Computer Modelling

In the early 70s I spent about 5 years writing computer business models. These were mathematical models of shop floor operations which then fed up to the business financial statements so that the businesses could look at the implications of their plans. They could then draw up weekly or monthly schedules for the next year or several years and see what the financial implications would be.

Here’s an example. I wrote a shop floor model for ATV. Lew Grade would decide that ATV should have a Xmas spectacular or a sitcom series or whatever. We made rough profiles of the involvement of each department ( scene makers , makeup , camera ops , VTR ops etc ) over the lifetime of the programme , from planning to execution , for various kinds of programme, then the planners could plug the profile in and slide the plan around and see where there was capacity and where they would overrun. Then the financial implications would be fed up to the P&L , cash flow and balance sheet. (Incidentally while I was writing this model I had to share the Julie Andrews suite with Danny La Rue – but that’s another story). I wrote , or had a hand in writing , models for all kinds of other businesses.

Donor flower meadow

The home we moved into about 10 years ago , in the South Downs National Park came with an ‘unimproved’ meadow . Later the family of the previous owners sent us some documentation showing that the meadow had a local designation – at that time it was called a SNCI , a Site of Nature Conservation Importance. More recently the designation has been renamed to Local Wildlife Site (LWS) , see They say that “these non-statutory LWS sites are sites with ‘substantive nature conservation value’. They are defined areas, identified and selected for their nature conservation value, based on important, distinctive and threatened habitats and species with a national, region. Found on both public and private land, LWSs vary in size and shape from small ponds and copses and linear features such as hedgerows, road verges and water courses to much larger areas of habitat such as ancient woodlands, heaths, wetlands and grassland. They support both locally and nationally threatened wildlife, and many sites will contain habitats and species that are priorities under the county or UK Biodiversity Action Plans (BAP). Collectively they play a critical role in the conservation of the UK’s natural heritage by providing essential wildlife refuges in their own right and by acting as stepping stones, corridors and buffer zones to link and protect other site networks and the open spaces of our towns and countryside. . . LWSs can be amongst the best sites for biodiversity. It is essential, therefore, that the different status assigned to LWSs should not lessen the perception of their importance and the vital role they play in conserving our natural heritage.

The meadow is noteworthy because of its biodiversity and is one of 3% of such meadows which remain , the rest having been given over to agriculture or other development. We are now in a project with the South Downs Authority for the meadow to become a donor meadow: the hay will be spread on other meadows to encourage their biodiversity.
The first species survey we had done is shown below . We’ve just had another survey but the results are not in yet.

One solitary patch of dyer’s greenweed
One of 3 very shy deer living down at the bottom of the meadow.
We now have a project with the South Downs Authority to establish the meadow as a donor meadow which means that after flowering, the field will be baled and distributed over receiver meadows.
haymaking 2020 . The meadow is now cut and baled.
Previous Species list
1AgrimonyAgrimonia eupatoria
2Bent grassAgrostis sp
3Birds Foot Trefoil -GreaterLotus pedunculatus
4Birds Foot Trefoil -LesserLotus corniculatus
5BrambleRubus fructicosus agg
6Buttercup -CreepingRanunculus repens
7Buttercup -MeadowRanunculus acris
8Cleavers (Goosegrass)Galium aparine
9CocksfootDactylis glomerata
10Common Field MousearCerastium fontanum
11Common KnapweedCentaurea nigra
12Common SorrelRumex acetosa
13Cuckoo PintArum maculatum
14DandelionTaraxacum officinalis agg
15Devil’s-bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis
16DewberryRubus caesius
17Dock -BroadleavedRumex obtusifolius
18Dock -WoodRumex sanguineus
19Dog RoseRosa canina agg
20False OatgrassArrhenatherum elatius
21Fescue sp (Meadow)Festuca sp (pratensis?)
22Field Forget-me-notMyosotis arvensis
23Fleabane -CommonPulicaria dysenterica
24Goat’s-beardTragopogon pratensis
25Great WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum
26Ground IvyGlechoma hederacea
27Hard RushJuncus inflexus
28Hedge BindweedCalystegia sepium
29Hedge ParsleyTorilis japonica
30Hedge WoundwortStachys sylvatica
31Herb RobertGeranium robertianum
32HogweedHeracleum sphondylium
33Iris spIris (foetidissima?)
34IvyHedera helix
35Lady’s BedstrawGalium verum
36Large-leaved TimothyPhleum pratensis
37Lesser BurdockArctium minor
38Lesser StitchwortStellaria graminea
39Meadow BarleyHordeum secalinum
40Meadow VetchlingLathyrus pratensis
41Meadow-grass spPoa sp
42MeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria
43Pepper SaxifrageSilaum silaus
44Prickly Sow-ThistleSonchus asper
45Ragwort -CommonSenecio vulgaris
46Ragwort -HoarySenecio erucifolius
47Red CloverTrifolium pratense
48Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolata
49Self-healPrunella vulgaris
50SilverweedPotentilla anserina
51Square St Johns WortHypericum tetrapterum
52Stinging NettleUrtica dioica
53Sweet Vernal GrassAnthoxanthum odorata
54Thistle -CreepingCirsium arvense
55Thistle -MarshCirsium palustre
56Thistle -SpearCirsium vulgare
57Trailing Tormentil (or Hybrid Cinquefoil?)Potentilla anglica OR Potentilla x mixta
58Tufted Hair GrassDeschampsia ceaspitosa
59Tufted VetchVicia cracca
60Water MintMentha aquatica
61Water PepperPersicaria hydropiper
62White CloverTrifolium repens
63Wood AvensGeum urbanum
64Woody NightshadeSolanum dulcamara
65YarrowAchillea millefolium
66Yorkshire FogHolcus lanatus

Lockdown creative gardening Project 4

Round the garden , sycamores pop up like weeds and even a visitor from Natural England said we should do something about them. I decided to top three that were shading where we didn’t want shade. They weren’t so big , only six inches or so in diameter. So project 4 which then turned into project 4++.

One down , 2 to go – just the skinny ones
OK – tops off
Then with the tops off came the bright idea – why not use the trunks as the basis of a swing. that’s when project 4 turned into project 4++
So I got a nice big beam to put across the trunks as a crossbar. The thing would have been to work out the weight of the beam BEFORE deciding to use it . When it was delivered I reckoned it was about 50 or 60 Kg. Never mind – ropes and ladders should do it.
Up it goes
Finally , secured with steel rods bolted through the beam and the trunks. The baggy thing is for the smaller grandkids to climb into and swing.
The thing is – the swing shows how high the wild roses are growing. The crossbar is about 3.3m high – say 10ft , so the roses must be nearly 30ft up.