Category Archives: Nottinghamshire

Some Duck Pond Photographs

I finally got my act together and found the lead to connect the camera to the computer. It had been hiding in plain sight masquerading as part of a reading lamp. There are just too many bits of wire in the modern house.

The flowers are starting to show now. I’m particularly captivated by the aconites because of their multitude of alternative names – aconite, monkshood, wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, mousebane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, or blue rocket. Obviously the ones in the picture aren’t blue rocket, and to be honest I always thought that wolf’s bane was blue too. I may have to look into it a bit more.

Peter Livesey used it as a poison in one of his books – I forget which one – where a wife killed her husband by feeding it to him in a curry.

There’s a case on the internet of a gardener dying from touching wolfsbane. This gives me pause for thought because I used to work with it regularly in one garden I looked after, and never thought to wear gloves. I thought you had to eat it to poison yourself.

There seems to be something causing a glitch in loading my photos, but I’ve got round it by posting and then editing. If you’ve read part of this post and wondered why it ends abruptly, that is the reason.

I’ll end with a film clip of the Cormorant.

The Plan Falls (Mainly) Into Place

Right, I’ve sorted out the debacle that resulted from this morning’s post. I’ve also confessed to another world-class senior moment. This is beginning to be a habit.

So, how did the plan for today go, I hear you ask.

Well…

Julia – dropped off at work on time.

Go home – read blogs and write one.  I think you probably know how that went.

Laundry – did that. Couldn’t get a parking space so  had to carry three nags of washing  round the corner and across the road. Managed to set one machine on a cold wash, which was annoying.  Apart from that I had the place to myself most of the time.

Photographs – went to Arnot Hill Park. Didn’t get many as there were a lot of shadows on the water from neighbouring trees, and the bits without shadow had glare from the low sun. There was a cormorant – originally diving for fish, then drying its wings. It took some stalking after I first saw it, but once it decided to dry its wings it stood and displayed itself shamelessly. Nobody else seemed to notice. It’s the first one I’ve seen on the duck pond.

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Tufted Duck male on the duck pond at Arnot Hill, Arnold, Notts

From there I went shopping, met an old friend, and spent a happy hour catching up on the news.

After that it was back home to cook and plan blog posts.  However, first I had a sit down and cup of tea. Shall we just say that no cooking or blogging took place, as I moved smoothly on to the final element of the plan.

Fortunately I had set the alarm on my phone, and was  woken in time to pick Julia up from work.

We’re now waiting for a Chinese delivery, as it’s too late to cook. Well, that’s the excuse I’m using.

Only two photographs today because the rest won’t download. The card reader isn’t working and the lead for connecting the camera directly seems to have disappeared. They do that if you don’t keep a constant watch on them.

 

Time Moves On

Julia’s phone has been going all day. The large polytunnel in the gardens proved unable to resist the wind last night and the ancient, brittle sheeting disintegrated. Despite being off ill, she has had a constant stream of texts, photographs and requests for decisions.

To call in a team of experts would cost £500 over and above the cost of the plastic. At the moment she is waiting for an answer from the Young Farmers’ Club. to see if they are able to help.

In the shop we assembled a couple of office chairs. They are now pushed up to the desk in the middle room, waiting for a dedicated ebay team. However, it will probably end up with me and Eddie. One of the customers is currently refurbishing a computer for me and then he’s going to set a printer up a wireless network. This might seem normal to you, but it’s close to being miraculous to me, as none of my previous jobs have involved using a computer. I had my own for doing ebay, but I’ve never worked for someone else, or with someone else, using a computer.

This, I suppose, is the 21st century.

After that I had to remove a coin collection from plastic pages. Over the years the pages had sealed the coins in, so I ended up cutting them out with scissors.  It’s a tedious job, but there was a Maundy fourpence in it, amongst the silver threepenny bits, so it felt worthwhile.

It’s even more tedious than sorting out the two plastic boxes of mixed cupro-nickel coins. Half-crowns, florins, shillings and sixpences plus large-sized 10 and 5 pence coins. I’m so used to the small 10p and 5p that the old-fashioned large ones come as a bit of a surprise. Thinking of it, I should have taken pictures to illustrate this. I may do that tomorrow.

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Newark, Notts

In the afternoon I was off, so I took a quick trip to Newark to see my mate on the market. He was one of three stallholders who had braved the wind and rain, and they had all spread out to make the market look fuller. There were seven trees down on the way, with two teams still working on clearing them. It’s been quite windy round here. Fortunately all the roads had been cleared so there were no delays.

That’s about it. Julia is continuing her slow recovery, but while I was out this morning she inspected the garden for storm damage and, whilst struggling to keep her balance, managed to topple over.  She does that. As soon as I’m distracted she tries to do too much and sets herself back. Fortunately she hasn’t hurt herself, but I’m thinking of rigging the house with CCTV so I can prevent a repeat.

I didn’t get many photos today, just a few silhouettes of Newark and some sky.

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A dry view of Newark

 

Chasing a Sunset

We went to Derbyshire today and had a productive time – plenty of photographs, a couple of books, a Bakewell pudding and a new work bag for Julia (plus a can of white gloss for the new garden table project).

