Thoughts from March 2007

ring-necked parakeets

On the 6th March Ted mentioned that he found some parrots in the park. I felt that I had to add a little more on these remarkable birds.

I first saw one of these birds on a cold winter’s day in a Brussels park. A bright green parrot in Belgium? Seemed odd. I took a photo, which shows a green blob high up in a tree. After a bit of research I discovered the bird was only one of a number of ring-necked parakeets living wild in Brussels and several other European cities.


When I moved to London I would occasionally hear an exotic squawking (described by experts as “kee-ak kee-ak”) but I struggled to see any parakeets. It was whilst enjoying a Sunday lunch by the Thames that I clearly saw bright green birds with long tails and pointed wings flying across the water (the beer garden of The London Apprentice is a great place to see them, they roost on the island opposite the pub).

In tropical Africa and India where the parakeets are native they mainly eat nuts and fruit, but in the UK they have proved willing to supplement these with household scraps. They’ve been around in the UK since the 1850s though it’s only since the sixties they’ve become established, the only parrot that has done so in Britain. Since then they’ve spread widely, being sighted in all counties of England and parts of Scotland and Wales, but still the vaste majority of the 5,000 population are in the South East. The RSPB’s 2006 Big Garden Birdwatch reported sighting in over 2000 gardens and it’s thought that food from gardens is pretty important in helping these birds survive the winter (apparently the cold isn’t a problem). Great news is they don’t seem to be causing any problems for native wildlife, though as numbers grow this may change.


Now is a great time of year to see them, they are in full breeding plumage and the trees are still bare – spotting green parrots in green trees is a little tricky. The Thames in west London is a great place to see them, (the area around Kew gardens is full of them) especially earlier in the day or late afternoon as large noisy flocks cross the river on route to their roost. I’ve even seen them flying over Fruit Towers. However, I’m told that their biggest winter roost is Esher Rugby Club where nearly 3000 birds (2999 to be precise) were counted in October 2005.

Once you can pick-out their distinctive call you’ll realise ring-necked parakeets are in all sorts of places around London and beyond. I’d love to hear about your parakeet sightings further afield.

by Jan
our resident ecologist.

how do you recycle yours?

Along with the more traditional ways of recycling our packaging some of our drinkers have their own special methods. Among them we have recently found...

Our 1 litre cartons turned into flower pots (by Laura).

Our kids drinks boxes turned into hamster homes (by Gillian).

And our kids cartons turned into decoration for a lunch box (by Flo).

If you have any other ways of inventively recycling our packaging please post them to our flickr group here. All submissions will also be featured in the flickr photo stream on our new pinboard.

innocent slippers (anonymous).

our carbon footprint - latest news


Here's an exciting thing...

We've worked out the carbon footprint of our mangoes and passion fruits smoothie.

It's part of a big project we've been working on with the Carbon Trust to measure the impact of our business from field to store.

We have a business mantra to leave the planet a little bit better than we found it, so reducing our carbon footprint is high on the priority list. And we've worked out that the footprint for our mangoes and passion fruit smoothie is 294 grams.

So what does that actually mean? Well, we did a bit of research to put it into context and found out that the average apple has a footprint of 37.5 grams and the Daily Mirror newspaper has a footprint of 174 grams. We are looking for more examples of food products and will let you know when we find them.

And we've done a load more work on our footprint results, where our business's emissions come from, how much carbon we should all use each day, and the best ways for us all to reduce our carbon footprints. So please have a look and tell us what you think. And if you have any thoughts at all on this whole area of carbon emissions, footprints and what we're doing about it...

***...please please please post a comment...***

We'd love to hear from you. this space for the footprint results for the rest of our smoothies...

whisky cats - the debut album


We like the Whisky Cats - they won our battle of the bands thing a couple of years ago and played at Fruitstock. They were great, so we invited them back again last year, and they were great again.

They've finally got around to making a debut album and are offering people the chance to get hold of a very special limited edition. In their own words:

"We are finally doing an album.

The band are going into The Charlatans studio on Monday 19th March with the producer Jim Spencer who has previously worked with New Order, Black Grape, Johnny Marr and The Charlatans. The album will be released in early July. To finance the recording we have put together a limited edition package that we are selling prior to release. You will get:

  • Your name inside the album booklet
  • A copy of the album
  • A framed, personalised album artwork print signed by the band
  • The CD and the artwork recorded delivery to your door a week before the release.

This offer is limited to 500 people and costs £16.99. To pay for the album you can go to:

Fill in your details and it will take you through the Paypal process. If you don't have a Paypal account you can still pay this way. We are going to be publicising this to the general public in the next few days and hope to sell out quickly."

Buy now to avoid disappointment.

rulers rule

It was Lauren and Rachel's Birthday today and we celebrated in traditional innocent style with a circle of death (lots or people, cake, speech). Today this was in Unit 1 - our new unit, and as there is currently no kitchen we were forced to improvise.

Lauren - cutting her cake with a ruler - it was perfect