Posts Tagged Spring

Spring has….sprung?

Hello All,

By the fact that I was voluntarily cleaning in the house and my room the other day, I can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Spring is here. The days are warmer(ish) and people are already complaining of hay fever, so there must be something in it. Here, in West Wales, things started to sprout then got beaten back a little by random frost and “blast of icy air” as the forecasters put it. Brass monkeys, more like. However, today, I had to take off a layer to drive without feeling uncomfortable.

Cycling still goes well and I was even joined by a few friends and colleagues from work who also hope to do the 50 mile tour, as do I. Now, I hate to blow my own trumpet but (toot toot) I was struggling to go as slow as they were! Maybe they were all hung over but the slowest had a full carbon bike…something wrong there. If it was my size, I’d do a swap. Maybe I was trying harder as other people were about? Perhaps it was the energy drink I was consuming that tasted like gritty, stale Fruit Shoot (other juice drinks are available)? Only the day will tell. If anyone wants to come and chant or something…feel free. Should be fun.

Anyway, seeing I am at a loose end for my training (I try not to do 2 days in succession, so I shall be out tomorrow) I thought I’d pop on a few springy Spring pictures to cheer us all up after Mr Bee made us all smile recently. Living in Wales, there is just no way that I can get away without showing the national flower, seeing it is a Spring bloomer…

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Now, the eagle eyed will notice that these shots are slightly older than Spring but there is a mix of a couple of old pictures of some gorgeous flowers I took late Spring last year as well. This is of the weed called dandelion, a very good-looking weed at that, something that is truly a harbinger of warmer weather. Now, did you know that the name comes from the French “dent de lion” or “lions tooth” which refers to the shape in the leaves, nothing to do with the flower or anything? In some countries, it’s referred to in terms which are not glowing (insert rude names associated with weeing here) due to the fact that the roots can be used as a medicine and are very diuretic. Amazingly, I also found an article that says that these “weeds” actually produce rubber when cut, but the quality varies massively. Even so, apparently Continental Tyres are working on a tyre using blends of rubber from normal sources and….dandelions. No joke, read about it here.

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I have memories of breezy warm days where all the little parachutes (seeds) filled the air, as there were just at the right stage and floated away on a puff of wind. Scourge of many gardeners, I’m sure. However, now that you know what you do, respect the dandelion, they could be part of your car wheel soon!

To less interesting but no less impressive plants in the garden now, beginning to bud and sprout into fantastic colours now the sun is a little stronger..

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This picture gave me a bit of a headache in post-processing. I usually do nothing to the images I take bar reduce the size and add my name to them. I might crop them a little from time to time too. But this one, this one I had to reduce the red on it as it was so red. Maybe the sensor on my camera wasn’t a fan but I thought this was a nice detailed shot, could have done with Mr Bee posing in the foreground though….

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Now, another picture from the archives but a lovely stretch of river near Wolfscastle, on the way to Fishguard. I have heard many things about the wildlife in this area when I have been here such as stories of kingfishers and growling otters. I believe the lady regards the kingfishers as they are, happily, becoming more and more common and I have seen a few in the local area (Pembrokeshire) myself but the fisherman with the story of the otter that got out of the water and growled at him (presumably for daring to fish in the river), I’m not so sure. Next, he’ll be expecting me to believe they cross the rail line nearby to go to the local tea room to vary their diet!

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Last but not least, a sunset shot but with a difference. A lovely smooth coloured vista of clouds over the Preseli hills (you can just see them in the mist at the very foot of the image). Evenings like this are very nice, quite still but colourful. Some might say that this is boring but I implore you to look a bit closer, see if you can count how many shades are in the clouds. So, it’s no storm front but I’d argue that a shot like this is anything but boring.

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So, there we have it for another post…come Saturday, I shall be zipping around North Pembs on my bike so next time you hear from me I shall be complaining about something aching, but I will be better for the experience. Maybe.

