Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Fat Cats and Red Sheds

Meet Ring-A-Ding...
 

 
When he first moved into my mum's house he was a scrawny little wild cat, who took to sleeping in one of the cupboards in her kitchen.  Cans of food that got in his way were kicked out onto the floor.  He is not a scrawny wild cat any more, he is a fat semi wild cat (is there such a thing as a truly tame cat?).  And he has stopped sleeping in the cupboard too - he now makes himself comfortable on chairs and sofas, and will not move for anyone.
 
 
This one is Garfield, another of my mum's cats.  As soon as the sun comes out you will find himself in a flower bed, catching some rays...

 
 
Meanwhile, there are a couple of new cats in town at my house.  Two young ones living next door, who do a good job of keeping the nasty rabbit hunters away, so we are putting up with them.
 
Frou Frou is not so happy with this, though, and tries to scare them away, but she just can't jump high enough.  Poor Frou Frou.
 
 
Meanwhile, Mrs RC has been in the garden again, painting things red and black.

 
Loving the new look shed!


Monday, 28 April 2014

Drifting

Yeah, I seem to have lost focus lately.

Still waiting for the band to have another get together, issues with places to rehearse etc causing endless shifting of dates.  I am also thinking more about the sort of stuff we should be playing, increasingly favouring a shift to late '60s and early 70s rock.  Free, Bad Company, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Hendrix, maybe a bit of Cream.  Thinking about it, if we go this way we would end up sounding like the soundtrack of a 'Nam movie!

I have been reading the Game of Thrones books recently - nearing the end of the last one, which is getting scarey (I have been imersed in that world for so long it will be hard to take a break!) and also promising.  I have let the zombie novel slide for some time now - last time I set to writing some more, I failed to notice that the laptop was going to reboot for an update, which it promptly did, erasing over an hour's hard typing.  I have promised myself that, once Game of Thrones is out of the way I will return to my book.  When I was on Lundy, I read a section to the group there and they all gave very positive reactions. I want to return to it...

I have also let my toy soldier painting slide - I still have about 30 half painted Vikings to finish for McBeth's army, then I need to buy and paint the cavalry to complete the army.  Oh, and I might have to paint some more Galwegian mercenaries, depending on how large a contingent I end up going for...

The weeks are just too short right now.  Good job there is so little to watch on TV at the moment!  The only thing we are watching at the moment is the new Fargo series, which is quite entertaining.  Is Fargo really like that?  I thought there would be more to it!  Most of the time we just watch a bit of news to see what is happening out there - very little of it is right now - vanishing planes, sinking ferries, The Ukraine...  There must be some good news out there?  Go on, give me some good news!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Random photos and thoughts

I just cut down this video clip from the return voyage from Lundy.  A visit from these guys certainly caused a stir on deck!
 
video
 
 
The various parts of the felled Wedding Tree are finding places in the garden.  This part is next to the new pond, and seems to have grown into a heart shape for us...

 
 
At the weekend we went out and bought a few plants for the pond...

 
 
Mrs RC extended the pond a little, making it longer and deeper.  We hope to add some fish once the water has settled and the plants have made themselves at home...
 
 
Frou Frou was very excited about the work that was going on, managing to fall in when she thought she was going to catch one of the mice that lives under the paving. Poor Frou, she was not happy!  Everyone else thought it was hilarious, needless to say...
 
 
I saw a field full of daisies yesterday - had to stop and take a photo of some.  These little flowers are very under rated, IMO, regularly being mangled by lawn mowers.

 
Which reminds me of the story my mum tells of when she was a teenager, working for a local plant and garden company.  She went out to do some work on a garden, and the old woman there gave her  a pair of scissors to cut the grass - she wanted the daisies left alive!

Monday, 14 April 2014

A week on Lundy

 
 We arrived to see an island shrouded in cold fog.  Someone asked where King Kong was...

 
It was a long slog to the village, along ricky paths...

 
and up stone steps...

 
following signs in the fog...

 
We sought refuge in the church, where we had lunch (we all had lunch packed, having planned on an outdoor picnic)...

 
A short orientation tour was called off as we couldn't orientate ourselves, but not before we visited the old light house...

 
The view from the top was spectacular.

 
As the week went on, the weather steadily improved and we  all got to see more and were able to fall in love with this desolate rock.
 
On one cold and wet day were had lunch in this hut...

 
while the wild ponies sheltered from the wind behind some ruined cottages...

 
The main area of the island is rolling moorland, with steep slopes to the sea in all directions...

 
This is the Motorway...
 
 
The only vehicles seemed to be a couple of Landrovers and half a dozen quad bikes.
 
At the very northern end of the island is another lighthouse, reached by steps worthy of The Lord of the Rings...

 
This is one of the cottages that can be rented by holiday makers.  A splendid view, fog permitting!

 
This is about as good as the beaches get...

 
At some point, someone stole my camera and forced me to pose...
 
 
This is the remains of one of the engines of a Heinkel 111 bomber that tried to land on the island, but hit the cliffs instead.  It is not the easiest place to get to but does seem to be well visited, and respected.

 
The animal life kept me mesmerised all week.
 
Wild goats - this one is known locally as Wingnut, after the shape of his horms.

 
This one was having a great meal, clinging to the smallest of ledges...

 
And wild sheep too!

 
 Plenty of very young lambs to go Ahhhh at....
 
 
Wild dear were a very nice surprise too...



 
Not to mention the seals!

 
There was domestic livestock too.  Sheep with lots of lambs...
 
 
and Angus cattle...

 
The week was full of the over-use of the word Shag.
 
Some of the students were studying seabirds called Shags (like the black one below)...
 
 
but over here, shag is also slang for having sex.  Students could be heard declaring "6 shags this morning - not bad, eh?" or "Not a single shag all day!"  Bless them!
 
 
Once the fog cleared, the sunsets were fantastic.  Funny to think that the next piece of dry land in this direction is Newfoundland...

 
I must confess to becoming a bit possessive about this island after a few days.  On the Tuesday I found myself resenting the daytrippers who seemed to stagger to the top of the path, have dinner in the pub and then stagger back to the ferry again.  Strange, but with its one pub, one shop, no internet and a phone signal that seems to emanate from Wingnut, this place really is something special.
 
And then it was time to leave.  We were sad to go but we were all ready to get home really.  First stop, Burger King...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Back!

Watch out for lots of photos....


  video

An amazing week......

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Countdown to Craggy Island Trip!


The image above shows where I will be spending next week.

The image is an elevation map created using Lidar - a laser scan taken from an aeroplane.  You should be able to see buildings and the jetty.  Close ups show you field walls and stuff.  Wonderful!



My part in the trip is to help students map sea birds and their dive patterns - for me this is the perfect starting point, I am sure you will agree!  Should be fun - just hope the weather plays along, although apparently it will be raining when we arrive...


The weekend was great - Number One Son had a nice birthday, doing very little except eat and play the new games we bought him. 

Mothers day was also good - Mrs RC also did very little except sit in the sun in the garden (a real treat!) and read her Kindle.  I headed out to give my mum her present, a small willow tree which I planted in her garden for her.  She was very pleased with my choice, as she had one until a couple of years ago.  I would like to claim careful planning and choice, but I just rolled a 6 to be honest!

The next couple of days will be good and busy at home as I check the tent, bad, sleeping bag, etc and pack my clothes.  Hope I don't forget anything important, as there will be little chance to buy things...

Not sure if I will have internet on the island or not - if not, watch out for photos when I get back...

Cheers!