Sunday, 30 September 2012

Training the Trainers

There was a nip in the air and a hint of mist and mellow fruitfulness. I think this week was probably the last hurrah for British summertime, judging by the fact that the cold nights were creeping in. Autumn was beginning to announce her imminent arrival. While the trees and fields were turning, the echinaceas, dahlias and sunflowers were blazing away as the rest of the garden fades. This gorgeous ‘Evening Sun’ sunflower greeted visitors to our humble casa.Coventry D50  16-09-2012 15-46-17

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow,

It’s what sunflowers do”

~Helen Keller~

Coventry D50  16-09-2012 15-46-47

Thousands of new and returning students were slowly trickling in as the new university term gets underway. The roads were getting busier and queues were getting longer. It was always a very exciting time of the year to welcome so many new faces and the University had lots of events planned throughout the week to integrate them into both the academic and social aspects of life here. The Library joined in the action and welcomed them with a brand new sparkling chi-chi entrance.  Warwick University S40  17-09-2012 16-44-18

I had a very busy week too, getting myself in the full swing of things. I too felt like a new student getting ready for my new term. I participated in the International Student Awareness Training Day as a representative of the ISWG. Nearly 20% of the students were from abroad and we do our best to assist them during their stay and make their academic experiences a memorable one. These students made an important contribution to the intellectual landscape and enriched the campus environment  as they engaged with the wider community.

“A college is a place where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed”

~Robert G. Ingersoll~

I also signed up for the  Get started training sessions to keep abreast with what was happening in the library. I’d volunteered for 4 sessions and am looking forward to taking the students around the library and showing them what the library has to offer. The Floor 4 renovations had been completed in time for the new term and the students will have another spanking new study environment.

“Education costs money; but then so does ignorance”

~Sir Claus Moser~

The Library also introduced another new search interface called Encore beside the classic catalogue. Another entirely new user experience of the students and also the staff. I attended a few sessions to familiarise myself with this searching platform. To be honest, I wasn’t very keen on a one search button. But that’s my opinion.

Built on Web Services Architecture, Encore provides a platform that allows for content flexibility and streams information from article sources in real-time It was meant to bring a true discovery to library users by offering social features, faceted search, advanced relevancy ranking, peer-reviewed articles, digital collections, books and more. We just have to wait and see. But one thing that I’m looking forward was that we can also bring enriched content and harvested data from our collection into the Encore environment.

I also welcomed the new Library advisors with a quick tour of the department. They need to know where to go and who to see if they’d any problems about the catalogue, Millennium, Encore, classification numbers, missing bibliographic records, authority control, subject headings, reading lists, urgents, shelf-ready, repositories etc. Each of us had our own specialities but we can answer any basic enquiries.

Then my colleagues and I attended another webinar on RDA tool-kit essentials. We need to keep on top of things because we are going all guns blazing on the 30th of April 2013. I’ve even started doing original cataloguing using the standard which was pretty brave of me.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”


This  week a month’s rain, about 30 mm, fell in Coventry in just 24 hours during a damp and miserable start to the week. Flood alerts were in place across the Midlands as torrential rain and high winds hit the region. What a way to welcome the start of the new university term. Having passed the Equinox over the weekend, we had literally gone from summer into autumn. With the nights drawing in, as temperatures plummeted, and the winds picking up, it was really the start of autumn. I managed a few brisk walks in between showers when it was a beautiful sunny day but with a hint of crispness in the air, a tiny reminder that the cold days weren’t too far away. And I think this will be my last sighting of a dragonfly for this year.   Warwick University D3100  20-09-2012 12-47-32

The weekend was spent chilling at home. Babe was unwell and was in bed with a hot water bottle strapped to his head. He was in so much pain that he didn’t realise that his ear was scalded. Ouch!!!. I spent the day pottering in the garden as the sun had decided to come out and play. I harvested the sweet corn and tomatoes. even the green ones. I had put all the pots of chillies into the shed. None had ripened yet. I put them there to shelter them from the cold nights and opened the flaps during the day to let fresh air and any sunshine in. I had the steamed sweet corn with lashings of pepper and smeared with butter. Heaven :-)Coventry D3100  22-09-2012 09-02-12

