Friday, 29 July 2016

Hawthorn's July Scavenger Photo Hunt

Hawthorn Spellweaver (click here to visit her blog) has recently organised a Scavenger Photo Hunt.  She provides a list of 10 words and the objective is to select a photo for each word.  We are encouraged to think outside the box!  I try hard (some would say I am very trying ...).  So here is my offering for July.

1  Reflections

Years ago we used to go to Loch Feochan, near Oban with our boat and stay with friends.  Sometimes it rained a lot but there were some clear, dry and hot days!   It took a lot of effort to get there (such a lot to pack into the car and boat trailer) and then more effort to get onto the water, but, once there, it was great.  Our boat was a RIB.  Anyway, one day we and our friends set off, sailing out of the Loch and turning left.  We'd follow the coast line, enjoying the sun and views (sometimes we'd see dolphins and Golden Eagles) until we get to the channel that leads to The Clachan Bridge.  I took many photos as we approached the bridge, watching it get bigger and the reflection develop but the one I have included here was taken just after we sailed under it.  Hard to believe it was taken in May 2002, 14 years ago!

The Clachan Bridge is a simple, single-arched, hump-backed, masonry bridge spanning the Clachan Sound, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southwest of Oban in Argyll, Scotland. It links the west coast of the Scottish mainland to the island of Seil.

The bridge was originally designed by John Stevenson of Oban (and not by Thomas Telford as sometimes quoted) and was built between 1792 and 1793 by engineer Robert Mylne. The original design had two arches, but it was finally built with a single high arch, of roughly 22 metres (72 ft) span and about 12 metres (39 ft) above the bed of the channel, to allow the passage of vessels of up to 40 tonnes (39 long tons) at high tide. The bridge is still in use today, forming part of the B844 road, and is in the care of Historic Scotland.

Because the Clachan Sound connects at both ends to the Atlantic Ocean, and might therefore be considered part of that ocean, the bridge came to be known as the Bridge over the Atlantic.

A path leads down the North side of the Inn across the hill to the famous yachting anchorage of Puilladobhrain (translation 'pool of the otters' and pronounced Pull-door-ran). This is a very worthwhile short excursion, with superb views across to the Isle of Mull.  We have visited Puilladobhrain in our RIB many times when we used to go to Oban.

2  Stripe

Even though I am retired, there is little free time!  I had hoped to find a better example but in the end I had to look through my photo collection.  This was taken on one of our many trips to the Yorkshire Dales; I just love the scenery.

3  Secret

We have Tree Bumble bees that live in our house wall; they seem to have two secret entrances into their home.  I have assumed there is only one nest behind the stone facing but I will resist the urge to pull the stones out to verify my thoughts!  Just before I took the photos a bee went into each hole.  I waited and waited and waited but had to forget the idea of a photo of it emerging!

4  Red

Back in May 2014 I was busy (for several months) building a stone wall to hold back the soil that was slowly creeping down onto the path.  I'd spend time finding the right stone in the pile of stones we had created over the years.  Then I had fun and games moving the chosen stone from the pile, across ground and down the path.  I ended up disturbing the ground and often a robin would be there, picking up delicacies I'd uncovered, which I could not see (or want) but it was happy to have them!

5  Contrast

I did struggle to find a suitable subject for this category but I stumbled across this photo in my collection (in desperation it is always a good idea to trawl through one's photo collection!).  We were walking one evening around the village when I noticed this strange cloud in the sky.  Initially I thought it was a weird reflection of the areofoil but later I discovered it was called a Moustache cloud.  Apparently it is a rare event that happens as a cloud passes over an updraft.  I also found out that they can be called Horseshoe vortex clouds but I prefer to call them mustache clouds.  They can form at the edges of horizontal cylinders of rapidly rotating air – essentially tornadoes tipped onto their sides. The vortices form from updrafts created by powerful super cell storms.  I can report that there was no tornado that day in our village.

6  Forgotten

May 2003 saw us back up at Loch Feochan and off out with our friends in our RIB.  I cannot remember where we landed but this tractor (once someone's pride and joy) had been left on the foreshore.  I wondered what happened to it and why it was forgotten.  Beloved wanted to salvage it and bring it home but (thankfully) this was not possible.

7  Soft

I love bees and both my old and new gardens (we moved last year) have been blessed with bees.  Mind you I've brought many plants with me to my new garden and it is a joy to see a bee on a newly planted plant.  The bee shown here is a Tree Bumble bee.  They look so soft but I'm trying to be sensible and not stroke it!  Mother used to stroke the bees in her garden....

8  Cold

For once we had snow in December!  On our way home (Boxing Day 2004) I noticed the moon, shining brightly on a very cold landscape.  I'm so glad I take a lot of photos as otherwise one would forget!

