One a week Photo Challenge – Nature

Ah! how to encapsulate nature in one photograph?

View of fields and mountain
If you click on the photo you can see a bigger version which shows the beauty even more clearly

Of course one cannot, but instead of giving you a collection of photographs that show different aspects of nature, I will share just this one photograph that seemed to me at the time to encapsulate the true beauty of nature as found in Britain. In this case in Wales, near Tywyn.

I took it when I was on my second holiday in the area when out on a walk.


Quick garden post!

I couldn’t resist giving you a quick update on changes in the garden.

The wallflowers that I planted to keep the cats off the place where I am going to plant a daphne have come into flower and make a colourful show!            WallflowersThe pansies that equally were planted to keep a spot for some lavender are flowering again though I can see the slugs are having a field day! Pansies and forget-me-notsThe forget-me-nots that I love are flourishing.

The apple tree not only is coming into leaf but has blossom. apple blossomI know I must not let the tree produce apples this year but I will enjoy the blossom.

And finally: the clematis that I showed you in an earlier post (taken last September)clematis last Septemberalready has lots of new buds. clematis buds

Garden update

The weather has been fairly wet lately but last Thursday it was bright and sunny and going out into the garden I realised that just everything was springing into life. So I went out and did some necessary pruning and took a few photographs.

Last Autumn I planted a clematis on the right hand side of the garden. It is called Diana’s Delight and as with all the clematis I planted, shouldn’t get much bigger than a couple of metres.0553-clematisI have just pruned it as they say you should and hope to get an even better showing this year.

Before Christmas I planted an apple tree. I bought it mail order as I couldn’t find what I wanted at the local garden centre and it had more branches than I expected but it looks good and sturdy. It is a self-fertile Cox on M27 rooting stock. The same as I had before.

I took this photograph in February after I had pruned it. 0553-apple-treeAnother photograph I took in February was of the Lenten rose I had just planted. 0553-helleboresYou can also see the two Christmas roses I had planted before Christmas that were now dying off.

These are on the left side of the garden in the shady bed. 0553-shady-bedYou can see that the Lenten rose now has more flowers.

At the far end are a couple of clematis I planted before Christmas. I have put eggshells round (as I do) to discourage slugs from having a nibble! One of these should be grapefruit scented. I wait in hope! The bare patch next to them is where I should have lily of the valley later.

In the forefront are snowdrops and pulmonaria. 0553-snowdrops-and-pulmonariaWhen I lowered the height of the bed I replanted all the snowdrop bulbs I found and replanted any pulmonaria seedlings I found around the garden. (They do seem to seed themselves, even at quite a distance away!)

However with using up the earth I removed from the bed elsewhere, I see that I have a couple of snowdrops show up under the apple tree. 0553-snow-drop-under-apple-treeThe right hand, sunny, side of the garden is beautifully colourful now. 0553-sunny-bedsHere is a closer look at the herb bed. 0553-herb-bedYou can see the rosemary and thyme in the middle and now I have crocus and daffodils. The touch of red on the left is the remains of some winter pansies I put in to avoid having a bare patch where some lavender will be planted.

The best looking crocus are in the other small island bed though. 0553-crocusThere are lots of other things as well.

This is a photo I took when the sun was really bright. 0553-small-bedOn the right you can see the garlic and one of the three Christophe alliums that I am very fond of. 0553-garlic-and-aliumGarlic is about my only culinary crop because it is so easy. Mind you I just take a few cloves out of the fridge and they don’t grow very big.

In the foreground above you can see my patio rose: Dream Lover. It should be bee friendly and scented!0553-patio-roseThe spikes and the slate are to discourage cats from doing you know what!

The middle bed at the back is the least interesting to look at, at this time of year but this is the sedum that I reduced and replanted. 0553-transplanted-sedumI also replanted the primroses that someone gave me last autumn. 0553-primrosesMaybe I should have put them in the other way round. The flowers don’t want to look at me!

And underneath the fuchsia I found that there was still one of the Springtime cyclamen I planted a few years ago. 0553-spring-cyclamen

I hope you enjoyed a little Springtime peak at my garden. I must go out soon and buy the lavender and a daphne I want, as they become available.


Photo Challenge – Autumn

I looked around and decided that the Autumn colours are not at their best yet and so I decided that instead of taking a new photograph (and how can you capture Autumn in just one photograph anyway) that I would create a gallery of some of the Autumn photographs I have used on my blog previously.

