The Plug Plants Survival Guide
January 3, 2014 — 17:32

Author: jenny  Category: Uncategorized  Comments: 0

Geranium gerainbow red

The plug plant is a fantastic way to save money on your garden beds and borders, as well as hanging baskets and tubs, but what varieties are best? Which is the easiest to grow? And where can you buy them online for the value for money? have some information to help you through the essentials you need to know before embarking on your plug plant gardening adventure.


Now if you are thinking about planting your hanging baskets up with plug plants this year, you may be feeling a little bit cautious. Some people have had bad experiences with their plants dying in the first frost, so we have created a simple Caring for Your Plug Plants guide, so you can keep your new plants safe through the spring, where they will flower into wonderful colour by the summertime.


Before You Buy

Work out how many plug plants you may need for your hanging basket, sometimes is can be quite a lot (especially if your basket is 42′ or more), so always better to buy 4-6 more plants than you need. You will want to work out some nice colour combinations for your displays, so mixing classics like reds and purples, or sticking to a more conservative white and cream, can help add style to your hanging baskets.

—> We recommend using Upright Fuchsias in the centre of your hanging baskets, as these create a fantastic centre point, with plenty of upright flowers, and a lovely scent.

Cuphea Tiny Mice Plant

Cuphea Tiny Mice Plant


And if you want to really stand out from the crowd, try and alternative plug plant, such as the Cuphea Tiny Mice, which has really beautiful red and purple flowers. It is an upright grower, producing bushy leaves, and is fantastic for tubs and borders. It isn’t as well known by most gardeners, so you can really add something special to your garden this spring.

These can be found in the others category:



When Your Plug Plants Arrive

When your plug plants arrive, check the soil for moisture. If they feel even slightly damp, then do not water them, it is always better to have a slightly dry plant, than a slightly wet one, as this can discolour the leaves, and cause the plant to die. Place your plants in a warm area with plenty of sunlight, and regularly water them until the end of May, or when the last frost is forecast.

You can find a full selection of our plug plants range right here:

Happy Planting!

A tour of Shakespeare’s England
April 24, 2014 — 10:12

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By Jenny Scott
BBC News, England

Stratford-upon-Avon gets plenty of tourists but where else can you find Shakespeare’s legacy?

The inns, brothels, battlefields and towns of England are sprinkled throughout William Shakespeare’s plays. On the Bard’s 450th birthday, take a tour of the “sceptred isle” that inspired his works – and look at how the locations have changed.
From Birmingham to Milton Keynes – Shakespeare’s legacy exists far beyond the confines of his Stratford-upon-Avon birthplace. Many English locations that appear in his plays or are closely connected to them can still be visited, although they are often now drastically different places.

Go to Leicester in search of its Blue Boar Inn and, chances are, you may be left feeling a little disorientated.
Once, the Blue Boar was a famous stopping-off point for travellers. It was, so legend has it, one of the last places Richard III rested his head before meeting his fate at Bosworth.

A model of the inn was produced by the University of Leicester

Today, weary travellers are still resting their heads on the site of the Blue Boar – but it is no longer the half-timbered medieval building of yore.
“It’s now a Travelodge on the Leicester ring road and, my word, it’s horrible,” said Royal Shakespeare Company actor Nick Asbury, who has written a book in which he records travelling to all the locations mentioned in Shakespeare’s history plays.
“Shakespeare depicts Richard III having nightmares prior to the Battle of Bosworth,” he said. “I like to think whoever designed that Travelodge is suffering from similar pangs of conscience.”
Leicester also has links to a second Shakespearean king – King Lear, for whom the city is supposed to be named.

Today the site of the Blue Boar, where Richard III is said to have stayed, is a Travelodge

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the king’s dutiful daughter Cordelia is meant to have buried the king beneath Leicester’s Temple of Janus – a piece of Roman architecture today known as the Jewry Wall.
However, Mathew Morris, from the University of Leicester, who was the site director for the team that found the remains of Richard III in a car park in the city, has said he has no plans to search for King Lear’s remains.

