Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Wander in Wet Woods


Acorn advance
A meeting place to exchange Christmas presents in, as they say 'a Covid secure manner' presented an opportunity to take a wander through Serpentine Woods near Kendal and potentially a journey through the alphabet.  A map and clues exist as to what one might find however we were rather unprepared, but happily not for the weather, being kitted out with wellies and waterproofs . The first sculpture was easy to spot for it starts the path in the photo above and  A -"will grow one day into a great tree"

"B has he most beautiful wings you will see".  The winter trees form a nice backdrop for this colourful butterfly
Count the legs and what do we see a centipede on a tree.  Fun fact you'll never find one with 100 legs because they have an odd number of pairs and those legs move fast.
but not as fast as a deer.  We spotted three more letters on the alphabet but missed two had a distraction or two and the rest and as Eric Morecambe said of his piano playing "they are the right notes but not necessarily in the right order"
Despite the dull day there was still colour in the woods. This fern was almost like a Christmas display. Ferns absorb nutrients from their leaves before shedding them and all the nutrients have been taken underground.  The snowy white fonds remains until they die and disappears.
Oh look we have found a ladybird. Hurray.
And a pheasant, not the weather for sitting.
Nature can produce her own living sculptures.  This Burr Knot almost seems to have little clasped hands beneath it.
Mr Rat with his curly tail.
Trying to work out how to make a door.  There are quite a few of these shelters throughout the woods and every one had to be  one had to be explored by a tiny person.
Eventually ending with a ring of the Jingle Bells.   We saw a lot of the alphabet but not all and one (the umbrella) we were told by a friendly passer by was undergoing repairs.
Time to go our separate ways home and leave the wood behind, it is a popular place for a stroll with dogs or children.  Here is someone who visited in Summer although the weather looks similar.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

At Sea on Roa Island




Yesterday's sunshine tempted sailors out on the water


and out to sea past Roa Island and Foulney.   One side of the island was blue skies


and the other under dark clouds.  This swimmer acclimatising to the sea temperature standing on the end of Roe Island jetty at high tide could choose his own direction.  Left around the lifeboat station to sunshine or right to Piel Island under cloud.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Beach Art

The flotsam and jetsam has risen up on Haverigg shingle bank and stands sentinel.
In the stillness of the day nothing moved

The little mountain of Black Combe watches over sea and land

And still nothing moves
The jellyfish does not want to be here down in the sand it wants to move;
and dreams of the pools left behind by the tide.  We move on -
and in the distance see another sentinel on top of the sand dunes
From the sea to dune
an everlasting supply of tide washed buoys to gather and to string up on the skyline by our mystery artist.
Nature's art of tide and time is also gathering, perhaps to grow another shingle bank
of the beach pebbles remnants from deep time.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Autumn on Duddon Moss

 The Duddon Mosses have been well visited this year as a local escape into nature from Covid19 and for that reason the bracken has not overwhelmed the paths.  Now all is quiet as people walk elsewhere and only the birds were in residence as we walked the paths and boardwalk.

One of the joys of this time of year are the variety of fungi

such as these common earthballs nestling in the grass.  I love this passage in my old (1978) Observer's Book of Mushrooms and Toadstools .  "This fungus is unwholesome and should not be eaten; nevertheless as it somewhat resembles the truffle (in looks, not taste) it is sometimes used by unscrupulous restaurants in conjunction with the real thing" and then it finishes off with the zinger "but this happens mainly on the Continent as Truffles are little used in this country" . What were we eating in 1978 that may be thought of as continental?   Woman and Home tells me it was cheese fondue and quiche lorraine.  Heady days.
My fungi knowledge is scant but nevertheless I can admire their shapes, sizes and colours. This hat shape I think is a type of Cavalier
And a perfect round
From a distance this looked like a potato lying by the path.  I think it might be a Parasitic Bolete (Boletus parasiticus) and is parasitic on Earthballs (seen in the first photo) although it is now conjectured that they simply consume dying earthballs.  If my observation is correct it is an uncommon find.
Not looking in the best of health.