If you click you will get to see each photograph full size. Not all the same as they come from different posts. Note the Gallery does not work in the WordPress Reader you have to go to my blog!

Old Sarum adventure

Maybe not as much of an adventure as some but I have sort of got used to titling my walks this way.

Some time ago I had downloaded a pdf of a BBC ‘Norman walk’, being the only one within easy reach, and so I printed this out and took it, an Ordnance Survey extract map I had printed out and my trusty Silva compass, all of which I used,Map etc.and took the X7 bus to Salisbury.

As soon as we got into Wiltshire we passed through a village decorated with dummies dressed up in all sorts of amusing poses. It was very hard to get any photos from the bus so I was pleased to at least get this one.Dressed dummyI hadn’t checked to see if I could get a bus to Old Sarum (which you can) and had decided to walk. So in the end I chose to start with points 5 and 4 on the BBC map as they could be on the way and then move on to the start of the walk.

This however was not such a good idea as you can’t always find things if you aren’t following  instructions!

I turned off by this lovely thatched cottage,Thatched cottagelooking for ‘The Parliament Tree’ or at least the plaque where it once stood and proceeded up a woodland path.Turned down pathafter a bit it narrowed.Path narrowsHere is a view through the right hand side at one point.Path side viewso you can see the open ground and houses beyond.

Of course I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the wild rose that leaned across to the path.Wild roseThe weather forecast had been for sun early and then cloud but as you can see the sun was almost too bright for photographs and it turned out a warm sunny day. The sort of weather you expect in June!

I couldn’t work out where I could expect to see the plaque I mentioned so I proceeded on to Old Sarum.

As instructed I climbed onto the inner rampart and walked along it.Inner rampartYou can see what a beautiful day it was.

I reached the site of the original cathedral and came across this.Undercroft?I wasn’t sure what it was, an undercroft perhaps.

Here you can see the layout of the cathedral as not much is left standing.Old cathedral layoutThere were lots of small pits in the ground,Rabbit made holes?A sign of rabbits I thought!

I proceeded round the outer part of the ditch that surrounded the royal castle.

It was hard to get a photograph that gave an idea of it’s depth but I think the shadow of the trees help here.DitchNow the BBC walk didn’t involve any expense but I decided that I would pay and visit the inner castle part of the site for two reasons.

The first because on my previous visit with a friend, we had walked there along the river, a very pretty walk, but by the time we arrived she said she was tired and was worried if we would get back in time for something she had to do, so we didn’t stay very long.

The second reason was because on that visit I had seen that they sold some attractive silver rings.

Here is the bridge over the ditch that leads to the royal castle ruins.Entrance bridgeNow I bought the ring to the left in the picture below in St David’s when I was twenty-two and I wore it most of the time until a few years ago when my knuckles got too big. I wanted to get another silver ring, maybe a celtic cut-out design but not one with a break in the pattern where it was joined in a circle.

When I had been here before they had such a ring but I didn’t have time to look at it and wasn’t sure if I could really afford it. This time they didn’t have the same ring but I found this one (on the right). It was about two third the width of the ring I had seen and about two thirds the price, both of which were a good idea so I bought it. It was just the right size so obviously this was meant to be!Silver ringsI don’t want to bore you but I will share a few of the photographs I took round the castle area.

There is the well and believe it or not people had slipped coins down the side. Don’t know if anyone could collect them up.Well

Here is a long view of the main ruins.Long view of Old Sarum ruinsand this is the banked chalk path that runs along the edge (just at the top of the steps you can see in the photo above).Chalk pathFrom here I took a distant view of Salisbury cathedral using the maximum digital zoom of my camera which obviously doesn’t give you the best picture but gave me more than I could see with my eyes!Salisbury cathedralI walked along the path as far as the most solid of the flint walls. Obviously, originally these would have been faced with smooth stone.

I couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the flints.Wall flintsI thought this was a bit like an animal face.Interesting flintI also found there were plants growing in the walls.Plant in wallFrom here I could get another view of the layout of the old cathedral.Cathedral layout from castleI decided to make another try at finding the Parliament Elm plaque by following the given instructions.