It was equinoxal gales on Sunday but that didn’t stop us from stretching our legs at our favourite playground. Babe needed some fresh air after being in bed the whole day. We weren’t surprised that the reserve was deserted. We must be loco to be out and about in such atrocious weather. We made a pit stop at Baldwin Hide and we can barely opened the shutters because of the strong winds and rain.Brandon Marsh D7000 X14  23-09-2012 13-42-54 We made a quick dash on the saturated path towards East Marsh Hide. Only GH was there huddled in the corner. He’d been there the whole morning and gave us an update of what he’d seen. There were Pochards,  Widgeons , Shovelers , Common Snipes, Green Sandpiper, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Water Rail, Greylags, Canada Geese, a Pink-foot, an Egyptian Goose, Hybrids and the New Zealand Scaup escapee. It seemed that we missed a lot. But I’m pleased that the Egyptian goose which I think was the same one that we’d seen at Coombe Abbey and the Hybrids were still there before the later flew off.Brandon Marsh D300s X2  18-09-2012 13-17-35 In between showers, we dashed again to Carlton Hide to check if anything was about. It was as quite as a Dodo. Only a pair of Mute Swans was swimming up and down the lake. What a contrast to what Babe photographed earlier during the week. He’d a very, very close encounter with this adorable fox. How lucky was he to get this close to such a wild creature. Jealous, moi???Brandon Marsh D300s X2  18-09-2012 14-34-27 But that wasn’t all. Babe also got this amazing photograph of a Sparrow-hawk. Why weren’t they around when I was there? I still haven’t seen any of the Kingfishers yet!!!Brandon Marsh D7000 X14  19-09-2012 15-10-036

September was nearly over. The last time I checked it was 86 sleeps to Christmas !!! What :-) And this was the weather forecasted for the coming months.Coventry D200 F  10-09-2012 14-17-35

When you see excessive spider activity during the first week in September, you are sure to see an early fall season. Also, in September, look for heavy berry harvests to predict a severe winter on its way. Woolly worms are a well known source of weather prediction. If they have more black than red on their backs, there will be an early winter that year. Birds and squirrels gathering food in late July is another sign of a harsh winter to come. And, if the smoke from your chimney settles around your house, rather than floating away, you should plan for a harsh winter to come.

September Folk Lore

You have been warned!!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Last days of Summer

