Little Fluffy Clouds

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Another day, another loaf. Or two.

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Aquilegia or columbine. It’s in our garden here – but it is a British wildflower.

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Song thrush.

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The beech circle.

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Middlebarrow Quarry – or The Lost World. ‘Every time I see it, I expect to see dinosaurs’, B tells me. I know what he means.

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Middlebarrow aerial shelduck display team.

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“Keep the formation tight as we come in to land.”

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“Quick breather, squadron, and we’re off again.”

Of course, having seen a peregrine once, I now keep going back to peer over the lip into the vast quarry at Middlebarrow expecting lightening to strike twice. It hasn’t. I do keep seeing the close formation aerial skills of the shelducks though. Lord knows why they feel compelled to circuit the quarry so obsessively.

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This small plaque is on a house near home. I’m sure I’ve posted a picture of it before. But now I’ve learned that it’s a fire insurance sign – showing which insurance company the house was registered with. It seems more like something you might expect to see in a more urban location, but maybe this is an antique which has been added since the signs were rendered obsolete by the inception of a national fire service? The house is very close to our small fire station, which is manned by retained fire fighters, so they should be okay if the worst happens.

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The Bay from The Cove.

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Ransoms flowering in the small copse above the Cove. 

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Orchids on the Lots.

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Green-winged orchid.

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Early purple orchid.

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Water avens.

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Bugle.

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Orange-tip butterfly on cuckoo-flower.

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A bedraggled peacock butterfly.

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Gooseberry flowers. I think.

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Lambert’s meadow.

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The skies above Eaves Wood.

It annoys me, more than it should, that I can never remember the names given to the various types of clouds. All sorts of stupid trivia is securely lodged in my brain, but even though I’ve read a couple of books on the subject, clouds just don’t seem to want to stick. I thought that if I tried to label the clouds in my photos, maybe I would start to remember a few at least. The fluffy white ones above Eaves Wood here are cumulus, right? Although, maybe some stratocumulus behind.

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And I assume these wispy ones are cirrus.

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And this is maybe cirrocumulus.

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But then….? Altocumulus and cirrus?

Hmmm. More effort required, I think.

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Oak tree in full summer garb.

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Full-throated robin.


Bit obvious I know. But good.

And, completely unrelated, as far as I know…

…the opening track from one of my favourite albums, which I was introduced to by THO, who often comments here, and which I shall always associate with a superb holiday which was split, quixotically, between the French Alps and the Brittany coast.

Little Fluffy Clouds

Derring Do of the DBs

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I rashly agreed to rendezvous with the boys on one of their bike outings, to take some photos. No surprises that, shortly after this trip, we had to replace the back wheel on B’s bike, which was buckled beyond repair.

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Salad Burnett.

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Wild strawberry.

We were drawn to a bit of a commotion overhead. A buzzard and another bird of prey were apparently being harried by a group of jackdaws.

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Actually, it soon became clear that the jackdaws weren’t at all interested in the buzzard, but were all in pursuit of the other raptor…a peregrine!

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I’ve seen peregrines before, but whilst I’ve been aware that they nest locally, I’ve never actually seen one close to home.

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Solomon’s seal.

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Stitchwort.

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Herb robert.


Racking my brains for a song for this post, it occurred to me that ‘The Vision of Peregrine Worsthorne’ by McCarthy, from their brilliant debut album ‘I am a Wallet’, would be at least superficially appropriate. But then I remembered ‘Governing Takes Brains’, by the same band, the arrogant lyrics of which seem entirely apposite at the moment…

From there it seemed like an obvious step to ‘Follow the Leader’ by Eric B and Rakim. I can well remember the first time I heard this, in Eastern Bloc records in Manchester, sifting through their extensive collection of imported American hardcore punk and being stunned by the sheer menace of this sound.

Whilst I was searching for that track, I fortuitously stumbled upon ‘Follow the Leader’ by George the Poet, Maverick Sabre and Jorja Smith.

“That’s the kind of music we listen to,” the DBs tell me.

What’s more Little S has been studying George the Poet for his English classes:

 

Derring Do of the DBs

Roanoke

Clark’s and Sharp’s Lots – Burtonwell Wood – Lambert’s Meadow – Hagg Wood

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Early purple orchids.

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Mouse-ear-hawkweed.

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Apple blossom.

