Tuesday, 25 January 2011

ABC Wednesday - Bracken

Bracken, an ancient plant going back millions of year, another ancient species, the damselfly, taking  a rest, surely one could not call such a beautiful creature a bug. Some larvae and invertebrates feed on bracken but it is carcinogenic to most mammals. 
The Victorian were rather keen on ferns in their gardens and grew all varieties but perhaps they would not be too keen on bracken with its invasive nature and a propensity to swamp other plants although
foxgloves seem to cope quite well , but as they appear in June the bracken is still of a manageable hight and has
not reached 5-6 foot yet. I have had 'interesting' times on hillsides trying to find the path down to the valley when the bracken it at its hight, not being able to see underfoot or where the path is hiding. It can be a case of tumbling down the hill rather than walking.  At these times it is my least favourite plant, however I can forget all that come the autumn and winter when it has died down and the hills take on their russet brown.
At this time of year the bracken is only a covering, the colouring is still there but it looks best in November
when the sun shines directly upon it, the bright light bringing out its hues.  Although it always

adds another colour to the pallet in a view. As you see there is a limit to the hight the bracken grows, the Langdale Pikes in the distance having not a fond in view.  The lower peaks

such as the ridge to Helm Crag have an intermittent covering.  The underneath of a leaf of bracken is covered in spores that will spread it offspring on the wind and it is a difficult plant to control. There are many different methods to reduce its spread such as, cutting, burning, ploughing or herbicides. Another way is during winter encouraging livestock
into the area, such as this pretty bovine the Belted Galloway  They trample down the plants and this allows the frost to penetrate the rhizomes (bracken has creeping roots).  We sure have had a lot of frost this year, down to -19C in this area.

Bounce across to ABC Wednesday where there will be lots more words starting with the letter B.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

ABC Wednesday - Arch

The Imperial Arch, entrance to Chinatown in Liverpool. This used to be the largest Chinese population in Europe but the area has declined in recent times. Liverpool's trading links with Shanghai in the past was the start of Chinese immigration. It was a rainy day when I took this photo so the 200 dragons don't really stand out. The arch was shipped piece by piece from Shanghai and constructed in 2000 for the Chinese new year festival which take place here every year. The characters in the middle say "Zhong Guo Cheng" meaning simply, Chinatown.

Travelling inland to the city of Chester

and Eastgate. This gate has three arches. Can't see them?  There are two small pedestrian arches at the sides, hidden by people walking through them.  Eastgate also carries the walkway forming Chester City Walls.  The clock on the top was constructed in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee and is one of the famous sites of Chester.  In contrast to this elaborate clock the arch in the city's park by the riverside is
 quite rustic and is one of the entrances into the park with its Arcadian lawns, trees and flowers.  The view through the next arch is not of flowers
but architecture. The ruined arches at the rear of the church in Tinténiac, France provides a admirable frame for the many towers of the present church. 

A new round of ABC Wednesday with lots of letters in front of us. Visit the participants of Round 8, words starting with the letter A will abound.  

Friday, 14 January 2011


Jumping out and descending
Wind pressing, breath expending
Ground and tress into view
Floating down, two by two

The prompt of Theme Thursday this week is - Jump.  
The photographs are of tandem skydivers at the Cark Airfield.  Harnessed to an instructor the thrill of free-fall from 14,500 feet can be experienced for first time jumpers. Gift certificates available; don't buy me one. I was gasping for breath on a sudden (and mere) 400 foot drop via bosun's chair into a cave once.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

ABC Wednesday - Zebra

Got to keep an eye open for prowling predators when you are a Zebra. We live on grasslands, savannas, woodlands, scrubland and hills in Africa but I'm a long way from home here in England.
Not sure if my stripes are giving all the camouflage I need in this Skimmia, but my main predator the lion is colour blind so I'm blending in. I in contrast have perfect sight and hearing.  Aren't my stripes wonderful. You humans may think we are all the same but each of us has individual stripes.
Coast clear and down to the water hole, always a tricky moment.  If there are a herd of us when we run away the mass of vertical stripes running in all directions can be a wonderful and confusing sight.
What I go through to get a decent cup of tea.  Perhaps I'll take time out to read about my homeland and take in some cosy crime with  Mma Ramotswe who is investigating suspicious crimes in "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive". She loves a good cup of bush tea.  Or perhaps I'll write up my adventures
on my owner's laptop.  Well I say owner but don't mean it, we zebras unlike our close relatives the horse have never been domesticated. It is said that our nature is too unpredictable and tend to panic when under stress. We only pretend, zebras are very brave.  That is all from me Ziggy Zebra, and round 7 of ABC Wednesday.  Hope to see you again in Round 8.

Zip across to ABC Wednesday and see more words beginning with Z

Friday, 7 January 2011


I liked the effect of the light on the station steps as clouds started to gather. Perhaps a Gothic effect as we exit to where?  Well actually the small town of Millom, but who knows in an alternative universe there might be something else waiting on the other side.

The Thursday Theme meme prompt this week is.... Stairs.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

ABC Wednesday - Yellow

Yikes I was so busy relaxing over an extended Yule time that not a thought was given to this week's letter.  The only thing I can come up with is the colour yellow. What a good excuse to show a stripy yellow bee really getting down to nectar collecting in a dandelion.  It is said that aerodynamically a bee should not be able to fly, but nature knows more than aeronautical engineers
although this small plane used for skydiving also sports a certain stripy élan. What a shame nobody was floating down on a yellow parachute, although it is a popular colour for  working modes of transport such as rescue helicopters, breakdown vans, diggers and the occasional
fishing boat. The building being constructed in the background will soon be filled with the youth of the University of Cumbria when it is finished, opening a new door on life. Let me take you through ye old cottage gate still hanging on
in the Howgills, which lies on the border of Cumbria and Yorkshire. Journey south and over the English channel to the town of
Josselin in France. A popular tourist destination because of its medieval castle and 16th Century half timbered houses from days of yore.  There are lots of opportunities here for tourists to spend their money in gift shops and also buy postcards to keep or send home
and pop them in a yellow 'La Post' box which vary in their essential yellowness depending on how sun bleached they are.

Yomp over to ABC Wednesday where there are lots more words starting with Y