A fortnight ago, my colleagues and I attended a 2-day conference in Sheffield. I was at the train station at 6.30am and by 6.50am, the 3 of us, bleary-eyed and freezing, boarded the train to Birmingham. From here, we took the Cross-Country for the 1.5 hours trip. We were quite subdued along the way, trying to conserve energy for the long day ahead of us. We arrived in a rain-soaked Sheffield at 8.50 am. WFP looking smart in a suit was already there and we quickly got in a black cab (made in Coventry) to the university. We registered, put our luggage away, met SH and settled down for a quick cup of strong coffee to stay awake.  Sheffield S40  11-09-2012 18-20-13Over a hundred cataloguers gathered at the University of Sheffield’s Halifax Hall for the conference packed with thought provoking presentations and lightning round talks from 25 speakers. The conference started with a wicked keynote address on the University of Huddersfield’s participation in the JISC Library Impact Data Project, which was set up to investigate the link between library usage and academic outcomes. The project found a correlation between the number of items borrowed or e-resources accessed and the final grade outcomes for students. Especially the link between low library resource usage and early dropout rates, suggesting that library usage data could be used as an early warning flag for students that might need extra support.Sheffield D3100  11-09-2012 06-37-25 Several themes stood out for me from the conference. Unsurprisingly, RDA was one of the most prominent and the one that I suspect drew a lot of the audience to the conference. I am glad to know that we’d already taken enormous leap in implementing the new standard when compared to the other institutions. It must be difficult for those who were in a holding pattern while waiting for the major players in their organisation to make their final decisions about the implementation. But then according to Celine Carty from Cambridge University, it can be quite good not to be the trailblazers :-).
I found the session on new challenges for cataloguers to be the most exciting session. It was a no holds barred and potentially depressing analysis of the current landscape from Heather Jardine of the City of London libraries. She brought us down with a bump. It was inspiring to hear what she was doing to keep her team relevant during this difficult time, and the possibility to turn challenges into opportunities. The common thread was that of changing roles and the adaptability of cataloguing skills, not just in metadata creation and information management, but in systems management, acquisitions, advocacy and income generation.
Anne Welsh and Katharine Whaite from UCL reminded us about the importance of focusing on the principles of cataloguing rather than blindly sticking to the rules. Changes to cataloguing standards and practices have always been more about evolution than revolution. Again, stressing the importance of cataloguer’s judgement. I guess a refresher read on Cutter’s theories and the Paris Principles are in the pipe-line.
There weren’t any parallel sessions which meant that I got to hear every presentations. The concept of having lightning round talks of ten minute snippets of projects and ideas was a hit. These included institutional repositories; collaborative working; shelf-ready; re-classification and special library work. The RDA links from Celine was well-appreciated by the participants. From what I can gather from the conference was that we’d already completed or working on most of these projects and ideas. In fact. we were among the forerunners. I was feeling quite smug about that. Sheffield D3100  10-09-2012 20-55-27
In between the packed schedule, there was the dinner. There were 10 of us at the table and we took the opportunity to re-introduce ourselves. The 3 of us were from Warwick; KC from Kingston, JA from Salford, DL from Courtauld, IM from Scotland, NM from Belgium, MM from National Gallery and DB from Portsmouth. Our table was loud and fun. Bubbly flowed. Our first course was Roasted pears with blue Rockford Cheese on a bed of rocket. It was fresh and simulating. Then came our main course. I’d Spinach and Ricotta parcel with creamy mashed potatoes and grilled Mediterranean vegetable towers. Yummy. Lovely slices of rustic bread were passed around. For dessert, we’d creamy panna cotta. We started fooling around for photographs before ending the night with coffee and chocolates which I declined. Sheffield D3100  10-09-2012 20-54-11
At about 10.30pm, RC and I bid goodnight to the group. We needed our beauty sleep badly. I bet the party went right up through the night and they’d a wonderful time. I called Babe for a nice long chat before saying goodnight and then I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I woke up at 6.30 am to a bright, sunny morning. I’d a quick shower, a cup of coffee and then went for a walk around the stunning university grounds. Then went back to my room to pack and meet RC for breakfast. I’d the vegetarian fry-up, washed down by tall glasses of fresh orange juice. We returned our keys and dragged our bags back to Halifax Hall.Sheffield D3100  11-09-2012 06-42-32
Another packed itinerary was lined for the day. Before that, I met the newly crowned Mrs KH (nee E) who’d cut short her honeymoon to attend the conference. Dedicate or what ??? We’d a wonderful time catching up. I’d not seen her for 4 years although we kept in touch via e-mails.Sheffield S40  11-09-2012 17-20-20
After a very successful and productive conference, it was time to bid adieu to old and new acquaintances. We waited for our taxi which I’d booked earlier. Getting through the traffic  was a challenge but we arrived at the train station in one piece. We’d dinner at Burger King which was a first for me here in the UK!!! I ordered the fish burger with fries and washed down with orange juice. At 6.50 pm we boarded the Cross Country train for Plymouth which does sound strange. We sat with a lovely Cambridge student and I think we were the loudest in the train. We discussed everything and anything that we came across. That helped to make the journey ran quicker.Sheffield S40  11-09-2012 18-19-19
We bid goodbye to the kid in Birmingham before boarding the train to Coventry. It began to rain and we were quiet by this time. It had been a long day for us. RC got off at Tile Hill while CC and I continued on to Coventry. It was good to be back. I’m looking forward to chilling out the next day to get my sanity back.
After a nice, long lie-in, Babe and I decided to stretch our legs at Bradgate Park. A good excuse to play with our cameras too. But, it wasn’t our day. The M1 was closed in both directions due to a vehicle fire on the northbound carriageway near to junction 21. We turned back and were stuck in traffic for 45 minutes at the roundabout. Thankfully, it was a lovely day and we decided to head over to Coombe Abbey Country Park.
