Monday, 30 September 2013

Dawn of Autumn

Departing summer hath assumed

An aspect tenderly illumed,

The gentlest look of spring;

That calls from yonder leafy shade

Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,

A timely carolling.

~William Wordsworth~

Shots from Home

Autumn was definitely dusting off her gown of golds and browns. It was often misty and chilly out first thing in the morning. And the garden was laced in cobwebs. I’d walked into several long strands of silken web strung across the arch as I went to top up the bird-feeder. It was always a telltale sign of Autumns approaching when intricate webs appeared everywhere.  Isn’t it beautiful with dewdrops glistening on cobwebs. Look how perfectly aligned the fine threads were, each section completed with meticulous accuracy.Shots from Home

I was walking through the Arts Centre during my lunch break when I saw this and did a double, even a triple take.  The children has just started school, the students had not even return yet, still no spooky Halloween treats and the sparkly delights of November 5th. and they have set this up!!! But thankfully, it was for a retail conference. Phew … But it seemed that in several large supermarkets, seasonal aisle popped up piled high with mince pies, chocolate Santa’s  and tins of Quality Streets and Roses, all under the bright red and gold banners announcing the arrival of Christmas.  It felt like they were trying to force the festive season onto shoppers too soon. And it was still 100 days to Xmas. Shots from Warwick University

We’d just arrived home when our next door neighbour, MR, came rushing out clutching her mobile phone. She couldn’t wait to tell us that she’d taken a photograph of a fox who was relaxing at the back of her garden. The next morning, when I looked out of the window, there it was Foxy sleeping in her garden, underneath the children’s trampoline. Babe took a few photographs and we gave a copy to MR. We started putting dog food out now and it had been visiting us every night. We think it was a young fox.Shots from our Home and Garden

 Suddenly, a small fox, playful

Floods your wounded heart with joy

He searches your face with his singular gaze,

Knows you’re at one with his vagabond stance

~Al-Sadiq Al-Raddi~

At first, I thought the International Students Working Group won’t be involved with the Warwick Higher Education Foundation Programme (HEFP) induction. And then we were asked to be on stand-by. And then we were asked to be involved. My slot was supposed to be at 10 am but at 9.30 am, the telephone rang and the students were already here. Whaat!!! I haven’t had my herbal tea yet. AM and I rushed upstairs and we waited and waited and waited while the student ambassadors get their group in order. I knew that no matter how well you timed it to the last second, things never fall to plan. Shots from Warwick University

The HEFP students were from Stratford College and Warwickshire College. It was a pre-university course that helped to prepare overseas students for study in the UK and helped them decide on future study. Finally, at 10.15 am, I welcomed my group but it was a whirlwind tour because they’d to be in the Teaching Grid for a briefing by the subject librarians at 10.30 am. That was the briefest induction that I’d ever done. But I hoped to see them again for the self-guided quiz. But they were so short of time, that they missed that too. The problem was that their college were based in Stratford-Upon-Avon and Leamington Spa and the traffic had been horrendous on that day.

I’m leaving the garden alone at the moment. It was looking very tired especially now when the sun had beaten down with ferocious intensity and the rain had been meagre and sporadic. I’m beginning to tidy the potted plants and the annuals, trim the hedges and mow the lawn. It was too early to start planting the bulbs. The sweet corn and dwarf beans had been harvested and the stalks added to the compost bin. I’m still picking courgettes, tomatoes, blueberries, rocket, broad beans and figs. The sunflowers and the courgettes were still flowering. Shots from Home

The end of the week we celebrated the autumnal equinox when the sun passed directly above the equator and day and night became equal in length. It was another shift in the seasons of our lives, in the passage of time, and in eternal turning of the Wheel. It was officially the beginning of autumn but summer was refusing to go quietly. Summer appeared to be fighting back. Bees and butterflies, especially the whites were taking advantage of the extended summer. I managed to photograph this Speckled Wood sunbathing. Shots from Home

The sunshine and 23C said that it was still summer as the the trees and plants showed signs of next season with low clouds and dew-soaked lawns. But while the changing season normally brings lower temperatures and blustery weather, autumn appeared to be getting off to a slow start. Temperatures were above average because of warm tropical air coming from the south west and the Azores, causing an area of high pressure over the country.

