So, macro lens and indeed flash have arrived. No time to play really as we're off on holiday. Although maybe I'll take them with me.
You know how usually there's loads more posts from me when I go away (pre-written)? Well, not this time. Far too much drama in actually getting away for any of that (I'll try and tell you about it all when we return).
Be good (by your own standards), enjoy yourselves and see you in a week or so.
You have to admire the way an onion flower bud looks a bit like an onion don't you? In case you'd forgotten what was growing there it would be really useful, wouldn't it?
Actually, having looked at it a bit more it looks more like garlic or a squash of some kind, or a Sultan's hat....or just a bit surreal. Hmmm, sorry, never mind.
What have we got to do for some decent weather? This shot was grabbed in a lucky two of three minutes of sunshine whilst I was atop St.Mary's church tower this morning before it starting pissing down again. This is not what we want when we're on a historic tour of Walthamstow. Very interesting two hours though, I always loved local history and an excellent guide today (who's day job is being one of the council's planning officers). The various little stories and details he knew were fascinating but I have to say it was the view from St.Mary's Church tower that crowned the morning for me. I love views from on high and despite my fear of man made heights found the twenty minutes or so up here simply marvelous. It was particularly nice to see how much green there appears to be between us and the City (about 6-7 miles away).
Today what appeared to be a freshly emerged Blue Tailed Damselfly greeted me as I checked the Irises in the allotment pond. Clinging on for dear life in a gale that had blown the other iris over completely, the little creature wisely decided to put off its maiden flight for the whole hour or so I was there.
I've not seen Blue Tails around here before but my Dragon and Damselfly book tells me that they're actually one of the UK's commonest species(!). It also says they're sexually mature within 3-4 days of emergence (but then they may only live for ten days after leaving the pond) and also that copulation lasts 3-6 hours. The colours get a lot brighter within a day or so too... more like this one from last year. So now you know. Still waiting on my new macro lens (I've now traced one down to Penzance which hopefully will be with me next week.
I wasn't looking for this either as I sat down by our allotment pond for a quick break after barrowing 21 bags of horse manure up t'hill. But there he was still drying his wings after exiting his exuvia earlier today. I still don't have a macro (close-up) lens for the new camera so had to make the best I could with a standard lens and extension tubes and I have to say I'm generally pretty impressed with the results considering. Shame it wasn't a brighter day (both for the photos and also for the Dragon as he was showing no signs of being ready to fly and it was drizzling within half an hour of me leaving. I just hope he made it.
He, and I'm almost certain it's a he, although the colouring would normally suggest a female, Broad Bodied Chaser immature males are also yellow. But the shape of his rear end (technical term) suggests the masculine to me. Anyway lovely to see them emerging from our allotment pond only a year after we dug it.... and proof of the value of not taking out all the blanket weed which I've been telling everyone was full of dragonfly larvae. Anyway, lovely to see my favourite insects around again, isn' it?
I'm pretty sure, that if I hadn't been lying down trying to get a shot of the newly emerged asparagus tips, I wouldn't have even noticed these two beetles procreating and hence would have ended up with a lot more of them. The Asparagus is a new addition to t'allotment, it's only been in a few weeks and we're not allowed to eat any this year. So if we're not allowed to eat it then beetles certainly aren't! Even minute teeny beetles like these.
Of course I didn't recognise them as Asparagus Beetles at first, I just thought they were interesting little insects that wanted their picture taken. Some folks' automatic reaction to an unknown insect is to stamp on it but mine is always to take its picture, find out what it is and then, if it's a pest, then stamp on it. We have no insect guide books up the allotment and I didn't want to let them go in case so I kept them happy by telling how beautiful their kids were going to be whilst I phoned my father. He went to check his bad garden insects book and came back with a description that matched these two beasties perfectly under Asparagus Beetle ("..can ruin an entire bed of Asparagus" it said, apparently).
So I squashed them.
..and this is a picture taken with the old camera from a week ago by the way. New camera pictures coming soon.
How can you stand the excitement?
My beloved Pentax *ist D (a camera for those not in the know) went to live with an old friend of mine yesterday. Today I bought a replacement.....and it's been hard hunting one down, I have to say. I have not, as yet, got anything but a basic walkaround lens (telephotos and macros lenses will follow over the next few days) so in the meantime I'm clearing out some old shots from the last week or so that I forgot to show what with the excitement of the elephant and me being somewhat "laid back" about the blog at the moment.
