Far Other Worlds…

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I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to think what I did with the rest of the weekend after my walk by the Lune. It took a a while, but it’s come back to me. I had things to do in the garden. My Dad had pointed out that the woodwork around our garage roof is need of a coat of…..varnish? Woodstain? Treatment? Anyway, whatever the stuff is that woodwork generally gets painted with. With a recommendation from a knowledgable friend I’d been to buy the requisite ‘stuff’, between dropping B off for his match and my walk by the river. When we got back, I set about preparing the ground; pressure washing and then sugar-soaping all of the woodwork. Then I read the instructions on the tin and discovered that the ‘stuff’ shouldn’t be applied when the temperature is below eight degrees. It was five. Bother. Is almost what I said at the time.

Not to worry. There were leaves to be swept up and composted and the Virginia Creeper which is supposed to climb attractively up the garage wall, had overstepped the mark and was now enveloping the entire roof, like some many tentacled Kraken, and threatening to lever off some of the roof-tiles. Before I could get in to hack that back, I had to lop another belligerent shrub, an overgrown Viburnum which was preventing me from reaching parts of the creeper.

That, and other odds and ends, kept me occupied for the Saturday afternoon, and for most of the Sunday, and, in honesty, whilst most of the cuttings have gone in the green bins, or been through the shredder and then added to the compost, the larger branches from the shrub are sitting in an unruly pile on the patio waiting for me to do something with them.

Anyway, the point is, when I finally called time on my ‘uncessant labours’, I took a wander down to the Cove, arriving just as the sun disappeared.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find,
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.
from The Garden by Andrew Marvell
I know that I’ve quoted bits of this poem here before. The whole thing is here.
Maybe, the busy day which had preceded it made sitting on the bench watching the colours change in the sky and reflected in the water and the mud all the sweeter?
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Far Other Worlds…

Sparrowhawk

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We were in the process of getting three generations of the family out of the house and into the car for a trip out. Somebody, I think my Mum, had wandered around into the back garden and called the rest of us to see the commotion on the trampoline. A raptor had killed a pigeon, but was now confused by the netting around the trampoline and was struggling to get out.

Some of my bird books say that Sparrowhawks only take small birds, so although I thought this probably was a Sparrowhawk, I had my doubts, and wanted an expert opinion. My friend the Proper Birder tells me that this is definitely a Sparrowhawk, a first year female apparently. As with most raptors, the females are larger and are capable of taking something as large as a pigeon.

 

Sparrowhawk

Garden Guests Again.

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At this point, it would be ideal if I had something intelligent to say about these deer, which were wandering around on our patio recently. I wondered whether I could age this buck from its antlers. The answer is a qualified ‘yes‘. It’s not as simple as counting the tines, although the fact that there are three here does mean that this buck is at least three years old. After that it gets more difficult.

 

Garden Guests Again.

A Tawny Owl on the Windowsill.

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The title just about says it all. We came home from our camping trip and were spreading out wet stuff on the patio to dry.

“There’s an owl on the windowsill!” Little S told us.

I hadn’t looked up to notice at that point.

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The owl was even less observant. It would occasionally half open its eyes to look at us without much curiosity, but then quickly dozed off again.

Of course, if you have an owl on your windowsill, then you can have your photo taken with it…

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It was around two o’clock when S first spotted the owl.

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It stayed all day. Around nine in the evening, by which time it was getting pretty dark, the owl had started to look a little more lively, although it still seemed to be dozing from time to time.

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I sat outside and watched it for quite a while, hoping to see it fly off. When all I could see was a dark shadow of the top of its head, I moved inside and watched it through the window, but eventually gave up. Even when it finally flew it would be too dark for me to see anything. Sometime before midnight it did eventually leave.

Since then, when we open the curtains in the morning, we keep checking to see if it has returned, but it hasn’t yet.

A Tawny Owl on the Windowsill.

Barcelona – Jardin de Montjuic

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Below the Miro Foundation a formal park covers the hillside down towards the city.

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Designed by French landscape architect Jean-Cluade Nicolas Forestier, who seems to have designed parks in major cities across the world, the garden contains an abundance of water features, particularly several waterfalls which take advantage of the steep hillside on which the park is situated.

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I think one of the children had just ‘got’ TBH here, and revenge was on the cards.

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Teatre Lliure.

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Then we were back to the Gothic Quarter in the centre of the city for one final sight-seeing stop for the day….

Barcelona – Jardin de Montjuic

More Garden Critters

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Common Blue Damselfly

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Very common in our garden on this particular sunny day. There were a couple of larger dragonflies quartering the airspace above the garden, but they weren’t so obliging in posing for photos as the damselflies.

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Green Shield Bug.

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Bumble-bee. Bombus….Pascuorum? Perhaps.

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Flowering Currant leaf on a fern.

The flowering currant in the bottom corner of our garden doesn’t look very well. I don’t think that it appreciates the shade it sits in beneath the large hazel.

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Another Bumble-bee. Bombus…Humilis?

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And another Bumble. Bombus…Horturum? (To be honest, I don’t have much of a clue.)

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This looks like another specimen of the dapper fly that had me confused a few weeks ago. It looks quite like the Empis Tessallata in my field guide, but when I search for images on t’internet the resemblance isn’t half so strong. So I’m stumped.

Still having lots of fun with my new(ish) camera however.

More Garden Critters

A Sunny Day in the Garden

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The title pretty much says it all.

I’m a lazy and intermittent gardener. Benign neglect is my modus operandi. It’s not much of a surprise then that we have a lot of weeds. But when those ‘weeds’ are aquilegia vulgaris, or Columbine, well frankly, the more the merrier.

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Spotted this LBJ calmly preening itself beneath the beech hedge. A juvenile Linnet?

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This was back in early June. In between occasional bouts of pretending to be purposefully engaged with some or other garden task, I spent many happy moments pursuing insects with my camera. The Green Alkanet (another weed) was flowering profusely and seemed to be particularly popular with Honey Bees.

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There were bumblebees about too, but they were popping in and out of less open flowers – foxgloves for instance – and so were proving to be much more elusive to photograph.

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I think that this is a 16-spot ladybird. Feeds on mildew apparently.

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Warm days in the garden have been far and few between this summer and we haven’t seen either the same number or variety of butterflies as we would usually expect to encounter.

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Over by the compost bins this dapper fly…

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..was sunning itself on a broad leaf. I suspect that it’s a hoverfly, maybe menalostoma scalare.

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Or not. Opinions, as ever, always welcome.

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Meanwhile, in the compost heap itself something was sprouting…

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(And, you can perhaps tell, something had dug a substantial burrow through from one side to the other.)

All of our vegetable peelings and trimmings go into the compost; it seems a few bits of potato peel were sufficient to produce a number of new plants. So I took the lid off the compost and left it open, to see what would happen. More of which anon, no doubt.

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All of the family were pottering in the garden. A had put my Mum to work weeding in her designated section of the beds. My Dad chose to enjoy the sunshine. (That’s the alkanet behind him. Some of it anyway) But eventually I enlisted him to help with the barbecue with which we rounded off the day:

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A Sunny Day in the Garden