Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ah-tishoo, Ah-tishoo

Ring a ring o'roses
A pocketful of posies
We all fall down.
No, I didn’t catch the plague. Spending two days in bed with the lurgy was no fun at all. I caught the Freshers Flu which had been rampaging around the library like a wild bush fire.  What do you expect when you get in contact with thousands of students from all over the world. The weather wasn’t helping either. Not yet cold enough to kill off all the germs, but plenty flying about.  Sore throat, sniffles, coughs, aches and headaches. You name it and I got it. Bleugh…
We were in Tesco and in my basket were paracetamol, vapour rub, tissues and cough syrup. It was a quick shop as around us people were coughing and  sneezing. Help…get me out of here. At home, I slept on Babe’s reclining chair with a hot water bottle for company. As usual, I’d the patio door opened to let some fresh air in and also see if my feathered friends were brave enough to visit. The usual culprits turned up but it was the bushy tails that provided great entertainment.Coventry D3100  20-10-2012 10-09-20
There were 3 Grey squirrels bounding up and down the garden. They were either scrambling up the bird feeder, the rose arch and even the rotary clothes liner where Babe had hung a peanut feeder. I loved it when they draped themselves around the feeder, some very acrobatic moves. Often, they would be chasing each other off. Coventry D3100  20-10-2012 14-49-54As they hopped about on the lawn, I noticed that their graceful, flowing movements were interrupted by brief periods of stillness as they stood up, looking around with their ear-tufts up, listening and sniffing the air for any signs of danger. When they found something interesting, they would sit up on their haunches and holding them in their forepaws, giving it a little nibble and then bounding off to find the perfect spot to bury their treasure. One even bury it in my plant pot. My poor plants…   Coventry D300s X14  07-10-2012 15-24-18I was still not 100% fit but I was back at work on Thursday. I had to be present for the RDA webinar on name authority. My colleagues took the p—s and made me sit on my own at the end of the table. They didn’t want to catch my goodwill :-). It was a very eye-opening webinar because there were a lot of changes that we’d to be aware of, especially for conferences, active dates and uses of occupational qualifiers to distinguish conflicts. There was still so much to learn and discuss.Coventry D3100  16-10-2012 10-35-25 18th October was also marked as St. Luke’s Day. Although he was venerated as the Patron Saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, butchers and students, his name was traditionally been linked to St Luke’s little summer. It was the height of Autumn’s glory and the weather slowly going downhill after that. The temperature was unusually mild and the leaf colours were a patchwork of gold, russet, yellow, red, orange and scarlet. This was the view outside my window. It made me forget my sniffles for a while.Warwick University S40  04-10-2012 13-48-11
Here’s a little prayer for all the singletons out there on St. Luke’s Day
St. Luke, St. Luke
Be kind to me
In my dreams let me
My true love see
On Saturday, we went to Babe’s favourite shop in Leamington Spa. It was very misty on the drive down but it shifted to a lovely day when we were there. We parked on Royal Priory and walked to London Camera Exchange to get Babe’s latest toy a Nikon D800 as a birthday and Christmas present. We spent quite some time in the shop because Babe wanted to do a few tests before we parted with our hard-earned ££££. Then we went back to the car and deposit our latest purchase before checking out the other shops.Coventry S40  21-10-2012 09-46-39
Originally famed for its healing waters, today Leamington was better known for its spectacular regency architecture, excellent shopping, vibrant nightlife and beautifully maintained parks and gardens. We gave the familiar high streets chain a miss all housed in beautiful Georgian architecture and checked out the smaller and independent retailers on the side streets. I bought a beautiful Red Crystal Buckley brooch as support to the British Legion’s vital work for all members of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. I shall wear it with pride and will still put a donation in the Poppy Appeal box. I am against war in any shape or form but …
On Sunday, this was the view outside our house. It was another day of thick fog, mist and cloud shrouding the country. We planned to drive down to Slimbridge WWT  because the first sighting of the Bittern was reported. But we waited until it cleared a bit. There was a nip in the air with a hint of mist and mellow fruitfulness lingering. As we drove along the M6, an amazing mist over the roads moved very slowly, giving the countryside an almost ethereal feel, in the weak autumn sunlight. There were road-works here and there and despite the heavy fog, there were some very irresponsible drivers. What a prat.Coventry S40  21-10-2012 09-48-03
In the morning, skies so grey
Before the sun lights up the day,
I chanced upon a morning mist
That left the leaves and grasstips kissed
With the aqua of the dew
It left a feeling with me, too
Something old, something new;
Something that comes with the mist again,
Never what, but always when
~Unknown, Morning mist~
We weren’t surprised that there wasn’t many people about in Slimbridge. It wasn’t a nice day to be out and about. We renewed our WWT membership before continuing our adventure. Our main target was the Zeiss Hide which was at the end of the park. But first, we were greeted with the unusual high-pitched honking calls of the Bewick’s Swans. They should be arriving by the thousands but so far only these were out and about. Slimbridge WWT D50  21-10-2012 12-02-47
We walked briskly towards the Zeiss Hide giving a quick glance around the several zones in case if we spot any migratory birds and waders. Thankfully, the hide was unusually quiet. We took our seats and it was freezing. The mudflats were busy full of teals, lapwings and Black-tail Godwits but no sighting of the elusive bird. Slimbridge WWT D800  21-10-2012 13-45-016
As we walked around the park, we spotted some very unusual sightings. The Trust had laid a special Halloween trail for children. We had a lovely time checking out some of the exhibits. I bet the children enjoyed hunting for the clues which we did. This was supposed to be a Crane’s brain.Slimbridge WWT D50  21-10-2012 13-45-58
Then a pit stop at the South Lake to see if we can spot the Long-billed Dowitcher. We weren’t surprised that the hide was packed with people trying to catch a glimpse of this North American wader. Finally, with the guidance of a very obliging twitcher I finally met the elusive bird. A pity he was asleep and hidden among the 140 Black-tailed Godwits. He was a bit smaller and more colourful.Slimbridge WWT D300s X14  21-10-2012 14-12-24
South Lake was very busy and full of activity. We were amazed to see a few of the Black-tailed Godwits feeding so close to where we were sitting in the hide. They were already in their uniform grey winter plumage. These long-legged, long-billed wader were busy probing for earthworms in the shallow pools. What a wonderful sight.Slimbridge WWT D300s X14  21-10-2012 14-14-00
As I scanned the pool, I spotted a Little Egret looking out of place among the waders. It stood out with its white with black bill, black legs and yellow feet. It was also busy feeding, stabbing its bill to left and right. A joy to watch.Slimbridge WWT D50  21-10-2012 13-59-20
By this time, it was getting quite chilly and we decided to head home. But we just had to check out one of the closest hide, Rushy Hide and we were glad we did. The Pintails had returned from the Tundras. Woo-hoo. The low sunlight highlighted the black long and pointed rear end of the males. Check out the elaborate vermiculated pattern on the back and flanks. A very beautiful bird.Slimbridge WWT D50  21-10-2012 14-30-51
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune in.
~George Washington Carver~
And  I’m still sniffling, coughing, aching. I need to get rid of this ASAP so I can get my flu-jab done. It felt bit pointless but you’ll never know what new strain might pop up around the corner. Coventry S40  21-10-2012 09-41-07

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