The Forest of Arden
The Forest of Arden, near Shakespeare’s Warwickshire birthplace, crops up as a significant location in the comedy As You Like It.
It seems likely the woodland imagery he conjures up would have come from his memories of his local wood.

However, much of the ancient forest has now been cleared and modern visitors are now more likely to find themselves in the suburbs of Birmingham.
There is, in fact, some debate among academics about whether the play is meant to be set in Arden – or the Ardennes, in France.
“I think it’s undoubtedly a French setting,” said Dr Paul Edmondson, head of research and knowledge at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
“All of the people in the play have French names and it’s based upon a French source. But the references to Arden are interesting – it’s as if he’s trying to Frenchify the area where he grew up.”

The Forest of Arden once stretched into what is now a part of Birmingham

Today, apart from a few areas of woodland, the trust says the forest has largely disappeared.
Interestingly, Stratford-upon-Avon is not described in Shakespeare’s plays, although in the Taming of the Shrew nearby Wilmcote gets a mention – the home of Shakespeare’s mother.

As you would expect, London – Shakespeare’s home for several years – is frequently referenced in his plays.
Vast sections of Henry IV take place in the brothels of London – today the far more salubrious South Bank.

London’s South Bank is the home of the Globe Theatre which, in Shakespeare’s time, would have sat amid inns and brothels

“The brothels were near the theatres, so in a sense they were his neighbours,” said Dr Edmondson. “He would have known that area well.”
“One of the extraordinary things about Shakespeare is this question of why he chose to focus on these particular places,” said Mr Asbury.
“In two plays he places characters very specifically at the house of the Bishop of Ely, which is in modern-day Holborn.”
In one of these plays, Richard III, the king mentions the delicious strawberries in the bishop’s garden.

Hatton Gardens, in Holborn – once home to delicious strawberries, according to Shakespeare’s Richard III

And in Richard II, Shakespeare uses the area as the place where John of Gaunt makes his famous “sceptred isle” speech.
“In Shakespeare’s day, Ely Place was home to Sir Christopher Hatton, a tolerant Catholic,” said Mr Asbury. “I think Shakespeare was saying something about the religious schism which was ripping his country apart.”

Milton Keynes
Modern Milton Keynes is well-known for its roundabouts, new town design and perhaps the fact Cliff Richard once filmed a music video in one of its shopping centres.

Stony Stratford, in Milton Keynes, is one of the places the two boy princes stop on their way to the Tower in Richard III

But Shakespeare also gives it a mention, in the form of the borough of Stony Stratford.
“It’s mentioned in Richard III as one of the places where the princes stop on their way to the tower,” said Dr Edmondson. “It was a popular stopping point for travellers and there was an Eleanor Cross there.”

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the wives contrive a plot against the amorous Falstaff which involves an arrangement to meet him under an oak tree in what is now Windsor Great Park.
“It was a very famous tree,” said Dr Edmondson. “When it was struck by lightning in Victorian times, the queen led the nation in mourning for it.”

The ancient oak trees of Windsor Great Park were among the landmarks Shakespeare mentions

Gino Caiafa, from the Crown Estate Office, said the tree is known as the Herne Oak.
After its destruction, a replacement was planted but the site is not open to the public.

Yorkshire’s bloody past makes a frequent appearance in Shakespeare’s history plays.
As a playwright in Tudor times, Shakespeare made a task of talking up the royal dynasty.

Today tourists climb the walls of York where once Yorkist heads were put on spikes

The Tudors’ Yorkist predecessors, such as Richard III, do not get a flattering portrayal. In Henry VI, the heads of the Duke of York and his fellow “traitors” are set on spikes on Bootham Bar – one of the main gates into York.
The gate is one of the few locations mentioned by Shakespeare that still look much as they once did and is a popular tourist destination.
Shakespeare also writes about the bloody Battle of Towton, in Tadcaster.

