Friday, September 23, 2016

Odd things that pop up.

I purchased recently some Sempervivum Hybrids from Lidl.
They had been imported from Holland and amongst them I noticed what appeared at first to be a young plant thrusting its way out.

We  had always had these growing along the wall in the garden of the old house in Ken Road.
House Leeks as we knew them were ever known as protectors of dwelling places against lightning by country folk.

                                  This was the one that we had.

Over the years it was growing and flowering, I must admit we never got struck in any of the thunderstorms; in spite of the 25 foot water pipe that held the wireless Ariel that was anchored to an outer wall. Neither did any other house in Lower Clevedon to the best of my knowledge.

                                                     The intruder.

The intruding plant was in fact nothing to do with Sempervivums it was one of the Chickweed family. 

                                 Here is a 3 times life-size image

I put a 10 dioptre glass on the front of my 90mm Tamron macro lens and got a variety of shots using my ring flash.
I have always wanted to get pictures of this species and am eagerly waiting for the flowers to open.

                   I took several pix to show the buds and leaf shape

Now all I must do is to patiently wait for the flowers to open, then hopefully, for the seed pods to develop to get some shots of them too.
Of Chickweeds Culpeper, the ancient herbalist, has this to say.
Gover-nment and virtue] :—  It is a fine soft pleasing herb under the dominion of the Moon. It is found to be effectual as Purslain to all the purposes where-unto it serves, except for meat only. The herb bruised, or the juice applied (with cloths or sponges dipped therein) to the region of the liver, and as they dry, to have it fresh applied, doth wonderfully temperate the heat of the liver, and is effectual for all imposthumes and swellings whatsoever, for all redness in the face, wheals, pushes, itch, scabs; the juice either simply used, or boilei with hog's grease and applied, helps cramps, convulsions, and palsy. The juice, or distilled water, is of much good use for all heats and redness in the eyes, to drop some thereof into them; as also into the ears, to ease pains in them; and is of good effect to ease pain from the heat and sharpness of the blood in the piles, and generally all pains in the body that arise of heat. It is used also in hot and virulent ulcers and sores in the privy parts of men and women, or on the legs, or elsewhere. The leaves boiled with marsh-mallows, and made into a poultice with fenugreek and linseed, applied to swellings or imposthumes, ripen and break them, assuage the swellings and ease the pains. It helps the sinews when they are shrunk by cramps, or otherwise, and to extend and make them pliable again by this medicine. Boil a handful of Chickweed and a handful of red rose leaves dried, in a quart of muscadine until a fourth part be consumed; then put to them a pint of oil of trotters or sheep's feet; let them boil a good while, still stirring them well; which being strained, anoint the grieved place there-with, warm against the fire, rubbing it well with one hand: a bind also some of the herb (if you will) to the place, and, with God’s blessing, it will help it in three times dressing.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Looking around.

Amongst my pix submitted to I found that I had entered no crosswords at all.
The site is one developed by two brothers in memory of their parents who were teachers at Special Needs Schools in USA.
Pictures on that site can be used Royalty Free.
That is not saying they are Free for any use whatever but that they can be used to illustrate books, set on webpages, and virtually anything except using as stand alone pictures for re-sale.
Although unscrupulous people have used them to make poster size prints that they then attempt to sell at exorbitant prices. 

I even had one of my Rugby Union pictures mirrored and entered into a competition on  Morguefile itself. (Cheeky wasn't it)

I put a copy of frequently used books on the site as well.

It's so easy to write crosswords with the help of these books; also with a programme written way back in the past for Windows 95. 
(Yes that is very ancient history aint it?)
Turbosolve it was called. Unfortunately it won't work on Windows 7, 8 or 10.
That is why I was very reluctant to leave Windows XP. 

Those three books I find invaluable when searching for the full meaning of words, also the entries for longer words to start off with.
Always providing that the use of American spelling must be checked too.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Back in the days of film cameras.

Sorting out things to throw away I came upon this little contraption. It was made before I could afford to purchase a Minolta Ring Flash 80 as it was then called.
You took two pieces of wood about the thickness of floor boards.
Take them to a friendly carpenter with access to a router.
Get him to cut a 45 degree angle slot in each side.
You then got hold of a half plate slide and cleaned it of all emulsion.
Slides were to be preferred because they were made of bubble free glass and were of good quality.

