Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high
If I had a day that I could give you
I'd give to you the day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I'd sing a song to make you feel this way
If I had a tale that I could tell you
I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I'd make a wish for sunshine for all the while
How I wish the above was true. I’d some discomfort on my left shoulder for about a few weeks but I just ignored, as you normally do. But then, one night my shoulder was throbbing like mad and I couldn’t even lie down to sleep. We tried both hot and cold compression and it still didn’t ease the pain. There were no bruises, nothing. In the end, I’d to sleep downstairs in Babe’s reclining chair with my shoulder being supported by piles of cushion. I called the office and informed that I’m on sick leave and made an emergency appointment with the doctor. I was diagnosed me with bursitis or frozen shoulder, where the lining of the shoulder joint was inflamed. How it happened no one knows especially when I’m right-handed.
I was given Naproxen to help ease the pain and reduce any inflammation in the shoulder. I was also told to have my arm in a sling to keep it relaxed and to make an appointment in a week for a steroid injection. Unfortunately, I experienced very bad side effects with the tablet. I was throwing up and had very bad heart burns which aggravated my condition. I went to the doctor the next day and was given Tramadol and a whole week sick leave. Taking these tablets made me so tired and very sleepy that Babe had to wake me up for meals, drinks and trips to the bathroom. Thanks Babe and it made things worse because he wasn’t feeling well too. Oh dear…
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
For the whole week, I was sleeping downstairs on Babe’s reclining chair. I was too drugged up to, tired and in pain to care what was happening around the world. Sad huh but thankfully the 20th Commonwealth games in Glasgow kept me sane and interested since Malaysia was doing well in Badminton. They won 3 gold medals in the team event, men and women doubles team. In total, Malaysia won 6 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze and was twelfth in the medal tally out of 70 participating nations. Well done to all the athletes that took part.
Earlier during the week, it was St. Swithin’s day when the folk rhyme goes …
St. Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St. Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more
Here in my corner of Coventry, it was warm and dry. Whoop…whoop. Summer was here to stay. A steamy two week spell was in the offering, although with a threat of thunderstorms as a ‘Spanish plume’ headed our way. The patio door was always opened to cool down the house and let some breeze in.
It was lovely in the morning when the morning chorus from the tree sparrows which lived in the hedges delighted us with a melody that only they can sing. But I’m sure our feathered friends were wondering what they’d done because we haven’t top up the bird-feeder for nearly a fortnight. I photographed a featherless Dunnock covered with avian pox and then Babe spotted another one. We stopped feeding the birds so that they feed elsewhere. We don’t want the healthy birds to be affected. We washed and disinfected the bird-feeders and watched closely to see if any more birds were affected. Thankfully, none and only one of the affected bird turned up and he looked like he’d recovered.
At work, the University was buzzing when the six-metre high Lady Godiva puppet made an appearance. I’d a front seat view of the Imagineer Production team assembling her right outside my office. She was here to welcome the 900 theatre academics from 68 nations for the World Congress of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR). In variation of Godiva’s Odyssey, the puppet woke up in the campus and then made her way along the main road, guiding all delegates to the Arts Centre. What an amazing welcome. It was lovely to see Lady Godiva again.
After 30 days of fasting, the new moon of Syawal was sighted without any controversies. Syawal meant “to lift or carry” was the 10th month of the lunar Islamic calendar and the first day was Eid. Due to the discomfort in my shoulder, I wasn’t able to cook anything special. But for my colleagues, I brought shop-bought Baklava which we enjoyed during the departmental meeting where the head of Client Services, our new division manager, joined us. She updated us on what was happening and what she expected from us. Nothing new … we just continued like before
May Ramadan leaves us with Allah’s forgiveness and mercy, and the coming Syawal bring happiness and peace especially with what was happening in the Muslim world.
Before I fell ill, we made another trip to Draycote Meadow to see if the Marbled Whites were about. It was a lovely day to be out and it was butterflies galore. We just don’t know where to point the camera. Despite its name, they were more closely related to the sub-family known as the “browns”than the “whites”. Check out the stunning black and white markings. Early morning was a good time to see them, as they warmed up with wings held open absorbing the sun’s rays. Very conspicuous, even from a distance, as they were the only white object, fluttering in the meadow. I loved watching several all vying for space as they fed on the flower head.
After being stuck in the house for days, we went for a short walk at our favourite playground to get some fresh air and put a bit of colour. First stop was the Buddleia bushes where the flowers were blooming profusely and deliciously scented. No wonder, butterflies were attracted to them in drones. This butterfly bush produced nectar that had a higher content of sucrose, glucose and fructose than many other garden flowers. It was lovely watching the bushes covered in swags of flowers and dancing with nectar intoxicated butterflies butterflies in the sunshine. We walked towards the wind-pump and kept a close eye for the blues flittering about in the scrubs. There were plenty of them. We continued towards New Hare covert and it was again butterfly galore.