Reminders of the battle are few today, says Nick Asbury who has visited the site

“Twenty-eight thousand people died at the battle in a single day,” says Mr Asbury. “It was the battle which brought the Yorkists to the throne and was one of the bloodiest fought on English soil.
“In Shakespeare’s day, this was the scar on the nation’s soul. And yet, today, hardly anybody knows about it. If you go there, you find two golf courses.”

Olympic medallist Williamson retires
April 24, 2014 — 10:12

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23 April 2014
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By Nick Hope
BBC Olympic sports reporter

Veteran archer Alison Williamson will not bid for a record-breaking seventh Olympic appearance in Rio after deciding to retire from the sport.

Williamson, 42, made her Team GB debut at the 1992 Barcelona Games and

won bronze

at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“It has been an amazing journey,” said Williamson, a primary school teacher. “But I just can’t continue to dedicate the hours that are needed any more.”

Athlete Tessa Sanderson and fencer Bill Hoskyns also competed at

six Games.


considered retiring

in 2008 after missing out on adding to her medal collection at the Beijing Olympics.

However, she decided to continue and claimed both individual and team

Commonwealth silver

medals in Delhi 2010. She was awarded an MBE for services to archery in 2012.

With the sport dropped from the programme for Glasgow 2014, Williamson, who teaches in Stafford,- revealed after London 2012 that she would take time out from competitive archery before deciding whether to commit to the Rio 2016 Olympic campaign.

“I put my teaching career on hold to represent my country at various events across the globe and now the time is right to just concentrate on the day job,” said the recurve bow specialist.

ArcheryGB performance director Sara Symington, herself a two-time Olympic cyclist, praised the role Williamson has played in boosting the profile of archery.

“Alison’s contribution to the sport of archery cannot be overstated having competed at the highest level of archery for more than 20 years,” she told BBC Sport.

Williamson wants to remain involved with archery, hoping to introduce youngsters to the sport as well as promote Olympic values.

“Archery is a fantastic activity and that is why I still love being a part of it,” she said.

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VIDEO: ‘Safety trains’ hailed a success
April 24, 2014 — 10:12

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Media playback is unsupported on your device East Midlands safety trains scheme hailed a success as trespassing incidents drop 22 April 2014 Last updated at 21:39 BST “Safety trains” introduced on the East Midlands rail network earlier this year have been hailed a success as incidents of trespassing this Easter have fallen compared with last year.The trains look like passenger trains but carry police officers and officials from Network Rail.There were 41 incidents of trespassing during the Easter weekend last year, compared to 33 this year but Martin Brown of Network Rail said the improvements need to go further

Google Street View users now able to “go back in time”
April 24, 2014 — 10:12

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So, if it isn’t enough for you that it’s now possible to see the view from almost any road in the world while sitting at your computer, today Google announced a new Street View feature. If there’s a clock in the upper left-hand corner of an image, it means you can see what that scene looked like up to seven years ago.

To use the feature, you start by just clicking on the clock. You’ll then be presented with a window that lets you move a slider back through time to 2007, with thumbnails of the scene changing as you do so. If you want to see any of those thumbnails full-screen, you click on it. Simple as that.

Construction of the Freedom Tower in New York City

The feature was introduced today, and can be tried out via the first of the two links below. Needless to say, it only applies to locations that have been photographed for Google Maps Street View starting in 2007.