On the way back I was moaning to Julia about the lack of colour in the sky when it suddenly turned blazing red. The only trouble was that it was behind my right shoulder. As we twisted and turned I realised that there was a lay-by ahead and a good view of the sunset on my right. Somebody was already parked with the same purpose, using a phone, which still seems strange to me. I mean, I wouldn’t use a camera to contact Julia and tell her I was going to be late home.

So, here are some of the results. The flare in some of them is due to a finger mark on the lens. Fortunately I realised what it was and was able to correct it by breathing on the lens and applying a quick polish with my handkerchief. Proper photographers are probably wincing at the thought, but I’m a low tech sort of bloke, and it did the job.

One thing I did do right was to put the sunrise/sunset filter on (because I remembered I had that option after Sunday’s sunset). It didn’t add anything – these were the actual colours because it truly was a spectacular sunset – but it did stop the camera “correcting” the colour automatically.

Kingfisher!

OK, you’ll have to take my word for it because, as usual, we didn’t get the photograph.

We went for a look at Budby Flash, because we wanted to see birds but didn’t want to walk. As we parked, Julia pointed at one of the feeders, where a Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding.  The photos are a bit hazy because we took pictures through the windscreen rather than risk scaring it off.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker – Budby Flash

When we did eventually get out of the car it flew off, as expected.

The feeders were full of tits with the odd robin, chaffinch and dunnock having a go. The robins, which normally pose so well, were too busy chasing each other, resulting in a lack of photographs. I got one poor shot of a coal tit but it was mainly a day for blue and great tits, with a visit from some long-tailed tits (who did their best to hide their faces).

While I was taking photos of the feeders Julia stalked round the trees that overhang the water by the bridge. A cry of surprise interrupted my photography and I turned just in time to see the eastern end of a westbound kingfisher. It managed to find a spot just round the corner, where it was still close, but hidden. I did think I’d spotted it later, but it was just a discarded beer can when I zoomed in.

A Few Photos I Didn’t Use

I thought I’d cut down on Christmas effort by shoving in a few photos I haven’t used before. I may use them in the future, because I still have a few things to write up, but for the moment I will use them to save effort on a day when I need my energy for bickering with family members, over-cooking food and complaining about the poor quality of TV.

Some Christmas traditions are just too important to ignore.

The main photograph shows Julia walking across the bridge at Bakewell. It has an amazing number of locks attached to it, despite the article I read some months ago which said they were going to take some off. They are now so thickly clustered it’s starting to look a bit like Paris.

You may notice that Julia is carrying a basket.

It’s a sort of tradition with us – we go to Bakewell and Julia buys another basket. Like all the best traditions, the origins of this strange nehaviour are hidden in the mists of time. If there is ever a world shortage of baskets it is unlikely to have much impact on our family.

These are  afew shots of Bakewell. I have more, as you will find out later.

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Cottage Pie with a sweet potato topping, carrots and samphire. We know how to live.

The strange quality to the photograph is caused by steam rising from the meal. Most food in cookery books, I believe is cold to prevent this. However, considering what else they do to it, cold is the least of your worries. The carrots, for instance,would be coated with glycerine to make them attractively shiny. Samphire is getting quite fashionable and is actually being imported.

I first ate samphire when I foraged it on a camping trip in Norfolk. That would be around 1976. I enjoyed it so much that I had it again in 2016. I had it twice in 2017. It’s bitter, it’s salty and the last lot had some very fibrous stalks, but it’s crunchy after steaming and tastes like it must be doing you good. According to this article it’s also known as Mermaid’s Kiss and is loved by fashionable cooks.

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A brick from Watnall Colliery, Nottingham

This is a brick from a local brickyard – marked up as NCB Watnall (National Coal Board for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term). A lot of collieries also made bricks. There were 82 operating after the war and this example is from Watnall near Nottingham. The NCB indicates it was made after 1947. It’s a bit of local history we found when going through a pile of bricks at the Mencap garden.

 

 

A Walk, a Weasel, but no Wren

If I ever write a novel about Time Travel, and I’m not saying one way or the other, I’m going to need a way of making my protagonist travel in time. One way I’m considering is making him write a blog which gets behind, a bit like I often do, so that he trips over his metaphysical feet in trying to catch up.

It’s taken me three days to write about Monday, and nothing much happened on Monday. If it had been a day filled with incident I’d still be writing. As it is, I’m just about to start writing about Tuesday.

I loaded up the camera, put a handful of bird food in my pocket and set off round the lake at Rufford Abbey.

It was an interesting day and after taking nearly 300 shots I’ve already deleted over 100. The problem is that birds just don’t cooperate. They move too fast, they hide in shadows and they lurk behind twigs (which prevent the autofocus working).

At one time I did consider a post based on near misses – the blurred Goldcrest, the fence rail recently vacated by the Dunnock and the twig where the Wren had just been perching. Fortunately I had second thoughts, or this could have been one of my less popular posts.

The best bit of the day was when I was photographing at the woodland bird tables, and fighting off squirrels. Suddenly there was a flurry in the leaves and the squirrels scattered, closely pursued by a weasel. I was too slow to get anywhere near it with the camera, but it was very funny, and what they deserved after stealing most of the food I put out.