9  Seat

So many possibilities for this category.  In the end I decided to complement my Red photo picture, in which I mentioned a stone wall I had been building over several months.  Finally it was finished and I was able to make myself a seat on it; hopefully you can see it!  When I was working in the garden, I'd often sit there while I had my brew and contemplate my next job!  I've brought this seat to our new house and it sits on top of a stone wall.  Once the ants have moved on (they have build a nest under it), I can sit on it again.

10  Own choice

First an apology about the poor quality of this photo as it was taken through a double-glazed unit that had misted up.

You can imagine my delight to see a woodpecker on the feeder, quite a regular visitor at the old house.  Suddenly to my amazement it hopped down and fed another woodpecker!  I assumed it was a parent feeding its young.  I knew if I went outside they would fly off so I had to make do with the photos taken within the house.  Such a treat to see this.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hawthorn's June Scavenger Photo Hunt

Once more Hawthorn set a challenging list of words.  Please click here to see her offerings and everyone else who took part.  My original photos were on her blog but that page has now gone so I have posted them here, mainly for my records but then again you might enjoy seeing them.


In our old house we found a stone lintel; no matter where we moved it to, it was in the way.  About 10 years ago we decided it would be ideally placed as part of a retaining wall for raised bed.  Last year as we prepared to move out of the old house, we offered it to our friend.  It was quite a challenge for Beloved to remove it and take it to our friend's house.  The story included getting the tractor stuck, getting another tractor to pull the stuck tractor out, moving the lintel with the tractor down a steep slope (I was instructed to keep out of the way in case the brakes did not hold....) and placing it gently into the trailer, driving the trailer to our friend's and then unloading it from the trailer using our friend's tractor, which would just lift it!  Our friend was creating a doorway and the builder used it as the lintel.  We are so pleased that it now has a proper home and that we will never have to move it!


Just over 2 years ago my sister moved to Port Carlisle.  It is a good 2½ hour drive there but the views are lovely.  Usually my sister and I go for a walk and a natter.  Along the path we take we catch glimpses of the Solway Firth looking across to Scotland.  Here is one such view.  Lucky for us, it was a fine day!


Once more I am at my sister's (that trip provided quite a few photo opportunities for the June Photo Scavenger hunt).  The huge sky looking from the foreshore (about 4 minutes' walk from their house) across to Scotland.  The seaweed etc marks last night's quite high tide.  Sometimes the road to Port Carlisle is flooded with high, spring tides!


Beloved and myself like to jump into the car and drive around the countryside that surrounds us.  We have a favourite place to visit and this is a small road that passes through farms and farmland.  We have to remember where the passing places are just in case we meet another vehicle!

It was about 5 pm, at the end of a fine day and the sky was a wonderful gold/red (hard to describe) colour.  Everything was bathed in this wonderful colour.


Once more Port Carlisle provided me with the picture of water; the tide is coming in and it is mesmerising to watch it.  The structure you can see is the original port that used to serve Carlisle; sadly it is derelict now.  At low tide one can get across to it (I have done this) but one has to watch the tide!


Ah, how I felt for the cormorant as it clung to its 'dwelling', drying its wings out as the tide came in (at Port Carlisle!).  Shortly I noticed the wooden stake had disappeared beneath the water and the cormorant had flown off.


Last year we moved to a new house and the garden needed much attention! It will not be completed this year but I like to think I am making progress.  I am optimistic that it will look even better next year.  It does not help that the soil is poor, full of tree roots or clay or rubbish (or in one bed, thankfully only one bed, rampant, invasive bamboo).  But I am winning!


Guess where I am!!! Yes, Port Carlisle.  It was a lovely gate to someone's private garden but all I could see was a path, the other side of the gate, leading to who knows what!


Some years ago a friend gave us an oak sapling which we planted up at the fields.  Oak do not grow fast and this little one was also hampered in its early years by being nibbled by, we think, deer.  Roll on a few years and it is coming along nicely, though we did notice that a branch has been nipped off recently.  It is a special tree for us as it grown from an acorn that was collected from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp by our friend who visited there many years ago.  I hope it fares better .....

Own choice

Walking through the grass in our long field I espied an interesting butterfly; it was 'tame' enough to sit on the flower which Beloved picked so I could get a better view of it.  I thought I'd have to try to identify it when, after a few minutes, it flew away.  It was an Orange Tip butterfly!  Normally I see them from the top so it was a treat to see an alternative view of it.

Well that's all folks!  Roll on the July Photo Challenge posts from everyone.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hawthorn's May Photo Scavenger Hunt

Once more I am putting my photos for Hawthorn's Photo Scavenger Photo Hunt into this blog (which did not exist when I started to take part in April 2016).  It is primarily for my record but you might be interested to have a peek.

Once more there were 10 categories.  If you click here you can see what other people posted.


