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Doodlecat's Homepage

Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

I would love to be able to say that Doodlecat is all my own work, but it isn’t. Much of the outdoors content is courtesy of the splendid people who participate in the annual TGO Challenge (there is a section entirely devoted to this unique event) and many others.

To help in tracking down that elusive morsel on Doodlecat, the search facility under the title bar above is tailored to help you find it, either on this home page (Doodlecat's Blog) all the rest of the site (Main Site) or – if all else fails - the internet!

So have a rummage around the old cat basket and enjoy your time with us!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

That Petition!

A petition is not a campaign. It is a start - no more than that. Andy Howell expands on this point on his own excellent 'Must be This Way' blog - clearly the views of a seasoned campaigner who has padded along the corridors of power in his time.

So where are we now? 2000 signatures on a petition proves what? Only that 2000 people (out of a population of around 60,000,000) support the proposal. So in essence, we have demonstrated that 0.003% of the UK population support the wildcamping petition, or in terms of votes (there were 44,401,238 registered voters in 2001) 0.005% of the electorate.

Hardly going to get the government quaking in their boots, is it? No. Twenty times as many people (41,000) petitioned to have Jeremy Clarkson as Prime Minister (a considerable improvement perhaps, but, sadly, that hasn’t happened either).

So, this is the just the beginning of winning hearts and minds. If you wrote to, or emailed your MP, he might just have had a peek at your website, so construct your arguments with due care. A measured and credible approach is required - Oh, alright, no ranting - OK?

My MP, Richard Spring, wrote to Hilary Benn on my behalf, and received a letter from Jonathan Shaw who rejoices in the title "Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs and Minister for the South East" (no, I’ve never heard of him either) so I was acquainted with the official position some time ago. I regarded it as a neutral stance, which I found both surprising and vaguely encouraging.

What is needed now is a steady campaign, gaining publicity and building support. Eventually it will gain the same currency and credence as the CRoW legislation did. Yes, it will take time. Maybe a long time. There really are problems peculiar to England, Wales and Northern Ireland that need to be addressed. Much of the land is managed very differently to Scotland. The new Marine Bill is the current government access project, and one can see that suddenly advocating free access to wild camping on top might considerably increase opposition to the access proposals in this bill, limited as they are.

So I say let the Marine Bill pass. Keep up the publicity – let’s at least out Clarkson Clarkson!

We haven't really lit the touchpaper yet.

Softly, softly catchee monkey.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

New TGO Challenge Stories and photos

Mike Knipe's 2008 Challenge account is now available in the TGO Challenge section. Another cracking read from Mike - and this time with pictures!

More to follow - The next is from 1989!

I'll be updating the site generally over the next weeks (yes, yes, I know the 'events' page is way out of date) so if anyone wants to drop in a new story or photo(s), now is a good time. Just go to the Contact Us page to email us or notify us of any new events.

Toodle pip for now.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Hills Required

People often say to us that it must be difficult to live in East Anglia with no hills. Well, yes, hill walking does come a bit hard, but that is part of the challenge we go to the hills for, and of course the wonderful views. Sometimes people also wrongly assume that we miss having hills and views, and are in some way deprived.

Not so.

As it happens I love living in East Anglia. Out of our bedroom window we look out over sheep, horses and the rabbits playing in the sun, towards the King’s Forest on the horizon. The huge skies reflect all kinds of weather before it arrives and the distant trees lead us through the seasons from Spring to Winter. Absolutely stunning.

Frog in our pond
Our hedge houses an assortment of birds and the wildlife pond is a whole life and death struggle daily, with emerald green frogs, assorted dragon and damsel flies, pond skaters, water boatmen and great diving beetles. All you need is a cup of tea and be silent and watch.

When we go walking we have a sense of openness and a feeling you can just breathe and feel free. The countryside has its own secret charms and we always see some kind of wild life; maybe hares boxing in the spring, a nest of fluffy moorhen chicks, stepping over a snake or a shy deer peering out the trees.

East Anglia is beautiful and I love it. Be still and look and there is beauty everywhere.

After all, John Constable made a rather good fist of the local landscapes!

Wivenhoe by Constable

And the glorious East Anglian skies

Cloud study by Constable

There are so many landscapes - let's celebrate them all!