Tuesday, 31 January 2017


The local farmer dredging the build up of weeds and mud in the roadside channels near Kirkby in Furness in anticipation of the winter rains.  A series of bad winter storms and floods in recent years has meant this job is probably at the top of his 'to do' list.  So far this year we have had no storms and unusually warm weather but I won't tempt fate by predicting that we have escaped as a wet week ahead has been forecast so those cleared channels may yet be filling up.

Moving from the west coast east and over the Pennine hills to Yorkshire
here is the River Aire whose banks could not contain the deluge of the 2015 winter storms, reached record levels and flooded towns, cities and villages.  This is the groundwork going on near Buck Hill where they were dredging the river in 2016 and also
bank building

while clearing and building the drainage channels.  You can see I had the ideal view of both drainage channels and river from the Buck Hill cast iron footbridge, built in 1889, which unlike many of the bridges in the area had weathered the storm.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at D here


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Coastal Cinnabar

Walking the beach in summer this stripy creature wiggled into view, a cinnabar moth caterpillar.  I wondered what it was doing out here on the shingle bank between channels and shore and nowhere near its usual haunt, feeding on the bright yellow ragwort.  It takes in poison from the ragwort leaves as it feeds so maybe a bird had picked it up and then gone, yuk ,with the foul taste, and dropped it. You can only see a couple of its spines on my photo but they are venomous enough to create a itchy rash on human skin if one were to pick it up.     
Like the caterpillar the shoreline is on the move and the shingle bank keeps changing and growing
and is now popular for a walk along and night fishing.
Rattle your way down the pebble banking and sand is soon reached again.  Returning to the cinnabar moth seen all along the coastal area here
Creative Commons : Sharp Photography
it takes its name from the red mineral (which used to be ground and used by artists as the red pigment, vermilion).  Whichever naturalist named it in the mists of time must have known both minerals and moths because the mineral contains mercury so like the moth is poisonous.
Creative Commons: Sharp Photography
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at C here 


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Black Cat

I imagine a good mouser is a millers best companion. This one was leaving the Heron Corn Mill and possibly going on its rounds of the grounds

although when it had had a little look around the corner

it felt that was enough exercise and it was time for a rest.  

There is a long history of mills on this site, the documentary evidence is that one has stood here from at least the 13th Century and it is probable that the line stretches much further back .  Like its predecessors the mill is powered by the River Bela and although at one time there were 70 mills along the river only 3 survive today and this is the oldest.  The 18th Century grinding machinery was overhauled in the recent past and in contrast the mill's electricity is provided by a 21st century hydro-powered turbine.  Despite being local to me I've never been inside so on an overcast day with nothing better to do dropped by and discovered that we had just missed the guided tour by ten minutes.  It must have been a lucky black cat because the miller chatted to us and then showed us around anyway as the machinery rattled away and the wheel turned.

Heron Corn Mill photos by the river can be seen here on the 'Visit Cumbria' site  
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at B here

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Autumn Display

I saw this artistic autumn display at the Beetham Garden Centre back in October and couldn't resist a photograph.  Now I'm wishing I'd taken some pictures of the mounds and varieties of the new season English apples on display nearby to complete this entry, it was an apple lovers delight.  This was our last stop on a round of garden centres looking for a particular plant. I'm easily diverted in a 'oh look pretty plant' type of buying but my companion was on a mission for a type of camellia. We called it a day here as the Beetham Garden Centre, their tea shop was calling. 
We'd had no success here earlier in the day, this is the giant Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside which is Christmas decorations central in autumn so the crowds were inside, it was rather peaceful out here among the plants, just the splashing of the fountain.  It was interesting to see that the globe view is a version of McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map with Australia on the top, no longer down under.

While looking back to autumn in winter thoughts turn to spring 
Camellia japonica 'Sacco Vera' (CC Andrea Moro, Dept of Life Science, Trieste University)
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at A here

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Seeing a camel surrounded by the fresh green foliage of Spring is an unlikely juxtaposition.  Just noticeable is that all the seats are fully occupied behind it along the path through Victoria Embankment Gardens, for this is a little oasis of fresh air and calm for London's office workers at lunchtime.  The camel and rider sit atop a monument to the Imperial Camel Corp which lists on the sides the Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand members who in the First World War died in action, of wounds or disease. The Camel Corp was formed in 1916 to fight the Senussi, an Islamist movement on the Libyan/Egyptian border but would go on to be involved in conflicts in the Sinai and Palestine, eventually being disbanded in 1919.

The first camels used by the Imperial Camel Corp were shipped in from Rajasthan in Northern India.
and here is a postcard of an Indian camel and rider in Jaipur.  Not the only thing on the camel, there is also a mounted swivel gun
An example of a Zamburak from South Asia.

a zamburak or zumbooruk.  The name may be derived from the Arabic for hornet (zambÅ«r) which refers back to the early Egyptian origin of a giant crossbow swivel mounted on a camel and the sound and effect made by this early method of war.  It would later develop into a small cannon or falconet and was adopted by Mughal India and the Arab countries but was especially used by the Persian army in the 19th Century, accompanied by huge camel mounted drums played to intimidate the enemy as they advanced. As can be seen below in the second half of the 19th Century sometimes a Gatling gun would be used. 
From Histoire Islamique
 In order to fire the gun or cannon the camel would be put on its knees, the operators of this weapon of war were called zumboorukee or zamburakchi.

The Imperial Camel Corp soon changed their riding camels to the lighter Egyptian camel  
Here is one about to move off although I am not sure of the nationality of this duo.  The tarboosh on his head may indicate the Egyptian Camel Corp and their uniforms were similar although khaki rather than white. No other information was given on the "Camel hub on the web" which is Camel Photos and the go to place for anything camel related, try not to be diverted by the fluffy white baby camels.

The full story and photographs of the camels and The Imperial Camel Corp can be found  in The Field.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at Z here


Sunday, 1 January 2017

No Giant Pylons

Image from:   Power without Pylons
To protest against the imposition of giant pylons along the coast of Cumbria from the proposed nuclear power plant at Sellafield (or Moorside as they are calling it now) a New Year's Day Walk protest took place through the beautiful scenery of the Duddon Valley
with walkers coming from Broughton in one direction and Askam in the other.  Here is the crowd coming from Broughton
on a beautiful sunny morning.
The long line stopping at various points to keep everyone together.
Eventually all protestors met up in Kirkby in Furness, at a guess there must have been about 200, not a bad for those who had been revelers the previous night.
and the local MP John Woodcock addressed the crowd (always useful to have a small child hold a banner). As he said the county is hosting nuclear power so the National Grid's social contract with the local inhabitants should involve not destroying the landscape of the place they live. He didn't mention the health aspect of high voltage lines running next to houses.

To join the protest and for more information see the Power Without Pylons site here