I have trod many paths in my varied life but the one I take great pleasure in walking now is along the River Zambezi, not the real river but the little stream that runs through my garden.  I find it calming to walk up and down it, as well as cleaning my wellies at the same time.  I even have a brush so I can keep it clean.....


One of my favourite plants is Geranium palmatum.  It flowers for ages, the bees love it and it has lovely hairy stems.  The flower stalks are covered in purple, sticky hairs!


My strawberries are in flower!  Better still I have espied some developing fruits; soon we can have freshly picked, home-grown, organic strawberries as part of our breakfast fruits!  


What does small mean?  Tiny, undersized, insignificant?  After much head scratching I decided to concentrate on small in the sense of physically small.  Lucky my Beloved has an engineering interest and was able to provide me with the big bolt (huge bolt) and the small one was removed from my spare set of glasses (I must ask him to replace it as the spare set live in my car!).


I have always loved red poppies, be they growing by the road-side, in farmers' fields or where ever.  In April 2013 I attended a quilt show at Bilsborrow Community Centre and had to buy the poppy in the box.  Years previous I was at another quilt show, saw something I liked and did not buy it; I have been kicking myself ever since.  So when I saw this poppy I knew it had my name on it.  In 2014 a friend told me about the poppy installation at The Tower in London and I acted quickly to buy one.  I was one of the lucky ones to get a poppy.  It is too precious to put in my garden but lives on a shelf next to my poppy in a box.  They are poignant reminders of the poem In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, written in May 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Another one of my favourite plants is Rheum palmatum (an ornamental rhubarb, definitely not edible).  I have called it Gloria as it is truly glorious.  Many people have asked me what it is, as it is not seen in many gardens.  I have had this plant for at least 17 years but my photos of it only go back to 2002.  It has never failed to return each year and just gets bigger.  It is at least 2.5 m tall and has a spread of about 1.75 m (but I have never measured it) and it likes a damp spot.  My Beloved does not care for it, as its height meant (in his opinion) that it interfered with the satellite signal!  Also when he walked past it after it rained (and it rains a lot here), the big leaves would wet him.....  poetic justice I used to think as he was so rude about Gloria.

A few years ago, since I refused to destroy/move it, he extended the pole to which the satellite dish was attached .....  problem solved.

Last year we moved to our new house and this year I am slowly moving my old garden down here.  Even though he commented 'That plant is not going to the new garden' I have managed to smuggle in 7 chunks of Gloria!  The other day he noticed 3 of them but I've not told him about the other 4....  

If you have the space I can recommend it but try to get one with the best purple leaves as that makes a wonderful plant.


What a tricky one! So many definitions of Vintage.  So I went my own way....

One of our favourite places to drive to is Ribblehead Viaduct.  What an amazing structure.  Click here to read more about it.  We went there on 12 May 2016, the sun was out, not many people were there, skylarks were to be seen and heard as well as Wheatears.  As we walked back to the car a two carriage diesel train went over the viaduct; we waved and the passengers waved back!  Simple things   ..

We even went there on Christmas Day 2015 to have a picnic lunch; it rained most of the way there and back.  When we got there and parked up we noticed two chaps sitting on a low stone wall, in the pouring rain, eating their lunch.  We waved at one another.....  seems we were all having a good time.  I know we will return many more times and one day we might see a steam train go over it....


Gosh, I'd taken so many photos for this category but in the end it was easy to select my favourite one, Ribblehead Viaduct.  On our return walk back to the car, I noticed the sun had moved round and the arches were throwing beautiful shadows of this lovely vintage structure.  I just wish I could have got up onto the line, leant over and taken my photo but there were signs saying it would be very naughty to do this, so I behaved myself.  Perhaps a drone with a camera would be the answer?

View From A Window

Another tough one Hawthorn!  So many windows, at home, in my car, shopping etc etc.  In the end my heart was swayed by this owl.  The previous computer/study room in the old house had some ash trees about 2 m away and several years ago I was working at my computer when I heard an owl hoot.  It was so close, as if it was sitting on my shoulder.  Out of the window I could see a Tawny Owl sitting on a branch, watching me.  From that point onwards I would regularly look out to see if I could see Boris (yes he has a name).  When the leaves fell off he would find a better place to sit during the daylight but he would return.  I swear he would call to me to let me know he was there.  In our new house, whilst we occasionally hear an owl I have only seen one once but I live in hope!  I have many photos of Boris and it was very hard to select just one photo.

Own choice

Back in 2003/2004 Beloved announced he wanted to buy a field and had sorted this out.  In fact he bought 3 fields but let's gloss over this.  We like to 'play' there and have had some wonderful memories as well as hard work (eg, building roads by hand, mixing cement to finish off the shed, etc etc).  I assume that it is normal behaviour on a sunny afternoon to go and hand pull thistles, build a road .....

