Friday, June 24, 2016

Honeysuckle flowers

At last my honeysuckle flowers have bloomed; late it's true they should have been open a fortnight or so back.

The rather severe cutback they had last summer seems to have caused that. However they are in good bloom and the lack of Bumblebees and Hover flies gives those that do venture a better feed.

The Wild Woodbine, to give it the old country name; is I think the only flower to have celebrated its existence by having a cigarette named after it.

WD & HO Wills of Bedminster Bristol having named one of their cheaper brand (at ten for sixpence) with a picture of it twining itself on the packet.

Always showing two colours, where are your cigarettes now Wild Woodbine?

Culpeper the eminent herbalist had this to say in a rather acrimonious statement.

[Government and virtues.]

Doctor Tradition, that grand introducer of errors, that hater of truth, lover of folly, and the mortal foe to Dr. Reason, hath taught the common people to use the leaves or flowers of this plant in mouth-water, and by long continuance of time, hath so grounded it in the brains of the vulgar, that you cannot beat it out with a beetle. All mouth-waters ought to be cooling find drying, but Honey Suckles are cleansing, consuming and digesting, and therefore fit for inflammations; thus Dr. Reason. Again if you please, we will leave Dr. Reason a while, and come to Dr. Experience, a learned gentleman, and his brother. Take a leaf and chew it in your mouth, and you will quickly find it likelier to cause a sore mouth and throat than to cure it. Well then, if it be not good for this, what is it good for? It is good for something, for God and nature made nothing in vain. It is an herb of Mercury, and appropriated to the lungs; neither is it Crab claims dominion over it; neither is it a foe to the Lion; if the lungs be afflicted by Jupiter, this is your cure. It is fitting a conserve made of the flowers of it were kept in every gentlewoman's house; I know no better cure for an asthma than this: besides, it takes away the evil of the spleen, provokes urine, procures speedy delivery or women in travail, helps cramps, convulsions, and palsies, and whatsoever griefs come of cold or stopping; if you please to make use of it as an ointment, it will clear your skin of morphew, freckles, and sun-burnings, or whatsoever else discolours it, and then the maids will love it. Authors say, The flowers are of more effect than the leaves, and that is true; but they say the seeds are least effectual of all. But Dr. Reason told me, That there was a vital spirit in every seed to beget its like; and Dr. Experience told me, That there was a greater heat in the seed than there was in any other part of the plant: and withal, That heat was the mother of action, and then judge if old Dr Tradition (who may well be honoured for his age, but not for his goodness) hath not so poisoned the world with errors before I was born, that it was never well in its wits since, and there is a great fear it will die mad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Will wonders never cease?

Years back now, in my Shotgun days, it was a struggle to get to under 100 yards of a wood-pigeon. It used to be said that one of them could spot a human face or figure from around a quarter mile away. Now with the movement of wood-pigeons into town it is another matter.

                              They come to my lawn in numbers

Providing I do not move from my place as I look out through the glass door they are content to peck out at the breadcrumbs I scatter for the sparrows.

                                         Just a few feet away
The only thing that disturbs them are the seagulls; but they are few and far between. They only swoop in when there are large pieces of food.
                 Watching and careful but not worried

If I move too quickly they are alerted but settle again if I stay still and quiet.

                               All is well heads down and tuck in

Six feet away and all that is between us is a sheet of glass. 
What a different world we live in today. Crows nesting in Clevedon; Jackdaws building nests using chimney pots to rear their fledglings. Wood-pigeons all over, Peregrines nesting on the sea-cliffs, and so I have been told ravens nesting in Clevedon as well. How many wild mallard ducks do we have on our rivers? The foxes have also moved into the safety zone. When I was working on a milk round I often spotted them as I went on my round at 4 in the morning. I also saw the occasional badger. Where there are people there is also food.  
How long before we get a Rookery back in town? I can recall there used to be one in the grounds of Clevedon Hall back in the 50s. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Well I've gone and done it.

Bought myself a Reliant again.
The Smart Idiot was gradually driving me round the twist. Anything wanted doing it was either go up to Cribs Causeway or drive down to Taunton. So I bought myself a new (old) car.

I do have a squeeze to get in and out
The Rebel had been stripped down and rebuilt and I will have to get used to manual gear change again. New internals in the body and 44 years old, so no road tax.

                                        And no bloody computer in it.
A simple dash board that allows ME to be in charge.

                                           What is more important 
It has a Boot with space in it; also a spare wheel.
With space enough to carry my camera gear too.

                                  Been re-sprayed and looks good.

