A GARDEN DAY

Unexpected good weather, warm day today. Got out my new gardening hand tools, did not want to waste time looking for rakes and spades, then got on with some gardening. I attacked the clumps of grass growing where they were not meant to be, pulled up all sorts of weeds while trying to avoid self-seeded seedlings; a bit of a fiddle. Discovered some new plants, my Primulas are increasing in number. I think the groups of pointed, purple tinged leaves might be the Alliums that did not show last year.

🙂 🙂

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LOUNGING – A BOOK and ZZzzzzzzzz

I slept this afternoon. Whether it was having our main meal at the top of the day, taking advantage of good weather, (at last) to eat alfresco, and/or imbibing a modicum of wine with the meal, which may have made me a bit sleepy, is hard to say.

I made myself comfortable on a lounger with an overhead shade, which, has not seen the light of day for at least two years. I opened my book,read some facts together with some unfamiliar sounding names and dozed off. It was one of those dozing experiences where you know you have sort of fallen asleep, because you’re aware your head has fallen forward and you feel your jaw has dropped open: you snap it shut; you drift back to sleep, then you jerk into some kind of consciousness again and repeat what you vaguely remember doing before.

One of my arms has caught the sun while I slept, so I am regularly plastering it with after-sun preparations. One of the containers of soothing gel, says it contains Aloevera. I have an Aloevera plant with a huge leaf pregnant with 100% natural serum. I am going to use it. I may as well, I use the plant leaves for all sorts of minor burns and nicks obtained through doing domestic chores.

Made a mental note to read a different book next time I relax on the lounger. 🙄

FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER ONE.

I recently posted about having an airing on the beach. March has, to date, produced extreme variations in weather.

So far, I have walked along a sandy beach on a sunny afternoon on the 3rd March. There was little wind, the tide had just receded, depositing lots of interesting shells, stones and other little treasures to meander around at our leisure and pleasure.

Beach 3rd March

These pictures show a different kind of walk on the 14th March:

A Break in the snowy hedge

and

Snow Scape  March 14th

Curiously, we had 18cm of snow fall on us in the town, it was very localised. Elsewhere, snowfall was very slight.

OUT FOR AN AIRING

I took my camera out for an airing, in case anything took my interest during a beach walk with hubby. It was lovely that the sun came out and smiled on us. We also caught the turn of the tide. B)

Hubby walked on, when I stopped walking, as I spotted several things of interest, including shells. I examined my finds and clicked away with my camera. When I looked up, hubby had stopped. Oh that’s nice, I thought, he’s waiting for me. I caught up and expected to move on. We stood there; any particular reason…well, yes. He had noticed a shell, which was at his feet. I looked, it was quite a nice specimen. “It’s a shell.” He said. “Yes, it is.” I replied. And there we stood.

I had already taken some images that attracted me, and as nice as this shell was, it was not of any specific interest to me at that time. We looked at each other, continuing to agree it was a shell. It’s one of those moments when you just have to burst out laughing, in fact, we both did. So, message gently received I preferred to find my own articles, or, choose my own scenes, we ambled on down the beach. =>

Shell Sitting-in-Spume

WE WERE BEING SHOT AT!

After yesterday’s experiences, be warned.  Beware of people in holiday cottages and not their dogs! At first, we thought we were being shot at; after about three or four shots, although it was difficult to gauge the trajectory of the shots, we reckoned that we were not the actual target practice.  Whoever was shooting, was out to scare us off land on which we were legitimately walking to reach an historic site.  As we approached a couple of  tents with their flaps tight shut, there were another couple of gun shots fired. We stopped and looked around.

There was a golden Labrador dog sitting peacefully in front of a house, (a holiday let) we had recently passed.  We deduced from its unperturbed demeanour, it must be a gun dog.  Just then, the front door opened and the barrel of a gun could be seen pointing straight ahead at cliffs opposite the house.  A couple more rounds were let off.  We carried on walking.

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Mounting a small hill, we looked behind us again.  This time we saw five people at the front of the house, including children, and the dog. The gun barrel was still visible from the open doorway waving about, but, the shooter did not show him or her self.

When we got to the historic site, there were the more muted sounds of .22 guns/rifle shots, usually used for clay pigeon shoots, and the hum and growl of a dozen large windmills.

So much for a peaceful walk in a tranquil idyll…(not!)

 

 

 

I THINK WE ARE BEING SHOT AT!

