Here Comes The Sun

P1000056 - ed

Snowdonia, North Wales from across the Menai Strait

*

Wales tends to have a reputation for being short on sunshine and  long on rain (washed out family holidays often looming large in people’s memories). And it’s true it does receive a lot of rain from the Atlantic. And yes, it can often be a question of catching  it while you can. But then when you do, the combination of mountains, sea and active weather systems can produce some other-worldly effects. The island of Anglesey in December and January puts on some specially good sunlight shows, and what can be more heart and spirit-lifting than winter sun.

004cropped

013ed

The Pilot House, Penmon Point, Anglesey

*

P1000210ed

In Henllys Woods

*

IMG_9268ed

Aberffraw Beach: January sunset

*

Lens-Artists: Here comes the sun  This week Amy asks to see our sun photos and anything under the sun.

Earth Marvels

IMG_1117ed

If ever I were to begin to pin down my beliefs, then I might say they relate to earth, the planet, the universe, the creative forces that we humans scarcely understand, although that doesn’t stop us from telling ourselves plenty of stories about them. Indeed, throughout our short existence on the planet, it seems we have always told such tales, and it’s probably worth considering how many of them have proved false and fanciful.

And so when it comes to taking photographs, these are the kinds of thoughts that may be drifting through my mind. I mean, really – existentially – how do you explain this peacock butterfly – its form, colours and intricacies of behaviour? Of course for taxonomic purposes, entomologists may have a great deal to say on all these aspects, but in the natural scheme of things this organism simply IS, albeit occupying its own very particular evolutionary time and space.

Through my human eyes, then,  I see it as a marvel, because I also judge it to be beautiful and so worthy of my full attention. It is also very pleasing, exhilarating even, to see it, take its photo and then to share it. So in this sense it is also a celebration. At the same time I note that I am, as most people would be, uneager to similarly celebrate housefly larvae, dust mites, garden slugs or sooty mould; yet they all have their place in the biosphere. All of which is to say we humans are very selective when it comes to the things we ‘see’ and don’t ‘see’. I also think it’s worth thinking about this proclivity when it comes to our earth stories.

For now though, more celebratory earth snaps from today’s August garden. It’s bee and bug heaven out there…

IMG_1080

IMG_1072

IMG_1050

*

And yesterday I discovered a newcomer to the garden. This is one of a host of tiny bees presently foraging on the tansy flowers over the fence in the guerrilla garden. They are less than a half inch/centimetre long with banded abdomens of yellow or bluey-grey tones. I think they are a Colletes species/plasterer bees and therefore fairly recent arrivals in the UK.

IMG_1043

IMG_1063ed

IMG_1099ed

IMG_1035

*

Lens-Artists: What’s your photographic groove?  Anne at Slow Shutter Speed  wants to know. Please pop over to her blog.

Reflections: Looking Back On Tiwi Reef

sea and sky on the reef at Tiwi ed

Today in Shropshire we are having a heatwave – 26 C which is hot for us. It’s making me think of Kenya days when we used to spend Christmas (the hottest season) on the South Mombasa coast. We took all our best friends and family there. So: fond, if long ago, thoughts of grilled reef fish and lobsters bought from the local fishermen, and daily visits from the vegetable seller who pushed his sturdy Chinese bike along the coral paths, the black frame slung with raffia panniers, the contents garnered from his shamba – pawpaws, tomatoes, red onions, tiny hen’s eggs, warty lemons, a pepper or two.

Of course it was steamy there beside the Indian Ocean, but breezy too, and the verandaed beach cottages, following the local style, were built to catch it – tall makuti thatched roofs, large unglazed windows shaded by louvered shutters with moveable slats. Billowing mosquito nets over the beds. The outside sounds blowing in, crickets in the hot grass, finch chatter in the Madagascar flame trees, plangent call of the water bottle bird emptying its flask, a descending doo-doo-doo-doo…then waft of frangipani, and further off, the ocean crashing on the reef. The smell of the sea. Aaaah! Tusker beer, anyone?

sunrise on the lagoon ed

dawn over Tiwi lagoon ed

ed

Lens-Artists: seeing double This week Jez has set the challenge. He has some stunning reflections on show.

Light And Shadow Over The Garden Fence

100_7393re

Late summer and corn cockle seed heads against a Wenlock Edge sunset.

*

P1070087 re

Townsend Meadow behind the house; the fence surrounding the attenuation pond that protects the town from flash floods. And also our local carrion crow couple being nicely scenic.

*

P1100419

The upstairs garden seat in winter; the ash log sun dial, and the last of the crab apples.

*

p1020253p

Autumn dawn, the guerrilla garden in shadow: Michaelmas daisies and helianthus. Townsend Meadow after the barley harvest, but still golden in the early morning sunshine.

*

P1080211re

An early summer monochrome foxgloves and purple toadflax in the guerrilla garden.

*

P1090190

And an almost-monochrome. Shadow play on a dust sheet hug out to dry on the washing line.

*

Lens-Artists: Light & Shadow  Patti has set the theme this week. Please pay her a visit. She has some stunning photos to show us.

Framed In All Seasons On Windmill Hill

windmill at dusk resized

A Don’t Look Now moment? Who is that small, retreating turquoise person?

*

This week’s Lens-Artists’ challenge is from Tina. She asks us to think about ‘the rule of thirds’ in our photo compositions. Please go and see her very striking photo gallery (link at the end). As for me, I thought I’d feature some of my too many Windmill Hill photos. It’s the place where I go to play with my camera.

orchhid time re

June is orchid time, mostly pyramidal (above) and spotted, and  a small population of tiny bee orchids which are very hard to find (below)

IMG_2618re

*

IMG_2155

The grassland on the Windmill Hill is a rare survival – a traditional limestone meadow: clover red and white, bedstraw, orchids, agrimony, ragwort to name a few of its summer floral inhabitants.

*

P1050182re

A profusion of Lady’s Bedstraw. Its subtle fragrance is delicious.

*

P1050007re1

After the flowers, a host of grass species

*

P1000684re2

A seat in winter

*

P1020259sq

Girls just wanting to miss netball practice

*

100_6660re

Little ponies once used to graze the hill in autumn

*

IMG_0323re

Early spring Cuckoo Pint

*

P1030665

Blizzard!

P1040013re

Lens-Artists: rule of thirds

“Apple of my eye”

IMG_3426Every gardener has their treasures season to season. The Evereste crab apple tree probably tops my favourites list because she covers all of them. Here she is, caught this week in the evening sun after a day of buffet and bluster, hail, wind and downpour. Already much of the blossom is ‘blown’, and whether any fruit has set, we’ll have to wait and see. The apples that come in the autumn are small and russet-blushed, an inch or two centimetres at most, but each one image perfect; doll’s house apples in other words. And after we have admired them for many weeks, the winter weather then softens them enough to make them a valuable food store for the blackbirds and pigeons. We watch them from the kitchen door.

A tree of many pleasures then. Here she is a couple of weeks ago, the blossom just opening:

IMG_3231ch

*

And this was last September (in the midst of an early autumn gale), the apples freshly formed:

IMG_9855

100_7068

*

Evereste is also queen of that unruly quarter, the-garden-over-the-fence aka the guerrilla garden, caught here early one summer’s morning. Its content changes every year:

IMG_2867gg

*

And in winter there are many new scenes:

IMG_6553

img_1083

IMG_6106

IMG_6565

IMG_1586

*

And so yes, the apple of my eye:

P1050485

Lens-Artists: Gardens  Please visit Amy’s very lovely gardens. She is hosting this week’s theme.