Monday, June 30, 2008

I promised you pretty bits


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Ooh! a presie :)

It's not often I get these things (which is not such a bad thing as I never know quite how to do whatever I ought to be doing with them :)
Thank you Sorrow :) That's so very lovely of you.

Aha! I checked up. These are to share with loving people. And it seems this is a bottomless handful. (can a handful be bottomless? I'm not sure but let's assume it can)
Dear I , please help yourself to a handful or three if you'd like some and Mel, I know you had some a while ago but if some is good more is better, right.... :)
'Shot, please do have a handful too. I still don't know if they're gummi hearts (must look up gummi hearts :) but I'd like you to have some of the love part.
Oh the hell with it! Everyone, take handfuls, bagsful, bucketsful! Plaster them around your blogs if you like or hang them with the washing or feed them to the piglets or hang them round the horse's ears, toss them to the gorgeous children and grandchildren :) If you happen to be lurking (I've no idea if I still have the odd lurker ?) pick some up very quietly and take them home with you :)

And while you're at it, enjoy this
Be astonished at every turn by this
and be heart pierced and spiritually sharpened by this

Tomorrow I'm going to delve into the mysteries of my blog roll and try and update it. All of you are on my RSS feed but the blog roll confuses me. So don't hold your breath :)
Love all (oops the tennis is getting to me!)

Can anyone tell me why my computer will only play U tube in fits and starts? I hope yours don't do it too cos none of the above pieces benefit from unwritten pauses in the music!

Further update
OMG! I just looked up gummi hearts. No 'shot, I'm sorry but I can't be doing with those! Well, ok, they're very funny. But I don't think I would eat one : D

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Happy Monday to you all :)

And Goodnight for Sunday!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Temporary breakage

I hope - think.
Computer did itself an 'important' download the other day. Took several hours, as warned and then the internet went on the blink. (You know, blink on blink off, no comments, stuff swallowed without warning, much cursing)
Now I'm days behind with everything. I don't know what was so special about comments but I couldn't do any yesterday.
I hate it when I don't know if I'm going to be able to do the next thing I'd planned.

mutter mutter! grumble.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More and yet more birds

More specifically, more owl. Just one, the little burrowing owl. He didn't do much burrowing, but like Molly and Tolkien he didn't do much flying to order either. And when he did it was pretty quick and I got a lot of blurred blobs in this session. However, he posed beautifully and on one of his blindingly swift flits, landed with a mouthful of something. Rather suits him :)
And he does look very small and sweet, all alone on the ground. (That's looking firmly away from the falconer who was waving some delicious little something around for him to fly to)
In case you're thinking it's not surprising that the owls didn't want to play because they're nocturnal, it seems this isn't true of most of them. Many are diurnal and most will fly at dawn or dusk. Further, they are not in the least blinded by daylight though they do have extraordinary night vision and phenomenal hearing (Molly tracks her undersnow prey by hearing)

While we ate lunch, we were able to watch the public display from a balcony (didn't eat much lunch). The Lanner falcon did some spectacular fast swooping and stooping to the lure and I've included one of the pics of him flying just because I got him in shot. Mostly, he was long gone by the time I clicked the shutter!Later we got our own private flying display by Ivan and the Harris Hawk. She was amazingly good-natured about the whole thing and flew backwards and forwards to wherever Ivan helpfully went to give us the best shots of her landing and flying. I really liked her, such a pretty bird and so completely unconcerned.At some time during the day, we got to see the Peregrine close up. Stunning bird and much feted as the fastest natural thing on two wings. (We did see him fly earlier in the day but I can't find any pics - I think he was just too fast)What amazing eyes:)

Last thing, we were introduced to the Sparrow hawk. Brought up by Gareth, one of the falconers, who's had him since he was a three day old chick. He was very shy and we only got to see him for a few minutes before he made it clear that he didn't want to be here any more.
I'm pretty sure that one or two other people in our group got better shots than I did. Probably the couple with one wheel chair and two matching cameras with the most enormous lenses, did a great deal better (I know he got one lovely shot of Molly flying - all eyes and wings). Still, I learnt a lot and gratefully, have pictures to remind me of the wonderful, powerful creature we share our skies with. And our rabbits and insects and mice and etc :) And I was continually touched and amazed by the trust and confidence shared between birds and falconers. My eternal thanks to Brenda, Paul and Ivan for showing as much patience to their customers as to their birds. And most of all, to the birds themselves. Just for being really :) The world is richer for their existence and we really need to understand how lucky we are to have them in it.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

I show you more birds?

