Tag Archives: butterflies

Painted Ladies and Flying Time

There were three Painted Ladies in the front garden when I got home. The combination of red valerian and warm flagstones seems to attract them.

The quality of the photographs is, as ever, dubious. Just as the garden seems to be good for Painted Ladies this year, it seems to be bad for photography at the end of the afternoon.

 

The rest of the evening was a bit of an anti-climax after that. I had some sorting and planning to do, and seemed to have worked harder in the evening than I did during the day. The Westminster School Attendance Medals I put on eBay yesterday sold within hours. P8190077.JPG

As I think I said yesterday, this always makes me wonder if they were too cheap. However, I think it’s generally that you are showing your stock to so many people that there are always keen buyers for certain things out there.

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I’m adopting one of the medals as my new motto.

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Delay Not: Time Flies.

How true.

A Packed Day

I am writing this on a computer that has, according to the date of the last file I saved, not run since 2012. It has been switched off so long that we had to reset the clock before Google would allow us access. And, to even get to that point, we had to find the yellow cable that connects it to the router, as it has no wireless capability.

It runs on Vista and Microsoft Word 2010 and is a pleasure to use after so many weeks on the netbook.

The netbook was a mixed blessing, but it kept me going and I have been very grateful for it, despite my more than occasional criticism of its lack of speed.

All I need to do is wipe away six year’s supply of dust and spider webs, and it will be almost as good as new.

I say “almost” because there is the question of the On/Off switch.

There isn’t one. It broke and for the last six months of its active life I had to start the computer by hotwiring it, or, for those of you unaccustomed to the vernacular of the street (well, the 1970s street) touching two bare wires together.

It works, and more important, it cost nothing to do. These are two factors that are close to my heart.

That’s probably the biggest news of the day, though my three-centre medical excursion seemed big until we got the computer running.

It started with a visit to the doctor at 8.00 to discuss the pain in my little finger. At this point I’d like to say, because I have difficulty getting this point over to the medical profession, that although I don’t like to complain it is very difficult having an arthritic little finger. It doesn’t seem like much but it can be remarkably painful and it makes everyday life (like tucking my shirt in, packing parcels or washing up) painful and difficult, though the washing up water is very soothing.

So far it’s taken me a week to get the X-ray appointment, ten days to get the results and ten days to get this appointment (that could have been a week, but it would have meant missing work, and I don’t want that).

So are they going to give me anti-inflammatories, you ask, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?

No.

The X-ray, I’m told is not typical of osteo-artritis so they need to find out exactly what is happening. Two arthritic fingers, two different types of arthritis. What are the chances of that? I can’t win a lottery, but when it comes to medical curiosities I lead the field. Having said that, I just looked up the different sorts of arthritis and am feeling slightly less blase about it now.

They sent me for blood tests. Eight blood tests. That’s nearly an armful. (I put that bit in for you Derrick).

After the blood tests I went for my 9.30 chest X-ray appointment.

In a week or so the results will be in.

At that point, you ask, will they give me anti-inflammatories, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?

No.

At that point they are going to get me an appointment with a specialist.

If this carries on much longer I may have to resort to drastic measures.

We went for a drive in Derbyshire after the excitement of the morning and ended up buying raw milk from a farm. I’ve been meaning to get some for a while to see if it has any effect on my health.

When we got home we found a Painted Lady on the front garden, which gives me an opportunity to re-use the pictures I took earlier in the year.

We had more poppies too.

 

WordPress is a lot easier on a proper computer.

And Again!

Sorry about last night. I didn’t have a lot of time between returning home from seeing my Dad and setting off to take Number Two Son to work. In between the two events I ate tea, shouted at TV, lost my sense of humour and realised that I only had fifteen minutes to write a post. I do have a little time after getting back from dropping him off, but it can be a bit touch and go. I will try not to let it happen again.

Unfortunately, the gardens have been attacked again. All the plants that escaped destruction last time have been tipped over, crushing seedlings and losing seeds, including seeds bought by individual members of the group. A lemon tree, which has been growing in a pot for several years has been smashed to pieces, all the drawers searched, screws, nails and tools thrown around and Feathers McGraw has been dismantled again. They also damaged the plastic in the door this time.

The group members are upset, perplexed and annoyed. The police are doing their best. Julia has been preparing a press release, hoping to get some support and possibly donations, but she’s been told not to by her boss, and even banned from putting anything about the attacks on their private Facebook group.

This has put the start of the growing season back by a couple of months. Thank goodness we hadn’t moved the new cacti and succulents down to the gardens.

On the plus side, they sighted Brimstones, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

We’ve entered the sighting on the Butterfly Conservation sightings page – there are 84 for the UK this year, and three in the area (Burton, Derby and Ripley), or 85 and four, after ours.

Sorry it’s a poor photo, but it’s the best I have, and I prefer to use my own when I can.

The Butterfly Safari

We’re now travelling back in time. It’s back to Monday morning this time, to a time before the Sheringham Fish and Chips. I put the the postcode for Strumpshaw Fen into the sat-nav and was once again mesmerised by its capacity for random navigation and time travel.

It started off by leading me in what I thought was the wrong direction and then took a turn for the worse as we took in a selection of narrow roads with grass growing down the centre. It was like taking a trip into a time of more relaxed transport and I’m sure I saw a Hay Wain in the distance.

The main butterfly at the reserve is the Swallowtail. There were, according to reports, several still to be seen on the reserve. We also had hopes of seeing White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries.

From the lack of Swallowtail picture in the header you may be able to deduce that things did not exactly go to plan. You may also search in vain…well, you’ll find out in good time. For now I will keep the tension building.

