greengrocer has set up a table outside the shop and a gloved and masked assistant was serving a couple of older customers who kept their distance. Most shops were closed and bars and pubs had notices on their doors.


Microsoft teams isn’t coping with the traffic so uploading files is a lottery. It’s great to be able to have a main meal at lunch and Kiwi keeps us all entertained. I finally felt like I was making progress setting work between 6pm and 10:30 pm.

At the Canal Foot

All set for the best view of the tide running in Morecombe Bay- and I missed it by 1 minute

One of the best views in the country has been in the Mr Physics family since July 15th 1976. It’s a gem of a place and one that has very happy memories. It is where Mr and Mrs Physics spent their wedding night, so it was with mixed feelings that on second of January 2020 it was sold and no longer in the family.

As the new owners were bringing in their furniture (a day earlier than the expected exchange date) we moved out. I decided to let the last view of the tide running be in extreme comfort and left the 3 piece suite on the terrace. Yet, despite setting clocks and watches and alarms, Mrs Physics missed the tide running by about a minute, meaning the main bore was away or behind the big conifer before I got my best seat in the house- well strictly speaking outside the house. It was only a 7 metre tide so wimpy at the best of times. At least I got one last sunrise and that was pretty beautiful.

Is this Sod’s Law or one of the others.

I hope the new owners enjoy the place as much as we have and make many memories.

Time to concentrate on boating which has been on the back burner for a couple of years.

Please don’t tell MIL her house has sold she’ll be devasted and it makes me feel cruel that we’ve done it, but we couldn’t keep it on and it was beginning to suffer. A new lease of life is needed.

It was sold for a bargain, so I hope the owners appreciate it even more.

New Baby Physics

We have a new baby in the family. It is adopted so looks nothing like its Granny but it is rather lovely. It is a Celestial or Pacific Parrotlet. It is only recently that I’ve heard of this type of bird and I must say, even in 24 hours I’ve been impressed with her big heart and fiesty nature, although she’s taken up most of the day and today (04/01/2020) we finally celebrated Christmas, although all the turkeys were gone, so a chicken had to suffice.

The little angel hasn’t got a name yet, but I know Piglet, when he thinks of one, will choose the best and most apt name going.

Nameless: eating well, pooing lots, thwicking,
Grab first, eat and digest after.

More updates as they come, especially the name.

Worms Move in

Well, Wednesday 4th September one group in the Climate Catastrophe Group built their wormery. We are going to look into recycling of food and break down of fruit and vegetables. Worms do create greenhouse gases, but play an important part in maintaining the soil, which has taken a hammering over the last 60 years.

Unfortunately the worms arrived late on Thursday 5th September and had to be in the wormery before the weekend. The students hadn’t quite finished the wormery, so many came up during their lunch break and helped get the worms a temporary start. Our biggest concern is the amount of moisture that we need. The wormery isn’t a draining one, so getting the air and moisture levels is important. We also had to put all the worms in the one box as the second box wasn’t ready.

Let’s hope the worms make it through the weekend. The suspense is terrible and the temperature this weekend was pretty warm, the first dry weekend in four weeks- drat.


What’s in the Police Van?

1st September 2019 and it is the canal festival, which started as Cops on the Canal. It was potentially our 8th visit, but we missed a few, especially last year as we were trapped at the Kelpies. The Police part of the festival is really growing and this year I took some photos in the vans and photos of the speed cameras, now working with laser pulses.

Thanks to all the Police who shared information and their experiences, although I am not sure giving out certificates for the kids saying “I outran the Police” is sending the right image to all those potential criminals!



I’ve never understood why some teachers give the students a leaf and let them test for starch. How does a green leaf being boiled in water, boiled in ethanol and washed in water before drowning it in brown iodine until it turns black really convince students that green plants make starch?

I think a much better idea is to destarch a plant (put it in the dark for a week, but don’t forget it), then make a mask and cover the leaf with the card mask. Cutting out the shapes can make it fun. Put the plant under some nice photosynthetically active radiation, eg sunlight. Leave the mask over the leaf for a week and then test the leaf for starch. Now only the parts of the leaf that have been in the sun ought to have made the starch and students can tell it isn’t the act of boiling, washing and destroying that is turning iodine blue black.

Gracie, Jayden and Libby did a fab job with their leaf as you can see. It then is obvious to the students that the leaf requires light and produces starch. Be impressed and well done girls, you deserve the honourable mention.

got to show all of their photos or there will be uproar!
another cracking photo showing light is needed for starch production.

February 2019