A real classic car, and not a foreign make. Top speed is only 70mph but I lost my 'boy racer' dreams many years back so that won't worry me. All I want now is some steam trains running on local lines and that would make my joy complete.

                              The engine is packed beneath the  bonnet

The space is filled but seems a bit more organised than that of the Reliant Rialto that I used to enjoy so much.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Decided January's talk.
Told Rob Campbell I would do Celtic Legacy for our January Talk. It will in all probability be the last one I will give. I would like to go for that one my favourite PowerPoint show.
                           The Celtic temple Near Marseilles.

The one that sets the scene of heads, snakes etc.
It is surprising that some of the links that still are used today yet they date back so far into the past.

                     The Green Man's head in St Andrews Church

Titivated up in Victorian times when they made the former Becket Chapel into the Hallam Chapel. Did they realise just what they were perpetrating? That is not counting the Celtic "Wheel of Life" and the three torcs cut in the Chancel Arch pillars, or the "Sheila na Gig" on the corbel stones outside. 

       Even in as late as the 1930s they were celebrating "Blessing the Plough"

The Plough Blessing I think was most likely held by the Vicar of All Saints Church. It looks as though it had been held in the field toward Clevedon from the court. Or perhaps the field in which the fish pond still stands.
"Erce, Erce, Erce" They may not have used the original Saxon/Celtic words but the ceremony itself dates back to well over 1,000 years from when they performed it; no matter what language they spoke.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

We think they are nothing much

Yes we turn our noses up at sparrows quite often; only a sparrow we think, yet, look closer. 

              What an intricate pattern that is on the Hen Sparrows back feathers.

Seen in the distance as just a little brown bird; when looked at closely it changes doesn't it?

                      A cock bird seen having a go at breadcrumbs
After a few days of putting out stale bread bits I thought about the sparrows busy gathering insects and spiders to feed their young.
I put a couple of slices of stale wholemeal (white bread is not good enough it doesn't give the correct food values) through the blender and rendered it down to large crumb size.

                                       Rather too large to get into the frame.

Another bird that fancied that was a wood-pigeon that turned up for a free meal too.

                             A giant compared to the little Sparrows.

Once the news got around there were a many as six sparrows at once when they got busy feeding the fledglings. It was almost like a shuttle service.
Crafty Crow had come along but thought breadcrumbs beneath its dignity. Although it did pick out a few shreds of meat from the sandwich remains.

                         At least it helped by scattering the pile.

It didn't stop for long after taking a good look through and scattering the little heap I had piled up. Made a bigger place for the sparrows to search in however.
I never would have thought that there could be so much entertainment just looking out of my back door like this.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Space, space space ! ! 

A few years back now I visited one of my Godsons and his growing family. The children were enthusiasts in playing computer games.
The problem was rather than just exiting when done, they saved the games so as to avail themselves of their presence. Rather than hunting them up to play; they kept them permanently installed.
Result was a very limited speed on their PC and they couldn’t install any more. They had about enough space on their hard drive to allow it to work at an extremely slow speed.
I explained to them that they MUST keep a certain amount of space. This was in the days of maybe 250 GB hard drives. They must realise I hammered home to them that because the PC had a 250 GB hard drive it really needed around 50 to 60 MB for its memory to work in.
Bear in mind that I had to quote figures I produced from my head. I know virtually nothing about PC internals or the way they work. I was just using figures to get them to understand that they MUST allow the hard drive some working space.
My solution — Caddies

When I got home again I started thinking about my own situation. I have many folders of historical interest and also very many JPGs. What was I going to do. My own hard drive was ¾ full with a series of negatives to be scanned that ran around 7 or 8 thousand.
The idea came into my head — use a couple of Caddies. There were enough hard drives from dismantled PCs on the market and by now the new PCs were being made and sold with 1 TB drives so that there should be some 500 GB around second-hand going at reasonable prices.
It also meant that I could save all my vitally important files on them and just transfer the whole caddy via its USB connection when I updated.
I now have with my new PC 1.5 TB of storage space. Plus another 500 GB caddy with a 2.5 inch hard drive to attach to my laptop if needed. Perhaps, but only a maybe, I shall transfer to a solid state drive when they get cheaper. Perhaps  

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Reclining does not mean sleeping.