Source: Google via Popular Science

About the Author

An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben’s interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that’s designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn’t so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth

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How to start your perfect veg patch, with the help from Our Big Allotment Challenge guide
April 24, 2014 — 10:12

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A new series, The Big Allotment Challenge, will put gardeners to the testHere we show you how to create the perfect allotmentYou don’t have to be an expert, our guide is simple and easy
Daily Mail Reporter


16:30 EST, 11 April 2014



16:30 EST, 11 April 2014


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Whether you have a single container or an allotment, there’s nothing like growing your own fresh produce. As the contestants on The Big Allotment Challenge see their efforts blossom under the watchful eyes of the judges and host Fern Britton over the coming weeks, you too could be cultivating your own fruit, vegetables and gorgeous flowers. It’s wonderfully rewarding and, as we’ll be showing you this week and next, it doesn’t have to mean hours of backbreaking work.
Follow our guide inspired by The Big Allotment Challenge, presented by Fern Britton, to growing the perfect veg patch
If you’re a beginner, you could simply start by planting a few crops in selected spots – whether it’s in a dedicated corner of the garden, in pots or hanging baskets, or nestling among ornamental plants in sunny borders. This will also have the benefit of adding interest, colour and height to your garden; for instance, runner beans look wonderful growing up supports or fencing at the back of borders, and courgettes have wonderful yellow flowers.

