Friday, 18 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
The thought of going to the tip reminded me of a post I came across on a forum I visit (Above Top Secret) which concerned low energy light bulbs like the one below:
Now, we've all been told how these light bulbs are so much better for the environment, right? Well, that might not be so true. You see these things contain something that normal light bulbs don't contain:
Each light bulb contains about 6-8mg of mercury which, to be honest, isn't that much and wouldn't put you in so much danger. In a recent BBC report (see here) Dr David Ray, a toxicologist from the University of Nottingham was reported as saying "Mercury accumulates in the body - especially the brain. The biggest danger is repeated exposure - a one off exposure is not as potentially dangerous compared to working in a light bulb factory. If you smash one bulb then that is not too much of a hazard. However, if you broke five bulbs in a small unventilated room then you might be in short term danger."
So, the official line seems to be that as long as you know about the possibility of a mercury spillage then there's not much danger. There's one slight flaw in this otherwise flawless plan and that is the fact that the presence of mercury in these bulbs isn't made clear on the packaging so not many people are aware of the fact that it's in them.
As the OP on Above Top Secret pointed out - say you have 5 Low Energy Bulbs in your house, as did everyone in your street where there are 20 houses. Then there are maybe 500 streets in your town, that makes 50,000 light bulbs with 6-8mg of mercury in each one - potentially 300kg of mercury being sent to landfill rather than being disposed of properly...and that's just in one small town! (See here for the original thread on ATS).
Whilst doing a bit of research into this I also came across reports of these things causing sun burn like symptoms (see here) which is also quite worrying.
So, next time you see one of these, just think about the potential dangers. Oh, and while I'm on the subject of mercury have a think about any fillings you may have in your mouth containing mercury almagam fillings...have a read of this or this!
Thursday, 27 August 2009
A few days later I spotted another one of these creatures and managed to get a really good look at it after it had flown underneath a parasol. It looked like it had six legs to me and therefore shifted it from being a bird to an insect. I had a look on t'interweb when I got back to Blighty and found that what we were looking at was actually a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (which you can read about here) an insect commonly mistaken for a hummingbird and thought to have come about by convergent evolution where unrelated species develop similar characteristics.
Regardless of whether it was a true Hummingbird or a Hummingbird Hawkmoth it was certainly a beautiful little creature, and a delight to watch - one of those little moments of magic that you find on holiday!
I have a few more videos to load up, and I'm in the process of categorising and editing them now.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
If you're thinking of holidaying in Skiathos give this place the once over on Trip Advisor - you really won't go far wrong. Access from the main road is via a lane lined with all manner of fruit trees including vines, fig trees, clementine trees, lime trees, brambles and even quince. It was nice to have a wander up there every day just to see if we'd spot something new!
We were quite shocked at the general cost of living in Skiathos. Knowing the strength of the Euro against the Pound we certainly didn't expect to get everything dirt cheap but a couple of days there taught us to buy wisely and whilst not quite securing bargains we were able to live quite happily. There are many places serving excellent food and in sizeable portions and the "street food" is delicious.
Unfortunately for us we had booked to go at entirely the wrong time with August being insect season. F was almost eaten alive by the mozzies (warranting a trip to the pharmacy - well, three tripshaving been told that they shut at 2pm!) - and the wasps being an almost constant pain in the a**e, especially when eating. Shellina, as always, had a solution with the burning of a small amount of Greek coffee on your table which not only kept all but the most persistent of bewinged terrors away but also gave all food a kind of barbecue like taste and aroma!
I'm sure I'll recount more tails as they come to mind but for now please be contented with the above pictures of our adventures...
Sunday, 23 August 2009
I'm awaiting the cheque that was supposed to come with it but I'm not holding my breath!