Saturday, 29 December 2012

Moonstruck.


A full moon last night, and here it is tonight, through the trees and over the water, shining with all its might!

The picture shows the moon through the trees, looking east over Southampton Water, from Hythe, Hampshire, at 18:40 on Saturday 29th December 2012.

Click on the link below to see the current moon phase:-
http://www.calculatorcat.com/moon_phases/phasenow.php

Click on the link below to see "It's Cosmo's Moon", a clip from Norman Jewison's 1987 film "Moonstruck":-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAU4pf0uhoY

At The End Of The Rainbow.


I was ready with my camera to capture this astonishing double rainbow earlier today - at the peak of its vibrancy.  The sections that I could see, arched over the QEII dock and the Itchen Bridge, lit up the sea and sky and disappeared into Southampton Water.... right in front of my house in Hythe. I'm living at the end of the rainbow!

The picture shows a double rainbow over Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 15:45 on Saturday 29th December 2012.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas In Hythe, Hampshire.


Have A Perfectly Proper Yuletide;
Christmas Happiness Running In Streams This Morning Amid Sleighbells!

Happy Christmas from Hythe, Hampshire.

The picture at the top shows the Hythe Christmas Tree at 16:48 on Friday 30th November 2012, decked out for the annual Mistletoe Fayre. The highlight of the Mistletoe Fayre is a rooftop rescue of Santa by the local fire brigade, cheered on by crowds of children, but this year the weather was too wet and windy, so the children cheered as Santa bounced about in a boat on Southampton Water, clinging on with one hand and waving with the other!

The picture below shows St John's Church, Hythe, at 16:42 on Sunday 9th December 2012. I had intended to take photos of the Christmas Tree Festival Christmas Trees inside the church, but I was stopped short by this imposing view of the church and the trees set against the evening sky and, of course, the beautiful stained glass windows.

To see more of my Christmas in Hythe, Hampshire, photos, click on the link below:-

To see the famous Santa Rooftop Rescue at the Hythe Mistletoe Fayre (from a previous year), click on the link below:-


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Seven Swans A Swimming.


The local swans were on the water near Hythe Promenade this morning and by the time I'd managed to run up two flights of stairs, find my camera, unlock the door and get out on to the balcony, fire-up the camera, steady myself and focus on the swans, they were gliding along by the pier, too far away for a good photo!  I took a few shots anyway and then remembered that I'd seen them a couple of weeks ago, and taken a nice picture (see above).

The photo shows the two local swans and their five cygnets off Hythe foreshore, Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 08:32 on Wednesday 12th December 2012.

So, what we have here are two swans and five cygnets on the 12th of the 12th of the 12th; two and five make seven; Seven Swans, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  How seasonal is that!

To read more the Hythe Swans, click on the links below to my previous blogs dated Tuesday 30th October 2012, Sunday 24th June 2012 and Tuesday 19th June 2012.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The First Cuckoo.


After a long search (six years and counting!), I'm now the proud owner of a cuckoo clock.  I found it on the muji website, ordered it online last Friday, took delivery yesterday and, unusually for me, unwrapped the package immediately, opened the box and heard the first cuckoo seconds later.  It's enchanting, it's charming, it's everything I dreamed of.  I love it.  The cuckoo pops out on the hour and the half hour and the call is soft, throaty, languorous and lovely.  AND, there's an in-built light sensor, so the clock doesn't chime after dark.  It's just perfect.

The picture shows my new cuckoo clock, calling at 15:00 on Wednesday 12th December 2012.

I wanted to add a link to the clock details on the muji website, but when I looked online today the item had vanished; I must have bought the last one! (The bird has flown?)  Here's a link to the muji website clocks page anyway; just in case it turns up again.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My New Shoes.


