Wot’s in an ‘at

Posted on 11/03/2021 By

Bobby and I love ‘ats. They keep yer bonce warm. They keep it dry… hopefully. Some keep the sun out of yer eyes. Some are totally practical. Some not. Some reflect your mood. Others your ego. Just one or two are very old friends. Maybe only one is. “‘at Par Excellence”. So here we offer you a kaleidoscope of tit-for-tats, titfers, ‘ats. And save “‘at Par Excellence” to the very end. (more…)


It’s a Beautiful World – The Bluebird

Posted on 07/03/2021 By

The Happiness I’ve Discovered in my Own Backyard

Dear Friends of Mindfully Bertie.

Once again we are indebted to our English Rose Janis, who keeps her eyes open for words of wisdom from across the pond. From her home in Arizona, she found this article in the New York Times inspirational. So do we. The author Margaret Renkl also wrote Purple Martin, which we shared with you last year. The birds she described are all featured as library photographs at the foot of the story. (more…)


The Rolls-Royce Wildlife Garden

Posted on 03/03/2021 By

A Rolls-Royce car stopped to let some ducks cross the road in the Wildlife Garden.

Bringing Nature to Life at the Home of Rolls-Royce

A Children’s Competition

We are privileged through Andrew (Bobby’s son) to have an insight into what happens at Rolls-Royce Motor cars beyond building ‘The Best Car in the World’.

And now, we are excited about his latest project. Bringing Nature to Life at the Home of Rolls-Royce. A competition for children from 5-11 to submit designs to ‘rewild’ a Wildlife Garden at the home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at Goodwood. To enter the competition here are the details:


Map of the Rolls-Royce Wildlife Garden.

Here’s Torsten. The boss:

“We established our wildlife garden when the home of Rolls-Royce was first created in 2003, as a dedicated area within our 42 acre site that would be deliberately left in its natural state. Over the intervening years, we have seen changes in approaches to conservation, notable the emphasis on ‘rewilding’ and we wanted to enhance our own project in line with these developments. We also felt it was important to respond to people’s renewed engagement with and concern for the local environment, prompted by the pandemic by enhancing the Wildlife Garden’s features and habitats.

We believe it is absolutely appropriate to involve children in this endeavour. Preserving wildlife and habitat really matters to them because it is their future at stake. As our recent international competition to design the Rolls-Royce of the future vividly demonstrated, children see the world with exceptional clarity, imagination and openness; they bring forward ideas that we, as adults, too easily overlook, dismiss or never even consider. I am intrigued to see what they come up with!”

Torsten Müller-Ötvës, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Trees, tall grasses and wild flowers in the wildlife garden.

Rolls-Royce is asking children aged from 5-11 to suggest features that would enhance the Wildlife Garden and its habitat value to local flora and fauna. As well as ideas to nurture wildlife, such as pollinator-friendly plants, trees and flowers, bird feeders, bug hotels and nest boxes, children can design seats, shelters, sculpture and other items that would make the Garden more appealing to Goodwood’s human population too.

The winner will be chauffeur driven to the Home of Rolls-Royce, then perform an official opening ceremony for the rejuvenated garden, before viewing their winning feature in its new setting. The winner and runner-up will also receive a unique 3D computer-generated image of the Wildlife Garden, with their feature in pride of place, created by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Team with the same software used for designing customer’s cars.

Trees, tall grasses, wild flowers and daisies in the wildlife garden.

The Wildlife Garden occupies a small, secluded area of the Goodwood site to the south of The Drive, just inside the main gates. Established as part of the original landscaping when the plant was built in the early 2000s, it provides excellent habitat for a wide variety of plants, insects, birds and animals native to the south of England. It also offers valuable opportunities to observe and learn about nature for groups, including children from the neighbouring March CofE Primary School.

Other frequent visitors to The Wildlife Garden include the inhabitants of the Goodwood Apiary. A colony of 250,000 English Honey Bees, in six suitably palatial hives in a secluded location elsewhere on the site. The bees are responsible for producing ‘the Rolls-Royce of Honey‘, a rare and exquisite natural bounty reserved exclusively for the marque’s customer’s and VIP guests.

Two Bee-keepers in full kit extracting the honey from one of the hives.

Jars of Rolls-Royce honey, laid out in a triangle.

The Rolls-Royce of Honey

Rolls-Royce is working with two key partners on the project. The ancient City of Chichester, whose District Council said: “The Rolls-Royce Wildlife Garden sits within our proposed wildlife corridor, running east of the City. One of several connecting Chichester and Pagham Harbour with the South Downs National Park.

Wildlife corridors are incredibly important for protecting biodiversity, particularly pollinators, by linking areas of habitat that have been fragmented by human activity. The Wildlife Garden forms a vital link in this chain of habitat, and will benefit honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and bats among other species. We’re really proud to be supporting this project that will help to safeguard our district’s diverse wildlife – a key aim of our Strategic Wildlife Corridors Project and Local Plan Review.”

The South Downs National Park Trust commented: “We’ve worked with Rolls-Royce for a number of years, notably on its wonderful Goodwood Apiary project. We’re delighted to support this development of the Wildlife Garden, and a National Park Ranger will also be carrying out a formal wildlife survey.

