Here, there, everywhere


I appear to have sparked controversy by suggesting that I roam the streets at night attacking unsuspecting plants with weed killer. Please note that I was indulging in Juvenalian satire (pretentious? moi?) and don’t literally mean everything I say. Rather…

Non-U gardeners beware

As you no doubt know, I’m a garden snob. I openly vandalise variegated ivy after dark. I’d rather poison myself with Roundup than be seen in the presence of a plastic pot. And, as for the tasteless suburban wretches who…

Where’s the ideal place for you to live in the UK?

I was sceptical, but I clicked and had a go at the BBC’s Where in Britain would you be happiest? quiz.

I answered questions about how conscientious, neurotic, extrovert, trusting and imaginative I was. But they seemed pretty general and there didn’t seem to be enough of them.

I was thoroughly expecting it to get it horribly wrong and come up with Swindon, Middlesbrough or Scunthorpe.


But the blurb was encouraging.

According to the BBC:

The predictions made in this test are based on research by scientists at the universities of Cambridge and Helsinki. In a collaboration with the BBC, they conducted a survey of the personalities and life satisfaction of over half a million people. They found that certain traits clustered in regions around Britain. For example, people living in metropolitan areas like Manchester or London were very open. High levels of agreeableness were found throughout most of Scotland, and pockets of the Midlands were particularly conscientious.

And my results:

Happiest place for me:

Cambridge (65% happiness)

Interesting. I lived there for five years and was very happy. It’s still one of my favourite places and I occasionally think about moving back.

Me in Cambridge

Me in Cambridge

Unhappiest place for me:

Newham in the East End (54%)

According to the BBC:

Notable neighbourhoods include West Ham and Forest Gate. Residents generally reported higher than average levels of openness, extraversion and neuroticism for Britain. Levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness were lower than average.

Verdict on Hertford, where I live:

61% happy

Not far behind Cambridge, so that’s OK.

Me in Hertford, near Peacock Towers

Me in Hertford, near Peacock Towers, not looking terribly happy, but I rarely do in photos

They predicted the best place for me near here would be:

Saffron Walden (62%)

Pretty accurate. I like Saffron Walden a lot. Picturesque town, with Audley End nearby. Not far from Stansted Airport. Geographically half way between Hertford and … Cambridge. Sort of.

Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden

Notable residents of Saffron Walden:

The late Hattie Jacques

hattie jacques cross matron

Ian Lavender

Tom Robinson

Jojo Moyes


Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle from Emmerdale)

cain dingle

Well, I’ve met Tom Robinson a few times. And people frequently describe me as a cross between Hattie Jacques, Cain Dingle and Pike from Dad’s Army, so I’d say the quiz is spot on.

Why not have a go yourself? And please tell me where you end up.

BBC Where in Britain would you be happiest quiz

Hummingbird Audio Landscaping

baby hummingbird on flower hummingbird audio landscaping Ovid would approve. Over the last few months, I, a peacock, have metamorphosed into a hummingbird, in the form of the lovely Hummingbird Audio Landscaping That’s why I’ve not been peacockblogging. Like a hummingbird, I’ve been flapping my wings non-stop and have barely touched the ground. I’ve also been blogging for Hummingbird.

You may care to poke your beak into some of my posts:

Underwater speakers

New MEPs – how not to get lost in translation

BPMs to biceps – top tips on gym playlists

What not to do at conferences (with video bloopers)

MRI proof that dogs really understand English

Why ‘relaxation’ music makes me seethe

The Great Hertford Flood 2014 – dramatic audio

Rescuing a baby hummingbird

Evolution and hummingbirds – Alfred Russel Wallace at Hertford Museum

Are you an owl, a lark or a hummingbird? Whatever you are, blame your parents

History of football commentaries, with crazy audio clips

Hummingbird tattoos

How do hummingbirds fly?

Hummingbird Audio Landscaping also has amazing, quirky Twitter stuff: @hummingbirdbeak Follow now, or I’ll peck you.

And, on our YouTube channel, you can see me (in a suit) and co-designer Kathleen Griffin doing our thing at glitzy Lancaster House So now you know what I’ve been up to. Normal service resumes here as from today.

Happy 2014

Happy New Year. It’s great boon to know that 2014 has been designated International Year of Family Farming.

pet sheep pet bear pet buffalo


I am so sorry. North Korea hacked into my account overnight and has been posting on Peacockshock. I’m doing my best to remove the entries.