I have a new pair of shoes and I like them very much.  They fulfill my tick-list of elegant, comfortable, practical and unusual, and they just happen to be black - black sliced leather as a matter of fact.  I bought them from my favourite London shoe shop, Tracey Neuls, and for reasons best known to Tracey, they're called Denis.  They probably look like all the other shoes I've ever bought, but....  The point is, I bought them in August (2012) and I haven't yet worn them!  I want to wear them, but I don't want to spoil them. I want to wear them, but I don't want to get them wet.  I want to wear them, but not for too long.  The first time I wear them I want everything to be perfect.

It's certainly not unusual for me to buy something and keep it for days or weeks before I feel the need to peel off the wrapper, open the box and look inside, but I think this is something of a record, even for me.  Maybe writing about it will break the spell and I'll discover that today is the perfect day to wear my new shoes for the first time.  Or maybe I'll take them out of the box and look at them, just one more time.....

The picture at the top shows my new shoes, beautifully wrapped and stickered, on Sunday 26th August 2012 (three days after I'd bought them).

The picture at the bottom shows my new shoes, unwrapped and unworn, on Thursday 6th September 2012 (two weeks after I'd bought them).

To take a look at my shoe collection (excluding the new pair), click on the link below:-
http://www.susanvale.com/shoes.html

Click on the link below to see the Tracey Neuls website, or visit the shop at 29 Marylebone Lane, London W1.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The City of Southampton.


After my walk through the city centre five parks (see my blog dated Saturday 24th November 2012) and my ongoing history lesson, I'm now enchanted with all things Southampton and can't wait to visit the SeaCity Museum, walk the QE2 Mile, be under the Civic Centre Clock Tower at 4pm to hear the opening bars of "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" (written by Isaac Watts [son of Southampton] - his statue in Watts Park looks up at the Clock Tower), walk the Old Town Walls, visit the Tudor House, sit on a bench in Queens Park, visit the Merchant's House and find Southampton Common. Time and weather permitting, of course.

The picture at the top shows the Civic Centre Clock Tower, Southampton, Hampshire, viewed from Watts Park, at 15:14 on Saturday 17th November 2012.

The pictures at the bottom show a wide-shot and a close-up of the Isaac Watts statue in Watts (West) Park, Southampton, Hampshire, at 15:13 on Saturday 17th November 2012.

Click on the link below for a few interesting Facts About Southampton (scroll down to item 20 to read about Isaac Watts and the Civic Centre Clock Tower):- 

Other links as follows:-




Saturday, 24 November 2012

Southampton Five Parks.



Walking through the centre of Southampton on a cold afternoon last week, I discovered Palmerston Park and made a detour to take a look.  There were statues, trees, autumn crocuses, heathers, hydrangeas, a bandstand, people walking, people sitting on benches, more trees, avenues of trees, and acres of green as far as the eye could see.  It was lovely, and the afternoon sun beautifully picked out the autumn colours.  I didn't have my camera with me, but I snatched a few shots with my cell phone and happily went on my way, determined to find out more.

It turns out that there are five Grade II listed historic and linking parks in Southampton city centre (Hoglands Park, Houndwell Park, Palmerston Park, Andrews (East) Park and Watts (West) Park); I'd actually walked through two of them (Palmerston and Houndwell) and could see a third and fourth in the distance (Andrews and Hoglands).  This was all too much for me, on paper, so a few days later I went back to Southampton with my camera and walked all five parks.  No afternoon sun this time, but some nice photos, a head full of history, a heart full of happiness and a healthy glow to my cheeks!

The pictures above show the Gas Column, and inscription, flanked by lime trees in Houndwell Park, Southampton, Hampshire, at 15:28 on Wednesday 14th November 2012.

To see more of my Southampton Five Parks photos, click on the link below:-

To read about the five Southampton Parks, click on the link below:-

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Brent Geese.



Ambling around the marina yesterday intent on capturing the melancholy of a still grey day, I barely had time to get out my camera before the cloud cleared and the sun came out!  Undeterred, I snapped away at the colours; the sky, the trees, the fallen leaves, the water... and a gaggle of Brent Geese, paddling about on the slipway, their white bottoms glowing in the autumn sunshine.

The pictures show a wide-shot and a close-up of Brent Geese on the slipway at Hythe Marina, Hampshire, at 15:15 on Saturday 10th November 2012.

