Monday, 28 July 2008

red admiral

a red admiral feeding on hemp agrimony in the early morning sun. It is hot and humid, and thunderstorms are on their way here. Knowing England this is the end of summer.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

silver washed fritillary

a silver washed fritillary (female), the largest of our native fritillary butterflies, feeding on brambles. It is called silver washed because unlike other fritillaries which have spotted underwings, the underwings have a streaked or washed appearance.
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Saturday, 26 July 2008


Spot and I are feeling very despondent for reasons that can be understood by studying the difference between these two meadows. The bottom meadow is in France and is full of wild flowers, the top meadow is nearby and has little in it other than thistles and trefoil. The total lack of species diversity in our home meadows makes them a biological desert. Why oh why is the agricultural pound valued so much more than the life pound? Just a little bit of husbandry (care) creates an environment where wild life and flora can flourish without detracting from our ability to feed ourselves. The French appear much more sympathetic to the rhythm and demands of Nature and practice a traditional agriculture that sustains the wild. We try to be optimistic and open and to share the joy of life here but the land is being suffocated by greed and idleness.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

fast jets of the avian world

like the Red Arrows, a group of swifts hurtle past, screaming at each other. I saw plenty of swifts in France but these are the first I have seen here this year. Where have they been? Notice team leader at top left. This bird maintained the same relative position as the group flew across and around the sky.

back to reality:- caterpillars in Cornwall

looking remarkably like a twig this caterpillar is climbing back to safety in the canopy of a wild cherry tree on a silken thread. The detail of the imitation is fascinating, even down to what look life leaf buds.

colour in France 16

and finally, a self portrait of the artist at work. Spot is happy to allow his photographer to have a day in the sun now that he is out of the kennels. The studio in Rodes belongs to our friend Shelagh Hickman, an original and colourful artist. Please visit her web site.
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colour in France 15 egret and canal

the Brest Canal plus egret, a very white looking bird with black wing tips suggests it was a solitary cattle egret but no firm conclusion was reached after much discussion with local wild life experts. Napoleon canalised a river to produce this lovely canal. To keep away from the belligerent English?? I don't believe it.
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colour in France 14 toadflax

purple toadflax growing by the wayside in Brittany. The upper two petals remind me of my own ears. Perhaps this plant should be renamed purple dog with tongue hanging out
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colour in France 13 roses of Brittany

a collection of beautiful roses grown in Gwernagog, St Goazac, Brittany by a man who knows his onions.
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colour in France 12

large bell flowers in a beautiful translucent blue
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colour in France 11 pansies

more pansies. The amazing capacity of this plant to produce colours has been harnessed to produce the enormous range of colours seen in the larger garden pansy.
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colour in France 10 pansies

violas (or wild pansies). Pansy is derived from the French pensée for thought, and the flower is a symbol of remembrance, and with love, both appropriate sentiments for our trip to France.
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colour in France 9 dragonflies

and we are very glad that these dragonflies do not breathe fire on us, we are hot enough as it is.
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colour in France 8 sheep's-bit

some sort of sheep's bit showing the sepal tube with blue strap like petals and the minute delicate white stigma
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colour in France 7 pinks

aptly named pinks, but I am not sure which one
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colour in France 6 burnet moths

transparent (now why call them transparent?) spot burnet moths having a good time on yarrow
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colour in France 5 short tailed ichneumon wasp

everyone loves a good bug picture, I am just glad this short (!) tailed ichneumon wasp does not prey on dogs.
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colour in France 4 knapweed

rayed knapweed
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colour in France 3 fritillary

Some sort of fritillary feeding on wild thyme. There are so many different species of fritillary that it is hard to identify them without expert knowledge and some luck. French butterflies seem unusually frisky.
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colour in France 2

these images from the high meadows show why France was the home of impressionist painting.
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colour in France

It might have been a dog's life for some these last two weeks but some of us were having a good time. These pictures illustrate what we have lost by allowing our meadows and wilderness to be destroyed. This is a good picture to start with for someone who is green(ish) with envy
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Monday, 21 July 2008

we're out!!

I can't believe it, life without parole and we are out. Hooray for Spot. Goodbye prison, hello Venterdon! What's that strange garlic smell, and why are they wearing berries?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

aiding escapes

message from the warden

assisting canines to escape is strictly forbidden, especially when the warden is having a good time in the bas pyrenees [still no accents allowed]. The blue thing is called sky.

Friday, 4 July 2008

au revoir

au revoir mes braves, a bientot

(no accents on this page)

dog alcatraz

we have been sent to dog alcatraz, the magnolia coloured house in the middle of this picture, miles from anywhere on the side of Kit Hill. There is no escape. Sentence is indeterminate but we will protest. Help! No further communication is allowed, but don't forget us we will be back. Who is France anyway?