We’d never been here on a weekday and was quite surprise to see the place buzzing. We walked straight to the pond to see if anything special was out and about. Just the usual culprits. We made a quick stroll towards the hide and it was very quiet. We’d to leave when a group of children came in. Nothing will appear with all the racket. We headed back to the car and spotted this Great Crested Grebe hunting in its splendid winter colours. Winter….gulp!!!Coombe Abbey CP D7000 X14  12-09-2012 13-27-064
As we were busy snapping away, another Grebe turned up with its summer plumes still intact. What a contrast the pair made up. Then we spotted the Egyptian goose right in the middle of the lake, preening himself. How we missed this colourful, distinctive bird earlier was a mystery. Then we headed back to car. As we were about to exit from the park into the main road, the car suddenly stalled. Oops…Coombe Abbey CP D50  12-09-2012 13-34-59
Babe was able to reverse the car safely by the entrance and started poking around the engine. Still nothing. We called the RAC and was informed that we’d to wait for about an hour plus. And then the telephone needed charging and there was not enough credit in it. AArgh…Babe poked around the engine again and hey presto, the car purred to life. What happened??? We’d to drive home ASAP to inform the RAC that we don’t require their services. We also liked to thank the 2 motorists who stopped and asked if we need any help. Blessed them. Our faith in humanity was greatly restored. 
On Thursday, I was back at work. It was hard getting back to a routine. But I’m glad I took yesterday off because my colleagues told me that they were quite exhausted when they returned to work so soon. On Friday, I took the bus to work because Babe wasn’t feeling too good. And then I’d an early ISWG meeting. We planned our schedules for the new term and was pleased that suggestion for a welcome sign in different languages was accepted. We also wished SA congratulations because she has a bun in the oven. When I was back at my desk, I found out that the server had a melt-down. We started cleaning and clearing our desks. It was never too late for a spring-clean. We went out for an early lunch and hoping that services will be back to normal. Except for moi. My hard-drive was taken away and I did my work on WP’s computer, who was on leave.
We started the weekend with an early trip to Bradgate Park to compensate the one that we missed earlier in the week. It was strange to see the car-park quite empty at 10 am. We walked in the lovely morning sunshine in the quiet park before the main crowd arrived. We spotted Red Admirals taking advantage of the quietness, sunbathing on the warm tree trunks.Bradgate Park D50  15-09-2012 08-49-39
We went over to the River Lin that flowed through the park. There were plenty of ducks squabbling for pieces of bread. And then we heard the very familiar whistle, “whee-hoo”. We rushed over to the river bank and there he was, our favourite widgeon. We were pleased to see him again. He looked a bit un-kept as he was moulting but he was still adorable to us. I even shared my pancake with him.Bradgate Park D50  15-09-2012 08-56-20
We walked along the river bank. Solitary deer was spotted here and there.  I think, they were beginning to stake their territory. We’d not heard any bellowing at all. Hmm…I guess it was still too early for the rutting session. We were so intent on watching the flowing river for wagtails that we nearly bumped into this handsome guy. He didn’t budge at all and was content watching the world passing by.Bradgate Park D50  15-09-2012 09-21-39
I spotted a tree-creeper creeping up the tree, a juvenile Nut-hatch calling for its parents, flocks of Goldfinches flying from tree-to tree, Blue and Great Tits feeding from the fir tree. A Grey wagtail was enjoying a solitude bath in the stream. And the wonderful surprise of all was when we spotted this Flycatcher singing its heart from the top of the tree. It was our first sighting, ever.Bradgate Park D7000 X14  15-09-2012 09-15-47
We were too early for the opening of Lady Jane Grey’s house. We were looking forward to see the Little Owls again but not today. We walked along the stone walls where we spotted this snow white beauty. It was the albino Peahen surrounded by some very handsome juveniles, most probably her off-springs. We often heard her cries from behind the walls and often a glimpse of her disappearing into the bushes.Bradgate Park D7000 X14  15-09-2012 10-03-15
We continued walking towards the visitor centre to see if the wagtails were hunting on the roof. Instead, we spotted them feeding in the main field where a large herd of deer were taking advantage of the warm weather. We took hundreds of photographs of the deer while the wagtails were busy feeding and flirting about. Babe was feeling a bit wobbly and we turned back and walked slowly to the car. By this time, more and more people were pouring into the park.Bradgate Park D50  15-09-2012 10-18-52
We’d a drink and rested for a bit before setting home. We decided to have a pit-stop at Groby Pool and I’m so glad we did. Among the Greylags, Canada Geese, White Goose, Mute Swans, Mallards, Moorhen, Gulls was this adorable Snow Goose. Woo-hoo. We’d seen her before and it was wonderful to see her again. Groby Pools D7000 X14  15-09-2012 11-17-028
On Sunday was another trip to our favourite playground. By this time, I’d given up waiting for the Kingfisher and won’t be checking out the Steely Hide. As usual, we stopped by the Buddleia bushes where the Small Tortoise Shell, Comma, Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies were still busy feeding. Then a pit stop at the empty and quiet Baldwin Hide. Brandon Marsh D50  16-09-2012 13-08-56 At the tiny Teal Pool hide, we managed to squeeze between the twitchers. In the distance, 4 herons were busy hunting in the reed bushes. We’d a wonderful view of the Green Sandpipers and Common Snipes feeding along the mudbanks. I was hoping that the Snipes would come closer but it wasn’t to be.Brandon Marsh D300s X14  16-09-2012 14-27-44As we walking down the path back to the car, GH called us saying that a fox was on the Teal bank opposite the East Marsh Hide. We rushed in and saw the handsome beast. He was checking out the birds on the island and they were checking him out too. It was hilarious when we saw a gaggle of Greylags came closer and closer to check the enemy and he’d to dash into the bushes. Thanks GH for alerting us. Brandon Marsh D300s X14  16-09-2012 14-53-10 Summer was nearly over and to cap the season, Andy Murray became the first British player to win a Grand Slam' men’s single titles for 76 years by beating Novac Djokovic. With his thrilling 5-set US Open victory, he was assured of a place in the tennis history books. Coupled with his Olympic gold medal-winning defeat of Roger Federer, his stunning performance completed a golden summer of British sport. Next, Wimbledon 2013. No pressure than :-)
"I don't wanna say goodbye for the summer
Knowing the love we'll miss
Oh let us make a pledge to meet in September
And seal it with a kiss
Guess it's gonna be a cold lonely summer
But I'll fill the emptiness
I'll send you all my love every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss."
-  Bobby Vinton~
Brandon Marsh D50  16-09-2012 13-06-057