From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
On Miscellaneous Enterprise
The Clovers -- understood --
~From cocoon forth a butterfly by Emily Dickinson~
Even dragonflies loves the Buddleia
We went straight to Steely Hide and had to rush a bit because the weather was beginning to turn. We looked through the slats and there was a kingfisher perched on the pole. We opened the window very slowly and watched it fishing. It waited quite patiently before suddenly plunging down into the pool with a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, it came up empty handed and flew onto the stump in the middle of the island. It was there for a few minutes before flying down the river channel, like a blue flame, with its piercing cry trailing behind it.
After a week resting, my shoulder was a bit more mobile. We celebrated by checking out what the natives were up to at Middleton Lakes which was just a short drive away. This site was buzzing a few weeks ago when a Pacific Golden Plover brought twitchers all over the country. Predictably, I was out of action at that time. After paying the entrance fee and having a chinwag with the friendly volunteer, we made our way into the reserve. The heronry was quiet and the tall reeds had obstructed the views of the bird-feeder from the boardwalk. As we walked past the farmhouse, we were greeted by this amazing sight of an usually looking duck with a wonderful regal air about it. It was a crested duck with the powder-puff of feathers on its head. The crest was actually caused by a genetic mutation that caused the duck to be born with a gap in its skull, which was filled with a growth of fatty tissue. It was from this growth that the pouf of feather sprouted.
There was a tall dead tree in the compound and I saw Nuthatches, Linnets and Goldfinches taking turns to perch. Unfortunately the sun was right above us, that the photographs didn’t turn up right. But, I love this dark silhouettes of the swallows taking a rest on the electric lines. Soon, they will be migrating back 10k miles, across Europe to South Africa crossing the Sahara desert on the way to spend the winter. As the time to return was approaching, they become restless and often seen perching in large flocks. Perhaps, they were waiting and twittering about the right moment to fly.
Along the path, Babe was busy photographing the bugs and the bees. The striking black and yellow striped Cinnabar caterpillars were busy munching on the Ragwort plants. The poisonous Cuckoo pint berries stood out like a beacon in the woodland habitat. It was quite cool walking under the canopy of trees and then we faced the intense temperatures and heat haze as we got out into the open. Green woodpecker cries could be heard but not seen. I was distracted by a little brown bird flying in and out of the reed-beds. I crept slowly and had a lovely view of Reed warbler hunting for food.
In the pool, Moorhens with chicks were busy feeding. Great Crested Grebes were paddling lazily across and sometimes diving and coming out with a fish to eat. There were plenty of signs to warn visitors about major flood defence works being carried out by the Environment Agency to the south of Fishers Mills Bridge. We could see huge machineries being operated near the River Tame, the noise breaking through the silence. We were quite excited to see a Great Crested Grebe flying around the reserve. We seldom see them fly because they needed to run a long way along the water before to take off, while performing rapid wing-beats as it does in flight. We were able to see the beautiful black and white wing pattern during flight.
Along the seasonal trails, we’d to watch our steps because recent landscaping works meant that the path were very muddy. We stopped at the woven willow viewing screens to look at the wetlands and the scrapes and there was nothing about. But along the path, we came across several dragonflies sunning themselves in the heat. As we walked along River Tame, at least 40 Canada Geese were enjoying a rest, bobbing up and down in the water and among them was a hybrid.
We checked out the Lookout Hide overlooking the northern scrapes. By this time, we were drenched in sweat and had to take our coats off to cool down. We’d a long, cold drink and had a pasty each to replenish and recharge. Babe counted at least 3 dozen Mute Swans in the vicinity. We watched the ones close to us, feeding by reaching the aquatic vegetation and plunging its long neck into the water, or ‘upending’, tail in the air. And then another white wader flew in with attractive white plumes on the crest, back and chest, black legs and bill and yellow feet. The liveliest hunters, among the herons, they fed chiefly by walking through the lake and snapping at prey, or by running and agitating the waters with their feet to disturb prey.
From time to time, a flock of Goldfinches flew to the thistle and teasel bushes near the hide. We could hear and see them feeding, their long, fine beaks allowing them to extract the otherwise inaccessible seeds with their liquid twittering calls. Another flock of birds with an undulating flight flew into the thick bushes in the middle of the island. They were Linnets and I think they were breeding here because they kept on coming in and out.The males were attractively marked with crimson foreheads and breasts while the females were browner.
We walked back through the Jubilee Wetlands North where we passed small pools covered with algae. The authorities were trying their best to clear these pea-soup because we could see piles that had been scraped dumped by the sides. We also saw a small herd of ancient English longhorn cattle feeding on the scrubland. The notable long, curved horns that served to distinguish this breed from others made them appear aggressive but they were actually quite docile. They provided the hoof-power to look after the sites by grazing to remove the coarse grasses. This prevented grasslands from turning into dense woodland and was also an environmentally friendly way to maintain the reserve. Unfortunately, on such a hot day, they were feeding in the shade. I don’t blame them.
~A something in a summer’s Day by Emily Dickinson~