Grand Bug and Pest Hotel

Grand Bug and Pest Hotel, Norwich

The doors finally opened this morning on the Grand Bug and Pest Hotel.

For many years now I’ve had a rotting pile of wood waiting patiently for stag beetles to move in. Seven years on, I still wait, but to be fair it can take this long and very often longer.

So I decided to dip my toe in the bug hospitality pool and I’m already regretting the image that conjures up.

I trimmed back some trees earlier this year and rather than burn or throw out the branches I decided to build a place for bugs to holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the dangerous traffic round the front of the house.

Mr Gustave

I’ve already had some bookings. The first was from Mr Gustave, an inch worm. He’s sent me a picture so that I will recognise him when he arrives, which, going by his current speed, will be late August.

Interestingly I’ve also had some enquiries from a Mr Robin and a Mrs Wren who want to know when the first guests arrive and if they could book a table in the restaurant.

I’ve explained to them that local licensing laws only permit residents to eat in Zero’s Restaurant. I suspect that won’t put them off visiting though.

Madame D. will be checking in on Friday and has asked if we offer and larvae monitoring service.

I can see that I’m going to have my work cut out running this place.

Day 41 – International Dawn Chorus Day

Garden shed studio

My poor shed in 2013

Spoiler alert – I slept through it.

To be honest I had no plans on getting up that early this morning. My sleep pattern is all over the place at the moment. But that’s for another post.

I did my first International Dawn Chorus Day in 2013 from the bottom shed in the garden. It required me cutting a hole in the side of the shed in order for me to stick a couple of microphones on a shelf.

I had wires running up to the spare room where they fed into a mixer and then live onto the internet.

The following year I pretty much did the same thing except I don’t think I used the shed studio. Instead the microphones were pointing out of the bedroom window.

Things got very exciting in 2015 as I set up a whole outside broadcast unit on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Ranworth Broad in Norfolk. It took a good few hours to set up, then a drive home. A very early alarm call and drive back to Ranworth.

After all the excitement in 2015, I was back in my own garden for 2016 International Dawn Chorus Day.

Broadcasting from Cley Marshes in 2017

Broadcasting from Cley Marshes in 2017

My final International Dawn Chorus Day was the most exciting I’ve done.

We were at Cley Marshes in North Norfolk as part of the Sounding Coastal Change project.

It meant setting everything up and then grabbing what sleep I could on the floor of one of the bird hides. It was incredible. You can read about it by clicking these words.

All, apart from the first one I did, were relayed by SoundCamp / REVEIL, which follows the dawn live around the world.

You can hear the various recordings below.


Will I do it again? Probably. Any suggestions for 2021?

Stay awake and stay safe.

Day 40 – Good news and bad news or bad news and good news

Please select the opening paragraph of your choice. I apologise now for any imagery that may form while reading them.

Version 1

I discovered late in the day that it is World Naked Gardening Day. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’ve spent the day inside fully dressed, decorating.

Version 2

I discovered late in the day that it is World Naked Gardening Day. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’ve spent the day inside fully dressed, decorating.

So I’ve been sanding, sugar soaping and painting. Through the window I could see all flowering plants turning their heads up towards me. I suspect they were wondering if I will ever grace their borders again.

I’ll be back out there tomorrow for I am at the mercy of home delivery companies. I’m waiting on more paint, the most urgent of which will arrive on Wednesday. So tomorrow I will return to the garden, which actually looks like a mine field of cat poo.

They obviously love my pristine borders, with the carefully sieved soil adding to the “Andrex” type luxury, as opposed to the “Izal” bum ripping clumps of earth next door.

Teeny tiny things

On my early morning inspection of the estate, I do love to pay particular attention to the small things in the garden. Here’s a teeny tiny trip around my borders.

Stay fully clothed and stay safe.