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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Lights

A response to this photo challenge

I enjoyed this photo challenge.  OK, so one of them isn’t a light, but its shape makes it look as though it ought to be. Doesn’t that make a lovely lampshade? I like the mysterious atmosphere of the blue Christmas lights.

The last two pictures have nothing to do with light sources, they’re just ones I wanted to share.

Japanese Maple leaves

Japanese Maple leaves

seedhead

Clematis seed head – that reminded me of a spider

And finally, today I reached 50,000 words written in November for NaNoWriMo – tada!

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo


I haven’t written a novel though, as I really had no ideas for characters or plot, so I ‘rebelled’ and just wrote whatever was in my head. It was surprisingly easy (and satisfying) to write that much rubbish – but I certainly won’t be publishing any of it. 🙂 Maybe next year…


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Rainbow of fungi

A colourful day – saw a rainbow again, on the way to work. Bizarrely, it wasn’t actually raining when I saw it, though it had started to rain by the time I’d got the camera out.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Then I went out for a fungus walk at lunchtime (as you do) and saw some very brightly-coloured beauties.  I just cannot resist vivid fungi.  The ‘Blue Roundheads’ don’t quite live up to their name – ‘Yellowish-greenish Slimy Flatheads’ would be closer to the mark, but they were strikingly gloopy.  The Shaggy Ink-caps aren’t colourful, but they do have a great texture when fresh, and when they go over, they deliquesce into black slime that I think used to be used as ink.  I rather like the alternative name of Lawyer’s Wig too.

Edited: I hadn’t identified the red one correctly – it is probably another ‘Roundhead’ – the Redlead Roundhead, Leratiomyces ceres. So three of the new fungi I found this week were Roundheads, as I’d also found a yellow Garland Roundhead, but didn’t have a good photo. Last year I found some Cavaliers growing on the ‘green roof’ of our garage, which all goes rather well with being near the site of the first battle in the English Civil War.


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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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Freaky fungi

We had a couple of days in Derbyshire, staying at Hathersage.  The heavy rain made crossing the River Derwent stepping stones rather exciting, as the stones were pretty much all under the surface, and some were so far under that the water went inside our walking boots.

After our lovely autumnal river-side walk, we drove up to Stanage Edge, to feel the force of the wind building up for the overnight storm. I found various tiny fungi.  It seems strange that people went to all the effort to make millstones from the rock, but then left them there. Maybe they weren’t good enough for some reason?

The following day was fly fishing training day for hubby and younger daughter. Older daughter and I spent an hour walking round the fishing pools in pouring rain, but then the sun came out and it was lovely. One bank was covered in troops of fungi – at least five different species, and wonderful colours – red, yellow (or black), apricot, shiny brown and pure white.  The scarlet ones were my favourites.

This one wasn’t in Derbyshire though – I found this in the logpile when we got back home. What a vivid colour.

Cobalt Crust fungus

Cobalt Crust fungus on chipboard, Terana caerulea

After a bit of investigation, I’ve worked out how to use the tiled gallery. I think. It appears to not be connected to the ‘Format’ Gallery… Confusing! I know, I should have tried this on a test blog. Sorry. 🙂


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Burgundy-drop Bonnet and Greensleeves

Mycena haematopus

Burgundy-drop Bonnet (Mycena haematopus)

I found this pretty little fungus growing on a rotting log in the garden. It’s only about 2 cm across the cap, and when I broke the stem, it bled! Dark red-brown juice oozed out. There are a couple of ‘bonnet’ fungi that do that, but I think this one is the Burgundy-drop Bonnet, Mycena haematopus (‘bloody-foot’ is more gory than burgundy).

As there’s a big storm forecast for this weekend, we’ve picked the rest of our apples, and I’ve bagged them up and labelled them according to recommended eating times.  We have: Scrumptious (those are past their best now), Ellison’s Orange, Gala, Fiesta, Greensleeves, Herefordshire Russet, Sunset, Laxton’s Superb, Tydeman’s Late Orange and Bramley.

Apples to store

Apples ready for winter storage

 

The Apple Book  (which is full of beautiful apple paintings and very good descriptions of well over a hundred apple varieties) recommends using plastic bags with pencil-thickness holes poked in them. I prefer the idea of old newspapers, but the bags do make it quick to check whether any are beginning to rot, and last year they did keep very well in the bags. They didn’t shrivel up like ones I’ve paper-wrapped in the past. Some of them should still be good to eat into January.

The box of apples is kept in the shed.  Some of the apples were picked last week, but a mouse had got in and started nibbling one of them, so this is my high-tech solution to keeping the mice out:

Apple storage to avoid mice

Anti-mouse technology


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A three hour walk in bluebell woods, recording plants and one butterfly (a peacock – and a very tatty one too).  That took me about 3.5 km, just over 2 miles.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with lots of birdsong, including a buzzard ‘mewing’ overhead.  Then I ran back along the road, about a mile, which was pretty slow – 14 minutes, but I was carrying binoculars, notebook and my fleece and it was pretty warm too.

I have yet to figure out how to layout pictures properly in here – seem to be getting one of them twice…  Maybe I’ll work it out soon.

Muddy path at Edge Hill woods

Squelchy and slippery!

Flowery meadow down to Radway

Bugle and Buttercups in an almost alpine view

A huge Jelly Ear fungus

The biggest Jelly Ear fungus I’ve ever seen. Must have liked all the rain.

Moschatel, Edge Hill woods

Moschatel, or Town-hall Clock
An uncommon woodland spring plant with green flowers.