An echoing boom blasted out, then the follow-on sound of tumbling rock not far away could be heard. We stopped walking and looked at each other. ‘What the hell was that…I’m sure it was a gun”. As we were taking stock, another boom rung out, then another. Instinct wanted me to drop and lie flat. Instead, I looked around, then turned and said to hubby, “I think we are being shot at“. He agreed we had heard gunshots, but did not necessarily agree that we were the target practice. We could not see from where the shots came, and the directional line of shooting was not clear.

I noticed the golden Labrador dog we had passed on a pathway to a house, on the estate we were legitimately walking, was sitting very calmly, apparently no care in the world. Being as calm as it was, it must have been a trained gun dog. A short distance from the house was parked a 4X4 vehicle.

Close to where we stopped were two tents, both had closed flaps. The old army tent had a picnic table set up with elements of a snack visible. There were two empty chairs. There was also a pyramid tent with no sign of active life. As we took stock of the scene, another gun shot rang out. 88|

Looking back at the house, we saw a gun barrel peeping from the now, open front door, directed towards the rock face opposite. It seemed to us that the firearms user was attempting to scare us off our walk. We decided to walk on and visit the historic site at the end of the trail. Half way up a little hill we turned to look back again. This time, we saw five people at the doorway, including children. And still the barrel of what I believe was a rifle, could be seen moving up, down and around. The shooter did not come into view.

Not far from the historic monument, we could hear the low level .22 rifle popping sounds coming from a clay pigeon shoot. There was a warning red flag further on, a warning not to go past that point. There was a brisk warm wind, and the movement of the sea. Amongst all those sounds was the swishing and sotto voce rumble of a dozen large turning windmills.

So much for a walk through peaceful lush pastures with the tinkling of water streams running through, rising and tumbling over little waterfalls.

🙄

ESCAPING FLASH FLOODS IN NAPLES

Many years ago, in September, on holiday in Sorrento, we, hubby me and sprog, took a trip across the Bay Of Naples on one of the regular daytime ferries that made the crossing. The views were dreamy, the skies were lovely Mediterranean blue with minimal fluffy white clouds dotted about the skies. The crossing was even and pleasant.

We had not gone more than a few metres out of the ferry area, when the sky suddenly darkened; we and everything and everyone else were hit by a flash flood accompanied by spectacular thunder and lightening. It was of biblical proportions. Sprog was lifted up on to dad’s shoulders, being too little to stay above the depth of rainwater that suddenly engulfed us. All traffic came to a sudden stop.

We trudged through the water, which was almost at thigh level, and took refuge in a café. There were a lot of other stunned customers there with us. As it was lunch time we thought it prudent to have something more than a drink: after all, we might have to stop a while. Although our clothes were steaming wet, we were at least out of the downpour.

There was no sign of any imminent improvement of the weather, nor, of the water levels going down. Neapolitan police who were standing on traffic islands had long since given up trying to direct traffic….it wasn’t going anywhere fast. All they could do was helplessly watch the stalled circulation and the people in their cars. Shops were in darkness and staff were closing down shutters. There was no point in us adding to the chaos, we were in it, and we had to get ourselves out of it.

Decision made, we trudged back to the port in the deluge, with sprog again on hubby’s shoulders. Lucky for us, we were able to walk back onto the ferry that we had arrived on. Lucky, because the master had decided it would make one last crossing, back to Sorrento. We were the only passengers on board. We dripped abundantly on the seats and floor of the passenger lounge. :-/

Ferry

A crew member, very concerned about the child being wet, insisted that we remove sprog’s wet clothes so they could be dried on the engine during the crossing. I was given a crewman’s heavy wool lined jacket, pre-warmed on the engine, to wrap round the little one. Sprog fell asleep the moment the warm coat was swaddled around the little body. We were very touched by the concern for our child. We were adults, we could cope with wet clothes, but the little one had to be cared for and be dry. Five minutes away from destination, the crewman returned with sprog’s clothes dry and warm. 🙂

Sorrento Italy

There was not a drop of rain to be seen in Sorrento, the weather was idyllic there. Yes, they had heard about the flash floods, so had most of the world. It was such a major occurrence, the flash floods in Naples had made international news.
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MAGNIFYINGLY MAGNIFICENT.

Imagine, I was invited out to dinner with friends and given a lovely gift by them as well.

Chrysanthemum-2-Wb

It is a delightfully interesting plant. At home, I gazed at the plant with no thoughts cluttering up my mind. I found myself drawn to the petals; there was something different about them. I wanted to examine the detail of the petal more closely. It was why I took a couple of pictures of the plant. A magnifying glass would have done, but,it would not have been so relaxing to view the larger flowers at leisure. They looked terrific on the screen. The petals were clearly tubular.

