First off, before I write anything else, I promise to have read this through a couple of times before publishing, after fishing for compliments from Dad after he read the last Blog.
Me: “Did you like it?”
Dad: “Did you read it through, before you posted it?”
Me: “Did you like it?”
Dad: “It didn’t make sense in places, and you missed out word here and there.”
This week I’ve been working on an update to the SpoJo Android app, which now allows you to see locations near where you currently are, and locations where specific birds are. I think it’s pretty cool, and I’ll show it off later.
This week started off with style, as it was Father’s Day! I was greeted by the kids coming in with a basket of all my favourite things: Chilli Pringles, Bombay Mix, Pork Scratchings, Fudge and a new one-cup Cafetiere and coffee, to replace the old cracked one. But best of all was the envelopes of “Dad vouchers” that came with the treats. So now at any point in the next year I can go for “Moan free” trips to Attenborough, and Old Moor. Enjoy a bacon butty for breakfast, or fish and chips for tea, a guitar session with Abbie, a movie night of my choice or a night of uninterrupted computer use!
After that, we had bacon butties prepared by the girls and then a quick trip to Attenborough before it got too hot, where we saw a Whitethroat (another tick for the year). This was followed by an afternoon in the garden, with a water pistols, a hose and the paddling pool, finally hot-dogs done on the BBQ!
Thanks Kids! (and Jo for organising them!)
This week we also made a decision to end our membership of the RSPB and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
We left not for any political, or moral issues we had with either organisation, we just wanted to get value for money.
In an ideal world we would be members of all the local wildlife trusts around us, and the RSPB, but it’s not an ideal world, and families can’t afford to be altruistic. Our nearest RSPB reserve is Carsington Water, and that is a good 45 minute drive away, the next closest is Old Moor, and that’s an hour away, which are both expensive in terms of petrol. We live in Derbyshire, but to be honest we have been to about 4 DWT reserves in our 4 year membership. So we thought about leaving and joining Notts Wildlife Trust, because we spend a lot of time at Attenborough, and it would save us parking money if we go more than once a month.
But in the end, we sacked both off and joined the National Trust, because they have allow you to pay in monthly installments, and family membership is £9.50 a month, which matches the combined RSPB and wildlife Trust membership, and we get a free pair of binoculars! And as a member I will be lobbying the NT to stop hunting activity on their land.
I want to say that I do fully support both the RSPB and all the Wildlife Trusts, but when you have a family and a limited budget, then something has to give. This month we finally had to get our front fence replaced, and the MOT is due at the end of the month, and kids school trips needed paying for, which meant all the nice things get put on hold, like the lining for our wildlife pond which we have already dug out and are getting impatient waiting to fill up.
Whenever we visit anywhere, we always budget carefully: We check the deals on offer beforehand, always take a pack-up and like most families , we try and hurry the kids through any gift shops as quickly as possible.
What I’m trying to say is our family is normal, with a limited budget, and hopefully in any future blogs I will always try and pass any money saving deals I find on to you, and please feel free to comment with any of your hints and tips.
Here’s a good one to start with. If you go to Warwick Castle, before you go buy some promotional Cadburys grab bags (a pound each at co-op), and you will get a free ticket for every adult going. When we went, it saved us over £80 for 6 people!
So, now we are NT members look out in the future for blogs from our local adventures at Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall, the Derbyshire Dales and maybe further afield!
Anyway, after that digression, back to the new version of the SpoJo app, which I tested out on Sunday at Attenborough. I have also been using this really cool tool that I downloaded that allows you to mock up your GPS location – I’m currently using it to virtually cycle from Lands End to John O Groats and finding the nature patches along the way!
Because it’s only got 10 downloads so far and I want to show off here’s a quick summary of SpoJo Mobile 2.0.
First off you have to log in, or register.
Then have a look at your current life, year and month and last visit lists.
You can choose a location from the existing list to start a visit from, or if you are out and about, you can choose your current location from the map.
Once you’re in the map screen, you can also see all the nature patches around you.
If you want to see a specific bird (for example, a puffin) then type in the name and refresh the map.
Once you have started a visit, all you have to do is say what you’ve seen, and at the end of the visit, close it.
That’s it, a really simple way of building up your bird list, so if you are not one of the 11 already, download for free at the play store!
Finally this week, Joseph and I have put a mini-beast pitfall trap at the bottom of the garden, so in the next blog, I will let you know what we found. (With pictures if we are brave enough!)