But if a sunny patio is all you have, containers are perfect for herbs, salads, tomato plants, cucumbers, courgettes, runner beans, chillies, sweet peppers and aubergines. Potatoes in dustbins or special potato pots will produce a decent harvest. And in gardens that have lots of vertical room on walls, you can use use hanging baskets to grow smaller crops; or plant herbs and salads outside the kitchen window. If you have plenty of  space and do decide to set aside part of the garden as a vegetable plot, or you are lucky enough to have an allotment, you still need to plan carefully to get as abundant a harvest possible. PLANNING YOUR PLOTFIVE OF THE BEST VEG TO GROWRunner beans
You get a lot of veg for not much effort from runner beans, so they’re great for beginners. Germinate under cover from late spring and then plant outside once risk of frost has passed, or plant directly into the ground in late spring/early summer. The seeds need to be planted 5cm (2in) deep, 25cm (10in) apart in rows 45cm (18in) apart, or in containers; choose one at least 20cm wide by 25cm deep (8in x 10in). Provide each plant with a sturdy cane driven well into the ground, and pinch out the growing tip once they get to the top of the cane to encourage growth lower down. Harvest the beans at 15cm (6in) long.CourgettesStart courgette seeds off in compost-filled
biodegradable pots either outside if the weather’s warm (from late May), or under glass (from mid-April), then harden them off – gradually get them used to outside temperatures, a little at a time. When they’re growing well, place one, with its pot, in the centre of a hole filled with equal parts soil and compost, and cover with soil. Space your next courgette 90cm (3ft) away. Courgettes also grow well in containers and, with their handsome leaves and bright flowers, can be very decorative. Keep plants moist and feed every fortnight with a high-potash liquid fertiliser once the fruits start to appear and swell. Pick your courgettes while they’re still small – around 10cm-12.5cm (4in-5in) long.Radishes
Radishes are easy to grow; the first shoots appear a week or so after sowing, and you could be eating them within the month. They can be used to mark the positions of slow-germinating seeds, such as parsnips, and then pulled out once the parsnip shoots have appeared, or used to quickly produce a harvest from the land between larger, slower-growing vegetables such as leeks and broccoli. In high summer you could even plant a few in the dappled shade of another crop, such as tomatoes. Sow seed outside between March and mid-August. For fresh radishes all summer, you’ll need to sow every two weeks. Make drills (a straight, shallow groove in the earth) 1cm (½in) deep and 15cm (6in) apart and plant seeds 2.5cm (1in) apart. Cover with soil. Keep radishes moist: if the soil dries out they’ll be woody and unpalatable.Salad leavesYou can start picking salad leaves just four
weeks after sowing and lettuce after 12 weeks. Most lettuces fall within one of the three groups: butterhead, which are open in appearance; cos, which have longer, upright leaves; and crispheads, which have dense hearts and are less likely to bolt (that is, go to seed). Lettuce seeds can be sown directly in the ground from March until August. Choose a sunny or semi-shaded plot. If you didn’t dig manure into the plot last autumn, dig in some a month before planting, or use container compost. Sow the seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm (½in) in drills 30cm (12in) apart. Cover the drills with fine horticultural fleece to protect from birds and insects. For a regular supply, sow a short row of seeds every few weeks. Lettuce seeds don’t germinate in hot weather, so in high summer, sow in the evening and water with icy water. Keep lettuces well watered – don’t let the ground dry out as the lettuces will bolt. As soon as the first true leaves appear, start to thin out, and thin again later until they are 30cm (12in) apart.Tomatoes
Tomatoes range from marble-small (cherry tomatoes), to huge beefsteak varieties. The medium-sized tomatoes (round or plum) are probably the best for beginners. The easiest way to grow tomatoes is to plant bought seedlings straight out into the ground in late May. Seedlings grown under glass must be gradually acclimatised to cooler outdoor temperatures during the day, but brought in at night for several weeks. Choose a warm, sunny, sheltered spot and plant in soil enriched with well-rotted compost. Plant seedlings 45cm (18in) apart in rows 75cm (30in) apart. Water regularly to keep the ground moist but not waterlogged. Tomatoes grown in growbags or containers need regular, balanced watering: if you let them dry out, then flood them, you risk splitting the fruit. Harvest eight to 12 weeks after planting.
Most fruit, vegetables and cutting flowers like a sunny spot, so usually a south-facing site is best, away from prevailing winds. Walls and fences will help protect plants from damaging gusts, but make sure they do not cast too much shade over the area. Organise your growing areas so you can easily reach every corner for weeding and harvesting without stepping on the soil. You might go for long, straight rows or smaller squares, where all the beds are 1.2m (4ft square).  Now think about what you might want to grow, and once you have drawn up a shortlist of plants, work out which are best suited to your site. Start with the sun-lovers such as tomatoes, and give them the sunniest position. Next, choose an edge spot for large-leaved spreaders like courgettes, so those space-hungry leaves can drift over paths. Pick out corners for long-season crops such as onions, leeks and potatoes so they are not dominating useful spaces over the year. PREPARING YOUR SOILSoil types range from heavy clay to light sand, but the ideal middle ground that we all aim for is loam, which has an easy-to-work, crumbly texture. If the earth in your garden is waterlogged in winter and hard-baked in summer, you probably have clay. This type of soil will be high in nutrients but it can be compacted (and therefore starves plant roots of oxygen) and difficult to work, particularly in wet conditions. To get the best out of clay soil you’ll need to aerate and lighten it, to improve its workability. If your soil is light, free-draining and easy to work, it’s probably sandy. Your challenge here is to bulk it up to prevent nutrients draining away before hungry plant roots can reach them. The best way to lighten clay soil and bulk up sandy soil is to dig it over in the autumn and work in plenty of good-quality humus (decayed leaves and other plant material) to gradually change its structure. If you didn’t manage to do that last year, you can work in some well-rotted garden compost now then wait a few weeks before planting out. GETTING STARTEDGrowing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to raise them, or you could opt for plug plants, which have a well-developed root system and are bought in individual modules. They’re more expensive but less work. If you are germinating your own seeds, spring is the ideal time to start. But as the weather can be volatile until the end of April, the safest way to raise them without the risk of frostbitten seedlings is in a light spot indoors or in a greenhouse, then to move them outside as the weather warms up. Large seeds such as courgettes, beans and peas can be started off one to a pot, then potted on into larger pots as they grow, but sowing small seeds such as tomatoes, basil and carrots is more fiddly. Sprinkle them into seed trays filled with seed compost, then water carefully, label and place in a light position away from direct sunlight which could scorch the tiny seedlings as they grow. Once the seeds have germinated, you’ll see they’re densely packed. When they are strong enough, thin them out (sometimes called ‘pricking’ them out) into seed trays or pots, to give them space to grow. Gently hold one of the seedlings by a leaf (not the stem) and separate its roots using a dibber, a small, pointed hand tool. Lower it into a hole in the compost and press it around the roots. Repeat until you’ve filled the tray. Water and place in a light position away from direct sunlight. Keep watered until they are ready to move into larger pots.Once the risk of frost is over, the plants need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures outdoors, a process called ‘hardening off’. For the first week, put the plants outdoors against a south-facing wall on a warm but overcast day and bring them indoors overnight. The second week, leave them out on cold days, protected by horticultural fleece (a thin fabric available at garden centres) or a cloche (cover), bringing them in at night. The third week, they can be left out day and night, and by the fourth they should be ready to be planted into the ground.PLANTING OUT YOUR SEEDLINGSPrepare the ground by digging it over and removing all the weeds, then water the plants in their pots. Mark up rows using pegs and garden string, then use your dibber to make a hole in the ground, pop in the seedling and press compost around its roots. Water in your plants then mulch around the rows by adding layer of compost or bark chippings to help keep down weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Finally, keep the plants well watered until they are established.Edited extract from The Big Allotment Challenge: The Patch – Grow Make Eat by Tessa Evelegh, published by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £20. To order a copy for £16.99 (incl p&p) call 0844 472 4157. The Big Allotment Challenge starts on Tuesday at 8pm, BBC2.