To see the rest of my autumn colours photos, click on the link below:-

To read about Brent Geese, click on the RSPB link below:-

Thursday, 8 November 2012

RMS Queen Mary 2.


I suppose it was inevitable; after watching her sail by my windows dozens of times over the past few months and years, I'd slowly persuaded myself that a trip aboard the largest ocean liner in the world was an experience not to be missed.  A short, taster type of thing, that's what I'd go for.  And that's exactly what I did.  An Autumn Getaway; 5 nights, 9th-14th October, round trip, Southampton to Southampton, calling at Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre.  It was astonishing.

QM2 is a wonderful ship and it was a real thrill to be on board, to see and feel the size of her, to be actually walking the decks.  I loved the ports of call, sailing in at dawn, disembarking, nosing around, seeing the sights, climbing the gangplank, sailing away, out to sea and into the night.  It was an incredible experience and I'll probably do it again.  But I'm still not sure I liked it!

The picture shows RMS Queen Mary 2 alongside at the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 08:28 on Sunday 14th October 2012 (the final day of my Autumn Getaway), seen from inside the Ocean Terminal.

To see more of my pictures on board RMS Queen Mary 2, click on the link below:-

To see my pictures of Rotterdam, click on the link below:-

To see my pictures of Zeebrugge and Brugge, click on the link below:-

To see my pictures of Le Havre, click on the link below:-

Thursday, 1 November 2012

1st November.



After a long night of high winds, heavy rain, thunder and lightning, it was good to see the sunrise this morning and the unfolding of a beautiful day. There were still rain clouds coming in from the west, but set against the blue sky, they looked very dramatic and framed the moon beautifully.  A fine day for a wedding anniversary, and All Saints Day to boot.  Congratulations and Happy Anniversary Mum & Dad; married on this day in 1947 - 65 years ago.

The pictures show a long shot and a close-up of the moon and sky over Hythe, Hampshire, looking west, at 07:57 on Thursday 1st November 2012. The moon phase today is Waning Gibbous 94% of full. The moon phase on Saturday 1st November 1947 was Waning Gibbous 92% of full. I'm not sure what I find more remarkable; the fact that the moon phases then and now are almost identical, or that I can actually find the information at the click of a button; OR, indeed, that my parents have been married for 65 years!

Click on the link below to see the moon phase for 1st November 2012:-

To see the moon phase for 1st November 1947, click on the link below:-

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Swans Return.


I caught sight of the two local swans and their five cygnets yesterday morning and, eventually, they came close enough for a photo.  The cygnets must be almost fully grown now; it was so good to see them and to know that, this year, they survived.

The picture shows a close-up of one of the cygnets off Hythe foreshore, Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 09:21 on Monday 29th October 2012.

To see photos of the entire family group, click on the link below and visit my picture blog:-

To read more about the Hythe swans, click on the links below to my previous blogs dated Tuesday 19th June 2012 and Sunday 24th June 2012:-

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sail The World - Lord Nelson.



It's been a lovely damp and drizzly week in Hythe, full of mist and fog, high tides and low skies.  It was the same at the weekend, but on Sunday the fog lifted and the mist cleared in time for me to see the Tall Ship Lord Nelson readying herself to leave Southampton and sail round the world.  She's a wonderful looking ship, crewed with a mix of able-bodied and disabled people, and the next time we see her in Southampton it will be October 2014!  God willing.  It will be an awesome feat and the 10 legs of her voyage are breathtaking; the first being 55 days from Southampton to Rio de Janeiro (see below for a link to Sail The World and the rest of the Lord Nelson itinerary).

The pictures show the Tall Ship Lord Nelson leaving the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 12:34 on Sunday 21st October 2012 (Trafalgar Day); a wide shot with a water-spraying tug escort, and a close-up, five sheets to the wind, as she passes the Itchen Bridge.

Click on the link below to read more about Sail The World, STS Lord Nelson and the Jubilee Sailing Trust:-

To read more about Trafalgar Day, click on the link below:-

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rainbows.


