Saturday, 21 August 2010

A week or so ago, my sister, Kath and I drove up to the the Upper Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. We had gone there to see the heather which was showing very nicely. Here, we walked a gentle track to climb to a view overlooking Ladybower Reservoir. The water levels were quite low, which is a result of the hot dry spring and early summer we've had.
I love the outdoors when its not too hot.
We had not thought of it until we got to parking the car. It was the 11th August and the next day was the 'Glorious 12th' - the start of the shooting season. The  parking area was full and it turned out there were lots of organised groups wanting to get a glimpse of the heather before shooting started. We did see some Grouse on the moors, little did they know they might be fleeing for their lives in the coming days.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Never too old to learn

Some weeks ago and due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to buy (at great expense) a new potato peeler. It was a man sized one, big and chunky.
Soon after, I was busy preparing vegetables as I'd always done. Well, while peeling a large carrot I felt the blade touch a finger nail. Didn't think too much about it at the time but later on, the nail felt a little 'uncomforable'. Imagine my surprise when I realised that that potato peeler had taken off a neat semicircle of nail right down to the soft tissue underneath. Its a funny feeling, pressing soft tissue through that 'hole'.
No matter, it had been one of those days when every thing was conspiring to get me. The bed post had jumped out and nearly managed to remove a toe nail (ouch that hurt!) A cupboard had jumped out and whacked me on the thigh. Door jam had repositioned itself in my way.

Do you get days like that?

I've tried to work out how I ever got my finger into a position that was any where near the blade. I still don't know but the evidence speaks for itself.
The finger nail was a bit tender but not an issue until it was time to trim. I ended up with a notch which seemed very capable of snagging on anything and every thing. The cure was to trim it down as far as I could thus removing all possibilities of snagging.
The moral of the story is be careful or
to peel the potatoes. [ lol -:) ]

Friday, 13 August 2010

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

About 10 days ago, Kath, my sister, and I went up to Bempton Cliffs near the town of Bridligton. The purpose of the visit was to see and photograph Puffin. The cliffs of this bird reserve are about 400 feet high and is an important UK breeding site for Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittywake, Gannet and other cliff nesting sea birds. Look closely at the cliff in the foreground and each white dot is a Gannet. The gannet has a wing span of about 6 foot. Quite a large bird.
A different angle on part of the previous photo. The darker birds are the juvenile Gannet who are not yet ready to fly the nest.

A closer shot of the same cliff.

You guessed it, most of the smaller bird species had already flown the nest.
Here are just a few remaining Kittywake. No Puffin, no razorbill, no Guillemot.
We did see a few puffin. Just left of center is a small group on the sea below the cliffs. A last years (I think) Gannet is flying overhead.
Oh well, we'll have to be earlier next year if we want to photograph puffin.

Waddington Air show 2010

Please do not have a go at me for promoting machines of war. I see the following as engineering successes.
I liked this shot for the vapour trails. A sense of true power.

I think this is a wierd angle - not seen in flight.

XH558. Flying again and up were she belongs. I've actually sat in the cockpit of this aircraft!

2 of the Red Arrows. The get pretty close don't they?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Lincons Magna Carta

I've been putting off this moment since mid late April.
My wife and I went, for what was for me a life long ambition, to see New Zealand. We were due to be away for exactly 28 days but we got caught up in the Icelandic volcano ash problems and were forced to stay longer than expected in Singapore. On arrival back in the UK, I quickly realised that my life was to take a major change. My wife and I decided that we must separate!
Eventually, I will present our trip to New Zealand but first I want to talk about the Magna Carta. Friends and family will know that I don’t ‘Do History’ but on a recent trip to Lincoln with Imac we visited Lincoln Castle.
The castle is very near Lincoln Cathedral and both were approached up a serious hill from the city centre. The castle was used as a court and prison with many being executed on the ramparts. The history of the site spans the centuries from AD60 to the present day. (more details )
One of the exhibits there today is the Magna Carta and it is widely held responsible for the Constitutional Laws of not only Great Britain but those of the United States and many more nations.

Lincoln Cathedral with downhill Lincoln to the right by the red bricked building with coffee shop s on route. The castle is behind the camera

I had heard of the Magna Carta but did not perceive its relevance in today’s world, nor did I know what it looked like. As I went round the fascination exhibition, I had anticipated a large book but surprise, surprise, a piece of parchment a little larger than A4 size. Photography of the document was banned as they want to ensure its existence for centuries to come. It is one of only four surviving originals, sealed by King John after his meeting with the Barons at Runnymede in 1215 and is housed in the Victorian Prison Building of the Castle. The prison cells hold a very good interpretative exhibition and are well worth exploring.
View of the Prison Building from the casle walls with the cathedral in the background

So anyone planning a visit to Lincoln will almost certainly have the Cathedral on their list of things to do. Allow a minimum of another hour and visit the castle while you’re up there!
Special thanks must go to Imac for being there and also to Denise of An English Girl Rambles for the chats we’ve had via email. Thank you!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Moody sky

Just like a London Bus, you don't see one for ages and then 3 come along together.
.....My third post today!I came downstairs the other morning and this was the view from our back door. A nice moody sun. Needless to say that by the time I'd gone and got the camera there were flares radiating from the sun and I'd lost the opportunity.

Luckily the clouds didn't break up and I was fortunate enough to fire off half a dozen shots, experimenting with the exposure compensation as I went. Hope you enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

Watch The Birdie

For sometime, I'd been puzzled by some weeds and dirt having been left on the paving outside the back door. I'd assumed a blackbird but the mystery was solved when I spotted Jasper watching something closely outside. If you look closely, you can just see the object of desire to the left of the green tub. (Click all the photo's to expand)It was a Wren. So small but had obviously chosen our yard as its patch. It could not have been aware of Jasper watching a potential meal as it came right up to the door.

If you look closely you can see the Wren to the left of Jasper. Needless to say, at this point Jenny Wren realised there were big yellow eyes watching intently and off it went, never to be seen so close again.
Poor old Jasper had to make do with Kit e Cat for breakfast again.