To start the series of oldies from the Pentax here's the first Speckled Wood of the year taken last Friday just oop the road. They're not as colourful as many flutterbyes but I rather like these leetle brown creatures. A couple of weeks late this year according to my records.
I learned of the time traveling Elephant's visit to London from the ever aware Diamond Geezer. Sadly I couldn't get into town to see the beast, the sultan with entourage and the mysterious wooden girl until yesterday afternoon as they readied for their departure.
Having checked the itinerary online I went first to Horseguards Parade for a quick look at the girl's rocket ship. From there a rapid stroll into St.James's Park where the girl herself had just woken and was giving small children rides. From here I made way up to Pall Mall where the Elephant revealed itself majestically as it rounded the corner.
This I think was my favourite part of the entertainment. You could here the thumping music and excited noise of the crowd but the sight of this forty foot creature rounding a crowded London street was simply jaw dropping.
I allowed the beast to pass and just missed being sprayed. As it passed I got a better view of the Sultan's harem dancing enthusiastically on the top deck, courtiers debating to one side, one of the marionetteers and the band providing the sound track. The elephant continued down Pall Mall, to meet up with the girl in St.James's Park, I believe. I decided to back track to Horseguards to await their return.
Nearly an hour later the girl arrived followed closely by t'Elephant. The Harem were still dancing. The girl then donned her flight helmet and goggles, entered her ship and began saying her goodbyes to the Elephant. And very moving it was too. It's amazing that enormous puppets with such visible controllers can so quickly draw you into their story.
The nosecone of the rocket was put in place and the elephant helped with the refueling of the ship before its rockets fired. As the smoke cleared the nose-cone was removed again to reveal that the girl had disappeared. Finally a stretch limousine arrived to collect the Sultan and his entourage followed by an open topped Routemaster (destination Elephant & Castle) to take the 30 or so red-suited marionetteers. The Elephant lay alone as the crowds began to disperse.
Absolutely wonderful from start to finish. A thousand thanks to all who arranged the spectacle and to DG for alerting us to it.
Thumbnails with clickety-clickable links to larger versions available here. It doesn't really get across how lifelike it was but I hope it gives those who didn't see it some slightly inkling into this amazing performance.
Or alternatively.... see if my slideshow works.
Last night found Zee and I traveling back south of the river for the leaving drink of two of my former work colleagues. A special pair of friends they are too. Young Ess already worked in the lab when I gave Eee a job there. Had I not done so they'd probably never have met, fallen in love, got married and had a beautiful young three year old. It's nice to be part of things like that isn't it? So, though I'm happy that they've now both escaped from a work place that is no longer the happy place it once was, I'm saddened that they're moving to the very North of Scotland. We will keep in touch but it won't be quite as easy will it?
Ess and Eee aside it was good also to see other former work friends and colleagues particularly those that remarked that I looked ten years younger. Clearly not true though I do think I look more relaxed.... though that may have ben the lager. Sadly some of them looked ten years older, although I didn't say so.
For the journey home someone suggested that rather than use the DLR and tube we try using the buses. There is only one bus that travels through the Blackwall tunnel (the main link from South East to North East London for those unaware of the geography) and bizarrely, though I'd traveled that way for nearly 17 years I'd never been on it. So last night was a familiar yet strange journey home. But the 108 did its job well and with just one other bus we were home sooner than I would have imagined possible. Not bad for after eleven o'clock at night....
The other strange element to the evening involved the girls. Teen Kay was sleeping at a friends house but teen Dee was staying in. She had supper with Zee's mother who lives one the corner of the street but then returned home to spend the evening alone for the first time. It felt strange phoning her as we left the pub to her know we were on our way and to have her greeting us as we came in....but good to know we can do it.
I have been neglecting y'all lately, haven't I?
But fear not, all is well.
Pictures are being taken of Dandelions whilst the grass is being laid on. Is there possibly a better thing to do? I think not. Though I suspect the first sniffly signs of hay fever that are currently irritating me may in some way be related.
Blogging..... well that's a funny one isn't it? I have no idea where it's going à ce moment à temps. Although probably not into French. I failed my French 'O' level you see. Although I did get two phishing emails in French yesterday telling me that my security details for a French bank (at which I don't have an account) needed to be re-entered.
"Hah!" I thought,
"You don't catch me that easily!"
..and now, off to vote.