Friday, 21 September 2012

You’ll never walk alone

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk
You'll never walk
You'll never walk alone.

Coventry D3100  26-08-2012 07-51-09

Everytime I heard the song, I will always remember the events unfurling in front of me. It was about 9 pm (Malaysian time) and I was in front of the tv getting ready to watch my favourite football team, Liverpool, in action. It was April 15th 1989, which saw the worst disaster in the history of English football. 96 Liverpool fans attending their team's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground, Hillsborough, were crushed to death on the Leppings Lane terrace. English football was never the same again after that.Coventry D7000 M F  25-08-2012 20-11-16

And it had taken 23 years for the family of the victims to get to the truth and a glimpse of justice. It was 23 long years of successive governments lying and colluding with a corrupt police and media. The worst thing was that the families of the bereaved and survivors of the disaster were hit with another blow when they were still  coming to terms with what happened. The victims were being blamed for their own death.

Well done to the Hillsborough Families Support Group. It was their actions and persistence which campaigned to bring out the truth and ensure justice for the victims. The Hillsborough Independent Panel had spent two years trawling through more than 400,000 documents relating to the disaster. And the report was mind-blowing. The panel found 164 of the statements had been altered to water down criticism and orchestrated a cover-up of the South Yorkshire’s force handling of that day. Police officers had changed statements and tried to blame Liverpool fans for the crush.Warwick University D300s X  23-08-2012 11-55-008

The next step was to get those responsibility for the cover-up to book. Will Thatcher be held accountable for her complicity in this? Will the police officers be charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice? What about the Football Association for allowing the game to be played at a ground without a valid safety certificate? Boris Johnson and former Tory MP Sir Irvine Patrick said sorry.  There was a call for Sir Norman Bettison to resign. Will he stay, go or pushed?  Whatever the outcomes, the main thing was this disaster must never happen again.

It was also the 11th anniversary of 9/11. I’m sure everyone remembered what they were doing on that day. We were in one of the service stations on our way for an interview in Edinburgh. Everyone stood around the television, stunned, frozen, shaken, lost…We got back to the car and continued our journey in silent. I said a prayer for the victims and we knew the world will never be the same again. At the B&B, we just sat in our room and stared at the tv, watching the news unfolding, repeating again and again. Coventry D7000 X14  04-09-2012 21-30-010

I never condoned the acts of September 11. But was it right that one event had been used to justify the actions committed by the US and associates ever since. Millions had been killed and felt the wrath of Yankee’s revenge in the ensuing wars when they utterly destroyed Iraq, obliterated Afghanistan, wrecked Pakistan, threatened Iran and Syria that turned the Muslim world into a sectarian driven nightmare. To me, any sympathy I felt that day had long since gone.

As those responsible for the crimes against humanity in the names of the victims were being pursued around the world of the ever expanding war against terror, we have to ask why was the USA given permission to seek its revenge against the rest of the world when no one had been bought to justice over the other atrocities?  Does anyone remember Sabra and Shatila (September 1982), Halabja (March 1988), Srebrenica, Grozny, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, …???

Are we accepting that the appalling deaths of those on September 11 were more repugnant than the daily atrocities committed in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Tibet and now Syria?  To me, everyone should be subjected to the same law, and, to the same application of the law.

Prayer for Victims of Terrorism*

Loving God,
Welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism.
Comfort their families and all who grieve for them.
Help us in our fear and uncertainty,
And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love.
Strengthen all those who work for peace,
And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts.

Coventry D7000  06-09-2012 12-27-37



Al-fatehah to all the victims.




Sunday, 16 September 2012

Indian Summer

“It was an Indian summer, a bluebird sort of day as we call it in the north, warm and sunny, without a breath of wind; the water was sky-blue, the shores a bank of solid gold.”

~Sigurd Olson~

As usual, as soon as the children were back at school, the sun came out with a full vengeance. It had been a glorious sun-filled week and I’m not complaining. According to the weatherman, tropical storm Leslie that wreaked havoc in Bermuda was the main culprit to why we were experiencing high temperatures and tropical sunshine. The hurricane and tropical storm tracked over the western to north Atlantic and got caught in the jet stream which continued running to the north east bringing warmer conditions.  And here we are in September, enjoying a prolonged dry warm and sunny spell of summer-like weather in early autumn. Woo-hoo Warwick University D3100  07-09-2012 12-05-19

