Thursday, 26 November 2009

Birds and bits and bobs

Most of the autumn leaves have gone now, but the cotoneaster (variety unknown, it just appeared!) has made a valiant effort to brighten up the garden! This photo was taken from our back door, and it has really done a great job of cheering me up! There were a lot of berries, but the birds scoffed the lot!

The cotoneaster horizontalis, in the front gardeen is a brilliant scarlet this year. There are a lot of berries ready for the blackbirds later.

Even the hydrangea has put on a bit of a show this year. I don't remember it turning such a pretty colour in previous years.

In the park, the heron is back. I tried to photograph him standing in the water, with a lovely reflection, but he took one look at me and flew off, to land on the railings. Its not a brilliat picture, but it does prove he is there!

The numbers of Canada geese are building up, together with the mallards, and the hybrid ducks there which always make me think of a little pure white duck who appeared one year, to the delight of the drakes.......

Now the trees are bare, I can see their beautiful shapes, and also spot where the nests were built! I think this must have been a magpie's nest, as it is so untidy! Its not really big enough for a crow, though it might have been, as the high winds could have blown stuff away. I will watch the spot carefully next spring, in case they, whoever they were, use it again!

Haven't been very mobile just lately, but hope to get out a bit more soon!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sit up straight at the back, there!

A quick trip to our local Garden Centre for some winter pansies for my patio pots (well, I decided I must get out more!) gave me a lot of amusement.

When I saw all the little plants standing in rows with their labels sticking up I was reminded of the classrooms at my high school, long, long ago! All our desks were in nice straight rows, and slouching was definitely not allowed!

But these little plants were obviously the teacher's favourites!

Bit of lolling around here, don't you think?

No trouble at all with these stalwarts. Probably the older ones designated prefects, to keep the lower classes in order!

It was great fun at the Garden Centre - they were getting out their Christmas displays, and I was greatly taken with these jolly Santas.

Though I do think its a great shame that Christmas has been taken over by 'Santa' and there is nothing to show that it is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Many children nowadays probably hardly know the lovely Christmas stories. I know the shops want to appeal to all, but does the real meaning of the word 'Christmas' have to be erased altogether?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Out again!

Now that the leaves are coming off the trees, we can see the hills beyond the valley. I do love being able to look at the hillls - they are so beautiful, especially when the sun is on them, or when they are snowy. At night I can see the street lights across the valley, which is somehow magical! The photo is taken from the bedroom, through glass, so not of my best!

There are nearly always two crows sitting in the birch tree. They tend to look rather ominous, and are terrors at breeding time, when they eat nestlings, and duckling on the lake, if they can.

The stream in the park feeds the lake. It has been culverted now, but my friend can remember taking her children when small to play on its grassy banks. Knowing how much damage can be done to grass and mud banks, being culverted is probably a good thing, but it doesn't look so pretty!

There are always fishermen using the lake in the season, and it is very popular - on the side you can see you can sometimes find it hard to reach the water for rods, cans of bait, tents, etc.! The lake is also a favourite place for small children to come and feed the ducks from the two concrete 'piers'. Wintertime isn't quite so favourite a time for them, so the ducks look hungry, and often there are 'visitors' to the lake. We have seen grey herons, and gooseanders (loons) visit regularly in the winter. We've seen our first ones this winter already!

The hungry ducks! I love the way the light reflects off the water.

There are also doves and pigeons. The white ones are doves, more or less living in the park now, though I believe they used at one time to belong to a man who bred them. They seem to get on with life on their own now! The darker ones are feral pigeons, not so graceful, very greedy, and always keen to eat the duck bread! They love sitting on the roof of the old bandstand.

The larches this year are not so orange as they were last year, and the needles are falling rapidly, but they still look lovely against the sky.

After the recent high winds and lashing rains, we have had a bit of quiet weather, and my camera has been out with me. Hopefully, when circumstances permit, we will get out into the real country! You must be getting bored with pictures of our park!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Out with my camera!

We had a bit of sun earlier this week, and I managed to get out in the park with my new camera! As you can see, the dog didn't take too kindly to me stopping and taking photographs!

However, I persevered, and really just took anything, testing it out. The leaves are making lovely patterns on the grass, though I don't think the park maintenance men would agree! They have to come along and blow them all into a big heap, and then put them into a trailer, taking them to wherever leaves are taken to! Council compost heap, I think!

The gull on the railings obligingly stood there while I tested the zoom feature. I did get closer, but he turned his head away!

Wet leaves can make a good picture, but I got tired of the wet, and wet leaves, and so went indoors.

This is a green glass float that I found on the shores of a loch on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Amazingly it hadn't broken and I climbed down to fetch it, and guarded it throughout the rest of our camping holiday. It must have been 47 or 48 years ago that we went there. It was really beautiful, but foul weather!

The basket is one of a pair I bought from the fair trade company, Traidcraft. I originally bought them as wastepaper baskets for Christmas presents, but fell in love with them and kept them. Its bigger brother lives on the half-landing, looking just right in the corner. And yes, it is sitting on the window sill, I needed the light!

Hoping for some better weather so that we can get further afield next time!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A blog without photographs? Can't be done yet, so I have found a picture - Ships leaving the harbour - by one of my favourite artists, Paul Klee, who was at Bauhaus in Germany during its short life. I have always liked the Art Deco period, especially as I was actually born during this time, and things my parents owned were typical of this period. Where are they now? (the items, not my parents, they are now dead) I wish I knew, some of the china and glassware would be quite valuable now.

I have at last got a new computer, mine having been declared 'kaput' by the Computer Man handily at the end of the road. Mr. G has nobly donated his computer (much newer, bigger and more bells and whistles than my old one) and is using his laptop for his own computing. At the moment this computer is full of his own photographs, documents etc. so I am waiting patiently until I can upload photos from my new camera.

Ah, my new camera! I took several shots, trying it out, all seems fine, but we have had days of rain, and I got tired of photographing wet leaves, and now its bright again, I am crippled with my old back problem. Just hoping its the result of shifting desks, etc. yesterday, and not too permanent. But further than the patio outside, and that is painful, I cannot go!

But there is nothing wrong with my typing fingers, so here I am again, ready to read your blogs - will have to find them again, my 'favourites' list has gone - and hoping you are all having a good weekend!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Keep watching!

I know these photos are of Wisley again, but I haven't any new ones yet! Mr G has given me a lovely new camera for my birthday, so hopefully soon you will see sparkling new photos here!

However, my computer is creaking at the joints and keeps throwing hissy fits so that the screen suddenly turns pink, and until I can get it sorted I am unwilling to upload new software and photos.

So when I get it all reliable again, watch this space!