So lots of fungi but one I did not see was the instantly recognisable Fly Algaric which is very strange as usually there are a lot of them here. 2018 was an especially fruitful year as can be seen in my post at the time here

Leaving behind the paths we wandered across the boardwalk to admire

the Bog Asphodel whose other name is the Lancashire Asphodel and Lancashire is what this part of the country used to be until governmental edict turned it into Cumbria. The plant is in fruit
and they give wonderful colour to the green moss.  As we took the path to leave through the

wood a Speckled Wood butterfly flew past to gently land and open its wings to take in the warmth of the sun

and a young oak glowed with autumn colour.





Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Song Bird


Everything was on the wing making the most of the blue skies , warm temperatures and nectar.  This plump little robin full of the summer's bounty sang sweetly and loudly its September song.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Heather Bloom

Duddon Mosses looking towards the Coniston Fells

An expanse of  heather signals to us that autumn is on the way. Enjoy its purple glory and the ebbing of summer days. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Split Decision

Split Decision by Sam Shendi on the Plinth outside Liverpool Parish Church
Walking into Liverpool from a different direction than usual when visiting the city I turned into Chapel Street and was hit in the eye with these colours. I had discovered the Liverpool plinth.  Like London's fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square it also hosts a temporary sculpture but in this case it is chosen by competition open to people living and working in the north of England.

This striking sculpture measures 45 metres and the artist says the "colours express emotions and fears that a depressed individual experiences when having to make a decision".  I wonder if the body also represents a bottle of pills or just the feeling of being blue.  The colours are the same in each direction - choices are hard when not being able to see a difference in direction.
One of life's coincidences means that this sculpture, chosen in 2019, is so relevant in these strange times of the Covid 19 virus and the instruction to everyone of social distancing, only necessary travel and self-isolation when all sorts of decisions, big and small, will have to be made.  
The Artist:
Sam Shendi is an Egyptian born British sculpture who lives and works in Yorkshire. His other works can be seen on his website.  He works in industrial materials such as stainless steel, aluminum or fibreglass to create his figurative works but the colours distract from the material and what lies beneath,  They are fascinating from the whimsical to the thought provoking.

The Not Just Hockney website has a short bio and for lover of the industrial history a photo of his commemoration of the nail makers of Silsden.  Hopefully in the future I could combine a visit to Silsden with a walk by the wonderful Leeds to Liverpool Canal.  

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

St Patrick

We were in search of red kites in Kilmagig Forest on a holiday in Ireland a couple of years ago, but saw none. In our wandering however we did find St Patrick standing in Kilmagig Old Cemetery on a hilltop near the forest.  It is said this is where he built a church for the name Kilmagig mean 'Church of the Windy Plain'. On our visit there was only a gentle breeze on a warm June day.
Happy St Patrick's Day.

Friday, 31 January 2020

One Hundred Years

Sarah Alice Gardner
Today would have been my mother's 100th birthday but here she is at 23 in her Fire Brigade uniform when she was stationed in Kendal, Westmorland (today Cumbria) in the war.  Leading Firewoman Gardner.  The caption on the back of the photo says "1943 at Kendal over the river near the Kendal Fire Station.".  I think the Aynam Road Fire Station is in the background and can be seen here.  Not only is the fire station now elsewhere but she looks to be standing by lock gates which I presume was part of the Lancaster Canal which at one time ran right into Kendal and was closed to commercial traffic in 1947.
Sarah 'Sadie' Gardner and Charles 'Alf' Pugh
My parents met in Kendal when they were both posted there and my father used to enjoy saying that Hitler brought them together.  Here they are in March 1944 in the village of Sedgwick.  I would hazard a guess they have walked along the canal towpath. I wonder if the tree is still there.

Happy Birthday Mum