Cheers for dropping in, catch you soon for more sunny shots and plant facts to bore your friends with!!

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Seems I missed out March..

Maybe you have or maybe you haven’t noticed that I didn’t really post in March. This was a for a few reasons, but the main ones being that I am now (seeing the days are longer) getting out on my bike a little more.

Well, actually, it’s an unofficial training schedule for the Tour of Pembrokeshire on my little silver hybrid bike. This has involved riding to work on a few occasions…thankfully most of it is pavement or cycle path and I have all the kit, so people are less likely to kill me. I think.

Next week, the two wheels need a spruce up and a service too, so I will need to ride to the good folks at Enterprise, Neyland for the old once over. I recommend them if you are local to the area I live in and like riding or even want to buy a bike.

Weather at the moment. Hmm. Weird. One minute it’s blazing sun, the next it’s 40 mph winds and rain that makes it difficult to stand! Anyway, Spring is here and the daffodils are out with the primroses on our bank so, even though it’s cold outside, it’s going to get warmer. Promise. To finish though and thank you for dropping by, a sight that will hopefully become more prevalent with the increase in temperature in the coming months….

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See you soon with more bright and Spring themed pictures. Until then.

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Hedgerow pictures and looking skywards

Said I’d be back.

Thanks to the few people who visited the site after my post regards my prize. If that wasn’t you and you are looking at this new post wondering what I am talking about, go back one too…I won a prize!

One of the things I find as I wander the lanes with my camera, getting cynical glances from most people, if that it is always worthwhile looking closely at things now and again, as there are lovely things both on a large (my skyscapes) and a small scale (see my previous winning post). The same can be seen in my following pictures…who’d have thought rusty old barbed wire and rotten wood would make something aesthetically pleasing some day?

Cheeky use of aperture priority here to focus further back. Technical!

Cheeky use of aperture priority here to focus further back. Technical!

Some of you will realise that it was Spring/Summer when I took these latest pictures. Sorry to remind you of a warmer time gone by. It’ still very windy and wet here at the moment, so I haven’t got any new images at all in the last few weeks but I have plenty in my archive…the bluebells are a dim and distant memory.

There was more than one, I just thought I'd use macro mode

There was more than one, I just thought I’d use macro mode

I think that these flowers are called red campion, even they aren’t red at all..they are purple. Found along the hedgerows up and down the roads that I zoom along on my bike (just bought a new hybrid bike if anyone’s interested) and apparently pop up as the bluebells fade, so they’re often found in the same place. According to the font of all knowledge (Wikipedia), they were once used as a remedy for snake bites. Not entirely sure I’d opt for this over anti-venom, but chances of being bitten by a snake in Pembrokeshire are slim; I’d win the lottery first, then get struck by lightning just afterwards.

Some of the wonder drug...not-all-that-red-really-Campion

Some of the wonder drug…not-all-that-red-really-Campion

On to my comfort zone, weather and associated bits and bobs, in this case some lovely crepuscular rays from a very fortuitously placed strip of cloud when I was out walking. I know the quality may seem a bit pants when seen on the web, but click on it to get as bigger view or even email me if you fancy for the full resolution. You know you want to.

Nice rays, man

Nice rays, man

No onto something a little more unusual that was sent in to WeatherNet but to them it obviously wasn’t too striking; a circumzenithal arc or circumzenith arc. As you can see, it almost looks like a disjointed version of the more common rainbow but it arises from refraction of sunlight through ice, generally in cirrus cloud, rather than from raindrops after a storm. Never seen one? This is the partly the reason it is deemed rare, because it appears so far over people’s heads and fades quickly.

This is why people need to look up more. Gorgeous colours eh? All included with a free crick in your neck :)

This is why people need to look up more. Gorgeous colours eh? All included with a free crick in your neck 🙂

Lastly, onto some clouds. In this case a mackerel sky (so named from the fact that it looks similar to the markings of an adult king mackerel). Get ready for the science bit from my fave website! The usual occurrence of these clouds is an indicator of moisture and instability at intermediate levels, but the most common reason for the occurrence of a mackerel sky is an old, disintegrating frontal system which is probably what happened here. The cloud was probably originally altostratus and has been broken up into altocumulus as the front disintegrates.