I almost missed the sign that said “Stratford sub-Castle 1/2 mile.”Almost hidden signBut found the first gate First gateand saw a rabbit! unfortunately he saw me first but here is proof!Rabbit droppingsand then the second gate,Second gateand finally the plaque.Parliment elm plaqueI decided not to try to find points 6 and 7 of the planned walk as the walk did seem to be mainly an exercise in imagination and so I then went back the way I came photographing the flowers in a couple of gardens as I went.

Two sorts of poppies: ordinary and californian plus some wheat!PoppiesThen one of my favourites ever since I grew them as a child: Love-in-the-mist.Love-in-the-mistSince I now knew where I was and was no longer afraid of getting lost I decided to finish the day by walking along the river Avon.River Avonand took a last view of Salisbury cathedral.Cathedral spire from riverI got to the bus stop just as the last bus of the day to Southampton was leaving! I hadn’t realised that the later buses only went halfway, so I was lucky. Must plan better next time.

I hope you enjoy joining me on my walk. I realise that writing and sharing these posts is almost as good as being able to have company on the walk itself.

Rockstone Place Park

On Sunday I decided to pop out and take a few photographs. I was partly thinking of something that I could use for Monochrome Madness (you will need to look next week to see what I took) but I also thought I might share some photographs of a nearby mini park, only a few minutes walk from where I live.

The weather is cold for May and the afternoon was not very sunny. Though the sun did come out at one point while I was there.SunshineThere is a plaque on the wall.Park name plaque(When I first came to Southampton this area was being used as a car park.)

There is another plaque too.Lubor Velecky plaqueI remember meeting an oldish man called Lubor many years ago, I wonder if that was him. I think his surname was Velecky!

Here is a view of the park as I entered it.View from startOn the right I saw what I took to be a sort of mock orange.Mock orange seenThis is a close up of the flowers.Mock orange flowersThere were also a lot of white rugosa roses.White rugosa roseI tried to photograph what I thought was a helleboreHelleborebut decided it wasn’t very interesting so I tried to put the camera where I could photograph the inside of one of the larger flowers, only to find when I came home that I had photographed a lot of greenfly! Look away now if you don’t like the sight of greenfly.GreenflyI recognised this as euphorbiaEuphorbiathe flowers are so strange.Euphorbia flowersBut I really don’t know what this isBlue flowersThe flowers remind me a little bit of forget-me-nots. Do you know its name?Blue flower close-upAnother thing I don’t recognise is this tree.Unknown treeHere are a couple of fallen blossoms.Fallen tree flowersDo you know what tree it is?

I liked the fancy paving.PavingLooking closer, in places I could see lichen and liverwortLichen & liverwortand moss.MossAt the far end was a mesh of trees.Mesh of treesHere is the view from this end looking back. End view looking backSouthampton Council are a bit stuck for cash these days like everyone else and I don’t know if they give any time to upkeep the park.

Here you can see the only brightly coloured flowers I found – some wall flowers – but you can also see the invasive brambles.Wallflowers & brambleand here among the roses some sycamore tree seedlings.Roses & sycamoreThey were all over the place and are hard to get rid of once they are established.

I hope you enjoyed our wander round the park. You can see how little it is but nonetheless a welcome patch of green among the surrounding buildings.

Tywyn holidays

(I am posting this because Wild Daffodil. posted about her walk on Ynyslas Beach and I told her that nearby Tywyn was also a good base for a holiday.)

Just a little introduction to why I chose Tywyn for a holiday then photographs of different things we saw.) Tywyn beachFor my daughter’s tenth birthday I bought her a box set of five books. I bought them because they promised adventure and mentioned King Arthur. We were both great fans of King Arthur.

A number of years ago my daughter mentioned these books and how they were among her favourites and said that I ought to read them. So I did.

I borrowed them from the library at first and then bought my own copies and have re-read them a few times.

Susan Cooper booksI was so enraptured by the descriptions of the different places that occured in the books that I sugested to my daughter that she and the rest of her family might like to come to Tywyn with me for a week’s holiday.

The fourth and fifth books are set in the surrounding area and I had found a lovely house backing onto the promenade that could be booked for holidays.Tywyn promenadeWe went there in the Spring Bank Holiday 2009 half-term when my granddaughter was almost six.

I went back on my own the following year in September.