A day of sunshine and showers earlier in the week produced an astonishing number of rainbows.  They appeared and disappeared quite quickly and I spent a happy morning dashing in and out with my camera to photograph what I could.  Some of the photos capture a full strength rainbow, most of them a beautifully fading rainbow, all of them span Hythe village, Hythe Marina and Southampton Water.

The picture shows one of the rainbows over Hythe and Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 08:15 on Tuesday 25th September 2012.

To see more of my rainbow photos, click on the link below:-

Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Walk Around Hythe Marina, Hampshire.


A sunny day, a couple of hours to play with and an urge to be out in the autumn air, had me stepping out with my camera this afternoon to snap away at whatever took my fancy.  I headed for the marina and had a fine time taking pictures of this and that; a sort of photo essay.  The sun was hot, the air was cool, a light wind from the north-west; I saw big fish, big ships, tug boats, ferry boats, red admirals, blue skies, cabbage whites, late roses, turning leaves, flocks of gulls and other lovely things besides.

The picture shows a big fish in Hythe Marina, Hampshire, breaking the surface and disturbing the reflected clouds, at 14.34 on Saturday 29th September 2012.

To see a few more of my photo essay pictures of A Walk Around Hythe Marina, Hampshire, click on the link below:-

Friday, 28 September 2012

Bird's Eye View.




Looking out across the water yesterday, the world glowing in the late afternoon sun, silvery-blue waves gently lapping against the shore, I noticed a beautiful little bird, perched on the sea wall in front of me, sharing the moment and making my heart sing.

The pictures show a close-up of the bird on the sea wall (I think it's a fledgling wagtail?) and a wide-shot with  Southampton Water and the Port of Southampton in the background.  Both photos were taken from Hythe, Hampshire, at 18:29 on Thursday 27th September 2012.

To read about Wagtails, click on the link below (NB: when the RSPB page opens up, click on the second of the three illustrations to see a juvenile Pied Wagtail):-

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Southampton Central to London Waterloo.


It's not often that I travel without something to read, but a couple of weeks ago that's exactly what happened.  I was at Southampton Central on board the 10:30 inter-city service to London Waterloo and as the train pulled away from the station, I reached into my bag to pull out a magazine and found my camera and a mobile phone, but no magazine; nothing to read.  I played with my phone for a few minutes and then did the only sensible thing and set myself a photo challenge; taking pictures of the passing countryside from my seated position by the window; making it all the more interesting by choosing to sit with my back to the engine, unable to see what was coming!

It was a fascinating exercise and the hour and twenty minutes journey time went by in a twinkling.  I usually read the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine on the train, but next time I travel, I might just pack my camera!

The picture shows a passing train near journeys end at Vauxhall towards London, at 11:44 on Thursday 13th September 2012.

To see more photos of my journey from Southampton Central to London Waterloo, click on the link below:-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

P&O Cruises Grand Event - The Out-Takes.


Sifting through my photos from last week's P&O extravaganza (see my previous blog dated Friday 6th July 2012), I stumbled across this shot (see above).  I remember being attracted by the two yachts, especially the one with the big red sails, but I was particularly drawn to the magnificent building across the water and just managed to get one picture with them all in frame.

It was a dull, damp day, and the picture shows it, but I love the way the red sails sing out against the dark green of the trees and the blue-grey water, and that building really looks as though it means business; it looks solid, stately and defiant over there on the shoreline, surrounded by those massive oaks.

Looking at the picture again, I discovered that I'd photographed Netley Castle, near the village of Netley and the ruins of Netley Abbey.  The Castle was built for Henry VIII in the fifteen hundreds as a coastal fort for the defence of Southampton and Portsmouth, and is still in use today.... as privately owned apartments. Ah well....

The picture shows Netley Castle, Netley, Hampshire, and the two yachts on Southampton Water, at 10:11 on Tuesday 3rd July 2012, the day of the P&O Cruises 175th birthday celebrations.

