Saturday, 8 September 2012

Really Wild

Still sad about the death of Terry Nutkins this week. Growing up, The Really Wild Show was one of my favourite programmes. I also used to have a big compilation of Johnny Morris stories, which Dad used to read me at bedtime. The article above has a video clip of both Johnny Morris and Terry Nutkins together. Vintage.

Anyway, in tribute, I thought I'd post some pictures of the really wildlife I've seen recently. It involves a lot of crickets.

Click to enlarge any of them.

6:30 sunrise on a misty morning, from my bedroom window.

Moon's still up.

Heading off down a sun-dappled country lane (you may remember this from All Souls' Day).

Spider in the garden.
Mushroom in the grass.

Grasshopper in the grass.

Slug in the grass.
Fox hole, or badger set?

Got back home to find this little guy clinging to a milk bottle. Obligingly, he posed for pictures before wandering off across the lawn. My new friend Jiminy.

Something a little less native. Our greenhouse is not quite what it seems. More of a vivarium.

These Pond Slider terrapins became popular pets in the early 90s, round about the time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the screens. Actually, more-or-less as a direct result of.

When we first got these fellas, they were the size of a 50p piece. You could hold them in the palm of your hand.

Now, you need two hands to lift them and they're approaching the size of a dinner plate. We had four originally, and later adopted one. They occasionally lay eggs, but thankfully none have hatched. I think we're at full capacity and one of the biggest problems is that a lot of people ditch them in local ponds and reservoirs. There's concern they may do damage to native fish and duck populations.

Our guys are well fed and safely ensconced, though.

Summer Flowers

That one, bottom right, is Feverfew - very good for headaches, tastes awful. Whilst up in Scotland, Paul pointed out Meadowsweet: 

Salicin is a pharmaceutical drug used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent which is found mostly in the bark of the tree "White Willow" (Salix alba) (from which it is commercially extracted), but was first found in Meadowsweet. It has a bitter taste similar to "quinine". - (source)

Actually, it tastes exactly like TCP. There's no mistaking it. Chew the flowers. Good stuff.

Wonders of nature, eh?

Friday, 7 September 2012


It's love. Can't deny it. With both a place and a purrball.

Went to see a friend I hadn't seen in a while. He lives in a boathouse near a lake. Other than a few fisherman the place is pretty much deserted, except for his neighbour, who lives in a wooden house overhanging the water.

It's an incredible place. First time I went, I forgot to take my camera. Been kicking myself ever since. It was an eggshell blue and rose pink sunset, perfectly still water. As the light eventually faded, someone else turned up and we ended up having a jamming session by the bayou. I murdered the saxophone (my first ever attempt) whilst the neighbour got out his guitar and proudly presented a touching rendition of Why Does it Hurt When I Pee? - that, and the more popularly acclaimed Mungo Jerry classic In The Summer Time.

It was magical. Sadly I had to leave early - got a bit too much sun earlier.

Honestly - it's been like the summer we never had this week!

Today has been glorious, and I took my good friend Harri for a spin. The place is just too good to keep to myself. I grew up around here and I never knew this place existed. Now I wish summer was just starting, so I could go there every day.

(click to enlarge)

We swam right out, then came back to sunbathe.

The house was apparently built in the 1800s. Today, it's terrorised by a tiny furball with huge personality. He's a wild young thing. Some might say a picker, a grinner, a lover and a sinner (yeah, sing it with me). To us, he's just Dweezle.

Attack camera! Attack bag!
Attack shirt! High five!

Hangin' with the homies.
The li'le guy's got my heart.

Even had a piano in the field. 

Harri's got a snap of me playing a desperately out of tune rendition of Rufus Wainwright's Hallelujah to the bemusement of the local wildlife.

Might post that at some point.

It was a perfect afternoon, topped off with the perfect pint down our local, with fish, chips and mushy peas. Heaven don't get much closer.

One of those days you'll always remember. Not because anything incredible happened, but because it was simply so effortless.