This week was the National Zero waste week. It was time to declutter, recycle, reuse and relove. We try our very best to reduce waste. We bring our own bags to carry our shopping and I have some very lovely recycled jute bags in my collection. My brown waste-bin for gardening waste were always full and the blue bin for recycling newspapers, bottles and tins were only put out on the kerb once a month. And so was our ordinary waste bin. We don’t put it out every week.  We have a compost heap where all the peelings, egg shells and teabags were deposited and then spread over the vegetable patch. When we moved houses, we gave away a huge load of gardening equipment to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust conservation team. And I think we might need to borrow some back because the further end of the garden was turning into a mini Malaysian jungle :-).    Coventry D300s X14  08-09-2012 11-58-09

With such beautiful weather, it was a real shame to be stuck indoors. As soon as the clock strikes one (not that I’m watching), I’m out of the door ASAP. It was fabulous by the lakes, sitting on the bench with the sun and the breeze on my face having lunch. I tried not to eat by the main path because you’ll suddenly be surrounded by aggressive Canada Geese which will grabbed your sandwiches from your hands. I always had mine in a little clove at the end of the lake where a robin will be singing for a few crumbs and a family of moorhens darting in and out of the bushes. I was very surprised that they’d a brood of very young chicks  this late. I think it might be their 3rd brood because there were different stages of juvenile chicks hanging about.  Warwick University D3100  04-09-2012 12-42-51

I know if I close my eyes for a second, I’ll fall asleep. It was quite hard to leave the warm bench back to work. But I did promised to sit for CC’s CIG presentation next week. She is presenting a paper on Shelf-ready books which was not a popular topic among our profession. It was a brief and concise presentation and I’m sure she’ll do it brilliantly. I do helped with Shelf-ready books when CC was away and honestly, I don’t know how management think it was a good idea. 

Another day and another lunch break. This time a nice walk in the brilliant sunshine towards Nursery lake and Lakeside. Hundreds and hundreds of dragonflies patrolling the area, some furiously mating and others laying eggs in the water, dipping and depositing eggs for the next generation. Dozens of Canada Geese, Greylags and mallards were basking in the sun enjoying the quietness before the students return.Warwick University D3100  05-09-2012 12-00-52

I walked further up and played hide-and-seek with the inquisitive wagtails. They came quite close and as soon as you pulled up your camera, whoosh, off they go with their piercing cries trailing behind them. Then they flew in closer again to check you out and the same thing repeats itself. I sat on the bench at the end of the lake and were joined by more dragonflies basking in the sun. If you pull the camera very s-l-o-w-l-y, you will be able to get some very amazing close-ups. Again, I could have sit here the whole day, but I’ve got to earn my living.   Warwick University D3100  05-09-2012 12-08-26

The next day was another lunch date with HI at our favourite place, The Fusion Bar. We’d been planning for ages but we couldn’t find the right date. We walked towards the Piazza which was humming with people having their lunch in the warm sunshine watching the Paralympics on the big screen. I wished I could join them but my lunch awaits me. I ordered the yummy vegetarian noodles while HI tried the Thai Massaman chicken curry. We kept each other up-to-date while finishing our delicious meal. After a nice, long cold drink it was a very slow dawdle back to work. I’d a hard time staying awake :-0

Babe came over to meet me for lunch the next day. He wanted to take some photographs of the dragonflies that I took at Lakeside. Unfortunately all the disabled parking along Library Road had been taken over by contractors and builders!!! Why? Shouldn’t the Security people do something about this??? We managed to find a disabled parking space beside Humanities. As it was too far for Babe to walk to Lakeside, we headed towards the fountain to see if any dragonflies were out and about. There were a few but they were too busy patrolling their territories. I took the opportunity to take a photograph of the Zeeman building which was featured in the Telegraph in its list of Britain’s most beautiful universities. Hmm…not too sure about that. A modernist design, where the Department of Mathematics was based, and was named in honour of the Japanese-born British mathematician, Sir Erik Christopher Zeeman, who was known for his work in geometric topology and singularity theory. Warwick University D3100  07-09-2012 12-05-24

I ended the working week with another leaving do for CT from the Acquisitions Dept. She was heading to greener pastures in London and will be working at Kingston College Learning Resource Centre. She wanted to disappear silently but her colleagues don’t want any of that. Hey…any excuse for a party. As usual, the table was groaning with food and we’d a wonderful time tucking in. The party ended with drinks at Dirty Duck which I didn’t attend. But I bet everyone had a wonderful time. Good luck CT and please keep in touch.