To see more out-takes from my P&O Grand Event, click on the link below.

To read about Netley Castle, click on the link below.

To find about Netley Abbey, click on the link below.

Friday, 6 July 2012

P&O Cruises 175 Years - The Grand Event.


Last Tuesday was a very busy day on Southampton Water.  There were seven cruise ships in port, a vintage paddle steamer, a steamship, a tall ship, ferry boats, tug boats, sightseeing boats, pleasure boats, yachts, cargo ships and a state-of-the-art warship.  For some it was business as usual, but most were there to mark the 175th Anniversary of P&O Cruises, The Grand Event 03 July 2012, bringing together the entire fleet of seven ships to their home port of Southampton for a day of celebrations.

Not that I could see the activities on board each of the seven ships, but I did hear tell of fabulous lunches, famous ballerinas, royalty, and some 30,000 people embarking and disembarking, swelling the population of Southampton almost to bursting.  It is true that Darcey Bussell greeted the fleet as they arrived and that HRH The Princess Royal reviewed the fleet and took the salute as they left.  It's also true that it was a very wet day in Southampton and the promised flypast of a seven-plane formation of the RAF Red Arrows was cancelled, due to the poor visibility and low cloud cover.

Without a doubt, it was a real thrill to see all those ships and, despite the mist and persistent rain, lots of people turned out with their umbrellas and waterproofs to watch as the seven ships left dock and processed down Southampton Water to a volley of fireworks and a cacophony of ships whistles.  I even managed to grab a few interesting photos throughout the day.  The picture at the top gives a feel for the smoky splendour of ships, water-spray and sparkling fireworks on Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 19:14 on Tuesday 3rd July 2012.  The picture at the bottom gives a close-up view of Ventura joining the procession at 18:41 on the same day.

To see more of my photos of The Grand Event, click on the link below.

To visit The Grand Event P&O website, click on the link below.
http://175.pocruises.com/celebrate.htm




NB: The list of big ships reads something like this: Oceana, Adonia, Azura, Oriana, Aurora, Arcadia and Ventura (the seven P&O ships); paddle steamer Balmoral; steam ship Shieldhall; tall ship Tenacious; air defence destroyer HMS Dragon; Trinity House flagship Patricia.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Round The Island Race 2012.


There are usually quite a few yachts to be seen on Southampton Water, but over the weekend there seemed to be more than usual, and after a bit of ferreting around on the internet, I discovered that it was the Round the Island Race 2012 on Saturday 30th June, and I'd missed it!  Not that I would have visited the Isle of Wight to watch the event, but I might just have ventured down the coast to Lepe (one of the closest mainland points to the Isle of Wight) for a photo opportunity and to watch the hundreds of glamorous yachts pouring out of Cowes and jostling for position in the Solent.  As it is, I was blissfully unaware and the only photo I can find from the weekend features a seagull - not a yacht in sight!  Ah well.....

The picture shows the lone seagull, on Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 18:03 on Saturday 30th June 2012.

Click on the link below to watch the start of the Round the Island Race 2012.

Click on the link below to visit the Round the Island Race website.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Swanupmanship.


Almost as soon as the ink was dry on my last post, I looked out to see the two local swans, and their full complement of cygnets(!), sailing towards me across the water; the first time I've seen them since the end of May (see my blog dated Tuesday 19th June 2012).  I dashed out with my camera to record the event and could swear they slowed down for the photo!

Let's hope they continue to avoid predators and pass by now and then for another photo-call.  I'll be watching.

The picture shows the Hythe swans, and the five cygnets, off Hythe foreshore, Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 11:06 on Thursday 21st June 2012.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Swans.


Out for an early morning run today; blue sky, a cool breeze, the air scented with rose and honeysuckle, house martins swooping along the foreshore; I remembered the swans and wondered what had happened to them.  They came gliding by a couple of weeks ago, their new brood of five cygnets in tow, and haven't been seen since.

