Saturday, 27 September 2008


a pair of nuthatches have taken residence in the garden. These entertaining birds spend much of their time upside down (see below). They look like drab kingfishers, and behave like blue woodpeckers.

St Ives 4

the beach at St Ives just below the Tate gallery, unfortunately the Tate was closed for rehanging, very frustrating.

St Ives 3

Barbara Hepworth's workshop and studio, and a sculpture in her garden. Her house is fascinating (for more see this link). It feels as if she has just left for a few minutes and will be back soon.

St Ives 2

the narrow cobbled streets lend a sense of timelessness to the otherwise bustling town. The beautiful hanging baskets make it feel like somewhere in Provence.

St Ives 1

we spent a pleasant day in St Ives, the light has a beautiful, clear quality, laying bare the cluttered, hemmed in streets leading down to and surrounding the harbour. Below is a little pastel of St Ives by Bryan Pearce. One can begin to understand his unusual use of perspective when one sees the gentle curve of the rows of houses as they run towards the harbour (this is not the best example of this effect in his work but it is very characteristic of his idiosyncratic style. For more see link).

or in celebration of our transatlantic links, this painting by Effie Fortune in 1923 (see link and comment)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

goldfinch flock

a flock of goldfinches. These little birds tend to flock together in autumn and winter. We also saw a grass snake (distinctive yellow collar on a grey green body, see link) on the river bank. They are good swimmers. Unfortunately, we were too slow to photograph it as it sped off into the undergrowth to escape canine attentions.

Monday, 22 September 2008

the bad news

is that I came second in my class (rough coated dogs), and Harriet came first in her class (smooth coated bitches). This cannot possibly be right, and reflects deep seated prejudice against me, personally. I am going to hold a poll on the whole world wide web about who is the handsomest best dog and it is clearly me. Here I am giving H some advice about ringcraft, don't bite the judges, don't snap at the other contestants, don't sit down and refuse to walk around, that sort of thing. I would like to point out that she came nowhere in the champions' class.

Just to help I have uploaded a picture of us both, showing me in front.

down at Morewellham 3

This is a small darter dragonfly, resting on some cotoneaster berries, although I am not sure what it is doing (they don't eat berries).

down at Morewellham 2

This is the Tamar, flowing down towards Plymouth, the house is in Devon, and the other bank is Cornwall; these wooded valleys are a remnant of the much more extensive broad leafed woods that covered this part of the world after the last ice age.

down at Morewellham

we spent yesterday afternoon at Morewellham Quay, just across the Tamar valley from where we live. It used to be a very busy commercial port exporting minerals from local mines all over the world and also to France. The afternoon was not a complete success (see above) but it was a lovely sunny day. They even have some surviving Victorians walking around although they look very young to me. For more information try this link to their site.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

slow progress down at mill

slowly but surely (see earlier pics) the ruins of the old mill are disappearing as a new house emerges like an exoskeleton around it. The lower photograph shows the old leat (it looks Victorian) emerging from underneath the old mill. It shows how much goes on underneath our feet.

water mint

commonest of all our native mints, of which there seem to be far too many, used as an early form of air freshener by chucking bundles of the leaves on the floor.

By the way Spot thinks short selling should be made a capital offence.

I love your blog

thanks to Tara for giving Spot another award; please visit her blog (click on the award) if only to see how much one can do with a simple blog. We are meant to send the award to another seven blogs but we just don't meet that many dogs. Mind you anything to the power seven is going to get very big very quickly. We often visit Laura's blog just to look at the insects in her garden and to feel glad we live on this wet coast rather than that one. Spike, my next door neighbour, has a profile but no pages on his blog; is he one of those dogs who can't do his letters properly?

Sunday, 14 September 2008

more bees knees

another variant bee, type unknown, resting on old flower head of knapweed.

rooks over Rezare

There is a line in a poem by Ted Hughes about rooks circling like the sweep of a broom, not that I can find any reference to it.They are just visible in this photo as the black speckles. I think they do it for the fun and pure joy of it.

brimstone at the trough

a male brimstone butterfly, refuelling on knapweed. I find the detail in the wing fascinating, it looks so exactly like a leaf.

Friday, 12 September 2008

canine snigging

doing a Spot of snigging, while those who should be snigging plod wearily home

blue bees and angelica

a striking blue and black bee, feeding on wild angelica. I am not sure what sort of bee it is but there are a lot of them in the woods at present. Angelica seems to attract a very wide range of flying insects. There also appears to be a minute winged insect sitting on the bee's left wing.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

lynher valley white water surfing

here we are shooting down the Lynher, which is usually quite a quiet river. Even Harriet had a go, and then tried drowning

and had to be rescued by her heroic brother (me, Spot that is).

Afterwards the girls posed for a photo; mum is wearing her swimming costume, and Hari is just quivering in the background.