Anyway, moving on, we are treated to a superb wildlife show, flora and fauna, but my pick has to be the brown hare.  This one was running towards us, stopped and sat there (about 15 m away) while photos were taken; then after a few minutes it ambled off across the field and over the stone wall.  I never, never, never tire of seeing hares in our fields. The most we have seen in one sighting has been 7 and one year I glimpsed a pair boxing.

Well that's my selection for May.  I hoped some of them made you smile or think.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hawthorn's April Photo Scavenger Hunt

Early April Hawthorn posted a photo challenge; read all about it here.  So I decided to give it a go.  After I had gathered lots of photos, I was dismayed to read she only wanted one photo per category.   The categories were as follows:

1.                    Orange
2.                    Feather
3.                    Something fresh
4.                    Horizon
5.                    Wet
6.                    Craft
7.                    Growing
8.                    Memories
9.                    Sticks
10.                 Any subject of YOUR choosing.
If you click here you can see what photos Hawthorn and the other participants shared with us; some great photos as a wide interpretation of the above list.

At that time I only had my private blog set up, so I sent the photos and text to Hawthorn who kindly loaded them onto my own page within here blog.  Since this page is no longer available I thought I would post it here, partly to serve as a reminder for me but who knows who might also be interested out there!

Here is  how I interpreted this list!


We drove past a field with lots of lambs sporting orange jackets but it was not possible to
stop.  So Beloved changed the route of out afternoon ride out to come back past this field.
He bumped his 4x4 onto a big grass verge (he likes to take any opportunity to go
off-roading....) and waited while I walked off to take photos.


I never got around to taking a photo of a good feather subject that Beloved mentioned; I will not say what it is just in case there is another photo scavenger opportunity that includes feather!

Here is Mr Pheasant aka Mr No Tail; he visits at least once a day and comes to the patio doors 
in the kitchen, waiting to be fed.  If I am slow he will tap on the glass....  I love his red
face markings and the tuffs of  'ear' feathers.  Once he had 5 female companions.


A snake's head fritillary - shouts spring is here, well it does to me.
I have found that bunnies like to eat them!  So when I bring the 
rest here, I think they will be planted in big pots and not the 
garden at the back of the house!


I feel that my photo is a bit boring at first glance but the memories of the day and what we could see mean a lot to me.

Occasionally we drive to the view point at Pinhaw and walk up to the Trig point.  
Incidentally it was just over 80 years ago that trig points were made as they were used
to map Great Britain; read all about it here.

In the distance you should be able to make out cooling towers of Ferrybridge,
about 30-40 miles away; just a pity it was slightly hazy.


Another place we like to go to is Coldstones Cut.  On a recent visit I had a photo opportunity!

A lot of wet stuff at the bottom of the workings!  Perfect.  Next time we return it will be 
interesting to see if it is still there.  Must also visit on a work day and not at the weekend.


Or a better description would be not craft!

In the now-empty chicken hut I noticed a bird had tried to

build a nest.  It has not made a very good job as there was loads
of nesting material on the floor!  I have given it E for Effort and
remembered to go back and check on its progress.  Sadly it is
much the same and I can only assume it has made a
better nest elsewhere.  Well I suppose it is entitled to
practise first before committing itself to the real job,
a bit like me when I contemplate making a new quilt.


This is a growing cairn near the Pinhaw Trig point.  Yes I have added another stone to it
and plan to add another one, the next time we visit there.  Luckily we had the place
to ourselves for most of the time and it was great.


Years ago we used to have a pair of geese.  In winter it was hard to keep their pond clear of ice so I'd put water out in this bucket.  The
gander must have hated it because he would chew the handle repeatedly.  I still
have this bucket and use it.  Ah, the good old days. 


I had in my mind another photo but the opportunity did not present itself; a weak excuse but it is the truth!

On our way up to the trig point on Pinhaw, I passed a patch of burnt heather; such a lot

of sticks!  Pity the sun was so strong as the colours in the picture are not life-like.
When we next go there, I will try to take a better photo.


This is the tenth and last category.  I was not going to have anything for this one until the evening we walked from Laneshawbridge to Wycoller.  Luckily it was almost dry underfoot everywhere.

This little tree (ash? rowan?) is trying its best to grow
out of the top of a sawn-off telegraph pole.
Now that is optimism for you!

Well there you are; I tried really hard to think out the box and I hope you enjoy my barmy selection!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Does this work??

I already have an existing blog but it is a private one.  In order to make life easier for one of my friends out in Blogland (Hawthorn), I've created this public blog.  It is 5 years since I created my private blog and I'm struggling to get this one just as I want it to be!

I hope it will be ready within the next few days but if nothing happens till late August, do not give up on me!

As you can see I like chickens; these were spotted a the Great Yorkshire Show recently.