Widow's Peak

Posted on 17th October 2007

Suspected Black Widow found in grapes from Tescos

Suspected Black Widow found in grapes from Tescos

How close have you been to a Black Widow spider? <--- This close (see photo)? Although it's not yet been confirmed by the RSPCA, we suspect this is an immature female Black Widow spider. A colleague bought some grapes from our local Tesco on Gloucester Business Park, and was rather shocked to see this little beauty crawling around. Searching the internet, it would seem this isn't the first time Tesco has been caught out by giving their customers a free pet with their grapes.

Unfortunately I didn't have my usual camera with me, so had to make do with the camera on my phone, but you can see enough detail to see that it's similar to the image we found on the web. The arachnid has now been taken away by the RSPCA, and should hear back from them once they've been able to confirm the species. My colleague has already contacted Tesco, so we'll see what their official response is once he relays the details from the RSPCA.

The bag the grapes originally came in has no country of origin, which I thought wasn't allowed these days, but we suspect it's from America. I've heard of instances like this, but this is the first time I've seen it first hand. I'm intrigued to see what happens next.

File Under: gloucester / spider

Heart Of Glass

Posted on 26th August 2007

A couple of weeks ago, the family and I went on holiday down to Torquay. It was a great holiday and we got to see and do lots of things while we were there. I took lots of photos too. Over the next few posts I plan to unveil a few galleries of pictures highlighting some of things to see and do in and around Torquay and Devon. In fact there is so much we missed out, we thinking about planning ahead and going again next year :)

On the way down, we drove over a stretch of The River Avon that is notorious for flooding. However, I've never seen it this bad. I'd spent the previous week working from home due to the results of the floods across Gloucestershire, but this was the first time I'd got to see any of it first hand. Nicole took photos as we crossed the bridge and I was staggered to see what ressembled a lake in place of fields and the normal course of the river. One the way back she took some more after the flooding had subsided. Quite a difference.

Due to all the stop/starting of the traffic, it took us 5 hours to get from Birmingham to Torquay, although that did include a half hour break. As such we checked in and headed for a local restaurant for food. The weather wasn't great and with the tide being in, the sea looked decidedly unsuitable for a holiday. Hoping that the weather would pick up, we decided to visit some of the sights first.

Day One: The following morning we sorted through the flyers for the various places to visit and picked on two that were further north of the town. The weather was overcast, but didn't look like it would rain too much, if at all.

Our first sight was The House Of Marbles. It's partly a Marble museum and partly a glassworks. Both are free and you can just wander around at your leisure and watch glass blowing, see some amazing marble-runs or play outside with the kids. The big marble-run in the shop was fascinating, and I could easily have watched it for hours. DanDan and Ethne enjoyed playing in the garden with the building blocks and skittles. By lunchtime the sun had come out and it was quickly turning into a very pleasant day. We had lunch and headed a little further north.

Our afternoon trip was to The Original Miniature Pony Centre. If you have kids and are not too far away, this is well worth the trip. You can go inside the enclosures and see the sheep, goats and ponys up close. It's great for kids and Ethne seemed to love it, especially during her interesting conversations with the sheep! Ethne also got to ride around the paddock, while DanDan headed off to the adventure playground. As we walked around, both DanDan and Ethne took a shine to some of the Shetland ponys. Come the end of the day, Ethne even got to feed them too.

It was a long day and we were all tired by the evening, but it had been a great start to the holiday. And even the sun looked like it was going to stay.

File Under: devon / family / floods / gloucester / holiday / photography / torquay

Hold Back The Rain

Posted on 24th July 2007

I thought the rain in May was bad, but it seems the rain in July has been even worse. I'm working from home at the moment is most of the staff based around Tewkesbury, Gloucester and Cheltenham. Several friends are without power and fresh drinking water and looking at the helicopter aerial view on the news the other night the flood waters have taken out most of the Gloucestershire area.

Thankfully workers managed to save a local substation and the weather has changed, so hopefully once the waters have started to subside the power problems will be restored quickly. However, that isn't likely to be until the end of the week. The water problems might take several weeks, as treatment centres have been affected and the amount of flood water has been extremely high in places (yes that's the goals at a local football pitch). You can see 5 galleries of pictures on the BBC Gloucestershire site.

I'm not sure what kind of devastation has hit Gloucester Business Park, but MessageLabs have asked none essential staff to work from home. This has mostly only affected the development and administration staff, as with our business being a global operation, our data centres are distributed all around the world. I'm lucky as we live on part of the incline from the Lickey Hills, and Birmingham hasn't been hit anywhere near as bad, but I know of at least one person whose home is out of action. I just hope everyone else is okay.

File Under: floods / gloucester / rain / weather

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