The first thing we saw as we crossed the railway line to the reserve was a bat, which fluttered down into a bush. They have Pipistrelles in the roof of one of their buildings, though they don’t usually fly in daylight. It might, we agreed, be suffering from the heat.

Pipistrelle Bat, Strumpshaw

Pipistrelle Bat, Strumpshaw

We took a walk through the woods, looked at the wire contraptions that used to shelter orchids, saw a few surviving orchids, pointed a camera at several butterflies and muttered bad words at my lack of success in actually photographing them. Ditto for dragonflies.

We did see a Marsh Harrier, but, to be fair, they are hard to miss. The Canadian lady who was in the hide at the time was ecstatic at seeing one, and the conversation moved on to her difficulties in seeing Polar Bears in Northern Canada. It was nice to think of a cold place while burning up in the middle of a Norfolk reed bed.

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Marsh Harrier over Strumpshaw Fen

Whilst listening to tales of the frozen north I noticed that a Comma had settled next to the path. As soon as I pointed the camera at it, it flew away. It’s a common butterfly and I have lots of shots of it, but it was still vexing to miss yet another shot.

I also missed a White Admiral – twice. We had good views of them, but they didn’t settle long enough for a photograph.

I was able to get some damselflies, some blurred dragonflies and, after returning to my primeval origins, hunt down a darter.

This is a Ruddy Darter. Probably.

These are Damselflies – possibly a Common Blue and a Blue-tailed.

Finally, as we sat under an ivy-covered tree, drinking tea and (in my case) restocking my calories with a big chunk of flapjack, I noticed a butterfly. It was the tomato soup red colour of a Comma, which was a poor second prize for a day of butterfly spotting in Norfolk.

However, as I zoomed in I noticed it was a completely different shape to a Comma.

And that was how we managed to take a photograph of a Silver-washed Fritillary.

That evening, after chips, we took a ride out into the marshes, where I enjoyed myself taking blurred photos of larks and pipits, missing a shot of a female Marsh Harrier and, eventually, getting some shots of sitting people and moored boats. They move slowly so I can manage them.

I’ll post them later as I have to go out now.

 

Butterflies, Curries and Clerihews

We went to Derbyshire today. Despite  being a Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded and we managed to buy Julia the shoes she needed for the Maltese trip. We also bought some books and ice-cream.

We saw half a dozen Orange Tips and a pair of Brimstones. It really is looking like a good year for both species – I don’t remember seeing as many as this before.

On our return home we scurried round, changed and went for a birthday curry with my fellow shop workers and a few customers. It was a good night, and unlike last time, I was on time (just!), parked across the road and didn’t get rained on.

Yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I am now 60. That’s the “three score years” done with – just the next ten to worry about now.

I’m now going to write some poetry as part of my 200 poems in a fortnight challenge. Don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting you to my efforts, unless I write more limericks or clerihews. I seem to remember I was supposed to be writing more clerihews.

Sunshine at Last

I decided to go for a guilt-free Sunday.

There are two ways to do this. One revolves round working myself to a frazzle so I don’t feel guilty about Julia working while I’m slacking at home.

The second involves heavy-duty skiving allied to a complete lack of conscience.

It wasn’t a hard decision, though I didn’t completely shake the guilt.

As a result I ended up buying fish for tea. She likes fish. I don’t. But I do like idleness, so it’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make.

You never know, it may actually improve my brain-power, though Julia just went on record suggesting that it will take more than a piece of fish to show any significant  improvement. She can be very cutting at times.

I will also let her watch The Woman in White without complaining. I think Collins is a great writer, and handles his material well. I just feel that the books show their age when it comes to matters like plot and length. Having read The Moonstone a while ago I’m in no hurry to repeat the experience.

I took a few shots whilst waiting for her to emerge from work, and a few more when I took her to the Mencap Garden. She saw a Common Blue, an Orange Tip and several whites. I saw a Brimstone and several whites. It’s a good year for butterflies, even if they weren’t cooperating for photographs.

I bought a power pack last year when I was in and out of hospital as I always seemed to be kept in when my phone battery was low. Of course, once I bought it, I never needed it. I’ve finally used it and can report that it recharged my Kindle to nearly 100% quite quickly, and my phone to 50% in about an hour. At that point I gave up and unplugged it. It’s still worth having, even if it was a bit slow.

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Power Pack

Technology can be quite useful at times.

Silver Stamps and eBay

I passed my blood test, and as a reward they have given me a whole four weeks until the next test. This will save a lot of time, car parking and pain. Not that there is much pain really, but I like to go for as much sympathy as possible.

This morning I continued putting stamp ingots on eBay. For those of you who don’t know, these are models of stamps made in silver. I knew such things existed because I’d seen them, but until Tuesday I didn’t know what they were called. I do now.

 

Silver Marks

Silver Marks

Ironically for something called “The Empire Collection” the third mark, the one that looks like a cross and circle is an import mark, which means the ingots were made abroad.  The others are the maker, .925 to denote Sterling silver and, at the end, an “E” for 1979. You’ll have to take my word for that, it’s a peculiar font for that series of date letters.

My current homework is learning about American coins, as I put some on earlier this week and realised I didn’t even have a basic working knowledge of the subject. It’s by no means my only area of ignorance, but it is one that has a good book to remedy the deficiency.

Not sure what I’m listing tomorrow, but I’m sure there will be something to do.

I would write more, but my card reader is playing up and I can’t access more photos.

Meanwhile, Julia was down at the Mencap garden watching butterflies and watering in the polytunnel. She had Orange Tips, Peacocks, Small Whites and a Common Blue.

In the shop we had to content ourselves with one single, droning fly.

Julia cooked tonight so we ate in a more sophisticated manner than normal – seafood linguine and rhubarb crumble (with rhubarb fresh from the garden). It’s nice to have someone else doing the cooking.