On another lovely Saturday morning we made our way to Bradgate Park to check out whether the rutting season had started. As usual, a pit stop at Groby Pool. It was quite depressing to see the pool full of rubbish. From time to time, a shoal of small fish leapt over the water trying to escape a pike, we think. A Great Crested Grebe swam across taking advantage of the chaos. At the edge of the pool, a pair of juvenile dunnocks were pecking on the bread crumbs left by previous visitors.Groby Pools D50  08-09-2012 13-21-47

When we arrived at Bradgate Park, it was heaving and we’d to park on the 2nd overflow car-park. Everyone was taking advantage of the last rays of the summer sun. We didn’t have to walk far. A herd of deer were feeding along the path, much to the delight of the visitors. A few of them were gorging their antlers into the bracken. This was done to strengthen their necks in readiness of the rut. It was quite hilarious to see these handsome beasts with clumps of bracken, ferns and grasses hanging from their antlers.Bradgate Park D300s X14  08-09-2012 13-52-064

We continued walking and noticed that every bit of space along the River Lin was occupied. Children were cooling off and swimming in the murky waters. The ducks were standing by the banks, looking a bit pissed off. It was so warm that I’d to join the queue for ice-cream. We walked towards Lady Jane Grey’s compound hoping to catch a glimpse of the Little Owl. But I guess all the birds were keeping themselves in the shade. It was just too hot to be flying about. And we agreed. We walked back to the car and the mercury hit 31C!!! Bradgate Park D300s X14  08-09-2012 14-35-40

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

~Russel Baker~

We’d an early morning trip to our favourite playground to get the ring seat at Steely Hide. By hook or by crook, I’m going to see the kingfisher. We managed to squeeze in between 3 early birders and waited and waited and waited… and one by one the early birders left. We took photographs of dragonflies patrolling by the reeds and waited and waited…Then one by one the hide started filling up and it got noisier and noisier…and noisier. We just had to leave. As Babe said…there was a reason why it was called a HIDE!!!Brandon Marsh D7000 X14  07-09-2012 13-55-017

We walked through the forest towards Baldwin Hide. The main island had its annual trim and we could see what was on the island more clearly. There were plenty of Lapwings, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards and Tufted ducks enjoying the warm sunshine. Then one by one, the hide started filling in and the noise started building up again. We got up and left and decided to go home. It will be the same in all the other hides. It was just not our day. As we walked back to the car, we spotted a flock of swallows sunbathing and flying around the cement factory. I bet they were discussing when was the best day to fly back to Africa. Bonn voyage and fly safely.Brandon Marsh D7000 X14  07-09-2012 13-40-57

I wanted to check out the small blue butterflies that Babe photographed earlier this week by the tip. But it was too hot and we were already feeling the heat. We did check the watering hole by the reed-beds. There were plenty of dragonflies but they were too fast for our cameras. We could hear the Green woodpeckers calling from deep in the forest. We walked back to the car when this handsome buzzard flew over us. The sun was still shining brightly. It had been a wonderful weekend. Our summer had finally arrived and it was about time too.Brandon Marsh D7000 X14  07-09-2012 14-06-050

“The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.”

~Henry Adams~

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Blue Moon Week

It was Blue Moon Friday, a rare calendar phenomenon which occurred when a full moon appeared twice in a calendar month. And Friday was that day, when for the first time in two years the UK was treated to the 2nd full moon in August, thanks to the moon last reaching its peak on August 2. The moon was at it fullest at 2.59pm but unfortunately we can’t see it as it was below the horizon.  But I hoped you did looked up the sky that night  when our solar neighbour appeared, as you will have seen the first ‘blue moon’ since March 2010, and the last one until July 2015.

Blue Moon
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue Moon
You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for♫

CC sang ‘Blue Moon’, one of the classic popular songs for the lovers out there, as a treat. From Elvis to Ella Fitzgerald, the 1934 song relates to the tale of a man who finally found the love of his life. I guess he didn’t expected it at all that it must happened under a blue moon. I had been humming that b----y song the whole week.

It was also PL’s last day at work. He was retiring after serving for 42 years, Wow…what an achievement and we wanted him to go with a bang, not pulling any stops.  Everyone brought something for the spread and what a spread it was. I brought spring rolls to the groaning table. Before the party started, I helped JG with her ecclairs in the kitchen. Actually, we’d a wonderful time polishing off any imperfect ecclairs. The kitchen and both of us were covered with cream. It was hilarious.Warwick University S40  31-08-2012 12-01-10

I continued the blue streak on Saturday by searching for the Kingfisher at our favourite playground. I’d not seen this gorgeous cobalt blue bird at all this year although Babe had seen and photographed them thousands of time. We headed straight towards Steely Hide where the bird was often seen fishing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my lucky day. The tiny hide was packed and no one seemed to be leaving. I guess better luck next time.Brandon Marsh D300s X2  23-08-2012 15-35-37

It was the Rainbow gave thee birth,
And left thee all her lovely hues;
And, as her mother’s name was Tears,
So runs it in my blood to choose
For haunts the lonely pools, and keep
In company with trees that weep.
Go you and, with such glorious hues,
Live with proud peacocks in green parks;
On lawns as smooth as shining glass,
Let every feather show its marks;
Get thee on boughs and clap thy wings
Before the windows of proud kings.
Nay, lovely Bird, thou art not vain;
Thou hast no proud, ambitious mind;
I also love a quiet place
That’s green, away from all mankind;
A lonely pool, and let a tree
Sigh with her bosom over me.