This local pair of swans nest in a sheltered cove alongside Hythe Marina and have marked the entire stretch of water between the marina, the end of the pier and the foreshore, as their own; jealously guarding the territory and regularly chasing off any swan interlopers.  They've nested in the same spot for the past few years and have successfully produced a brood of some five or six cygnets each year, but that's as far as it goes.  Last year they sailed back and forth, with five cygnets, every day for a week, the following week there were three and the next day there were none.  The year before, they started with a brood of six and each time they went by there was one less, until one day there were none.  I don't recall what happened the year before that, but you get the drift...

The picture shows one of the Hythe swans and the five cygnets, off Hythe foreshore, Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 06:30 on Tuesday 29th May 2012.  And this may have been the first, and last, sighting....

Click on the link below to find out more about mute swans.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Marylebone.


Out and about in London on Tuesday, early for an appointment and not enjoying the heat on the street, I headed for the air-conditioned splendour of The Conran Shop, but veered off at the last minute, tempted by the dappled shade of a massive London Plane in the church gardens on the opposite side of the road.  It was beautiful; cool, quiet and peaceful, an infinitely better choice, and a perfect sanctuary.

I know the gardens well, I've walked through them many times, but never stopped to sit and stare, so I did just that; except I sat and let my camera do the staring!  There were probably half a dozen people, dotted here and there; three students sitting on the grass under a tree, idly picking at the daisies, an office worker or two, a boy with a backpack, and me.  All of us just sitting, and being, and enjoying the moment; at least that's the way it felt.  And then it was time to leave.  Twenty minutes well spent, a smile on my face and another photo challenge completed.

The picture shows the side aspect of St Marylebone Parish Church, London, on Tuesday 29th May 2012, approached from the church gardens in Marylebone High Street.

To see the rest of my Twenty Minutes in St Marylebone Parish Church Gardens photos, click on the link.

To read about the history of St Marylebone Parish Church, click on the link.

To find out about my photo challenge see my blog dated Thursday 26th April 2012.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Queen Arrives.


Queen Mary 2 arrived early yesterday and I was out with my camera in time to catch a shot of her sailing by, looking lovely in the morning haze.  Some thirty minutes later, I looked out to see that Queen Victoria had also arrived, so there were two Queens in port; an event indeed.

The picture shows RMS Queen Mary 2 arriving in the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 06:07 on Tuesday 22nd May 2012.

By mid afternoon, the beautifully cool morning had turned into the hottest day of the year and I was beginning to question my resolve to be outside (in full sun) to watch the two Queens leave.  But as soon as I heard their whistles blow, I was out like a shot, clutching my camera and clinging to the shadows.

It takes a while for two big ships to leave, so I decided to apply my photo challenge rules to the proceedings and headed up to my 3rd floor and out on to the balcony, where I found a cool corner to perch and take pictures.  It was glorious; Queen Victoria sailed away, the Hythe Pier Train rattled by, an isle of Wight fast cat sped off, a yacht tacked to and fro, the tide turned, there were tug boats and motor launches, another Isle of Wight fast cat, and finally Queen Mary 2 pulled away and readied herself to leave; and then my time was up.


To see my Twenty Minutes on Southampton Water photos, click on the link. http://susanvale.tumblr.com/post/23600580655/twenty-minutes-on-southampton-water-hampshire-on

To read about my photo challenge, see my blog dated Thursday 26th April 2012.

To find out where RMS Queen Mary 2 is now, click on the bridge web cam link. http://www.cunard.co.uk/Ships/Queen-Mary-2/Bridge-Web-Cam/


To find out where MS Queen Victoria is now, click on the bridge web cam link. http://www.cunard.co.uk/Ships/Queen-Victoria/Bridge-Web-Cam/

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Queen Elizabeth.


My photo challenge continues (see my blog dated Tuesday 1st May 2012) and on a choppy ten minute trip across Southampton Water on the Hythe Ferry yesterday, I planted myself on deck, determined to stay put for long enough to hold my camera steady and grab a few shots of this and that.

