Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A wee week (Days 194 - 200)

Day 194 - Grasshopper
 Looking at my diary I worked out that I needed to change the timing of my blog if I had any chance of getting it done in the next few weeks so I've slipped in a 'wee week' of just 7 daily photo's.  And as its just a wee week I thought all my pictures could be 'wee'.  I was lucky enough today to get a grasshopper as my subject - nice and wee!
Day 195 - Feeling dizzy
Today was a scorcher, the beaches were full and the brave were swimming in the sea.  I found it a little hot to be working and ended up doing a quick snap of some little periwinkle shells.  I'm not sure why I like this blurred version the best, but when a large version is viewed (click on it) it seems to make me dizzy.
Day 196 - Peas in a pod
This little pea has sprung up in my garden, I think its an escapee from the bird seed.  But it was small so fitted the bill when I was scouting around for my subject.
Day 197 - Dead bat
Another dead bat, this time a small brown one with little ears. A friend, knowing I had photographed a bat the week before, brought it round. I'd have preferred a bottle of wine! It wasn't very photogenic but it was little.
Day 198 - Statue
This is my little stone statue that I brought back from one of my travels.  It was small enough to carry on the trek without being too heavy and I love it and had been meaning to photograph it for ages.
Day 199 - Moth in the hand
I couldn't believe it when this lady moth decided to come and sit on my hand. She sat there quite nicely, allowing me go and get my camera and  change the settings (all one handed) until I had taken her picture and then she flew off.
Day 200 - Ladybird
The ladybird was not quite so cooperative and as soon as I had taken this shot, it moved and turned its back on me before scurrying down the plant into the undergrowth.  But it nicely brought an end to my 7 wee days.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What a difference a day makes! (Days 184 - 193)

Day 184 - Looking down to Holy Isle
I have to admit that today I enjoyed running in the rain, soaked as I was, and certainly not complaining about the recent sunshine, it just made a change to be cooler.  The views however, were not up to standard as the island shrouded all its scenic gems.
Day 185 - Looking down to Holy Isle, take 2
I retraced my tracks today with the dogs and thought it would be a good idea to take a comparison photograph.  This 'road to nowhere' is very quiet and I actually wanted to listen to a new album on my ipod by Lewis Watson, without having to think about where I was going.  I have to say I like the album.
Day 186 - Leggy flower
The rain and humidity has made the flowers grow fast and some have gone very 'leggy'.  Others didn't survive the deluge on Saturday and my garden is looking a little shabby.
Day 187 - Frustrated Jackdaw
Over the last few days I've been plagued by a large family of Jackdaws - around 14 visit every morning at about 5.30am and make a very effective alarm clock.  They have successfully learned how to use the nut and squirrel feeders.  However I have stopped them emptying the squirrel feeder by putting a little screw on the top so that the lid won't stay open.  Hence some antics and frustration by the birds as they all had a go and couldn't solve the problem.
Day 188 - Beautiful Bowser
Perhaps I should say hansom? It must have been hot as he went in for a proper swim and he doesn't 'do' water despite being a spaniel.  All his curls get an extra kink when he's wet but I don't find him quite so cuddly - wet dog does not smell good.
Day 189 - Summer buzzin
There is nothing like the sound of bees buzzing to invoke the feelings of summer.  Hover flies, bees, wasps and robber flies all clammer on the flowers, tuning into an electrical impulse that switches off for a while after the flower has been 'serviced' so the pollinators go to another one.
Day 190 - Beach time
Most of the week the sea has been flat calm, but today there was bit of a swell and I walked this evening on the beach as it was cooler for the dogs and Watson loves a swim in the sea.
Day 191 - Heather Queen Parade
Of all the days, today the rain was torrential, for hours!  Starting just before the parade and continuing till everything finished.  But the crowds turned out with brollies and nothing was going to stop the lovely smiles of these two girls.
Day 192 - Not playing fair.
I feed them, I water them, I provide warm water in winter and how do they repay me when I've just washed my upstairs windows?  Not happy - no doubt the sun will bake this on before I get chance to wash it off.
Day 193 - Bat wing
Today I found a brown long eared bat - sadly dead, but it did make a good photographic project for my students. Not often you get up close to these lovely creatures. And my students always come prepared for the unexpected challenge!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Half way there (Days 174 - 183)

