Thursday, July 30, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
some of the insects out in the sun today. The red admiral must be brand new or an immigrant and is showing the lovely blue tracery on the edge of its wings. Not sure whether the middle photo is a wasp or a bee (one of the cuckoo bees, Nomada) or some sort of horse fly. Shield bug at top attacking windscreen/shield.
ps the middle photo is neither a bee nor a wasp but a gaudy imitator, a sawfly from the Tenthredinidae family. It is amazing how many hover flies and sawflies imitate bees and wasps. We are slowly getting to grips with this, no longer will we call any old striped insect a bee or a wasp.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I have just fledged. It is not my fault I can't tell double glazing from the mouth of a cave. Thank you for keeping me warm. See you. And off it (a juvenile goldfinch, not a chaffinch as at first identified) went.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
two variable longhorn beetles. The female is much larger than the male. The larvae live in tree stumps and dead wood.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Looks like I feel these days, and how Spot looks at his best, ragged.
Monday, July 06, 2009
some of the thoughts of AC Grayling, philosopher and mordant wit.
A human lifespan is less than a thousand months long. You need to make some time to think how to live it.
The democracy of blogging and tweeting is absolutely terrific in one way. It is also the most effective producer of rubbish and insult and falsehood we have yet invented.
I am putting together a secular bible. My Genesis is when the apple falls on Newton's head.
I spent the first 13 years of my life in Zambia. In Africa you can't walk in the countryside and think. You might be eaten by a lion. You have to read instead.
My mother was a straight-up-and-down racist of a very marked kind. She used to laugh at the shopping lists the cook would try to copy out. It would never have occurred to her to teach him to read.
I would imagine Jesus was a kind of Jewish reformer. If you were looking for an equivalent to the figure you dimly perceive through the gospels it would probably be a Richard Dawkins.
I'm a vegetarian, but I wear leather shoes. Some people say that's a contradiction; I say I'm doing my best.
I used to be a terrible hypochondriac when I was young and a great reader of medical dictionaries. One day I realised that I was not actually frightened of terminal illness but of not getting done the things I wanted to get done.
I recently retraced on foot a famous journey that William Hazlitt made from Shropshire to Somerset to visit Wordsworth and Coleridge. I spent two weeks slogging through nettle beds before I realised the bastard had taken the coach.
When I was 14 a chaplain at school gave me a reading list. I read everything and I went back to him with a question: how can you really believe in this stuff?
I'm passionately in favour of legalising heroin and cocaine. But I despise people who depend on these things. If you really want a mind-altering experience, look at a tree.
I don't believe in killing animals, but I think President Obama did a justifiable thing in swatting a fly. Flies spread disease.
I have enough faith in statistics to know there must be conscious life on other planets.
Initials can be useful to hide behind. I once heard Jonathan Ross on the radio asking Kirsty Young who she had coming up on Desert Island Discs. When she mentioned "AC Grayling" Ross replied: "Oh, I know her."
Science is the outcome of being prepared to live without certainty and therefore a mark of maturity. It embraces doubt and loose ends.
I'm not sure it is possible to think too much. You don't refresh your mind by partying in Ibiza.
Life is all about relationships. By all means sit cross-legged on top of a mountain occasionally. But don't do it for very long.
Every professor of philosophy needs a nine-year-old daughter. Mine has a habit of saying, "Daddy, that is a very silly idea." She is always right.
Liberty in the Age of Terror, by AC Grayling, is published by Bloomsbury, 12.99
thanks to BRIAN CHAMPNESS, raconteur, author and authority on Bose
Sunday, July 05, 2009
The water in the stream below has stained the rocks a vivid green I suspect this must be due to minerals washing out of mine workings higher up the valley. The foliage also looks an unnaturally bright green and that always makes me suspect that there are high concentrations of metals in the soil. (Is this the explanation, see link )?
So we would like to thank Richard Hibbert, bird expert, and Ruth Davies (the AONB information officer) for a very special and enjoyable evening.
The site is like something from Mars, a great arsenical spoil heap in a barren landscape.
The ravaging of the landscape by the aristocracy has had the one serendipitous effect of creating a heathland habitat suitable for the elusive and mysterious nightjar. And even the toxic spoil tip has been used by sand martins as a nesting site. It was too dark to capture the martins as they flew in and out of the small holes in the side of the tip.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
the air is full of butterflies especially ringlets and meadow browns, possibly because grasses have grown exceptionally well this year. This colourful specimen is a comma, showing only its upper wings (the eponymous mark is on the other side).