Planarchy Archive - June 2004


Of post and pooh

I couldn't help but notice, while looking for an open post box to post my latest 0% credit card application form, that there are a lot more dog pooh bins around here than there are post boxes.  An indictment of our society or what?

20040630   17:20

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In Distress?

Quite what the namer of this particular moth, Mormo mauro, had against the elderly feminines of our species I don't know.... for this large-ish moth is called The Old Lady.  I'd say it has more of a bullish appearance than anything else.... particularly here and even more so, here.

I found her in the greenhouse yesterday, proving that you don't have to go to Corfu to get to close to our fluttery friends (though it is nicer there).  Also fluttering around the garden was a damsel fly, hopefully laying eggs in the pond but not staying still enough for a decent picture.  Oh well, maybe next time......

20040628   20:34

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Shades of Grey

Well, while some people were rolling around in the Mall and others were testing out Bendy Buses (I saw one but it looked very straight at the time), I was wandering around Trafalgar Square in the rain.  Determined to take some pictures despite the greyness I came up with one for each side of the column.  The greyness works to advantage in the first one (above)I think where an almost monochrome shot is brought to life by the two little figures at the foot of the column.  The second side gave some more sensibly equipped visitors with umbrellae, the third side image seemed Dawn Treaderesque to me... the youth appears to be escaping from the relief sculpture.  Then finally one with a lion.

All four here.

20040627   20:56

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Hellas pour France

You may have gathered our love of things Grecian from our annual trips to Corfu or Crete.  But tonight.... oh that was wonderful.  Well played, far more enjoyable than last night's display.

20040625   21:48

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Well, I'm glad I showed you that picture yesterday as today it's been laid somewhat low by the bleeding wind.  That nice lime green foliage is an Indian Bean Tree which has tumbled down and trashed the banana palms and also managed to throw the nice yellow Brugmansia to the ground.

Bollocks, basically. 

We shall see how good the bananae are at recovering, though the main trunk is snapped only a few feet from the ground....... luckily I've a couple of offshoot plants that I removed from the clump last year so if all of the existing clump is destroyed at least we have a couple of replacements ready and waiting.


20040623   17:31

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It's like a jungle....


..sometimes it keeps me from going under.

For I revel in our little patch of rainforest, in case you haven't guessed..... and when people describe our garden as a jungle I hope it's in a complimentary way rather than to suggest it's unkempt.  Despite repeated attempts I continue to fail to capture our little plot accurately on film or digital.   But hopefully this gives you a slight hint.

20040622   20:58

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No pictures of emerging tree ferns this year.... well none that I've shown you anyway.  Instead this nice close-up of our Cyathea medullaris, commonly known as the New Zealand Bleck Tree Fern.  This serves as an excuse to tell you the story of why we acquired this particular variety.

Two and a half years ago, when we were last in EnZee, Zee's father became shocked to learn at the astronomical prices we would pay for tree ferns back in Blighty when he had them growing as weeds in his garden.  To save us from the evil profiteers he went out to his garden there and then and dug up a four foot Cyathea.  Divested of fronds and excess rootage, then wrapped first in newspaper and then in black bin-bags his remark that it reminded him of an amputated limb from his early hospital years seemed about right.  My only worry at the time was concerned with why he might have had to deal with amputated limbs.... he was after all a psychiatrist.  I've heard of physical symptoms hiding psychiatric disorders but hadn't previously realised that mental issues could be solved by such drastic surgery. Oh, well, you live and learn.

Anyway, after driving around North Island for another week or so, opening it and watering it every night we wondered about the legality of returning home with it.  So, much international directory enquiring later we get to speak to a helpful operative at DEFRA.  After telling her the species she happily informs us that.... "That will be no problem, just get a phytosanitary certificate and you're all set".   It may come as a surprise to some of you that phytosanitary certificates are not actually available on every street corner.  Even in New Zealand.  So, we gave up our dreams of a free Tree Fern and, with the help of the motel owner, planted the stump in the garden of her very nice Motel in Russell.  And there I'm sure it's growing happily to this day.

The one pictured above, however, is living in our garden and was a present from Zee's ma after she heard our sad tale.

20040621   19:13

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Horse Shhh*@$!

I'm not a big football fan and it was only Portugal versus Spain tonight so I wasn't overly bothered that Zee wanted to watch "The Horse Whisperer" instead.

Until it started.

Jaysus what a pile of poop.

Robert Redford (for it is he): Swwsss swwss sssws.
Horse: I'm sorry, what did you say?
RR: I said "Swwsss swwss sssws shwwssh swwshs.
Horse: Can you speak up a little?
RR: Swwsss swwss sssws.
Horse: Speak up for feck's sake I can't hear a word!

Ad nauseam.

20040620   22:00

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Why are Arum Lillies always associated with funerals?  A shame as they're such an elegant flower.  Simple yet so striking.  This plant came from Zee's mothers garden in the days when Welsh Wales was her home.  They never amounted to much in Fishguard but this year we're getting a beautiful display.  And Zee's ma also gets to enjoy them as she only lives four doors away these days.

20040618   18:35

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I'll get there eventually...

I was wandering down the yard at work today, singing to myself as is my wont, possibly out loud, possibly only in my head.....