The outlook was overcast and misty, it was cold and windy and I had to hang on, but the ten minutes passed in a twinkling, it was exhilarating, and I loved it.  There were a handful of roll-on-roll-off cargo vessels in dock, a few tugs, a sailing ship, the tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious (the largest wooden ship afloat), a yacht, and three cruise ships; Oriana, Adonia, and Queen Elizabeth.  I love to see all the ships, especially close-up from the ferry, they're so BIG.  But for me a Queen is always an event and Queen Elizabeth just stole the show.

The picture shows MS Queen Elizabeth, alongside in the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 13:52 on Friday 18th May 2012.  To see the rest of my Ten Minutes on the Hythe Ferry photos, click on the link below.

To find out where MS Queen Elizabeth is now, click on the bridge web cam link below.

To read more about the largest wooden ship afloat, click on the SV Tenacious link below.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bluebells.


I love scented flowers and I love blue flowers, and a blue scented flower is a winner all round as far as I'm concerned, so you can understand why I love bluebells.  You can keep white bells and I don't much care for the pink, but those bluebells, they're a sensation.  I think it's the powdery blue against the bright green that I find so appealing, the fragile drooping heads, and the promise of that sweet scent.  And I've seen so many this year; there are clumps in the village hedgerows, drifts by the roadside and carpets through the New Forest.

The picture shows a drift of bluebells, close-up, on a village roadside in Hythe, Hampshire, on Sunday 6th May 2012 at 13:58.  I did have a concern that I might be photographing Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica), rather than the native British variety (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), but it seems that the difference is in the pollen colour; creamy-white for the British and blue for the Spanish; and I'm happy to report that my bluebells have the British creamy-white pollen.

To read more about the British bluebell, click on the Natural History Museum Endangered Species link, below.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

London.


My photo challenge continues (see my blog dated Thursday 26 April 2012) and on a trip to London yesterday, I parked myself on a bench in Grosvenor Square for twenty minutes and happily snapped away at anything that caught my fancy.  I particularly like this picture of the eagle through the trees; it's a bronze sculpture of the American Bald Eagle, by Dame Elizabeth Frink - a monument to the American Eagle Squadron pilots of World War II.

I'm certainly enjoying the challenge and refine the rules as I go; I now include taking photos from any fixed position (not just from the inside of a parked car), and I've relaxed the time constraint to allow a ten minute segment.  This is largely due to the fact that on my way through Manchester Square I spotted an empty bench in front of the Wallace Collection and couldn't resist sitting on it and taking out my camera, even though I had a scant ten minutes to spare!

I found another ten minutes later in the day, at Waterloo Station; I'd arrived in good time for my 16:05 train, so found a seat in the quiet carriage and whipped out my camera to rattle off a few more shots.

To see the rest of my Twenty Minutes in Grosvenor Square photos, click on the link below.
http://susanvale.tumblr.com/post/22199211877/grosvenor-square-london-monday-30th-april-2012

To see the photos of my Ten Minutes in Manchester Square, click on the link below.
http://susanvale.tumblr.com/post/22207513145/manchester-square-london-monday-30th-april-2012

To see the photos of my Ten Minutes in Waterloo Station, click on the link below.
http://susanvale.tumblr.com/post/22208526782/waterloo-station-london-monday-30th-april-2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dibden Purlieu.


On Tuesday afternoon I found myself in Dibden Purlieu, sitting in a parked car, with twenty minutes to spare and no desire to investigate the local shops, or indeed to leave the car.  I had my camera with me and set myself the challenge of taking an interesting picture of whatever I could see through the windscreen, the side and rear windows, or the sun roof; just for fun, to pass the time.  And it worked; the twenty minutes seemed like seconds, I had a lovely time, it was a really interesting project, and I rather like the look of the photos.

The picture shows one of the views taken in Beaulieu Road, Dibden Purlieu, Hampshire, on Tuesday 23rd April 2012, through the windscreen of my parked car.  It was a showery day, cloudy, sunny, and wet in turns.  To see the rest of my Twenty Minutes in Dibden Purlieu photos, click on the link to my tumblr blog, below.