Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Ceredigion Coast

I was in the middle of uploading this last night when all our electrical sockets suddenly stopped working…  I’ve just had an electrician out to sort out a fault on the fuse board (one of the circuit breakers seems to be faulty, and had tripped everything out on one half of the fuse board even though it didn’t need to) and I’m back online.

So now I need to see what I can salvage from the freezer, which has been off (unopened) for 18 hours. Ah well, it needed a sort out anyway. At least the lights, the boiler and the cooker were still working last night.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures from our holiday on the north coast of South Wales. Definitely an area worth visiting. I hope you enjoy them.

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Photo Challenge: Grand yews – or elderly ladies?

Weekly photo challenge: Grand

This challenge made me think of a grand garden that we visited a while back (just checked – goodness, it was eight years ago), where there was this wonderful hedge of topiaried yews.  It was at Powis Castle in the Welsh Borders.  The wall beneath, with its elegant flower-pots in pilastered niches is rather grand too.

The yews made us think of a row of elderly ladies, sitting waiting for a bus to arrive, though that is perhaps not such a ‘grand’ idea.

Topiaried yews at Powis Castle

Powis Castle – a garden on a grand scale


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Blue cockerel and gluten-free pizza

On Monday, I had a trip to London, to the National Gallery, for a training day for school.  I enjoyed the museum –  we were looking at St Michael triumphs over the Devil for the Take One Picture project, but no photos from inside of course.

I loved Trafalgar Square in the sunshine.  It was a glorious day, and there were a variety of performance artists to distract the tourists, including a couple of ‘hovering’ human statues.  The tuba player had flames shooting out of the bell with every note (though my timing was wrong to catch it for the picture).

What do you think of the bright blue Hahn/Cock on the spare plinth?   According to Wikipedia, it is about “regeneration, awakening and strength”.  I just liked the colour against the sky, and its boldness.

The photos are not as sharp as I’d like, as I only had my phone on me, but I couldn’t resist doing the tourist bit.

For lunch, we went to Pizza Express, where I had my first pizza since finding out I was coeliac, just over a year ago.  It was gluten-free and really good – it didn’t taste noticeably different from an ordinary one, which was a very pleasant surprise, as most gluten-free bread is seriously disappointing.  I’ve just looked at their website, and they are clearly making an effort to keep the gluten-free hordes happy.  I’d definitely be happy to go again.  Recommended.  🙂

 


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Tewkesbury Abbey

We visited Tewkesbury today, and I had a pleasant wander round the graveyard looking for fungi.   Someone had kicked a lot of them to pieces, which seemed rather a pity.  It did mean I could see the gills clearly though.

Apparently the abbey church survived Henry VIII’s dissolution because the townspeople bought it from the king, as they insisted it was their parish church.  It’s a wonderful Norman building, with the feel of a cathedral rather than a church.  I paid for a photography licence (only £2) and enjoyed wandering round looking at the architecture.  There are several interesting monuments, including a spooky cadaverous one, which includes ‘vermin’ eating the remains of the body.  Gruesome!


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Mini-beasts

Apologies to any squeamish readers, but I went out on a woodlouse hunt, to see if I could find the three different species that I found back in June when I did my ‘bioblitz‘.

It didn’t take long to find them, but taking their photos was a bit trickier, as they really don’t like sitting still in bright light.  I deleted a large number of blurred shots to get these more reasonable ones.

I don’t expect everyone to appreciate their beauty, but I do really rather love them.  When I was little, we used to collect them in jars, and have woodlouse ‘farms’ in cardboard boxes.  I was vaguely aware that they didn’t all look the same – I thought the flatter ones looked a bit scary – but just thought they were different stages of the same thing.  But no!  I think these are correctly named, but please let me know if you know otherwise, thank you.

Here’s the Rough Woodlouse again – great sculptural detail on the body plates.  I don’t think these roll up.

rough woodlouse

Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber) – I presume the scientific name means ‘rough piglet’, which is rather cute.

Now the Common Shiny Woodlouse (the ones I used to be scared of).  I don’t think these can roll up.

Common Shiny Woodlouse

Common Shiny Woodlouse (Oniscus asellus) – I don’t think this one rolls up.

And finally, the Common Pillbug or Common Woodlouse or Roly-poly – which definitely does roll up.  this was a particularly shiny one (or maybe I’ve misidentified it).

Pill Woodlouse

Pill Woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgare) – I presume that means common little armadillo – even cuter.

Pill Woodlouse

Pill Woodlouse – rolled up

And finally, a beautiful little yellow snail – only about 1cm across.

A small yellow snail

A small yellow snail


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Chipping away at the mile pace

10:55 min/mile today, only the second time I’ve managed under 11 minutes for a complete mile, and a better pace than three of the four 4-min runs yesterday.   Cooler weather, and a breeze, definitely helps.

This afternoon we visited Compton Verney, an art museum in a Capability Brown landscape just down the road from us.  I enjoyed the Turner and Constable exhibition focused on sketching from nature, and we all enjoyed climbing up in the ‘Empty Nest’ sculpture to see the view over the lake.

Empty Nest tree sculpture

Empty Nest tree sculpture

We had fun making shops to add to the public-participation display – a response to ‘The Narb’ (one of the several pictures that show at this link).

Spar

Spar

Street of cardboard shops

Public participation art – a street of shops – good fun, not sure how much art is involved though! Quite a few quirky ones including The Body Shop full of skeletons, and The Inconvenience Store stuck as high up the wall as they could reach.