One of the places mention in the book is Bird Rock (in Welsh Craig yr Aderyn). The birds in question being cormorants. It is the only inland nesting site for cormorants in Europe.Bird rockand here is a view from the top.View from Bird rockAs you can see it was not a very good day for photographs. Also I was using my son’s Sony bridge camera in the days when he was trying to persuade me to move from film to digital.

The following year I walked all the way there from Tywyn. The coutryside was so beautiful.Countryside near TywynAnother place that occurs in the book is Carn March Arthur.This is an impression in a rock supposedly the imprint of the hoof of King Arthur’s horse.Carn march Arthur sign with LouisaHere is the stone in question.Carn march ArthurNearby there is an echo that also appears in the book. I found this when I returned the following year but it is not especially photogenic.

Near the echo is the Bearded Lake (Llyn Barfog in Welsh). Out of which King Arthur pulled the avanc in the legend.Bearded lakeThis a composite picture of the whole lake. (I think you can just see the join).

One of the reasons for going back in September the next year is that the lake is called bearded because of the water lilies that you can see then but not in the Spring.Bearded lake in AutumnA really beautiful spot (again mentioned in the book) is Tal-y-llyn. (The name of the lake.)Family at Tal-y-llynAs you can see we are all photographer’s.

While we were there we also decided to climb Cader Idris. In the event because of my grandaughter’s short legs slowing us down and threated thunderstorms that afternoon we only got about half-way throught the route but about two thirds of the way up.

Just before we climbed the last little bit to where we had lunch before we returned is Llyn Cau.Llyn CauAnd here is another picture again to show the whole lake. (The join is even more obvious this time I am afraid.)Llyn Cau composite pictureHere is the last steep climb with my granddaughter sitting patiently till we had finished taking photographsLouisa waitingand the view from the highest point we reached.Cader Idris lunchtime viewWe also went for a trip to the Dolgoch Falls on the Talyllyn Railway.Dolgoch stationAnd the engine.Dolgoch engineI found it impossible to do the falls justice in my photographs.Dolgoch falls They just go on and on.

There were some beautiful sunsets while we were there and though the photographs I took are not exceptional I here is a gallery of a few of them.

And a couple of the photographs I took on the beach the next year.
A bird on a rockBird on postand some seaweed.SeaweedMountains and sea close together what could be better!

I’ve been away!

I went to Aylesbury to visit my daughter and provide a little babysitting where needed. I say babysitting but my granddaughter is far from being a baby being almost twelve.

On the Friday morning while my daughter was at work and my granddaughter at school, I went for a walk.

They are fortunate enough to live on the edge of Aylesury and a couple of minutes walk brings you to fields. Though somewhere not so far away through these fields is the planned route of HS2 and if not that I was told there has been talk of more houses.

I didn’t take my camera with me because I just wanted to relax but I did take my phone so when I couldn’t resist the need to take some photographs I used that.

Having a decent camera I have never bothered much with the settings on the phone so this is very much just point and shoot.

The blackthorn was out in force along the hedgerowsBlackthornand I was surprised to find the branches covered in lichen.Blossom with lichenI also saw trees with lichen on the branches but the photograph I took doesn’t show it clearly.

The dandelions were out in force and though as a gardener I hate them, they are very bright and uplifting to the spirit.DandelionsThis photograph shows that they were not so welcome in my daughter’s garden.Dead dandelionsThe bridge across a stream that leads into the fields has a strange superstructure! not sure what they are trying to restrict.Exit from fieldsThe only slightly negative aspect to the area is the row of pylons that march along the grass between houses and fields.Pylons

My daughter finishes early on a Friday and in the afternoon we went out to Berkhamsted castle. It is a Norman motte-and-bailey castle dating from the 11th – 13th centuries. Entry is free and it is really only a few ruins.

I took a few photographs, with my camera this time, but this is the most interesting view.MotteThe nearby cottage was much more picturesque.Berkhamsted  cottage

Of course I indulged in a little crochetMy Crochetand my grandaughter was delighted to get a little help with hers.

This is an almost rainbow bookmark she made. (I sewed in the ends and finished it off with the edging.)BookmarkThis is all really ‘practice’ and she isn’t worrying too much if the stitch count varies a bit. She is getting more confident and more even.

Here is her other project a ‘blanket’ for a ‘rainbow baby’ I made her.Other crochet projectIt’s a shame that I don’t live nearer. I am sure she would progress much more quickly if I were.

