Monthly Archives: February 2009

Frog spawn update

Things are happening fast on the frog spawn front! The idea to take a picture every 7 days wasn’t a good one, they are developing at a rate of knots. It’s now day 5 and I’m posting two pictures taken this morning. The first shows the eggs which are left and are unlikely to hatch, note all the little bodies on the floor, the mortality rate appears to be pretty high. I did a google on this and came up with where it says “An often quoted statistic says that in a frogspawn blob of, say one thousand eggs, only three or four will make it from being eggs, through to tadpoles, through metamorphosis and finally to adulthood. Where competition between individual frogs is high, this number may be lower still”.


The second picture shows a couple of the hatched and healthy tadpoles.


PS I’ve just noticed that a visitor arrived here having typed ‘spotting frogspawn 2009′ into This site gets the top postion on this search term :-)

Goodbye snow

My route from Winchester to Salisbury takes me up a hill before descending into Salisbury. There’s a cafe at the top of the hill, naturally it’s named The Hilltop Cafe. When we had the snow, which I wrote about on 2 February, the cafe car park had the snow shoveled to end of the car park. As the snow disappeared from the fields I kept my eye on the ridge of snow in the car park and there was still some remaining today! But it will have been my last sight of it since I now start a 5 day break and the little that’s left wont last that long. Anyway, over three weeks must a record for mild Southern England.

Frog spawn

Today I spotted frog spawn in the pond in the garden. I collected some
and have put it into a clear vase of pond water which now sits on my
desk. This was done so that my step-son can see the eggs develop,
tadpoles hatch, and finally the transformation into frogs. Then I had the
idea of keeping a photographic record so here’s the first picture. I’ll take
a photo every 7 days and post it here.


“Where are you going?”

Why can’t passengers just ask “Do you go to xxxx?” Today was typical with a young lady getting on the bus which was on its stand at Winchester Bus Station. “Where are you going?” she asked. I gave my usual reply “Where it says on the front” which is a much easier than listing every stop between Winchester and Stockbridge. She obviously had read Stockbridge because she then asked “Do you go to Kings Somborne?” “Yes”, I said. “Where do you stop in Kings Somborne?” came next. There are five stops in King Somborne and I really didn’t want to describe each one so simply asked “Where do you want to go?” “Eldon Close” she replied. My response was “Fine” as I punched the destination into the ticket machine I told her the price.

It would have been so much quicker and easier if she’d got on and simply asked “Do you go to Eldon Close?” Most people do just ask in a straight forward way but it’s surprising how many make such hard work of it.

Joy! Oh, Joy!

Today I did 63 duty which has the usual two times Winchester to Salisbury in it. But the difference between this duty and all others is 15 minutes of HELL on the school run in it. I’m going to name and shame what for me are the worst behaved school kids in Hampshire – if not the world! Stand up (and be counted) Test Valley School, Stockbridge!

It is our burden to have to transport the attendeees (I hesitate to call them children or passengers because it sounds too normal) from Kings Somborne to Stockbridge and back. It’s difficult, no impossible, to imagine a more surly unruly mob than these ……. attendees. Going to school is bad enough but they save the real misery (for the driver) for the return trip. As soon as they are boarded the 50 odd attendees are making more noise than 1,000 baboons in a cage with a firecracker. As the bus drives off the window opening and closing begins. I’ll correct that, not opening and closing in the normal sense, but opening and them immediately slamming shut as loudly as possible as many trimes per second as possible. Those not engaged in window slamming but with access to a bell push are working their fingers to the bone on it. The poor souls who can’t reach either a bell push or a window to slam keep themselves occupied in mock ( it may be real) fighting. Rushing up and down the aisle, pulling other attendees coats off them, swinging their bags around in the air, that sort of thing.

I’ve no idea how they know they’re nearing Kings Somborne because they’re so involved in their disruptive activities but some how they do. At this point they all stand up in the aisle and those at the back start to push. At this point we’re still about 1 mile from Kings Somborne and the bus is travelling on a windy narrow road. If something big like another bus, or a lorry, comes around the corner at you then you’ve got to brake and they all fly forward. I’ve learnt that it’s useless shouting at them, they just push harder from the back! Ah, well. If they get themselves killed it will only improve the gene pool!

The Joy! Oh, Joy! heading is because today when I pulled up at the first pick up point no one was there. No one at the second either. I then realised, not that we’d been told, that they were starting half-term a day earlier than expected. I couldn’t have been happier if I’d won the lottery on a roll over week!

Having named and shamed Test Valley School it’s only fair that I show how different it can be. Stand up for a round of applause, my other school run, Testbourne School, Whitchurch. A more pleasant, polite, bunch of young people would be hard to imagine.

Two photos over 100 years apart

Paul, a fellow Winchester bus driver, e-mailed me to say “Your picture of the Guildhall in the snow looks remarkably similar to this one of 1905. You�must have been standing�very near�the same spot!” I’m not sure that the shop I was outside was called The British Heart Foundation in 1905 but it certainly was the spot. Here are the two photos taken 104 years apart together with the camera I used and one of a type likely to have been used in 1905.

‘Century’ Quarter-Plate Hand Camera, c. 1905

image image

Height 140 mm, width 140 mm, length 75 mm (folded).

Weight : Approx. 1250g (2.77Ib)

Panasonic DMC-FS5, 2008

image image

Height 53.4 mm, width 94.9 mm, length 22.5 mm (lens retracted)

Weight : Approx. 119g (0.26Ib)