Day 174 - Sannox
How can the last 10 days go so fast and yet seem so long ago?  Today saw me running around different parts of the island and ending up at Sannox to drop of a lens that I said I would lend out - all ended up being a rush as the weather forecast meant they had to leave the island a day early.
Day 175 - Bleached claw
Today I had a few IT issues and I am really getting fed up with it - could they really all be down to Windows 8? Tomorrow I'm set to reboot all the student laptops and start them up fresh (good job the weather forecast is miserable). The claw seemed fitting as I was feeling 'crabby' about it!
Day 176 - Shed at Dyemill
Eight hours and I need some fresh air and a good walk.  The sun has come out after raining all day and my eyes are feeling the strain of sitting in front of laptops all day.  But at least now I know its just one laptop and its clearly faulty! Even better news I managed to exchange it without any issues and (fingers crossed) everything seems to be working ok now.
Day 177 - Arran Mountain Rescue Vehicles
Today it was the Arran Mountain Rescue Team open day. I have much admiration for these people (and dogs) who turn out to rescue the foolish and unfortunate alike, in their own time and without pay. I spend many a happy hour in the mountains and hope I never need their services, but am reassured to know they are there.
Day 178 - The island is basking in sunshine
Today was taken up with a full day tour in wall to wall sunshine.  Heat hazes and shimmering water proved challenging, but I really felt sorry for the half marathon runners at Blackwaterfoot - a tough route a best, made harder by the heat.
Day 179 - Common Gulls visit the garden
I seem to be getting a few larger birds in the garden at the moment and these include common gulls and a large family of jackdaws.  The jackdaws actually manage to hand off the nut feeders something I never thought they could do.
Day 180 - Looking over to Kintyre
The island seems to be surrounded in a ring of cloud.  Threatening but not amounting to anything the sun continued to shine.
Day 181 - Glen Rosa
It's hot and I'm trying to give the dogs a different route where there is plenty of fresh water for them.  Glen Rosa is ideal and they made their way up the valley going pool to pool and having a swim.  Several tourists had also taken the opportunity to remove boots and dunk their feet - not all were impressed when dogs do what they do when they get out of water!
Day 182 - Cows and calves on the beach
Even the cows seem lethargic in the sunshine, ambling along the beach under the watchful eye of the huge bull.
Day 183 - Small tortoiseshell caterpillar
On the walk to fallen rocks I saw large numbers of small tortoiseshell caterpillars - looks like they are having a good year.  I also saw plenty of speckled wood butterflies - a first for me.  It's a great walk for wild flowers, insects and butterflies, but I am always surprised by the lack of birds on this walk.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Getting to the finish line (Days 163 - 173)

Day 163 - Wild rose
It's Saturday, Day 163 and I can't think or function and it has nothing to do with completing my tax return this morning.  No, the fact is its only 7 days to the Gate the Gate 5km fun run at Brodick Castle and I have a niggly injury that just keeps playing up. I do not feel ready!
Day 164 - Looking up
I am flat on my back and pondering the patterns of the leaves as I catch my breath - no I haven't been running!  I ended up flat on my back as I slipped and instead of saving myself I saved the camera.
Day 165 - Gaining height
My regular Monday evening students gaining some height (after a full risk assessment) as they practice some landscape skills.  Speed was also required - who could complete the challenge I set before being eaten by the midges.
Day 166 - Fly
Tonight should be the last training session before the race (its never far from my thoughts at the moment) and I've decided to rest.  This is me being sensible - I know I can do 5km, even if I walk it, but my competitive streak says I want a good time (for me that's not coming last).
Day 167 - New shoes
Gone are the days of high heels and power dressing, it's now all walking boots and trainers.  I know I shouldn't wear new trainers on the day but my old ones are knackered and lack support and these feel really comfy.
Day 168 - Scottish Thistle
Think of Scotland and kilts, bagpipes and thistles come to mind (not to mention a few other things).  The thistles are starting to really show and I love this stage, before the colour, when they look fierce and ready to spike anything that comes near.
Day 169 - Path to the swimming pools
Another hot one and I'm choosing walks for the dogs where they can get a swim or stay in shade. There's not much water in the pools but enough for a cool down.
Day 170 - Fun Run 
The day has arrived and I really don't think fun and run should be in the same sentence.  I am anxious!  It's hot and the hill on Castle Drive is hard to walk up never mind run.  But off I set and soon meet up with my running group, who are all equally nervous.  Some of the more advanced runners have raced before, but for my group we are all first timers.  Laura & Marion, Run Arran, have done a fantastic job of organising everything - Mountain rescue and Doctors all in place and the promise of cream scones afterwards.  And before I knew it I'd finished (not going to mention the painful slog up the hill).   I may even sign up for next years run.
Day 171 - Waverley
Back to normal today and a leisurely stroll around the coast to spot the Peregrine chicks, Stonechats and watch the Waverley pass by after its trip around Ailsa Craig.
Day 172 - The Ferry Challenge
Monday evening again and another student challenge - this time around the Calmac ferry terminal.  Whilst my students did their thing, I chatted to Neil who works for Calmac to find out that he's a fabulously talented artist, who trained at the Manchester School of Art and does amazing pencil portraits (and other subjects). His drawings looked like black and white photographs they were so realistic.
Day 173 - Lily
This just caught my eye, as the light caught the Lily against a dark hedge and it may be the last day of sunshine for a while, as rain is forecast.