Before I sign off for the night I have one last post in remembrance of my dear friend Lou. Today was her birthday. She would have enjoyed the sunshine but, like me, struggled with the humidity! I suspect that if she’d not been working we would have just headed off to Guildford Lido for the day and kept cool in the water. No swimming for me this week as we’re off on our holiday to Kos tomorrow. Last Tuesday this incredible sight of meadow flowers, particularly lots of birds-foot trefoil, greeted mum and I as we arrived at Thorpe Open Water Swimming Lake! Well, Lou would have just loved this too. Completely perfect for a picnic with plenty of Pimms! So this wonderful, golden sight is for you, my dear friend. I know you’d be wishing you were coming with us to Kos tomorrow and I wish we could have taken you. In so many ways you’re with me wherever I go anyway! One of these years a dolphin will finally come to greet us in the Mediterranean waters and I will know that you have sent it to me. Love always xxx
The Woking Peregrine Falcons have successfully raised five youngsters this year! It’s been amazing to watch their journey unfold on the live cameras situated by the nest box. This is only the second year nesting here for these adults, so to raise all five of their brood is really quite something! The juveniles have fledged and all five have been taking to skies over Woking Town to learn how to hunt at around 200mph. These are the fastest animals on Earth! At the moment the adults are leading their young on high speed chases, baiting them with fresh caught food and trying a few food passes in flight. The adult in this image has a pigeon for the juveniles. This is my entry for Wex Mondays this week as it was just the most incredible thing to watch.
When the bustle of activity around the dive centre on Swanage Pier has finished for the day, all that remains is the calm stillness of the waters and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, now that Simon and I are fully qualified PADI Open Water Divers! This is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed Challenge. It’s from a four second long-exposure of the old pier struts, next to where the dive boats moor during the day. Despite the overcast skies I didn’t have enough filters to get a longer exposure! I will have to get some Lee Big Stoppers before our next dive there.
This rather dark image is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. This is Box Hill Fort, set behind the visitor’s centre and cafe at the top of Box Hill. Last Wednesday I went out chasing butterflies again and I was looking for several species on the chalk hillsides of Box Hill. The fort was a rather stark contrast to the delicate little butterflies I was looking for. I was really struck by the graffiti on this wall. It’s not the usual splurge of spray paint or some unreadable moniker! No, this is polite, Surrey graffiti. It’s even been written using the local chalk from around the hillside, which means no lasting damage! And it rhymes; GO TO THE DOOR FAR FROM HERE, HOPEFULLY YOU’LL FACE YOUR FEAR. There’s actually no visitor entry to the fort these days as it’s now home to bats, which are a protected species in the UK. So, if you fear bats and you’re by the far door at dusk, I suppose you may well face your fear! In the bright sunshine all I found was a holly blue butterfly, which was more delightful than awful. I’m still not certain why the writer thinks that readers would be hopeful of facing their fear. I find it intriguing and perhaps that makes it art. What do you think?
The Old Fort is one of 13 mobilisation centres (known collectively as the London Defence Positions) built in the 1890s to protect London from invasion from continental Europe. The six acre site of the fort was originally purchased by the Ministry of Defence in 1891, and construction began in 1896. Box Hill fort was laid out in the form of an infantry redoubt, typical of the period, but also included magazines for the storage of artillery ammunition. Box Hill fort was designed for the use of the infantry only and the stored ammunition was intended for the use of mobile field artillery, which would be deployed nearby as required. A reform of defence policy by the Secretary of War, Viscount Haldane, in 1905 resulted in all 13 centres being declared redundant, and Box Hill Fort was sold back to the estate trustees in 1908.
A magical sight waited for us in the woodland yesterday, where a group of us gathered to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I followed the track dividing the woodland plots and discovered that the bluebells were taking over the rutted track, once used by man and machine, now given back to nature. I’ve added this sighting to The Woodland Trust‘s online survey of bluebell woods, helping to build a national picture of the locations of our native bluebells. Sightings of hybrid and Spanish Bluebells can also be added to the Big Bluebell Watch, to help with conservation management. This is also my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I expect bluebells will be featuring heavily again this week on their twitter feed and I just hope that everyone can feel the magic in my capture.
Something a bit different for Wex Monday this week! These wee little piggies are Gloucester Old Spots, a rare breed pig, that are being raised at The Cotswold Farm Park in Gloucestershire. The farm belongs to Adam Henson who is a co-presenter of BBC’s Countryfile program. He specialises in rare, British breeds of all farm animals. I had such a large album to choose from but just couldn’t get this image of the piglets out of my head! They really were so cute playing together in the field. It’s lovely to visit a free range, ethically managed farm! The park is only a part of Adam Henson’s farm and is a great day out for families and animal lovers. I even managed to bring home dinner from the wonderful farm shop!