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.

Hunstanton Skys

I came across this pic and thought it dramatic enough to post. It is at Hunstanton, which is on the Norfolk side of the Wash. You can just make out a few trees over on the Lincolnshire coast. As I recall, it was a lovely warm August day. The clouds were quite ominous inland but perfect blue sky out to sea.

For those of you that don't know this part of the coast, the tides go a long way out for Low Tide but beware, they come back in a hurry sometimes.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Garden Visitor

Good old IMAC has been giving me some stick to do another post. In my last post I said that before I did do a posting I would visit all my followers blogs to say 'hello'.
Sorry, I visited about half of you fairly quickly but time has not allowed me to finish my rounds until today.
I thought this photo might be of interest to you (Click to enlarge) . ....Due to the severe weather we had in January (for us in Lincolnshire it was the worst for many years), I was tempted to put out scraps of food for the wild birds. I rarely feed the birds for fear of one of the vistors becoming a meal to our cat, Jasper. Thankfully, the snow and ice made it much easier for Jasper to stay indoors, she tended to come to the back door very quickly on the few occasions she wanted out . Fairly quickly, I progressed from throwing out bread (not the most sustaining of foods) to commercially bought suet treats, fat balls and my own offering of rolled oats (porridge), lightly soaked in lard.
The Blackbirds and Starlings soon found the food. Jasper kindly remained indoors and slept the days away and even now, on 'warmer' days she'll (don't ask!) go sleep in the greenhouse and only raise her head to look when a flock of Startlings drop in.
The bird above was one of the earlier arrivals and she stood out as different with that light patch on her throat. Although she seemed to be 'accepted' by the dominant male Blackbird I wondered if she was a female Ring Ouzel (see examples) After a bit of research, I'm happy to call her a female Blackbird.
I'm now wondering where she's got to. We had a good covering of snow when we woke up last Saturday (20th), and she must have been searching around the back of the green house for food and found Jaspers 'door'. An opening just like a cat flap but without the flap. Anyway we saw her trying to find her way out and eventually I went and opened the main door. She flew away quite strongly and I felt she was no worse for her experience.
I have not seen her since, that is, until this morning. There she was, boldly searching the lawn for the suet and/or rolled oats. A male blackbird did not like her there but she was having none of it, just moved to another section and carried on. Good for her and welcome back!

The photo was taken on a Canon EOS 450D using a Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. The shot was taken through double glazing and I have cropped it by about 50% and altered the lighting levels with Adobe Photoshop Elements 4

Friday, 12 February 2010

A visit to the supermarket

I’m going to tell you a story. (Now, who used that catch phrase I wonder?)

....but first of all can I just say a huge thank you to all my visitors for such a fantastic welcome. Since I started last weekend I have failed miserably in all my ‘House Husband’ duties and spent so many interesting hours in front of the PC. I’ve redeemed some points today but I just had to come and have a look – even more visitors! Wow, what a friendly lot you are!

Anyway.... this story.
I was in a local supermarket the other day for a few bits and pieces and having unloaded onto the conveyor, I scanned the other isles and noted a young woman placing her groceries in the trolley after they had been scanned. She was in full conversation on her mobile whilst loading her trolley. I thought how rude she was being and then concentrated on my own purchases.

Imagine my surprise when I next spotted her. She was crouched down, picking up what remained of a dozen eggs from the pavement outside the front door of the Supermarket. Initially I thought, ‘Oh dear’ until I realised that the mobile was still stuck to her ear and she was in full flow. ........I walked across to the car with a huge grin on my face.
The best of it was that even as I drove off, she was still on the phone, unloading her fully loaded trolley, one handed.

Must have been an awfully important call!

PS I won’t be posting over the weekend and before I do, I will be calling in on all my visitors for a proper chat. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

From behind the Curtain

Just a joke with Imac but a reminder that spring is coming.
Oh for those days when doors and windows can be opened
to let the fresh air in!
0oo! I just thought that centred text would be more pleasing.

An old favourite

Sunset over Lake Geneva. Its been a Desk Top image at work and home. Taken on our first 'digi', a Canon Powershot A10 with a sensor size of 1.2 Mp, long before I had any real concept of framing, thirds foreground, lead ins etc. I find it amazing how many I shots I took of that evening (in that spot) before I moved to this exact position.

Monday, 8 February 2010

In 2003, we visited Switzerland for our holiday and on a day trip from Montreux, Lake Geneva, we visited the French town of Chamonix. This is La Mer de Glace which was reached by mountain railway.

At first we thought the glacier had melted and our trip was in vain but as we looked closly we were seeing the rock and debris of its journey down the mountain.

The scale was bigger than we thought and there were steps to take you down and INTO the glacier.

The Ice Sculptures there were amazing!

As the Glacier moves down the mountain, a new cavern is carved out of the ice and new sculpures are created.