Traffic free town centre work begins
April 23, 2014 — 10:16

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The newly constructed inner relief road in Loughborough was completed last month to move traffic away from the town centre

Work has started to pedestrianise part of a busy Leicestershire town centre road after years of planning.
The Market Place, in Loughborough, will be joined with busy shopping streets on the opposite side of the A6 Swan Street, as part of a £19.3m scheme.
Once the road is pedestrianised all traffic, including buses, will use the newly constructed inner relief road.
The northbound side of the A6, between Baxter Gate and Derby Square, will be closed to traffic during the work.
‘Business as usual’
A consultation about the plans for complete pedestrianisation of the section of the road revealed some concern from bus companies and passengers whose stops will be moved away from the Market Place.
Roger Perret, chair of Loughborough’s Business Improvement District, which represents businesses in the town, said: “We’re keen to get the message across to bus users that it will be business as usual.
“There’ll be plenty of stops available very close to our town centre to make sure it’s as convenient as it possibly can be for them.”
Mr Perret added: “We’ve been waiting a long time to join the two halves of the town together and it’s important that we make use of the space.
“We’ve got a full event programme and plan for the town and some exciting events to look forward to.”
Leicestershire County Council hopes the changes will bring investment to the town.
Councillor Peter Osbourne, the cabinet member for transport at the authority, said: “I don’t see the disruption being too huge.
“Most of the disruption will be traffic getting used to the new flow.
“The new inner relief road is the one major asset that is going to take all the traffic away from the town centre.”
More than 13,000 residents took part in a survey on making the road permanently bus-free of which 54% said they were in favour of the plans for complete pedestrianisation.

One dead, two hurt in biker crash
April 23, 2014 — 10:16

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One man was killed and two injured when a group of motorcyclists crashed in Lincolnshire, police have confirmed.
Nine bikers were on the A46 Thorpe on the Hill flyover on Monday morning and were overtaking a tractor when the crash happened.
A 53-year-old died at the scene and two others, aged 54 and 36, were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. All three were from Leicestershire.
The road was closed until around 16:30 BST causing long tailbacks.
The dead man was later named as Phillip Neil Bolton from Welford Road, Wigston.

Bottle kicking ‘attracts thousands’
April 23, 2014 — 10:16

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Footage shows the Hallaton Bottle Kicking contest, which is akin to a rugby scrum

A “very English and very eccentric” tradition that dates back centuries has attracted thousands of people on Easter Monday.
The Hallaton Bottle Kicking contest pits teams from two Leicestershire villages who try to take control of a keg of beer.
The “ferocious rugby scrum” takes five hours to complete and is believed to have started before the Christian era.
A hare pie was also distributed to villagers during the event.
‘Ferocious scrum’
Hallaton’s Bottle-Kicking chairman Phil Allan said: “It is something that has gone on from time immemorial – it is a very ancient custom.”
He said a large traditional hare pie was paraded to the church gates and later taken to a hillside where it was “scrambled” or thrown into the crowd.
He said the bottle kicking – which involves teams from Hallaton and nearby Medbourne trying to move a keg of beer over the hills back to their respective village in a rugby-like scrum – is rough and tumble.
“The rules are very simple – there aren’t any rules.
“We do add… that there is no murder, no gouging or no riding on horseback with the bottle allowed… it is actually like a very ferocious rugby scrum.”