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Cherry tree.

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Speckled wood butterfly.

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Another speckled wood butterfly.

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Ramsons flowering in Burtonwell Wood.

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Cuckoo flower.

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Red-tailed bumblebee.

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Red-tailed bumblebee with photo-bombing seven-spot ladybird.

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Oak catkins.

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Welsh poppies.

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A speedwell. Probably germander.

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Lunch on the patio – homemade bread, home-roasted ham in the sandwich, homemade coleslaw.


Roanoke

Ricochet

Hagg Wood – Bottom’s Lane – Burtonwell Wood – Lambert’s Meadow – Bank Well – The Row – The Golf Course – The Station – Storr’s Lane – Leighton Moss – Leighton Hall – Summer House Hill – Peter Lane Limekiln – Hyning Scout Wood – Warton – Warton Crag – Quaker’s Stang – Jenny Brown’s Point – Jack Scout – The Lots – The Cove

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Lambert’s Meadow.

A long walk which didn’t go even remotely to plan. I had intended to climb Arnside Knott, but instead went in almost entirely the opposite direction.

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Ribwort plantain.

I began by heading for Bottom’s Lane, in the ‘wrong’ direction, to drop some bread flour off with some friends of ours who were having to self-isolate after a positive test for the virus and for whom TBH had done a shop, but come up short on numerous predictable items like tinned tomatoes, yeast, toilet paper, bread flour etc.

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Crane fly – possibly Tipula luna. Male – the females have a pointy tip to their abdomen for pushing eggs into the ground.

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Hmmm. Marsh valerian? Why I didn’t photograph the leaves too I don’t know.

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Orange-tip butterfly.

After that I kept spotting people on the paths ahead and changing course to evade them, and before I knew where I was, I was heading across Leighton Moss on the causeway path – the only part of the reserve which has remained open.

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Canada goose and coot.

From that point, I just did what I normally do and made it up as I went along.

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Leighton Moss.

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The view from Summer House Hill.

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Bluebells on Summer House Hill.

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Peter Lane Limekiln.

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Tree felling on Warton Crag has exposed a crag I didn’t even know was there. And expansive views from the top of that cliff.

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Warton and a distant Ingleborough.

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The Forest of Bowland and Carnforth.

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Crosswort.

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From the top of the Crag a path which seems like a new one to me seemed to promise more views, to the distant Lake District…

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Why the fences either side and on the ground?

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Because the path crosses one of the three Bronze Age walls which ring the summit of the Crag. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like an ancient monument in the photo, but it did seem quite obvious ‘in the flesh’.

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The tree felling seems to have been successful, in as much as it has produced masses of primroses, a key food plant for certain butterflies.

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Early purple orchid.

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In amongst the cowslips at Jack Scout, these primulas stood out. If that’s what they are? Or are they a naturally occurring variation of cowslips? Or a hybrid?

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Post sunset from above the Cove.

I bumped into a neighbour on The Lots, she was walking her dog, and she told me that she has stopped taking photographs of ‘the best sunsets in the world’, because she has thousands already. I have thousands too, probably. And no end of photos of early purple orchids and clouds and primroses, of Leighton Moss and of the views from Summer House Hill and Warton Crag. Fortunately, none of those things ever seem to get old, or lose their fascination and I fully intend to take thousands more.

Lucky me.

Note to self: this was too long a walk without carrying a drink – I keep doing that to myself. Did it again yesterday and have given myself a headache – golly it was hot.


Tunes. Back to Elvis in his Sun days, probably my favourite of his songs, ‘Mystery Train’:

Like most of Presley’s output, it’s a cover, and the laidback original by Little Junior and his Blue Flames is well worth seeking out.

And, while I’m making recommendations, the weird and wonderful 1989 film ‘Mystery Train’, directed by Jim Jarmusch, and starring, amongst others, both Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and  Joe Strummer, is also worth seeking out. Oddly, the song which recurs through the film is ‘Blue Moon’.

This next song, dating back to 1940, so older than Junior parker’s 1953 song, also contains the line ‘Train I ride, sixteen coaches long’.

When I was a nipper, my Dad bought a Reader’s Digest box set of Country records.

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Photo credit: my mum or my dad? Ta.