As I was lying in my bedroom fast asleep,
Filled with those famous teenage pictures that you keep,

And suddenly it hit me.  The teenage pictures were on the bedroom wall..... previously I'd thought they were within the singer.  Whether he'd eaten them or was just thinking about them I'm not sure.  But no, they were on the walls, weren't they? 

I know you might think this sudden moment of clarity might be about 31 years too late.  But no, it's never too late to get it right, is it?  Anyway, I'm sharing it with you in case anyone else was previously misled.

Also, it got me thinking.  My songs never received the audience of the amazing Roy Wood but still I thought deeply about the lyrics and whether they'd be understood (or sometimes not!).  But it was a waste of time............ even when the real meaning is patently obvious you still get supposedly intelligent people completely misunderstanding.... for over three decades in some instances!

Still at least I'm still singing his songs.

20040617   19:36

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House Leeks

I think I originally bought these Sempervivum for their leaf form.... but the flower spikes are rather striking just before they bloom, aren't they?

20040615   18:27

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The young sparrows that we first saw a few weeks back are still in the garden, but this weekend was dominated by the appearance of several very downy, scruffy young Great Tits.  This one seemed a little unsure what to do with the seed he'd just been beaked.

20040614   17:47

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In case you thought I spent the whole time rolling around the undergrowth with the Kerkyran insects, here's a view from Dimitri's (although I thought it was called Alfredo's), a restaurant above Kalami.  We try one new restaurant every year and this was this years selection.  A lovely view undoubtedly with the moon rising over Albania but I didn't care for the restaurant.  No atmosphere (probably because of its elevation) and we were served by a Brit.  And the food wasn't very Greek either.......and finally, no sign of any grasshoppers!

Nil points!

20040611   18:53

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Well she's nice and green, but you can find reddish ones too.  So I think she'll serve well for today. 

She's stretching out between two grass seeds to give you some idea of the scale.  Technically it's not a good shot as too much of the detail is lost in shadow and the focus isn't as sharp as it should be because the grass was swaying in the gentle Corfiot wind.  But, despite this I like it, the shapes in the picture please me.  And that's what counts.

My only fear is that maybe her gymnastics are part of some nasty Strength Through Hopping campaign.

Nah, she's just a grasshopper......

20040610   18:11

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Stan Ridgeway?

As already mentioned I spent much of our holiday last week crawling and indeed sitting in the undergrowth observing and photographing the leetle wildlifes that fluttered, scuttled and hopped around me.  I'm still trying to organise the pictures into some sort of logical order for presentation but, until that happens here's one of a stick insect that crawled onto my arm whilst I was trying to capture a particularly shy lizard with the macro lens.

And I saw Stan Ridgeway before he had that hit record...... the Wall of Voodoo he/ they were called.  Excellently mad as I recall.


20040609   20:46

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Forget pinhole cameras, radiotelescopes or even welding glass..... this is what the transit of venus looks like with ordinary eyesight.  Rollover to find out what everything looks like later on.

Disclaimer: Planarchy does not recommend looking directly at the sun..... not anymore anyway.


20040608   17:57

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Lattice Brown

...texture like sun...

Went the song (sort of).  And I'm sure 'twas this little flutterbye that they were singing of.  For they are flutterbies aren't they? 

That is what they do... although this one didn't. 

Which was how I managed to get so close (and not by being in the raw!).  I'm not that good on Lepidopteral ID but I'm pretty sure this is a Lattice Brown, though I somehow doubt they call it so in Corfu.  Anyway,other shots here.

My proximity to the insect was starting to worry me... still life is one thing but I'd have been saddened to learn that it was actually an autopsy shoot.... so I was relieved when as I went for a really close-up eye shot it finally flew away.

Meanwhile, knowing not to approach too close during a shoot my youngest had placed a little treat, ten feet on the wall behind me....

Cheers, Kay!

20040607   18:57

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Those Red Poppies Dance

And seeing as it's the 60th anniversary of D Day we'll start with these poppies.  Poppies always remind me of such things via the Eric Bogle song "Green Fields of France" which I know from "The Men They Couldn't Hang"................. who scarily are still going.

But these poppies were in Corfu obviously.  Last year I recall just one little clump behind the beach at Avlaki but this year a wonderful red swathe behind the shingle where we parked the car.

20040605   17:50

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Back home...

We're back from a wonderful holiday in mainly sunny Corfu.  As you can imagine I took a lot of photos.  Digitally.  Too many, to tell the truth.  Even shooting in the raw (f'nar-f'nar...that's raw files not naked) and therefore only being able to fit about 70 shots onto each 1 Gig flashcard I still took several hundred pictures.  Many were deleted as soon as they were reviewed on the laptop but even after this first stage cull there are still far too many.  I'd been hoping to pick one to summarise the holiday but it just isn't possible.  I've narrowed it down to these two disparate shots, not because I think they're the best two but they do seem to give a good flavour of the week.  Above you can see the girls trying to drain our pool onto the hillside below, the little village of Agios Stephanos and Albania across the water. 

Below is a grasshopper.  For whilst the girls splashed and Zee read, I spent much time crawling through the undergrowth getting as close as I could to the insect and reptilian life-forms.

As soon as I've managed to cull a few hundred more shots I'll share the choice of the survivors.

20040605   17:18

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