Tag Archives: water

Thou foster child of silence and slow time

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Salisbury was cool and grey.  (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

And then it was the business of the day.  And yes – it went well.

Siphonophore or salp?

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Horticulture is all very well,

housework is never all very well, but no doubt it is good for one’s character (just some cushion plumping still to be done),

but they interfere with the important things in life, namely watching someone colour in the floor of the Pacific stripe by stripe.  I feel like Slartibartfast.

Then there is the crucial business of blue water going by for an hour, or possibly two, occasionally diversified by some passing gelatinous improbability, until we arrive at the main event:  the ocean floor, a varying number of kilometres but always a Very Long Way Down.

Here one can inspect more gelatinous creatures, the occasional fish, and a variety of coral.  Unfortunately, being live from the other side of the world, they usually reach bottom just at the time all British people should be in bed.  What technical genius, though, not only to send ROVs to that depth, but to live stream HD video to all and sundry, along with baffled commentary from assorted specialists.  It’s just as much fun as reindeer – though I do occasionally wish the scientists were speaking Norwegian.

For those who live in another hemisphere, or don’t mind propping up their eyelids with matchsticks:

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/media/exstream/exstream.html

How to be a stinker

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The horrible dry north-easterly is blowing, has been blowing, will continue to blow, and apart from an untimely shower on Sunday we haven’t had a drop.  Oh for a mild moist westerly!

Under a thick overcast the wallflowers continue to bloom as they have since March, unwatered in the stony parched soil, the rich colours relieving the gloom.  I’ve already sowed seed to get next year’s started.  What would I do without them?  Meantime, the herbaceous clumps which will replace the wallflowers, when they do finish, are waiting in the wings.

The roses are suffering but still trying, aided by a few watering-cans-worth here and there. Hoping to support their struggles, I barrowed around lots of black lumpy material from the compost bin.  The stench was outstanding, though of course compost shouldn’t stink.  Mystery explained when a big glop of green gel oozed from the spade, gaggingly odorous.  One of us must have thrown some over-date eggs into the compost bin, and somehow they never broke, even while two years worth of organic waste was mashed down on top of them.

Century egg, anyone?

Not very joined up

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One of those random days where none of the bits matched any of the other bits.

We started with reindeer of course, striding away across the snow.  Not feeling like doing any striding myself, I ripped back some knitting.  Do you know how difficult it is to unravel wool which is both hairy and decorated with sequins?  Not so much ripping as delicately untangling each row and removing the snags one by one to avoid spoiling the yarn.

The reindeer were having a little rest.  Some of them were asleep.  The ones that were asleep chewed slowly.  The ones that were awake chewed less slowly.

I cut the grass.  I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about cutting the grass.  Look: this is me not complaining about cutting the grass.  I decided the time for curlicues was past, and mowed straight over the violets.  Most of them were finished anyway, and now they all are.

Checking in on the reindeer:  they were stepping steadily in the chilly sunshine.  A few paused to suck and gnaw at exiguous strands of lichen glued flat to black rocks.  I meditated on stripes.  Tricky things, stripes.

Episodes of social engagement followed. The sea was blue and sparkly, the hills pale green over the pale chalk, but I couldn’t enjoy – bank holiday weekend, so all the ordeal of homicidal motorbike riders and suicidal cyclists and lost tourists looking at the view instead of the road.  Bad combination.

Home again, I made sure the herd was all right.  Their humans were amusing themselves by drawing giant patterns in reindeer, right across the valley floor – by laying a trail of what looks like pony nuts, which the reindeer rush into lines to feed upon.

Watering plants next.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, at last, and the timing is rubbish as usual, with hundreds of people in tents, poor loves, and an early garden show kicking off.

Back with the reindeer.  I’ve turned the sound off.  It’s getting a bit late in Norway and the screen caption says it’s -12°C.  The current shot:  A reluctant northern night is gathering.  A small snowmobile van thing is shown slowly approaching the camera position over a wide field of snow.  It passes the camera position.  The camera pans to keep it in view.  The van thing progresses across the snow.  The camera centres on its little flat square doors.  It goes further away over the snow.  It goes further away some more.  It goes away a bit more.  The now tiny back view of the van thing disappears gradually over the brow of a snowy hill.  The camera continues to look at snow on the now empty hill.

I think the reindeer and I are stuck with each other for the duration.

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

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Yes, right.  The shoures showed no sign of percing the recent droghte as they were vanishingly parsimonious; and as they were composed of a thin vicious sleet on a north wind they had no claim whatever to be soote.  As they slanted by we did get a little bit of glamour out of them.  This must be the coldest rainbow I’ve ever seen.

The chill got into my bones rather.  Last fire of the season?  Or are we about to have one of those perishing springs and blighted summers again?

Anyone like ships?

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If so, here’s a little tour.

I don’t often visit this stretch of water.  Today it contained a particular treat.   (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

Propagating and planting

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At this time of year the garden takes any time one might have and demands more.

Eleven rules for newt-watching

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1    Wait for a fine day.  The sun’s rays penetrate the goopy water.

2    Don’t eat a meal consisting largely of smoked mackerel before newt-watching.

3   Have patience.  Get your eye in. Look at the small swirls of the water.  Spot a striped nose.  As a newt dives, its paws turn, showing pale palms like tiny gloves.

4   Close focus binoculars can be good, but while gawping at a nose in one part of the pond you may be missing half a dozen amphibians frolicking elsewhere.

5   Remove some of the blanket weed from the pond, along with some dead leaves.  No doubt newts and their prey need cover and plenty of plant food, but I doubt that a solid mat of blanket weed is ideal.  The newts will, of course, immediately hide from the uproar.

6   Continue to have patience.  It was a surprisingly short time before newts began to emerge in twos, threes, even fours.  They looked as if they were complaining about having their furniture arbitrarily rearranged.

7   Bring your good camera out with you.  Otherwise you will be stuck with your feeble phone camera …

8   but don’t bother to take many photos. What with reflections on the surface and random sludge in the water, they won’t look like much anyway.  You need to keep watching.  More patience …

9   Observe:  time will begin to reveal individuals  One with a prominent pale dorsal stripe; another spotted like a leopard; a juvenile looking as if carved from the best unblemished chocolate; one as green and sleek as an olive; yet another veined and striped around the head; another green one, striped and speckled with bronze; one black as night, with its fiery streak of belly limned with blue.

10  Continue to observe:  if you are lucky, as I was, you will see one doing the waggle dance.  A number of other newts came to observe, compete, join in.  The movements became stronger, and the group sank into the deep shadows, where they may or may not have consummated the mating.

11   Give up before your knees become agonisingly welded to the paving stones.

Feel free to guess which of these rules I adhered to.