Chrysanthemum-highlight-Wb

A BEACH OF A DAY

Sunday 27th May 2012, was not a day to be hidden away indoors. We travelled to the West side of Scotland’s coast. Temperatures a bit higher than where we live, had been forecast. No siree, we were not going to miss this wonderful day. It was hovering around 39 degrees inside the car, a signal that the air conditioning was needed. That does not happen very often. I plastered my exposed body bits with factor 20 cream before we left home and reapplied the cream a few times more during the day.

I am loathe to expose this place of beauty, in case hordes of people descend upon it. However, being that am a community minded person, I will share it.

The small car park with its sign to the beach had one or two spaces left. On the short path to the beach, we passed fields with Ewes and their lambs.

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At a heat of 26C who needs a really big woolly coat. The lamb, with a lightweight covering was doing fine. I marvel how close to sand and sea we, and all these other creatures, live. The grass was lush and good for the livestock to munch.

At the bridging point of meadow and shoreline, a dog was going potty, trying to retrieve stones that were thrown for it to retrieve from the relatively shallow water. I don’t think the dog’s people had realised how frustrated the dog would become, trying and failing to get a stone. Every time he put his head down, he got huge mouthfuls of water. The dog was not going to be easily commanded to ‘come back’ without succeeding the challenge set.

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I watched for a bit. The water was very clear, coloured by peat. There was a fascinating underwater scape and I noticed an upright plant. You might see it. All the pictures can be clicked on to enlarge.

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Just across the bridge and round the grassy dune was this:

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It was not just the brightness of the sunlight that glowed. The beach had its own spitting golden lights, aided by nature, (and the mica schist in the stone).

-Mica-Schist-Fool's-Gold-Wb

“Not all that glisters is gold”, comes to mind. I once found a small brown stone in a pool near the Balmoral Estate, it was ‘coated’ in mica schist, when it dried off, the stone was not so attractive. I experimented with applying a little clear nail varnish. I brushed another two coats of clear varnish on to the little stone. It has glittered away ever since, and for me, makes an evocative paperweight.

A couple of tourists stood at edge of the entry to the beach, clicked away with their cameras, then wandered away.

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Other people arrived, obviously having the same idea as us and they stayed.

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A beach party was developing.

From a cluster of rocks that descended into the sea, another sandy cove could be seen in the distance.

Farr_Panorama2-Wb

This place is so beautiful, and I felt very privileged to savour its treasures.

The boat was being expertly manoeuvered over and through the surf, and the young lad in it, who was kitted out in a life jacket, was obviously revelling in the ride. The boat was taking a wide circle to return and start all over again.

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There are many rocky outcrops along the coast, with their definitive upthrust signature. It is vital that seamanship is respectful of them. In this case, the knowledge would be from experience and local knowledge.

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…And finally;

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Playtime for all ages and people grabbing wholeheartedly the chance to relax. There was no doubt here, there were a number of happy feet!

A WALK IN A CALMER WINTRY INTERLUDE

There was a short-lived winter blast with a snowfall last Sunday 19th February 2012. We took advantage of a quiet window in the general weather turbulence, to go out for a walk. I took my camera with me and was able to catch a variety of winter scenes.

At the harbour mouth there was a cold North Atlantic winter sea edged with snow covered cliffs across the far side of the water.

Snow +Surf

We moved on around to the sea front (on an esplanade) where we saw the sea swelling, curling into deep foaming waves. It moved on at speed and dribbled towards outcrops of rock. The snow capped cliffs depicted, are about 21 miles away from where I stood.

Snow+ Surf

A sharp cold wind was blowing off the sea and though there was super reflected sunlight, there was no way you could feel, other than cold. That said, the wonderful light brightened up everything and everyone. An intrepid walker was enjoying a trot along the sand. The fields had a thin coating of snow, allowing the dead stubble from the previous year’s harvest to show through. The sea constantly moved and the curling tips of the waves threw out high mists of foam.

From the Esplanade

This February the snowdrops have produced their flowers. Last year the plants tested out the weather conditions, and because it was so cold, they immediately, popped their heads back underground, not to be seen for at least another six weeks! They were very late. This year there are lovely clusters of snowdrops to been seen at the expected time.

2012 Feb Riverside-Snowdrops.

With the tree branches being bereft of leaves, it was easy to see pigeons and rooks looking for suitable nesting places. This pigeon was staying at its place. The rook fluttered around a bit, moved backwards and forwards on the branch; the pigeon did not budge. Seemingly unperturbed, it just looked at the visitor and sat fast. It was not going to be moved.

Pigeon-and-Rook

Presumably, deciding it was not getting any due respect, that it was not going to obtain exclusive rights to a particular place on this tree, the rook took flight.

Rook