A lovely mix of cloud "textures" here

A lovely mix of cloud “textures” here

 

There are some sayings that accompany this kind of sky; “Mackerel in the sky, three days dry” and “Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry”.

Well then, there is your daily dose of weather science and a touch of medical advice. Actually, if you get bitten by a snake, go to the hospital, don’t just pack it with red campion…that’d be silly.

Anyway, thanks for dropping in. See you all next time!

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Spring is…well, springing

Greetings All

Before anyone says it, I know it’s summer but please remember that all the pictures I put on here are in retrospect because the SD card in my camera is blooming massive. However, some treats to come on that…even spotted some more noctilucent clouds the other night. Yay!

These are images from the local nature reserve and from the garden, I’m sure you can work out which is which and cover some springing Spring and the increase in decent weather we were getting and are still getting now. In fact, heard on the news that this is the longest period of sun in this area of the UK for 7 years. Nice. If you are not fair-skinned like me, then you pretty much have to hide from it. As well as this, the water in all the streams nearby is almost gone now, so no waterfall pictures for a short while.

Anyway, to the pictures. Firstly, some more of those grumpy, grumpy swans. Quite frequently the sequence of events of me with swans is

1) Ooh hello, aren’t you gorgeous?

2) No, I have no bread

3) Swan then swims away or bites me (that’s only happened once for those who are concerned)

Thankfully, these two were good enough to stick around for five minutes of fame, but didn’t seem to have any youngsters or chicks. Maybe they were early and had gone their own way already. Who knows.

Swans. A bit like seagulls...but prettier

Swans. A bit like seagulls…but prettier

Next is the content of our famous “Pembrokeshire Bank” that supports two massive trees and a myriad of wild flowers once Spring comes around and there is always a good load of Daffs and Snowdrops if the wind isn’t too high as this picture shows. It’s an annoyance from a strimming point of view for Dad, but it does look very good and I suspect you would need a small amount of high explosive or a tank to remove it!

One of the most popular symbols of Wales, with Snowdrops for company

One of the most popular symbols of Wales, with Snowdrops for company

Warming weather (well, kind of back in Spring) means some convection over the Preseli Hills and creates these spots of towering Cumulus clouds on occasion. If you go back there are further examples of these on the blog too but this was the most photogenic I caught. Nothing really comes of them, but I love the puffy shape and this one even seems to have a tail dragging off to the left….

Towering Cumulus doesn't really tower over Wales but I thought it looked nice

Towering Cumulus doesn’t really tower over Wales but I thought it looked nice

Those clearer days also bring on what? Yes, clearer evenings where I can finally get some sunset pictures in! Although technically not a sunset, this was a nice ‘scape as the waves in the Alto Cirrus really came through with the aid of my polariser. You’ll excuse the foreground but the houses of the estate along the way were hard to hide….

Although it was getting milder and clearing on the ground, it was still obviously cold and icy way up in the sky

Although it was getting milder and clearing on the ground, it was still obviously cold and icy way up in the sky

A close view of that intriguing wave in the high cloud now and I must admit that there was a teeny bit of an electronic fiddle here to deepen the blue for you so it would bring out the brush-stroke effect I love in them. I know it’s the wind pushing ice crystals about in reality, but that explanation always seems too scientific to me…where’s your romance?!

A deeper study of the Cirrus mentioned above...see what I mean by the Cosmic Paintbrush?

A deeper study of the Cirrus mentioned above…see what I mean by the Cosmic Paintbrush?

So there we are for a nother post, moe Spring pictures to come next time as well as the effects of a windy night on an area not so far from me that has been changed for good because of it. Thanks for keeping in touch…please feel to comment and/or request.

See you soon!

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