Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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ilike my iphone

I’ve finally caved in and bought myself an iphone, after years of having an extremely basic mobile.  Oh, what fun I’ve had this weekend!  Photos taken, messages and emails flying, web pages read and apps downloaded.  Time wasted.  🙂

I am very pleased with the camera so far.  It can’t get quite as close up as my main camera, and won’t zoom so far away – but it’s pretty good.  The lighting was lovely this weekend – very autumnal with alternating sun and heavy showers plus some mist.

Stag's-horn sumach (Rhus typhina) in its autumn glory

Stag’s-horn sumach (Rhus typhina) in its autumn glory

Village church in golden Horton stone

Village church in golden Horton stone

Rainy street and a rainbow

Rainy street and a rainbow – and the old village pump

Misty morning

Misty morning

Minute toadstools, about 1 cm tall, amongst moss

Minute toadstools, about 1 cm tall, amongst moss

I’ve only tried out a few apps so far. A couple of weeks ago, I have to confess to not being entirely sure what an ‘app’ was, but now I know. I like being able to record birds, butterflies, ladybirds and mammals out ‘in the field’ so those are handy, and seem to work pretty well.  I was lucky enough to spot a kingfisher on Saturday, and a jay on Sunday, so the bird recording got off to a very good start, as I don’t often see either of those.  It must have been blue-feathered bird weekend.

A pulse rate app (cardiio) that works by detecting minute changes in face colour (or by a finger over the camera lens) is amazing, and surprisingly accurate too.  It is free, but I’ve just noticed it’s only free ‘for a limited time’. Having the phone even got me out walking/running, so I could try out ‘map my walk‘ – I need a bit more practice to deserve ‘map my run‘ I think though.

So, a busy weekend.


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Full moon – awoooooooooooooooo

Beautiful pinkish corona around the moon

Corona around the moon

It’s a full moon tonight, which I was alerted to by this post, which suggested that full moon might be a good time for target setting.  The moon was beautiful both with a corona, glowing through light cloud cover, and when shining brightly all alone.  You’ll just have to imagine the owl that I could hear out there too – hoo-hoooooo.  No wolves though.

No targets set yet, but I’m thinking about them… maybe to take more photos?  And to find the thingamajig for attaching the camera to the tripod, as it doesn’t work so well just balancing it on top.  Hey ho.

Full moon

Full moon


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Upton House gardens

Sunday afternoon stroll in the sun round Upton House gardens. More Michaelmas daisies – and this time I didn’t resist buying the bright magenta one, “Andenken an Alma Potschke”


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A sea of Asters

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We visited Old Court Nurseries and The Picton Garden today, in Colwall, Herefordshire, where they have the national collection of Michaelmas Daisies.  Michaelmas is the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, on 29th September, which is close to the autumn equinox (today) and so associated with the beginning of autumn.

It was sunny and warm, so the butterflies were out too – Red Admiral, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell, and bees were buzzing busily.

What an amazing display of colour.  Most of the plants were Michaelmas daisies, but there were a few others mixed in too – some Golden Rod, Heleniums and Rudbeckias – plenty of saturated colours.  I couldn’t help but be drawn to the vivid magenta, just like the ones I had in my hair when we were married, over 30 years ago.  It was a low-key wedding even for those days, photos taken by friends, catering by Mum (I had no idea what an undertaking I’d asked for there – thanks, Mum!) and flowers from the garden – such happy memories.  But my goodness, we look so young!

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All rather glorious.  As if that wasn’t enough for one day, on the way home we passed a flower lorry, delivering to the village garden shop – another feast for the eyes. Flowers in transit. (I have to confess though, that I get almost as excited by shelves of stationary – Rymans and Staples, mmmm! – but flowers, sun and bees do have the edge.)

Flower van delivering to the garden shop

Flower van delivering to the garden shop


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Flustered by fluttering beauties

A few of the butterflies I saw on holiday in Wales, on the Ceredigion coast, and in gardens just inland in August.  Click on any picture for a slide-show.

The Grayling was a surprise – I thought I’d taken a picture of a Painted Lady until I checked it in the book.   I did see Painted Ladies too, but not close up.  I got quite excited about the Wall butterflies, as we don’t get them at home, and I can’t remember when I last saw one.

This was the best hunting though – I had to stalk it for ages, and I wasn’t sure what it was.  Then it came and sat on my leg!  I was so flustered that all I managed were several totally out of focus shots – but then it was kind enough to sit and pose for me – a Silver-Washed Fritillary, another new one for me.

Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly at Castell Henllys

Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly at Castell Henllys


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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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Talk of the Devil

Bit of a gap over the summer. Like Red Hen here: http://redhenrun.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/so-many-blog-posts-so-little-time/#comments (links don’t seem to be working properly for me at the moment), I’ve been writing blog posts in my head, but haven’t quite got round to getting them online.

My themes included butterflies, running on a beach, Welsh gardens (including a labyrinth), dolphins, seals, jellyfish, cliff top walks, Henry Moore and Rodin. I’ve got all the pictures sorted out (good ones too!), it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

Anyway. Maybe I’ll get round to it next week.

Meanwhile, I got up early this morning and went out for a walk/run (more walk than run, but better some than none). The fields had been ploughed, so I kept my eyes peeled (weird phrase) for fossils, as this area was once a huge Jurassic lake.

Edge Hill

View towards Edge Hill where the first battle of the English Civil War took place in 1642

I found this Gryphaea, aka Devil’s toe-nail.

Devil's toe-nail

Jurassic fossil oyster – Gryphaea

Mind-boggling to think about when it lived – more than a hundred million years ago. Some nice folklore about them here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/earth/fossils/fossil-folklore/fossil_types/bivalves.htm

I can’t resist picking up smooth stones. As far as I can remember, we get all sorts of different stones round here because they were brought in by the glaciers way back when. It’s a lovely colour, and feels good too.

Heart-shaped stone

Heart-shaped stone (if you’re imaginative)

There are still some wild flowers around. Hogweed has an unattractive name, rather ugly leaves and it doesn’t smell too good, but the flowers are really very pretty.  Usually they are white, but this one had a pink tinge on the outer petals.

Hogweed - Heracleum sphondylium

Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium

As I’d got out early, the sun was still quite low in the sky, and I liked the way the light caught on the trees and sheep.

Sheep grazing

Sheep grazing in early morning light

So – which of my missed posts should I aim for first?