He mostly listened to the Johnny Cash album, but somehow I cottoned on to the bluegrass of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, both alumni of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. This is one of their better know tunes, Foggy Mountain Breakdown:

They also recorded the first version of ‘The Ballad of Jed Clampett’ theme tune to ‘The Beverley Hillbillies’.

Ricochet

I’ll Fly Away

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Bluebells in Holgates caravan park.

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Arnside Tower.

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Lord and Lady pigeon – the current residents. I briefly got a bit excited about this pair – the double wing bar, one of my books tells me, is characteristic of the Rock Dove, which is very limited in range in the UK. But the RSPB website says that feral pigeons can look exactly like their ancestors Rock Doves. So, these are nouveau riche residents of the stately pile then.

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Herb Paris – flowering right by the main path in Eaves Wood. How have I missed it before?

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Gean.

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Blackbird by The Cove.

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Grange catching the sun again!

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Welsh poppies and bluebells – nice colour combination, I thought.

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The seventh cavalry arrive, in the nick of time, with bread flour. More prosaically, we club together with friends, an ongoing arrangement, to order wholesale from an organic supplier of pulses, grains, tinned goods etc. And that’s how we got flour.


Two very different versions of a gospel standard today. First, perhaps the familiar version by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch from the soundtrack of ‘O Brother Where Art Though’. (Great film by the way)

And then, continuing the brass band theme, not that the brass band I played in ever sounded even remotely like this, worst luck, here’s a New Orleans version from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band…

I’ll Fly Away

The Lazy Trumpeter

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Early light on the new leaves at the circle of beeches.

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Squirrel.

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Pano from Castlebarrow. (Click on this, or any other, picture to see a larger image on flickr)

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Orchids on the Lots.

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Early purple orchid.

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Welsh poppies.

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Bottoms Farm.

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Post sunset at The Cove.

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The entire beach has acquired a silver-grey crust. Not the best light to show it, I know.

So, back to my wish list of lockdown activities. Have I ‘practiced my trumpet playing’?. Have I heck. It sits in its case under my desk, just as it has for years. Perhaps I should explain – in my teens I was in a brass band. It was great fun, but I was a lousy musician: I didn’t practice enough. I didn’t play the trumpet. I started at second baritone horn and slowly progressed to first euphonium, not because of any progress on my part, but because it was a junior band and the other players grew up and left for pastures new. Mostly the senior band which practised in the same hall. I don’t remember anybody playing the trumpet, the closest we had was a solitary flugelhorn and a host of cornets. In good time, I moved away myself, and for many years didn’t play an instrument.

Anyway, some years ago, when all our kids were learning to play various instruments,  I decided that it was a shame that I’d ditched mine and decided to buy a trumpet – that being smaller and cheaper than what I’d played before. I did practice for a while, but my enthusiasm didn’t last all that long. I thought while we were off that I would have loads of time on my hands and would get started again, but it hasn’t really played out that way. Tomorrow though….I’m bound to pick it up again. There’s always tomorrow!


This…

…as well as providing the title for the post, is the piece which I remember most affectionately from my brass band days.

This is obviously very different. I saw Kid Koala live down in London many years ago with my brother. I think he was the support act, but I can’t remember who it was he was supporting. I do remember being spellbound when he performed this.

And from ‘Drunk Trumpet to ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking’:

The Lazy Trumpeter

Cantering and Moulting

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It hasn’t all been blue skies and sunshine. The day following my sunny walk by the Kent channel was very grey and overcast. I was out on the sands again, but this time heading in the opposite direction, round to Jenny Brown’s Point.

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I think you could probably count the number of times I’ve ridden a horse on the fingers of one finger, but I have to confess to feeling slightly jealous every time I see this lady on her horse cantering across the sands.

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It looks pretty exhilarating. All that space to gallop!

We know from our visits to Roa Island that many species of crab can be found in the bay, but we only ever see shore crabs closer to home and even those very rarely.

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Walk along the tideline, however, and you will see any number of discarded shells. A crab’s exoskeleton doesn’t grow, so in order for a crab to grow it must moult and that means everything, not just the main carapace, but legs, claws, mandibles, the lot.

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The land reclamation wall.

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The old wharf.

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Little egret.

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Cowslips

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Early purple orchids.

I came back by Clark’s and Sharp’s Lots a small National Trust property, where there was a good display of spring flowers.


Cantering and Moulting