The event is like a “furious game of rugby” involving thousands of people

There is no limit to the number of people who can join in the event, but he estimated about 7,000 people were involved this year.
The first team to move two of the three kegs over the stream in their village is declared the winner.
The bottles or kegs are often moved over fences, hedges and ditches but the competitors simply “go straight through and there are some repairs to do the next day”, he added.

The teams tackle the kegs and try to get them across a nearby stream

Mr Allan, who has been Hallaton chairman for 30 years, said the event has only been cancelled once – in 2001 because of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Some members of the victorious side are allowed to climb to the top of the Buttercross monument in Hallaton and drink the beer from the kegs after the event is finished.
This year’s event was won by Hallaton.

Trinity portable wind turbine takes a breezy approach to charging-on-the-go
April 23, 2014 — 10:16

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There are already plenty of solar-powered phone chargers out there, but they won’t do you much good at night, when it’s cloudy, or even if you live too far north. Chances are, however, that in any one of those situations, there will be at least a slight breeze … and that’s where the Trinity portable wind turbine comes into play.

The plastic-bodied Trinity is carried as a 12-inch (30.5-cm) cylinder when not in use. When you want to juice it up, you pull out the turbine’s three aluminum legs, and prop it up to catch the wind. The legs can be laid flat to form a pedestal, or partially extended to form a tripod base. And yes, it is waterproof (rated to IPX6), should the wind be accompanied by rain.

As the blades turn, they spin an internal 15-watt generator that in turn charges a 15,000-mAh lithium-polymer battery pack. Using one of two USB ports on the bottom of the unit, you can then plug in your phone (or other device) and charge it. According to Skajaquoda, the Minnesota-based company that’s developing the Trinity, one full charge of the battery should allow for four to six phone charges – you can also forgo the battery, and charge your phone directly from the generator.

Skajaquoda hasn’t stated how long it takes to fully charge the battery, although it obviously depends very much on wind speed. The company plans on providing that information on its Kickstarter page soon – important information to know, for sure.

That said, if you just want to bring the Trinity along as an extra power source and don’t have the time or inclination to set it out in the breeze, you can also just charge it from an outlet via an integrated mini-USB port.

The suggested retail price of the Trinity is US$399, although you can preorder one now for a pledge of $279. Delivery is estimated for January, assuming it reaches production. Should you feel like shopping around, you might also want to check out offerings such as the Orange Wind Charger, the HYmini or the Powertraveller.

More information on the Trinity is available in the pitch video below.

Sources: Kickstarter, Skajaquoda

Kent frustrated by defiant Ireland
April 22, 2014 — 10:14

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21 April 2014
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LV= County Championship D2, The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

Day two, close: Leicestershire 333-9 v Kent

Kent 3pts, Leicestershire 3pts

Match scorecard

Anthony Ireland scored the first fifty of his career as Leicestershire’s tail frustrated Kent to end day two of their game at Canterbury on 333-9.

Opener Matthew Boyce led the way with 68, but Kent seized the initiative as Darren Stevens (3-46) helped reduce his former county to 198-7.

Rob Taylor hit a quickfire 20 and Jigar Naik (41 not out) and Ireland put on 85 runs for the ninth wicket.

Ireland eventually fell to Adam Riley for 52, with the spinner claiming 3-52.

This was Leicestershire’s first Championship outing this season following a first-day washout and the postponement of their opening Championship match.

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