Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pimlico, hens and mixed flowers

All sorts of plants are in flower in London
I have been out of my natural habitat this weekend – in Pimlico, London. I went up to celebrate a very good friend’s 60th birthday and a fine bash it was too. I sat next to Vicky, another friend that goes back a long way. Many moons ago, Vicky used to work for Jasper Conran and also Betty Jackson as their PR consultant, having trained in fashion at a London college. She then met Simon, who also worked in the fashion world and after marrying, they decided “chuck in” London and move to deepest Northumberland.
These life changing moves often end up in tears as the “idyll” of countryside life often proves to be somewhat different from that portrayed in many glossy, so called “country” magazines. But, 20 years later – they are on great form and thoroughly enjoying life. (Now moaning about how hot it is in London and “how do you put up with the traffic!)
 Our conversation soon turned to chickens (one of the motivations to move out of London was to be able to keep chickens!) and Vicky not only up-dated me on her own flock, but then went on to tell me about a new initiative (one of many!) that she is now involved with, called “HenPower”!
I'm sure we have all heard about dogs doing the rounds at hospitals like Great Ormond Street, giving patients the chance to pat and hold them as it so obviously gives them great pleasure, well this new scheme has taken this sort of idea and evolved it a little further. They help care homes actually establish a small chicken flock of their own!
The idea has not been running that long, but already participating homes have found huge benefits to the residents. In the past boredom had often been a real problem, but now the residents can’t wait to get involved with designing hen houses, feeding, egg collecting and general care. Some homes have even started a breeding programme.
In fact it is proving to be so popular that the HenPower initiative hopes to replicate it across the country from Scotland down to London! If you want to find out more go to: 

Meanwhile – a few nature notes on an early spring in Pimlico!
1       Blackbird singing full blast at 1am.
2       Mistle Thrush singing (rather too loudly for my head) at 7am
3       Nasturtiums, Fuchsias and  Daisies all still in flower – left over from last year
4       Primroses and Snowdrops in full flower to start off this year’s display
5       Saw a Bumble Bee on the wing – and with all the above in flower – a worthwhile outing I would have thought!

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