I have been told with no ifs or buts recently, that I need to reduce my bank balance.
One of the first things that I acquired was a recliner chair. Now reclining does not necessarily mean sleeping. I have had it set up to be facing outwards so that through my French window I can see the activity of the birds as they feed and also collect insects etc on the lawn.
One of the workers is of the Crow family; nicknamed by me Crafty Crow.  It comes down and disappears if the door is open but if the door is shut and the net curtains are drawn that does not seem to bother it.
                        Sorting out the good from the ordinary

It has a particular liking for Pommes Noisettes either cooked (which I found out when chucking out a couple on the lawn after having cooked too many for my dinner)  or uncooked. I found out the latter when putting some out to tempt it.
                                       Ah A real and genuine Noisette. 

Sitting patiently in my new recliner and resisting dropping of to sleep I waited – and waited – and waited. Then I realised the door was open the curtains drawn back. I closed the door, shortly afterwards it came down. Now I had also put in a couple of potato wedges in my offering; thinking to tempt it. Was it interested No No, 
Straight to the Noisette it went. Picked one up and away. It wouldn't trust me and eat it there and then. Off it went and then later came back. 

                                              I can carry One easily 

Now it is easy for us (Knowledgeable as we are) to think “If I can carry one I can also carry two” but my friendly Noisette liker had also figured this out. Next time it also took two away with it.

If I can carry One why not Two

Mean while sensible Sparrows and Starlings intent of feeding young fledglings were rooting about in the grass looking for insects and similar. 
The Crafty Crow had a little hoard all to itself. Finally having collected and eaten all the Noisettes it took away ONE potato wedge and didn't come back for any of the others. 

                         Well I;ll take this one back as a treat for the kids.

I look forward to the day it brings the young'uns down to feed as well 


Childrens portraits

Oddly when it came to portraits or portrait type pix of children, it surprised me to see that they were all from the days of my old film cameras.




              This one scored highest 869 downloads

Taken on 6x6 roll film Adox film developed in Beutler developer/ One of my godsons who wanted me to take a picture of him with his new sweater. He got a bit upset because an older brother kept on trying to push in to get himself in the picture.

                                     Again on 6x6 821 downloads

This one is of a close neighbours boy 'Bluey' with my dog Loof. I think this would have been taken with my Mamiya 33. I was working on the oil van loading up when Bluey came along to chat with the dog. A favourite  friend of anyone that would give him time and make a fuss of him. (The dog not Bluey)

        Taken on FP3 120 Roll film developed in Johnsons Unitol 766 downloads

One of the first and best of the shots taken on my Agiflex lll. I was really amazed at the quality  I could get after a few years of using an old 6x9 roll film camera. This shot of my 2nd oldest Godson (Now a grandfather) was a favourite of his mother's and his father as well.
Steve used to travel out with me on the oil round in the school holidays. 
At the farm where this was taken they had a bottle fed lamb that was being raised; Steve was rather surprised when it allowed him to make a fuss and the dog came over for a share of it as well. I always carried a camera with me and this pic was the result.. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Once started who knows what will happen?

Curiosity is an odd thing, when once awakened we (or in particular I) never know where it will lead us.
Having looked this morning to see what my downloads were in Morguefile and finding 3 steam loco pix in the over 1,000 downloads I was left wondering  how my flower pix and insect pix were doing.

Buddleia with a Tortoiseshell  806

Top of the list in Flowers was this one of a Tortoiseshell butterfly sipping nectar from budhliea flowers.  

Groundsel 'clock' second with  756

This might well have been helped by the poem I had written when looking at the macro picture 
The song of the seeds.

We have gone; we have fled
out into the world we go;
we have left our home,
and we will wander
and roam, until we find
a new haven. Then we will 
in turn put forth a new generation.
People will curse us
they will say “Damned Weeds”;
but we know we are not damned
for we are the beauty
of nature and we too are
children of the Mother Goddess
as people themselves are.

                    Third place was this shot of a rose: 728 downloads

This one was an early shot of a rose that was in Lindsay's flower and veg shop on Hill Road. Again one of my early digital pictures.

As far as Insects were concerned the Tortoise and Buddleia took first place again.

                        This shot of a snail with 459 downloads was second

Taken whilst waiting for a steam loco as far as I can recall. Why did I take it? Why do people climb Mount Everest? Simply because it was there

                             Bumble Bee on a flower petal 429.

A simple shot but downloaded over 400 times by folk on Morguefile who wanted a picture. For what? I haven't the faintest idea; but they looked on the website and found one that suited them.
I hope it was useful to them. That is the main reason I put pix there. To be handy for folks who cannot supply their own shots or maybe don't even have a camera. 
My motto seems to be:---
"If I can help somebody as I go along; then I'll keep on snapping away"