~The Kingfisher by William Henry Davies~

We walked back to the visitor centre where we saw a very strange phenomena. Swarms of dragonflies out and about, patrolling the path. Hundreds were darting and hovering in the warm sun. I think they’d emerged after the rain and then the warmth. We stood there watching at this amazing spectacle when actually, I wanted  to stand in the middle of the swarm, soaking up the sound of the dragonfly wings fluttering against one another. :-0Brandon Marsh D300s X14  01-09-2012 14-47-026

Apart from the dragonflies, the butterflies too were out in full force feeding on the Buddleia forest. We saw Red Admirals, Peacocks, Brimstone, Comma, Whites and Gatekeepers. Just look at these stunning colours of the Peacock butterfly.Brandon Marsh D50  01-09-2012 15-49-13

Fair child of sun and summer!we behold

With eager eyes thy wings bedropp’d with gold;

The purple spots that o’er thy mantle spread,

The sapphire’s lively blue, the ruby’s red,

Ten thousand various blended tints surprise,

Beyond the rainbow’s hues or peacock’s eyes

~Joseph Warton~

Brandon Marsh D50  01-09-2012 14-55-034

Sunday was spent chilling at home. I spent the day clearing the overgrown bushes at the end of the garden and pulling up the courgette and sweet pea bushes. It had been a bad year for courgettes. None of the 3 bushes had produced any fruits at all. The pumpkins weren’t looking too healthy either. The salads had bolted and they too were destined to the compost heap. The green curly kale were still going strong and the leeks were looking delicious. While I was busy in the garden, this gorgeous family of 8 house sparrows kept me company. They were very chirpy :-)Coventry D300s X14  31-08-2012 12-13-34

“Happy is the person who not only sings, but feels God’s eye is on the sparrow, and knows He watches over me. To be simply ensconced in God is true joy”

~Alfred A. Montapert~

I celebrated my 4 day week with a night out at the Noodle Bar with the girls. RC was celebrating on having a bun in the oven. SA was toasting her birthday which was the following day. I said thank you for the coming of Eid, while CC just wanted a good Chinese meal. Whatever the reasons, we’d a wonderful time polishing and slurping the lovely meal. I ordered my usual but instead of udon, I’d hor-fun for a change with the seafood special and Chinese vegetables and washed down with cups of steaming cha. Lots of laughter, good food and good company…just a fabulous way to start the week or in our case, end the day.Coventry S40  28-08-2012 18-40-02

As usual, I’d a takeaway for Babe of egg fried rice and mixed vegetables. We left quite early because it was football night and we don’t want to get caught in any misbehaviours. There was quite a police presence around the city centre and thankfully everyone behaved themselves. And what a night it was for the Sky Blues. Carl Baker's extra-time winner for Coventry blew Birmingham City Blues out of the League Cup at the second-round stage. Their reward for the Capital One Cup victory was a third-round trip to the Emirates Stadium to meet their host, Arsenal. What a game that was going to be. Good luck boys…

I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to archer Hasihin Sanawi for winning the silver in the men's individual recurve W1/W2 at the Paralympic Games. It was the one and only medal that Malaysia had won in the games. But I turned blue with disbelief when I found out that he won’t get the same benefits received by Lee Chong Wei who won the silver in badminton and Pandelela Rinong Pamg who won a bronze for diving during the Olympics. The reason given by the Minister of Sports and Culture was that the  competitive level was different between the Olympics and Paralympics!!! What on earth was he talking about? He was the 2nd best in the world and he was a disabled man who’d achieved the impossible in a country where the disabled were hidden away. All I want is equal treatment, not more, as the ‘normal’ athletes. Breathe in…out..very s-l-o-w-l-y…

I do love my birth country and missed it like crazy but sometimes…it was always one step forward and two steps back. Anyway, best wishes to all Malaysians as we celebrated 55 years of independence from Old Blighty. I always like the idea that Great Britain colonised Malaya and here I am. And I’m not alone. Most of the immigrants here in the UK were from the former colonised countries. Coventry D50  01-09-2012 16-20-43

Also best wishes to Kirsty who tied the knot on the weekend. Congratulations and hoping to meet the newly crowned Mrs at the CIG conference in Sheffield next week.

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

Coventry D7000 M  01-09-2012 13-45-038