I haven’t been going for walks during my lunch break because I was making up time.  I have an appointment with the doctor and 2 appointments with the nurse.  I couldn’t get the earliest or the last slot. The trip to the doctor went ok but I really dreaded seeing the nurse. I’m having travel vaccinations and let a sigh of relief when I only needed one, a typhoid booster instead of 3.  I’d one very sore right arm for about 3 days when I returned again to have my annual flu jab in the other arm. Now, I’ve got 2 sore arms. I’d to walk to the surgery because Babe had one of his bad days. On the walk home, I just had to take a quick photograph of this very serene autumnal scenery of Coventry Canal.Around Coventry

“There is a harmony

In Autumn, and a lustre in its sky,

Which through the summer is not heard or seen,

As if it could not be, as if it had not been!”

~Percy Bysshe Shelley~

For the life of me, I cannot understand the randomness of terrorist violence, It appalled and sickened me. I believe to the one God as these people  but what when wrong. Where did they read that required his believers to murder others. They weren’t Muslims because Muslim meant submission or surrender to the laws of Allah which is peace, purity and obedience.. Please don’t blackened the name Islam. These people were murderers, full-stop. my   My prayers and thought were for those people murdered in Kenya and Pakistan. Shots from Home

On Michaelmas Day, I took the bus to town to meet KC and CC for lunch. Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, was celebrated on the 29th of September every year. As it falls near the equinox, the day was associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. The city centre was buzzing. Everyone was out and about taking advantage of the warm weather. I don’t blame them. Make hay when the sun shine. As I was still early, I checked out a few shops. Then off to IKEA to meet the girls and they were early.Shots from Home

After the obligatory hugs, we planned to continue our chinwags over lunch. We said no to IKEA’s restaurant because it was going to be crowded. CC said no to the Town Crier. I wanted to try out the new sushi bar, Yakii, but KC was a bit wary. Finally we agreed to safe old Cosmos. After being given a secluded table by the window and ordering a pot of Chinese loose leaf tea, we took turns to fill our plates. As usual, my first port of call was the sushi corner covered with billowing dry ice to keep them from drying out. Unfortunately, the labelling was haphazard that I only chose the ebi nigiri (king prawn), tamago nigiri (egg omelette), tuna sashimi  and salmon maki roll.Shots from Home

We’d a wonderful time catching up and keeping each other up-to-date. The last time I saw KC was in May when she attended the RDA pop-up. It was lovely seeing her again and the conversations and laughter flowed easily. For my second course, I chose the seafood galore. There were King prawns, oysters, mussels, salmon, calimari and scallops. Yum… yum. There were also live cooking stations where I chose prawns, fish ball and kailan all dipped in Sichuan Hot and sour soup. It was a bit too spicy for me. I cooled down with a panna cotta before getting up for a final course of more seafood.Shots from Home

We noticed there was new cooking stations such as the Indian Tandoori, Yakitori and Robata Grill, Teppanyaki, Asian Carvery, Pizzeria, Global Kitchen etc. But I didn’t check them out. I was much more interested in the seafood. The restaurant was a bit noisy with children running around tables which were quite close together and laden with food. After our 2nd pot of tea and finishing with desserts, we slowly dawdled out. After hugs and promises to meet again, KC was off to catch the train, CC off to IKEA where she parked her car and I toddled off to Pool Meadow to catch the bus home.Shots from Home

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

~George Eliot~

Shots from Home

I didn’t take any photographs with the girls. Too busy eating and yakking :-). Instead, these were my feathered friends who were having a party in the garden while I was away.Shots from Home

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