Monday, May 25

Bank Holiday Monday with some birds in a field. And bunnies.

It's Bank Holiday Monday and everyone seems to be walking somewhere so I thought I'd better exercise the old calves and breath some outside air for a while. First stop The Camp, made famous as the location for several videos featuring Bryony, Kyran and Matti climbing, rolling tyres at each other and generally smiling quite a lot.

There's a cute little pond nearby where nothing much actually happens but the flag iris is pretty. Later there'll be an occasional duck and several massive blue dragonflies.

The few rabbits that have managed to escape from The Shoemaker Cats seem to understand I am not a cat and live for another afternoon, merrily munching grass or whatever they like there.

This pied wagtail never came closer than the fuzzy end of the range of my lens. I sat very quietly for ages and the little fellow wandered around looking for whatever pied wagtails look around for on a Bank Holiday across almost half the field but not the half I was in.

The robin was far more obliging and even posed on a convenient post for me. Twice.

Friday, May 22

A Doncaster Delicatessen

If you happen to visit Doncaster then I can heartily recommend a little delicatessen. Possibly called Scicluna Deli, but not necessarily so as there are few visible signs of any consistency. Outside there is one name and on the napkins another!

It is located more or less beneath the Premier Hotel close to the Minster and close to a market place and car park so easy to find. It is also easy to miss as when I was there yesterday I had no idea it was a place where anyone could eat. there were boxes everywhere, spilling outside across the pavement too! I was looking for somewhere to have a quick sandwich and a cup of coffee and wandered past but, finding nothing quickly that wasn't too far away, I walked back and thought I'd look inside, as much out of curiosity as anything else.

The place is quite mad. I did spot, however, two small square tables and some stools at window ledges and on one of them was a cup of what had probably been coffee. Sure enough, when I enquired of one of the friendly staff they said I could have almost any sort of coffee I required. To go with it I could also order virtually anything that they had in store to be prepared as some sort of sandwich, roll or whatever. Now, I have heard of choice but this was ridiculous!

I settled for an innocent-sounding ham and cheese toastie which emerged sometime later as a delightful tasting affair with horse radish flavoured soft cheese spread on smoked ham, smoked with some wood I don't remember now, and contained in some marvellous soft bread that defies description.

It came with half a plate of freshly prepared salad and some chutney that time didn't allow me to sample. I downed the coffee, munched as much as I could of the toastie, paid the very modest few pounds and ran as I was a bit late. 

I saw things in the boxes I don't think I've seen anywhere else. Goodness only knows what they all were. A worldwide collection from Pakistan, India but also Italy, Austria, France and Peru. That was all I could quickly recognise as source nations. The food was prepared and served by nice clean-looking ladies in black and white uniforms who spoke a pretty broad local accent and looked like people's aunties, except for one who could have been that girl at the wedding you fancy but never get a chance to talk to.

As it happened, I had a funeral to attend. 

Tuesday, May 12

Litchborough Real Ale Festival 30 May

Here's a good excuse for a short walk in a few weeks' time. This area seems to be well provided when it comes to local brewers and Merriman are promoting and arranging this 'festival for all the family'. Especially family members who like real ale, cider and wine and bouncy castles. Probably not all at the same time.

Friday, March 20

Eclipse 2015

A few pictures of the eclipse here this morning. The cloudy skies actually helped as there's no way I could have taken any photos with the sun shining brightly.

It was notably chilly when the Moon had covered most of the surface. Here in Northamptonshire we could only get something around 86% coverage of the Sun's disc by the Moon but it was still great to experience.

Tuesday, September 9

Looking for the Moon

I thought I would try and get some nice photos of the 'super moon' this evening. It was just around for a couple of nights and the sky looked nice and clear. I started by heading off to a nice place a mile or so away from where I had a good panoramic view.

The sun set and it was about the same time as the Moon had appeared yesterday. I looked in the same direction but couldn't see any sign of it. So I wandered further afield and found some interesting shapes.

A nice old barn or sheep shed. I love those places.

Then here it looked like we had our very own local volcano crater. But still no Moon. It was well past the time yesterday's had come up and I could see almost all around. Although the sky looked clear it was difficult to tell whether it really was so I guessed that it wasn't or that the Moon wouldn't be visible for a while yet. I went back home. 

I went upstairs to copy the images I had got on to my computer and looked out of the window...

There it was. Right outside my window. It hadn't been up long but must have started at just the place where my view had been obscured! Typical!

Tuesday, July 22

Getting closer

Having tracked the buzzards down to some remote trees I stand some chance of getting a nice shot of them. Somewhere between here and there, though, are my glasses. Needles in haystacks.

Update the following morning:
Maggie had told me that the buzzards were in the field next door which is as close as they've been so I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my camera, took off my glasses and put them in my shirt pocket as I dashed out. I decided to go through the paddock and out into the field they were in by going across a stream and emerging from trees with low branches. This entailed climbing over several fences and leaping the stream. After getting one or two fairly good photos the birds headed off towards a tree where I'd seen them before. I decided to follow and headed back under the tree, over the stream and then out across some more fields and gates. By now they were back where they'd been first so back I trek once more. More gates to climb etc. I did get just one photo as they circled above me but focussing just wasn't fast enough most of the time.

That was when I realised that I'd lost my glasses. It was hot but I retraced my steps twice, concentrating on a couple of places where I reckoned they were most likely to have fallen oyt of my shirt top pocket - a fence near the stream, a place where I had to bend over to get below branches and a couple of gates that I climbed over. I found nothing and resigned myself to the fact that I was in trouble.

Back home I was delighted to discover that it had been my computer work glasses I'd lost which had been quite cheap and not the £200+ reading ones. So, having been a bit down before, not helped by the heat and several searching treks I'd made, not liking to give up, I was now quite cheery and ordered another pair from the place that supplied the lost ones. The price had more than doubled from an original £22 special offer so I selected a different style and got a bit closer to that price again. I did try three other on-line suppliers first. Tesco had some great looking glasses for just £15 but every time I tried to order them they said I needed to contact the store which was a drag so I moved on. Another supposedly very cheap place had nothing under £55 and another that had nice products charged loads fro delivery with prices all in dollars anyway. The order I placed should be here in a week or so but the e-mail confirmation said 1 August which is a bit longer. I guess I'll survive I had thought and was resigned to sitting closer to the screen for a while, wearing reading glasses.

Then, this morning, I decided to have another walk along the same track. At the first gate I had to climb over (because the latch was stuck) I looked again on the ground and there they were! Not at all obvious but in a place I hadn't looked as carefully as others. This was the very first obstacle too. I should have realised that it was the most likely. So I have them back. And a spare pair coming in August. It's cost me £40 but I shall remember next time to leave them at home!

Saturday, July 19

Who's making all that noise?

It was pretty hot yesterday evening so sitting outside somewhere with a little breeze seemed a sensible idea. You couldn't relax much, though, with constant chatter from this little fellow. I had no idea what bird it was so I set off to investigate.

Having been trying to get a photo of the largest bird in the area for ages I find myself with a consolation prize of the smallest bird instead. At least I now know what wrens eat.