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ShareMondays2018 – CAPTION COMPETITION!

Cian with parakeets in Hyde Park

ShareMondays2018 – CAPTION COMPETITION!

Three…two…one…GO!

Firstly, I must thank Cian for agreeing to let me use this candid image I captured of him, covered in parakeets, in Hyde Park on Friday. I hadn’t met Cian or his family before! If I am planning on posting recognisable images of complete strangers, I try my best to actually speak to them, get their permission and just explain what I am using them for. It’s a great way to start a conversation with people. Sharing a bond with wildlife is another fantastic ice breaker!

I was in Hyde Park, for some nature therapy, after a London Hospital appointment and followed the sound of parakeets toward what I assumed was a roost. Just through the trees a shady glade was filled with people, parakeets, laughter and smiles. Everyone was chatting and sharing bits of fruit or birdseed to offer up to the equally chatty parakeets. Hyde Park itself is a wonderful oasis in the big city but here, in this little glade, it was almost as if I had been transported out of London and into a jungle paradise. Here, within the city that never stops, where people are always in a rush, tempers are frayed and patience is just a card game, we all stopped and lost track of time.

I have so many different potential titles that I decided to throw it out there and see if any of you can guess any of mine! So here’s my challenge to everyone on WordPress and those also taking part in ShareMondays, Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenges. Gold stars to anyone who guesses correctly!

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Preening

Young Swan Preening

Preening

I made a bit of a beginners error on Saturday morning when I left the house to travel up to London’s Hyde Park. I forgot my main camera! Oops. To be fair I was rather distracted by the prospect of Swimming The Serpentine for charity again (here’s a link to my fundraising page), remembering the wetsuit, goggles, entry tags, swim cap, timing tag and my waterproof camera. So at least I did have ONE camera with me! I didn’t get much from in the water though as it was quite choppy with the huge numbers of swimmers. There were 5000 swimmers over the course of the day, including myself and my mum. Colder than last year, both in and out of the water but nevertheless, absolutely brilliant! The wildlife in Hyde Park is wonderful. A sanctuary for nature and people in the heart of London. Swans are such enigmatic birds and I love swimming alongside them in open water. This youngster was busily preening its’ feathers after the latest rain shower. I was really pleased with how my waterproof Olympus performed for me in capturing this shot! I still WISH I’d had the Sony and Fuji kit there though. I really must try to get up to the park for a purely photographic outing sometime! This black and white edit is my entry for the weekend photography Fotospeed challenge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Water’s Edge

Feeding The Birds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Water’s Edge

Preparing To Swim The Serpentine

This coming Saturday 24th September I will be stepping off the edge into the waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London, as part of the Swim Serpentine event, raising money for my charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK (CCUK). Swimming is the only sporting activity that I can do since the worsening of my Crohn’s and the onset of fibromyalgia. I love open water swimming and joined Thorpe Open Water Swimming club this summer for my own enjoyment as well as training for the charity swim. I actually feel so much more like myself when I get my wetsuit on and jump into the lake! I can move so much more freely and really get some active exercise going that helps prevent the fibromyalgia from worsening. There’s only one more week left of the open water season and I know I will feel lost without it during the winter. I don’t swim much in pools as the chemicals in them can really aggravate the skin conditions associated with my Crohn’s!

Swim Serpentine Course Map

I am so excited to be able to swim around the entire Serpentine! Hyde Park and the lake are a sanctuary for people and wildlife in the heart of London. I have visited a number of times to photograph the wildlife and landscapes but now I have a chance to see it all from a different perspective. If only I could take my camera into the water! I thought I would create a few albums to show you all some of the beautiful sights around the park and lake. I hope you enjoy them and perhaps you will be inspired to SPONSOR ME! CCUK is a small charity compared to many that will be represented on the day and we really need your help. I’m also taking part in the formation of a research project into perianal Crohn’s Disease at the moment. It’s a great feeling to be able to be part of something that could really improve the care and quality of life for many patients in the future! CCUK is involved is a huge amount of research as well as giving support to patients and their families. All research projects take many years of work and can cost an awful lot of money. They are absolutely vital in furthering our understanding of the causes of these complex illnesses and finding better medical and surgical treatments for the future. There is no cure. We would like to find one! If you can’t sponsor me yourself I would be grateful if you would share this request for help with others. Thank you all!

Hyde Park Wildlife

Scenes around Hyde Park and The Serpentine

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Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

After a visit to Guy’s Hospital in London today and plenty of staring up at The Shard, Simon and I went along to Hyde Park for some much needed rest and relaxation in the sun.

I completely forgot to bring my bird food along but we were still treated to a fabulous array of wildlife, including this lovely little grey wagtail.

This is rather special for me as I’ve been longing to photograph the UK’s other wagtails, aside from the pied wagtail. I’ve spotted the greys and possibly a yellow alongside the canal but only ever a glimpse!

I’ll have a full album up on my Facebook Page as soon as I can! It will have images of The Shard, swans and cygnets, many kinds of geese, herons, squirrels, butterflies, ducks, flowers, sculpture………

………. Hyde Park has a lot to offer!