Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks, Kent

On the way home I stopped off for a first, and only brief, visit to this National Trust Property.   It is an impressive 14 century moated manor house and in very good condition.   Worthy of another visit....   The Dog House is reported to be the only Grade I listed dog house!   Some of the oak panelling is quite exceptional, and some of the internal doors made of kilted oak panels.

Reading Retreat, Sittingbourne, Kent

Between 6-9 March I was on a Reading Retreat in Kent and had a wonderful time.   Our accommodation was a refurbished Oast House, so several of us had a roundel bedroom!   We didn't lift a finger which left us with as many hours as we wanted to read!   I chose to have a reading prescription from Cressi Downing,(whose inspiration the Retreat is) and after lunch each day we went for a walk locally - but it was very muddy from the melted snow!   The last image is of the Reading Room (in which we didn't speak), and which I found very conducive to tucking myself away, by the window, for several hours at a time - TO READ!

"What a brilliant formula!   I have really enjoyed my stay with all its lovely and loving touches to make one feel spoiled and special".

Hellebores in the Snow

Yet another dusting of Snow last Saturday (17 March) and this time I went out to photograph the Hellebores - which I have to say are a favourite plant and I have several around the garden of differing hues.   These are from the same plant.   And a Viburnum Tinus flower head to finish with.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Mallard Drakes on The Cam

There was some pretty aggressive action on The Cam when three male Mallard were sorting things out over one female, but no harm was done.

It took a Mute Swan quite a distance to get airborne, and plenty of splashing!   From a distance it was possible to capture the reflection but a harsh crop shows better the effort required to launch that size of bird.

After plenty of rain it's easy to see how the back of shirts and shorts gets muddy.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Eastern Counties Golden Retriever Dog Show, Milton

I had taken some photographs at this event last year and enjoyed going again this year.   How judges make decisions when there are so many lovely dogs, I don't know!   I'm told there is a set of requirements against which a given breed is judged but it is clear that at the end of the day, subjectivity raises its head and rules the day.   Bit like club photography competitions really!

It is a busy scene with dogs in the ring and dogs waiting;  dogs content and dogs keen.   It must be said though the dogs did seem to be enjoying themselves.   The first image is included to show just how much colour is about and how congested it can seem when earnest conversation is taking place between the owners.   I've cropped quite heavily and converted to monochrome too - which in many ways I think I prefer, although I did find the dog in the first two images particularly attractive (and I'm told very shy).   I would have happily brought any of these home!

Worts Meadow

It was fun getting to do a longer walk than either Boo or I have done for a while.    We went to Worts Meadow, Landbeach and met Beth, a young dog enjoying being a dog and saw catkins for the first time this year.  They look well established too.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Welney III - 13 February

It looks to me as though pairing has started with the Whooper Swans with plenty of vocalising to go with it!

Welney II - 13 February

The first waring waterfowl were Male Mallard, making sure there was only one male for each female.   Then comes aggression between Whooper Swans - presumably with the same agenda.   My favourite image is the last one.....

Welney I - 13 February

I had just started to get about without a walking boot and met a friend at Welney for a couple of hours.    It was the longest drive I'd done for months and it was great to be carrying a camera once more and trying to capture the essence of Welney in the winter.   There will be three postings of this trip - the other two showing some of the aggression between birds and some of the pairings being played out.   This posting records some of the waterfowl seen - Coor, Shelduck, Moorhen, Pochard, Mallard, Whooper Swan, plus a gathering of Goldfinches on a feeder.

Home Garden in the Snow

I think now I should have used a wide angle lens rather than a 15mm fish eye lens to capture the garden looking attractive after snow had fallen.   However, it made me have a go at trying to correct distortions from the fish eye lens (partially successfully).   The higher temperatures have melted almost all the snow now, so it might have to be next winter before I get the chance to use a different lens.   On the whole it's a low maintenance garden, although there is plenty to do this year because of neglect in recent years.   I am looking forward to making time to be out there though, and soon.