Putting some binding tape on the forward edge you placed it in the slots cut by the router. Then measured carefully and cut an odd piece of hardboard to the width needed.
The front of the box had an opening left the size of the cut slot.
When it was fastened together the slide glass could be slid down into the slot.
Now the law of  light refraction says the any light hitting a reflective surface will leave that surface at the same angle as it struck in the first instance.
Therefore any light striking the glass will be reflected at 45 degrees if it hits at 45 degrees.

In this instance I was photographing an old coin of George III. 
The light of the flash came off the glass perfectly even and as 50% of the power of the flash.
There is a slight distortion of the sizes but nothing too uneven.
It could easily have been corrected when editing, but was hardly worth the bother.

The main thing was to get the light from the flash to hit the piece of glass at the right angle.
For this I used a pot of jam which was the appropriate height. The interior of the box was painted a matt black to stop any unwanted reflections and the box worked well for photographing small finds from the Romano British digs that we were then tackling in North Somerset. Until I could afford to purchase a Minolta Ring Flash.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

What a right B---s up I made of it.

So Braunton was running as Lord Dowding with the Torbay Express.
I decided on Mud Lane for a change. No-one else turned up there and I was able to pick my place no trouble.
Foolishly I decided to try an alternative approach. I would not look through the eyepiece. I would hold the camera to the top of the wooden rail and take the pix when the train approached a marker along the line. 
Now it is a well-known fact that you cannot watch two places at once. Yes; As I was pressing the shutter the camera veered upwards and I had 3 pictures of the sky with the loco's funnel showing at the bottom.
However although Loco-wise the day was a failure I did get a cutting of Please note the correction. Perforate St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum   to take back and photograph. 
The flower not looking its best

Although past the opening by a few days, it was enough to show what was left of the flowers, seed heads and leaf style.

                                        The seed heads show well. 

I think I will scatter the seeds along the border and hope to get some shots of the flowers next year.

                                 The leaves show the general shape

The leaves were spotted, as the plant was on its last legs. I should not have forgotten Mud Lane as a suitable picture site for Loco Pix. I would then have seen the flower at its best.
Culpeper has this to say about St Johns Wort 
  Government and Virtues:— It is under the celestial sign Leo, and the dominion of the Sun. It may be, if you meet a Papist, he will tell you, especially if he be a lawyer, that St. John made it over to him by a letter of attorney. It is a singular wound herb; boiled in wine and drank, it heals inward hurts or bruises; made into an ointment, it open obstructions, dissolves swellings, and closes up the lips of wounds. The decoction of the herb and flowers, espe­cially of the seed, being drank in wine, with the juice of knot-grass, helps all manner of vomiting and spitting of blood, is good for those that are bitten or stung by any venomous creature, and for those that cannot make water. Two drams of the seed of St. John's Wort made into powder, and drank in a little broth, doth gently expel choler or congealed blood in the stomach. The decoction of the leaves and seeds drank somewhat warm before the fits of agues, whether they be tertains or quartans, alters the fits, and, by often using, doth take them quite away. The seed is much commended, being drank for forty days together, to help the sciatica, the falling sickness, and the palsy.

                                               Why are cows so curious?

I was observed by the beast for around five minutes as I got myself ready to take the failure of the loco pix. I suppose it's because a stranger around is always regarded as a suspicious person.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Early in the morning.

Looked out early to see if there was mist about. Noticed plane vapour trails and clouded sky. So I took the camera and got a shot.

                                               Treefield Terrace barely shows detail.

I noticed the phone or electric wires festooning the street and thought back to the 50s when the 'powers that be' had decided to do away with overhead cables etc.
Like many things decided by governmental departments the urgency of the idea seems to have been forgotten, once they had made the statement and got their personal little bit of publicity.
It is so easy to stir up a fuss about things; not so easy, to carry it through to a conclusion.  A case of 'That's the way the money talks, pop goes the weasel'.
Still at least I got my shot - Midnight travellers from the States - wires to catch them down below.