Going for a walk

The other day the weather was so pleasant I thought that I would go for a walk and take my camera.

I wasn’t sure what I would find to photograph because I was going up the road to Southampton Common and I have photographed it so many times before but I hope you enjoy coming with me on my walk and that I can share some different things.

The first thing that caught my eye was this fallen tree trunk snaking along by the side of the path.

Tree trunkI stopped to examine the interesting texture of the knots in the bark.

Tree knot 1

Tree knot 2 I passed by the  The Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre and thought I would take a closer look at the gates.

Wildlife Centre gateThey come from a time when the Council seemed to be into naturalistic wrought iron.

There are iron flowers and leaves

Plant on gateand down the bottom some small creatures hiding like this frog.

Frog on gateA bit further on my eye was caught by the sight of this fungus high up on a tree.

Fungus on treeI think the ruffled layers are so pretty.

I had decided that I would make for the cemetery lake.

As I looked over towards it I noticed that the day was a bit misty which I had not realised before.

Misty viewLeanne Cole who has a photographic blog that I follow had been photographing birds lately so I thought I would have a go. The birds of prey and parrots of her Australian Sanctuary were more exotic than those you can find on the Common but I was pleased with this picture of a mallard duck. I wanted to show the wake and ripples.

Mallard duck

and I then turned my attention to the pigeons.

Two pigeons

This chap seemed to be looking at me with interest wondering what I was doing sitting on the ground.Pigeon looking at meI saw a seagull on a post but as soon as I got closer he flew away.

Seagull on postWhere to go now?

As I haven’t been there very often, and it would be something new to photograph, I went to the cemetery.

Yew walkThere is a long yew walk and the graves are off on either side.

As here

Grave stones 1and here

Grave stones 2I really liked this carved headstone.

Carved headstoneAnd thought this would make a lovely picture for an Easter card.

Lying cross

By now I was at a convenient place to head back home so I left and came back along by a path at the edge of the Common.

Return pathI smiled when I saw this happy face someone had drawn on a fallen branch.

Happy face

And finally came out to the usual place.

ExitWhen I got home I took some photographs of the flowers I had been given for Mother’s Day.

I thought I had agreed with my son that we wouldn’t bother with ‘Mother’s Day’ this year and I thought my eldest wasn’t bothering either which was fine as I was brought up to ignore it.

However in the afternoon I was just about to make myself a cup of tea when there was a knock at the door and in came my son with a card and a present and behind him my eldest daughter with a card and a big bunch of flowers and my granddaughter with a tin of coconut flapjacks that she had made. And very delicious flapjacks they were too. Not hard and crumbly like mine go. I have been promised the recipe!

I shared the flowers between two vases.

One in the sitting room

Flowers in sitting roomAnd one in the kitchen

Flowers in kitchenAs you can see I am not into ‘flower arranging’ but they make me happy every time I look at them.

What have you been doing lately?

The Common close up

The other day the sun was shining and I decided to go for a walk on Southampton Common. I decided to concentrate on looking at the small things that one might otherwise miss and the first thing that caught my eye were the autumn leaves now white with the first real frost of the winter.


Here is a close up of one leaf.


And there were also the odd delicate white feathers like this. A warmer spot, no frost here.


The surface of the lake was partly iced over and people were out with their children feeding the ducks. I was struck by this morsel of bread floating in the water.


I love the texture of bark on trees and the beautiful colours here held my attention.


On the ground was a twig covered in lichen.


And some trees were covered with it too.


And also loving the damp bark of a fallen tree was moss.


There was ivy on the wall,


A fir cone on the ground


and signs of new ones yet to come.


Some odd traces of human activity, mainly near where the cars park.


And near the entrance/exit flowers on the rhododendron bushes.


Of course I had to take some views as well.

Here the winter trees stretching upwards either side of the path.


And of course I can never resist taking pictures of water, especially when there are swans. Seagulls too, swooping over the water.


Then of a sudden they all took flight.


The light was fading. Time to go home.


When I got near home I stopped to take some pictures of the mahonia flowers.


And looking up I caught sight of the moon above the roof tops.


I was surprised to find how many photographs I had taken. Partly because although I normally think of myself as good at taking hand held photographs, I seemed to find it hard to hold the camera steady. Was this the cold?