This is what we like to see

A health concious police force queueing up for their fat-free nose-bags…

Healthy Eating?

Healthy Eating?

FYO – this image was taken during the recent NATO summit in Newport where some 9,500 police officers from 43 forces across the UK were drafted in to help protect Barack Obama and the other 60 heads of state/government… obviously not everyone could eat healthily and the likes of Burger King, McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Rat did a roaring trade.

Oh and I didn’t spot a single copper with a doughnut! :lol:

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And they’re not done yet

I seem to have banged on about the abundance of wild soft fruit, nuts and berries on the bushes this year and it occurred to me demonstrate just how prolific the local blackberry bushes actually are. I started picked ripe blackberries in the first week of July… that’s early for this part of the world… blackberries usually ripen toward the middle of August here and fruit into September. The crop this year has been huge and the bushes are still producing fruits that are ripening even as I type.

Ripening Blackberries

Ripening Blackberries

I photographed these this morning… the bunch will be ready for picking in another day or two and although the berries are smaller than the ones I have been picking recently they will still make lovely blackberry and apple pies for me to enjoy. ;)

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There may be a hard winter in the offing

When I was a kid my wise old Grandmother always used to say a bountiful summer was the harbinger of a hard winter. Looking back on it I can’t say I remember the summer of 1962 being particularly wonderful, but I do recall the winter of 62/63 being bloody cold with huge amounts of snow dumped on our little island… my Nan was a great forager though so if there were abundant wild fruits and nuts the previous summer she would surely have made the most of them.

This summer has been outstanding as far as wild fruits and berries are concerned and the nut trees are heavily laden too… there has been more than enough to go around so I have joined the birds and animals enjoying the abundance of wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and early apples.

Early Apples

Early Apples

I’ve no idea what variety of apples these are, but they are wonderfully sweet and juicy and have been ripe for the last couple of weeks. What’s more this tree is literally dripping with fruit and the grass is covered with windfalls. Sadly I can’t share these little beauties with you on-line so you’ll just have to take my word for how good they taste. :D

So the question is, are we in for a real shocker of a winter? If the amount of fruit and berries is anything to go by the answer is a resounding YES!

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Making do

I know it’s nothing short of laziness, but despite my best intentions I still find myself walking Tilly without a camera in my pocket… so I have determined to make better use of my mobile ‘phone. These images may not meet my own standards for image quality, but I think they are acceptable as remembrances of outings.

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Rose hips come in various shapes and sizes, but there is something about the hips from the common Dog Rose that always appeals to me.

Oak Tree Growth

Oak Tree Growth

I really have no idea what it is that is growing on a couple of our local Oak trees or whether these growths are harmful… they are fleshy outcrops on the ends of leafy twigs… spongy to the touch. Odd looking, huh? Click the image to enlarge it for a closer view.

These are Teasel plants… this year’s growth… during and after flowering.

You can click the images for a larger view. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll remember to actually put a camera in my pocket, but if not at least I’ll be able to grab some kind image should the need arise.

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Room with a view

I took Tilly for a nice long walk in the woods yesterday; Tilly had a lovely time exploring a footpath that was new to us. We found ourselves on a trail that eventually took us out of the south eastern tip of Slade Woods and onto a footpath that runs past the old windmill on its way down to Rogiet.

I’ve photographed the ruined windmill on several occasions, but never tire of capturing a fresh image…

It’d cost a small fortune to restore the old mill, but you’d have a great view over the Caldicot Levels and the Severn Estuary if you did. :)

Don’t forget to click the images for a larger view.

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I wonder if they know?

Popped into Tesco this morning for a couple of essentials and was grateful for the under-cover parking considering the torrential rain… then realised it was almost as wet inside as was out!

Tesco have sprung a leak!

Tesco have sprung a leak!

I suspect it has something to do with the amount of rain being dumped by ex-Hurricane Bertha. :roll:

No wonder this section of the car park was empty! :lol:

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The Devil’s Pulpit

Devil’s Pulpit is a natural rock stack on the Gloucestershire side of the River Wye above the village of Tintern and adjacent to the ancient earthwork known as King Offa’s Dyke. The stack isn’t exactly huge being only about 3 metres tall, but it does stand on the edge of the river valley atop a cliff some 280 metres above the river.

Devil's Pulpit

Devil’s Pulpit

Whether the Devil himself ever stood on that stack to hector the monks in Tintern Abbey in the valley below is of course debatable, but any aspiring photographer who clambers up will find himself in a great position to photograph the remains beside the river in the valley below.

The view of Tintern Abbey from the top of Devil's Pulpit

The view of Tintern Abbey from the top of Devil’s Pulpit

That said I would urge people not to climb on the stack; the rock is frequently damp and slippery even in the driest of weather and a slip would result in serious injury if not death. Yes I know, practice what you preach Usky, but in my defence I am a sprightly 62 year old and well aware of the dangers having been up there on many occasions in the past. :roll:

You can climb to Offa’s Dyke and Devil’s Pulpit from Tintern by crossing over the river and walking uphill on the way-marked wooded paths. Alternatively you can take the easy option by parking at Tidenham Chase and following the 1.8km footpath to Devil’s Pulpit. If you fancy more of a walk you could follow Offa’s Dyke from the Chepstow end walking towards St Brivels (or of course the reverse), which will offer some stunning views of the Wye Valley below.

If you do visit the area and walk the Dyke I urge you to detour down to the village of Tintern. Tintern is famous of course for its Cistercian abbey, but being a local history buff let me tell you that some 500 years before the abbey was built Tintern was the home of King Tewdrig of Gwent who lived there as a hermit. Tewdrig was persuaded to return from his hermitage in the 6th century to fight the invading Saxons, who he defeated in a battle that probably took place at a site known today as Pont y Saison (Bridge of the Saxons) in the Angiddy Valley.

From an industrial aspect Tintern was an important site for the production of both brass and iron.  There are the remains of numerous works and forges along the Angiddy Valley, which provided the necessary water power and dominated the village and surrounding communities for some 300 years. It has been suggested the monks at Tintern were the first in Britain to produce the alloy brass.

You’ll also find Tintern is a good place to stop for refreshment… there are several pubs and cafés offering a wide variety of eats and drinks. ;)

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Tilly goes rock climbing

Had a lovely walk along Offa’s Dyke yesterday and stopped above Tintern at Devil’s Pulpit to take a few photographs. While I was busy peering down at the Wye valley below Tilly decided to do a little exploring on her own; she’s always keen to seek out squirrels and other rodents in wooded areas. I don’t know whether she’d spotted something hiding in the yew tree that was growing on a rocky outcrop, but Tilly was definitely interested and decided to do a little rock climbing to get a closer look.

Life is just one long struggle

Life is just one long struggle

Some people may regard being of diminutive stature a bit of a drawback, but obviously nobody has told Tilly she’s at a disadvantage. Getting to the top of a 2 metre chunk of vertical rock was a challenge to be overcome; never let it be said Tilly gives up without a struggle.

Got there!

Got there!

Sometimes life can be just a little cruel and knocks you back… getting to the top of the rock was all very well, but dogs don’t do well when it comes to climbing trees! :lol:

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