Health and Safety Festive Guidelines…

From the Xmas Risk Management team, please read and sign accordingly in the comment boxes provided..

Have checked the guidelines….so please can all people manage their areas responsibly…….

Please be advised that all employees planning to dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Xmas sleigh

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night.

While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks. The angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining his/her glory all around s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.

Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that EU legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages. It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Further, caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions.

Finally, in the recent case of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Merry Christmas.

UK native plants, aquatics, marginals, wildflower, seeds

UK native plants

We recommend to all our clients that they ensure the plants they use around their ponds are UK native plants; this promotes the health of the natural aquatic environment.  We have great concerns over non-native invasive species and are reluctant to introduce anything that could become a nuisance species.

It took some years to get Tony and Robert really engaged with plants… they were “fish blokes”.  And I was the flower bird who made the customers happy by ordering lovely plants and getting them to the right lake, at the right time and in lovely condition.  It probably wouldn’t have  progressed except for a welsh job that got delayed.  The plants were sitting in the pots looking crowded so I asked for some bigger pots to split them up and pot them on.  In 12 weeks we had hundreds more plants leaping out of their pots in the hot sun (I know – it was a nice year).

“Can you do that with all the plants?”

“Yeah… that’s how they grow – its botany not rocket science!”

So we grow our own.  And produce our own seed.  And Amanda is the flower bird and waves her wand and watches the rain pour down day after day (I know – it was a dreadful, drenching drought of a year).  She and I are conspiring to introduce a new range of perrenials to the marginals.  Watch this space!

Meanwhile for Christmas we have commissioned some limited edition prints to send to clients.

AES Europe Ltd commission Carole Miles xmas 2012

Kew Lily

Local artist, Carole Miles, took some lovely photos at Kew of lilies.  Knowing we had worked for Kew she was showing them to me. It seemed a logical step to commission some to be printed on the wonderful paper Carole sources that has UK native wildflower seeds embedded in it.

So this year AES Europe Ltd customers will receive a limited edition print instead of a card.  And when they finally tire of gazing at it they can pop it into their garden or window box or margarine tub and watch the wildflowers grow.






Christmas Vodka Cake

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
lots of nuts
1 bottle Vodka
1 tub of glace cherries
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl and a food mixer, arrange the ingredients, check the vodka again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Rearrange ingredients, find glace cherries and soak them in vodka.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl, taste cherries.

Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK. Put cherries in vodka.

Sample cherry vodka…. just in case. Turn off the mixerer.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick fruit off floor. Pick self up off floor. Pick up dried fruit again.

Mix on the turner. Chase bits of egg shell round bowl with beaty, whirly things. Throw dried fruit and cat hair off floor in to mixiness.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver. Wave mixerter at cat. Turn off beater thingy, scrape messymix into bowl off wall.

Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who careshz.

Check the vodka.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven and wee in the fridge. Put handfuls of stuff in hard metal tin thingy.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka.

Fall into bed.


Crucians, Carassius carassius, UK native species

Crucians (Carassius carassius)

The crucian (Carassius carassius) is a member of the family Cyprinidae and a UK native species.

It is a European species and its wide range spans from England to Russia; it is found as far north as the Arctic Circle in the Scandinavian countries and the southern extremities defined by central France and the Black Sea. Its habitat occurs in lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers. It has been established through archaeological recordings that the fish is native to England and not introduced.

The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, typically 15 cm in body length and rarely attaining weights over 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) in the UK but a maximum total length of 64.0cm is reported for a male and the heaviest published weighed is 3 kilograms.

They are broadly described as having a body of “golden-green shining colour”. Another source states that young fish are golden-bronze but darken with maturity, until they gain a dark green back, deep bronze upper flanks, gold on the lower flanks and belly, with reddish or orange fins, although other colour variations exist. One distinguishing characteristic is a convexly rounded dorsal fin, as opposed to goldfish (or C. gibelio) hybrids which have concave fins.

The variation in shape of a crucian carp can be very high. When inhabiting waters where predatory species like pike or perch are present, an induced change in the morphology of the population occurs, from a medium to a deeper bodied form, with a pronounced roundness with rounded fins, making it difficult for predators to swallow the crucian.

The crucian is also a type species for the entire genus, so this has led to the confusion that this is the same species as those that are native to East Asia.

Picture of a crucian


There are also hybrids between the crucian and goldfish (domestic or feral) and laboratory research shows that such cross-breeding is possible, producing viable young, and F2 hybrids have been found in the wild. The F1 hybrids show heterosis (hybrid vigour), being much more adept at finding food and evading predators than either of their parents and thus could pose a threat to the native carp population. However, they will not have the tolerance of poor water quality of the crucian nor potentially the disease resistance. Crucians do not display KHV symptoms while being carriers; the hybrids theoretically are likely to suffer the disease.

Crucians adapt their colouring in the wild to their surroundings and can be almost black in coloured, heavily shadowed water. Crucian fry display distinctive markings which fade with maturity and this has been seen to be an indicator of crucian purity. However, within the laboratory, hybrids have been produced that exhibit this marker.

It is clear that not everything that looks like a crucian is a crucian. When stocking fish it is important to ensure that a health test has been carried out to ensure that the fish actually are what they appear to be. Forensic investigation will reveal by colour and formation of the internal organs, scale and fin ray counts and by gill raker counts the exact species that is being offered for sale.