Well I hope you'll like to see some more :)
Tolkien the African Owl, had sneakily eaten half a rabbit before we arrived so he wasn't that bothered about his tempting snacks. He was persuaded to fly a couple of times but spent most of our time sitting on posts and gauntlets, squawking and chirruping endearingly. Owls seem to be amazingly chatty birds :)
Not that he was refusing any nibbles mind. Just wasn't going to perform for them :)
Chestnut the Tawny Owl wasn't required to fly but just to pose with his heart shaped face enchantingly framed in the Ivy.
And on Brenda's hand. He did this admirably. Cute or what ?
After this I forgot most of their names. The Barn Owl may have been posing or he may have been wondering if that hinge had always been there.
Occasionally he considered leaving but forgot that he was tethered to Ivan (kindly hiding inside the shepherd's hut so that we could take photos of the owl apparently all alone in his natural habitat)
And eventually he decided we'd had enough of him :)

I have become an Owl worshipper :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Of Molly and Madeleine

And one or two other characters.*

Molly (unlike Malc's Molly) was a bit distracted. Like Tolkien, another owl we met earlier, she just couldn't quite get on with the business of flying to order. She flitted without warning and had a great deal of chirrupy stuff to say and spent most of her time listening to something behind her. Apparently she comes from an Arctic waste and is accustomed to tracking weasels as they burrow along, two feet under the snow. What she makes of her admirers is hard to imagine. All that clicking and those big, single eyes staring at her. Impossible not to love her though!

Madeleine (the Secretary bird) was a different kettle. Of snakes.
She seemed quite amusing and daintily affected - until she demonstrated her talent for kicking a defenceless rubber snake to death. Later, when us photographers got our private viewing, she had a quick go at her falconer too - not he first time, he's been in hospital after she cut his head open! No, not my favourite bird. Still, the make-up and the trousers are good though the eyelashes surely had to be false :)

*I was going to show you Tolkien and maybe the Harris Hawk or possibly Chestnut, the Tawny Owl. They were all so beautiful (except the vultures who were funny and alarming by turns). but blogger's gone boggy on me so I'll go to bed instead.

Sleep well all. I hope the sun shines for you tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's all a bit busy

round here. We had a gig on Saturday and various other stuff in the day time. Then Sunday vanished without a trace - I really can't remember what I was doing all day but there seemed to be a lot of it.
And yesterday!
Yesterday was my hawk day. (you probably won't remember, I got a present of a photography day at the hawk conservancy place for my birthday back in December :)
I seen hawks and kites and eagles and owls and vultures and herons and a secretary bird!
And of course I took a few pics.

How come I can take almost as many in one day as I can take in a whole week? (And that, I'm told, is more than most people take in a whole year!)

Oh look! a chicken!
Who d'you think you're calling a chicken

Off with her head!Oops!Nice looking couple though :)That's Paul, one of our falconers for the day, with, um, oh, I'd forgotten their names by then. Mr Bald Eagle of the US of A. a splendid gentleman and much less irascible than he looks.
xxx, more tomorrow :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life after holidays