Nicky Metcalfe, Headteacher at March CofE Primary School, added: “Rolls-Royce is our nearest neighbour – our school is just outside the gates to the Goodwood site – and we’ve always enjoyed a close working relationship with the company. Our children were involved in the original launch of the Wildlife Garden when it was first created, and it has proved an incredibly valuable resource for teaching and learning ever since. We’re very excited about this new phase in the Garden’s life and development and can’t wait to see the new features the competition produces.”

We at Mindfully Bertie would add that there will be other benefits from this new enlightened approach to the world we live in that have yet to be understood. Congratulations to Rolls-Royce. Let’s hope this is all part of an unstoppable drive to improve our world, rather than bemoan what we have lost. It is never too late to start.

For new readers to Mindfully Bertie (and old friends), here are some earlier Rolls-Royce stories. The Young Designer of the Year Competition was a great success.

We took you to see the Rolls-Royce of Honey.

And who could forget the day we took Mindfully Bertie and a group of friends to Goodwood for a very personal tour of the works.

Goodwood. The Home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

An aerial view of the Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood.

Aerial view of the Wildlife Garden at Rools-Royce, Goodwood.

A view of the Rools-Royce facility looking through natural broad-leaf trees towards topiary trees surrounding the plant.

View of the Rolls-Royce plant across the lake.

View of the Rolls-Royce plant across the lake looking into the rich colours of the sunset.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley

Bertie sat amongst the flowers in the garden, with a candle lit for Diddley in front of him.



Covid-19 Guided Walk for One. Number 10: Abinger – the Secret Snowdrop Walk.

Posted on 28/02/2021 By

Number 10 : Abinger – the Secret Snowdrop Walk

Bertie outside Paddington Mill, Abinger.

Paddington Mill, Abinger.

This walk was sent to us by Bernard and Aldith. Past guest contributors. The snowdrop photographs by Bernard. The route by Aldith.

We walked the route last Tuesday and it is a lovely walk of considerable variation and interest. Originally just intended to see the snowdrops, it is far more than that and will be a real pleasure at any time of year. At present it is particularly attractive, being on sand with very little mud.

The walk induced profound feelings in Bobby which follow. The walk itself is described further down. The walk starts at the National Trust car park at Abinger Roughs. If you just want to see the snowdrops (soon be over for this year) follow this route. The full walk follows after. (more…)


Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted on 24/02/2021 By

Can you hear me now? Bertie waving headphones.There was a time when we rode on trains. Travelled to Farringdon on Thameslink. Looked out the window mindfully into people’s private lives. Compared how green some people’s lawns were. Wondered at the impressive history of Farringdon Station. Walked through Clerkenwell to Islington. (more…)


War Baby.

Posted on 21/02/2021 By

Bertie sat down, wearing a black cravat.“Bobby was a War Baby. That’s why his ears stick out.”

So said his Mum Dorothy many times over her lifetime with Bobby. She rarely mentioned the war at all otherwise. Nor did Sid. His Dad.

This soul searching all started with an interesting post on Sutton and Cheam History Group. Bobby always intended to write it up as a very interesting but short story. Then promptly lost it. There are a number of stories in the pending tray like that. It resurfaced on the History Group last week and he was determined this time to feature it. (more…)



Posted on 17/02/2021 By

Review: Bertie sat down, wearing a black cravat.Bertie: “Cor blimey Bobby, this pandemic seems to be going on forever. ‘Abnormal’ is becoming the norm. At the beginning of the first lockdown, we were immediately conscious of time on our hands. Time for us at Mindfully Bertie (Technical Director Tim might disagree) and time for many of our readers.” (more…)


Ashes to Ashes

Posted on 15/02/2021 By

Bertie in a hide at Slimbridge over looking the River Severn Estuary.

The Severn Estuary at Slimbridge.

It was the 15 February 1999. The light was starting to fade across the Severn Estuary. A middle aged couple were sitting alone in a bird hide at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. Watching the scene developing in front of them as wild Ducks, Geese and Swans descended upon the lake in front of the hide. They were there to find find safety and food for the night ahead. The birds that is. The man knelt down before the lady on one knee and said… (more…)



Posted on 10/02/2021 By



Bobby’s interest in birds started in Ridge Road Library, North Cheam. One miserable winter, he caught flu quite badly and was off school for a while. Once he started to recover, he revelled in this little, long since gone library. One day he borrowed ‘The Birds of London’. He was amazed by the revelations in this book and by the birds that have been officially recorded within London’s boundaries. Bearing in mind he lived in North Cheam, later a Greater London Borough. The most startling fact of all, and one that has been endlessly repeated given his love of the Pembrokeshire Islands, is this… (more…)


Bobby’s Big Garden Birdwatch… Mindfully

Posted on 07/02/2021 By

Garden Birdwatch

RSPB logo: "Giving Nature a Home".

Each year, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) organises the Big Garden Birdwatch. Always the last weekend in January, we take part and send our results to the RSPB on their dedicated website. A few months later they publish the results. A lot of the 2020 story is covered in our Breakfast Birdwatch blog. (more…)

GardensMindfulnessPSTrees and Nature    

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