Thursday, 9 June 2011

Sex on Fire ???

What on earth am I talking about? Well, that was the song that I’d been humming the whole week. Bank holiday Monday started with the Ricoh rocking to the American Indie band, Kings of Leon. 40K revellers, mostly sporting the bands trademark red flower necklaces, arrived as early as 12pm. The roads around our casa were littered with traffic cones to stop them from parking their cars. The whole day all we could hear was the constant humming of the traffic.

Brandon Marsh D50  05-06-2011 16-25-07Lets imagine the 4 herons above as Caleb, Nathan, Jared and Matthew from Kings of Leon strutting on a watery stage :-). Usually I would leave the door opened so that I could join in the fun. But not that day. It had been raining the whole day, very windy and it was freezing. But I’m sure everyone had a good time because I could hear them singing along when I was doing ironing upstairs. I had the window opened. The concert ended with some spectacular firework displays. And late into the night we could hear the traffic still trying to leave the Ricoh.

Babe wasn’t feeling well and so we decided to chill out at home. The weather was rubbish anyway and I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy. I have to finish reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark for the book discussion on Wednesday. I have now joined a new book-club organised by the staff of University House. I was on the lookout for a new group that suit my hours ever since the Borders book-club disbanded.

I also packed a box for Malaysia containing bits and pieces for the family. My cousin, Lyana and hubby, are returning back for good in July and I’m taking the opportunity to sneak in a box in their container. Lyana have been here for nearly 6 years, first studying at York and then in Coventry University. I am going to miss them very much.

At first I planned to have pizza at their place for dinner. I had to cancel since Babe was still under the weather. We made arrangements for them to have dinner at our casa before they leave. We went to their casa to hand in the box and we’d a little chinwag in the midst of their packing chaos. They had to send their stuff to York the next day because they are sharing a container with another friend.

At work, I baby sat 4 people who were short-listed to attend an interview as Metadata Librarian for the Publications Database. I met them at the reception point, took them for a short tour of the library, showed them the Data Service office and then brought them to the interviewing panel. It was quite strange to be on the other side of the fence and I really empathise with all of them. Good luck and the next time we meet again, one of them will be my new colleague.

I was early at my first book-club meeting. It was a 10 minute walk from my office. I was introduced as the latest member and as an outsider as all of them worked in the University House. But they were a very friendly lot and made me feel welcome. I must remember to bring my lunch along the next time as all of them were having their lunch amidst the discussions. It was good meeting and everyone contributed. We will meet again on the first Wednesday of July discussing William Faulkner’s ‘As I lay dying’. Hmm…quite a strange selection.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I took the bus to work as Babe was too ill to drive. It was an easy ride as the school children were still on their term-break. But when we were nearing Pool Meadow bus station, the road was cordoned off. I later found out that in the early morning there was a massive brawl of about 300 people outside a club. Hundred of thugs from as far away as London and Birmingham fought with police after a club night in the city centre. What a waste of police time.

This week started by rocking to the Kings of Leon and ended with an Arabian night. There was a traditional Tunisian Souk market and bazaar in the city-centre. Stalls were selling hand crafted pottery, ceramics, handmade jewellery and freshly cooked delicacies to the pulsating sounds of Arabian beat. I was interested in the traditional tagine cookery pots but they were for decorative purposes only. I was hoping to get my hands for a proper tagine pot because I love lamb tagine and would like to cook it using an authentic pot. 

My colleagues and I were in the city centre for another trip to the Noodle Bar. When we arrived it wasn’t opened yet so we took the opportunity to check out the market. At the restaurant, I ordered my usual udon with seafood special and Chinese vegetables washed with steaming pots of cha. CC ordered prawns wonton as starter and shared them with me. Thanks. From where we were sitting, we’d a good view of the passersby below, checking out what they were wearing.

On Saturday, Babe and I went to Bradgate Park to check out the natives. And we weren’t alone. Half of Leicestershire was there, having a picnic, cycling, pond-dipping, running, dog-walking and just enjoying the beautiful day. Looking at the crowd, I guess we won’t be seeing much of the natives. They tend to stay hidden in the forest when the park gets too crowded. I don’t blame them.

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As usual, I scanned the River Lin for my favourite widgeon. But there was soo many people along the banks and in the shallower part of the river pond-dipping. As we continued walking, we heard the distinctive whistling ‘whee-oo’ before we could spot him. There he was grooming at the opposite side of the river. It was so lovely to see him again, looking as splendid as before.

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Further on, we spotted solitary deer feeding here and there among the brackens on the hills. Then we came across this herd of fallow deer feeding in the open field, away from the main path. We crept slowly towards them so that they were used to our presence. It was quite funny cos as we crept closer, we were being watched by another deer, hidden among the grass. After snapping merrily, we made our way to Lady Jane Grey’s house which was now opened to the public.

Bradgate Park D50  04-06-2011 13-40-17In the grounds, we spotted this handsome peacock having a grand stroll checking out the visitors. It was so lovely to see him again.. There was also a herd of deer feeding at the far end of the estate. I also spotted a Green Woodpecker, Pied wagtails, Heron, Starlings and Goldfinches. We could hear another peacock screaming from behind the walls. I knew it was the albino but he was hidden away among the thick, tall grasses..

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The park was getting very busy by now that we decided to call it a day. A herd of Red Deer was feeding by the hillside but it was too far for us to walk. Then we saw this pretty Mistle Thrush busy feeding among the trees. It was very strange to see the huge throngs of people walking past, oblivious of this bird. Not us a we slowly stalked her with our cameras. Then it was time to head home.Bradgate Park D300s X2  04-06-2011 14-25-32 On Sunday, we went to our favourite playground to check what was about. I think we’d missed the swallow fledglings. We saw all of them lined on their usual perch waiting to be fed. From time to time, they were seen flying after their parents. I think the parents were now thinking of having a second brood.Brandon Marsh D50  05-06-2011 13-10-23 Babe busied himself with macro photography . He was always bending over some plants trying to get the best shot of the insects, beetles and bees. I can’t do that because I was playing with a Sigma 170X500 lens attached to the D50. It took some time to get used to it, making sure that I don’t get too close to the object. We walked through the West Marsh when I managed to get this handsome Black Cap singing his heart out. I was so chuffed because this was my first sighting for this year.

Brandon Marsh D50  05-06-2011 14-34-30 At Riverside Pool, a Common Sandpiper was fast asleep. We left him alone after taking a few photographs. At East Marsh Pool, the lapwing chick had survived and had grown very quickly. We watched him feeding along the mudbanks, well camouflaged among the reeds. From time to time, one of its parent will fly over to make sure that he’s ok.

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On the main island, a Canada Geese was still nesting. A Little Ringed plover was being harassed by a Redshank. I think they must have chicks or eggs and were protecting them by aggressive defence of their site.  We also saw the gorgeous Oystercatcher chicks, now nearly fully grown. Sadly after starting with 4, only 3 remained.

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At Carlton, it was quiet on the bird front but very noisy with children running around on the wooden floor. So no birds were about until they left. We spotted another Common Sandpiper feeding on the mudbanks and the Kingfisher made a quick fly-past. I don’t think they would stop because the pool was full of weeds. We saw Whitethroats flirting from tree to tree. Babe took this lovely photograph of a parent feeding her 2 adorable chicks a few days earlier. All together now…Aaah…

Brandon Marsh D300s X2  31-05-2011 14-28-31 What a fabulous and varied week it has been. The first week of June was nearly over. Time flies fast when you’re having fun. I hoped that you too had as much fun as I did.

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.

~Al Bernstein~

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