I suspect that this which I found here will be worth buying and reading. I think I shall. If Overnight Editor's blog is anything to go by it will at least be a feast of beautiful writing.
Speaking of beautiful (and in this case also funny) writing, I can't think how I've come to neglect ovagirl's blog for so long. After howling with laughter for several minutes, I realised that I'm already bored with the rewind of our holiday and you'll have to put up with dribs and drabs from now on. (sighs of relief all round).
Also I was quite distracted this morning by wedding outfits.
I'm sorry Frangelita but I won't be going with the red and white colour scheme. (Anyway I don't think it appropriate for the bride's mum to wear the bride's colour scheme. The bride's mum needs to look a different part see?)
No. I shall be wearing the lavender outfit. This is firstly because, in Oxfam yesterday I came across a lavender blouse with ruffles and the right size which fitted me and I thought 'Oh! That looks weddingy! And it's about the same colour as the Laura Ashley silk skirt which has been hanging in the cupboard for about two years, just in case I need to go to a wedding one day. Together with the nearly matching silk jacket.)
This morning I tried the whole lot on. And I kid you not, every part of it fitted. The blouse is exactly the same shade as the skirt and above all, I looked MAGNIFICENT!!!!! All I have to do in terms of bulges is not add any before September and I even have a barely worn pair of comfy sandals which are a soft grey and will look fine. I could hardly bear to take it all off!
Well and I might even think about looking for a hat :)
I am deeply satisfied with the way charity, after having begun in the high street, will go on to weddings.

A few dribs
The world goes on with it's normal business
colourful dereliction

Sorry, we're full, no space for extra passengers.

And drabs -
for water!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A water junkie, me

A little boat


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What we did on our holidays

Day 2 began unnaturally early. Well most of us thought it shouldn't have begun quite so early. John woke at 05.00. Am. And by 5.45 he could contain himself no longer and bounded around, generally waking people up and taking the puzzled but acquiescent dog out and bringing him back and went to the shop and, well, caused most of us to stop sleeping. There were cries of protest but we did all seem to be up by about 8. We punished John for the rest of the day by making jokes about his lack of sensible timing and everything that went slightly wrong was blamed on him, to general hilarity and hysteria. He took it very well. I think it was day 2 that ended in Manchester with a cheerful Italian dinner and quite a lot of wine. It transpired that Wendy had planned to have a healthy and excerciseful week. She decide to start the healthy part the next day.
I have to say that the journey into Manchester didn't inspire me a lot. (And the morning's photos were the ones the computer ate, so even if any of them were inspired, they're gone :(

Day 3 promised to be much more interesting.
We'd been told by the Waterboard that we would have a day's delay before the next planned bit of journey so we detoured down the part of the Rochdale canal which includes the bit that goes under (not Picadilly Station) the office block which is supported on pillars and really does seem a bit like plunging into some netherworld. There was lots of industrial and heavily urban stuff which, as always on the canals, acquires a kind of storytale glamour as you glide through its reflections and under its bridges and past its walls. Office block canyons between traffic jam clad bridges. Windows, walls, railings and bars between wire and rust and concrete. A landscape of alternate decay and contemporary glass mountains and concrete towers. Interlaced with Victorian magnificence. Ultra smart office workers thread their way on bikes and on foot between other kinds of workers and still less happy people on foot and on buses. Down-and-outs, stagger here and there clutching their bottles and secretaries in suits and girls on their night out journeys stilt walk past on their high heels in scanty clothing. All life. And then some. It's a vibrant city all right but some of the vibrations are more in tune with the rust, darkness and decay than others. While the canal glides past and reflects it all, without judgement.

In the evening, some of us went in search of a curry and found one, after a long and exhausting trek past famous Victorian buildings improbably sited amidst a mini city of glass skyscrapers and bars. (regrettably, the trek was too exhausting to allow time or energy for taking photos) Wonderfully trendy and smart with absolutely delicious food. I thoroughly recommend Shimla Pink, should you want a very good Indian meal. (we were slightly bedraggled and exhausted but weren't given the slightest hint that we didn't quite fit among the trendy, smart clientele - very good place indeed).

We moored at Dale Street car park. Very convenient if you happened to have a car parked there but we didn't. A long long time ago, when I was at school in Manchester I came here to do a painting of the (then derelict) lock gates. It's unrecognisable now.
On the way into Manchester there was this very very tall glass building. I thought it looked good balanced on a lock beam.
That's the inside of our boat. From this very er, room? cabin? John launched his attacks on our slumber :)
water pouring over the lock gates early in the morning (thank you John :)
Caught by puffs of wind and shattered into a million droplets.
Descent of boaters Into the oily depths under the city (If you look at this one large, you can see Steve poised to wind paddles and heave on gates - not in that order)More bridges, rows of themCanyons

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