Christmas past and present.

Today it was tree decorating day …… the tree this year is one from a batch of Norway Spruce that I purchased earlier in the year. I bought 25 young trees all about 30cm high and planted 24 of them in our wood. Something decided to prune them back for me, probably squirrels but maybe rabbits. They are still alive but not that good a shape. However one I planted in a large pot and it is now about 100cm high. So this is our little tree for this year.

Decorations are quite mixed, we have one string of blue lights but we also have some baubles and decorations dating back to my youth so about 60 years old. Probably the oldest are some plastic snow flakes and a plastic icicle. 

Back in the 1950’s when these were purchased by my Father the plastic stuff was more desirable than the old fashioned glass balls.

 

 

 

 

We did however have some glass balls and they were kept in little cardboard boxes and some were in egg boxes.   My Father was never that keen on Christmas so that may explain the writing on the box  ‘Xmas Balls’.

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The glass balls were wrapped in newspaper at the end of Christmas and the paper has been used every year since. You can see that this piece dates back to 1960.

The only interesting bit of news on these scraps of old paper is a reference to a footballer, ‘a young England hopeful called Bobby Moore. Also look at the transfer fee of £25,000.

We also have other decorations from the past but some are a bit newer, the newest is the angel which comes from Mozambique and was brought back by Caroline a year ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surrounding the tree are other memories from the past, the little cardboard Christmas tree was made by John when in Infant school and the toilet roll Father Christmases are newer and made by Grandchildren Alex and Freya.

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So there it all is and this is the final creation.

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El Rabida

El Rabida is an area just east of Huelva on the Andalucian coast. It is a massive petrochemical complex. On Sunday night I took some photos.

 

Scary… I was a bit worried about vehicles cruising the perimeter, were they security or police? There were strange noises, lots of hisses as pressure release valves cut in, also a distant train was hooting in a rather eerie way  and occasionally sirens went off.  I was on rough ground outside the perimeter and there were lots of snags and branches and at one point a rat ran past my foot.   Still all in the interests of photography.

New Flash

Finally got the flash set up as recommended by a guest speaker at the Forest of Dean Camera club a few weeks ago.   And first practice seems to be encouraging.

Aside

Attenborough says count butterflies; so this is how it is on Clearwell Meend.

I was motivated to spend an hour or so photographing the butterflies on Clearwell Meed today because we have recently had some Marbled Whites in the garden. As I had expected there were lots flitting about up there, possibly they were just about out numbered by the Meadow Browns, but they of course look more spectacular.

There were quite a few skippers about, I think both Small and Essex skippers. They are very difficult to tell apart, it all come down to the tip of their antennae and  the Essex has a distinctly black tip, as does the one below.

The Small skipper does not have a noticeably black tip…  Could this be him?

I also saw a Peacock, a Red Admiral and several Gatekeepers.

 

 

 

 

There were also lots of day flying moths, including Silver Y and Six spotted Burnetts.

And now a day later David Attenborough has urged us all to go out and count Butterflies, so who is ahead of the game…. Big butterfly count

Pygmy Falcon

Getting near to going home time but we are still touring round. Now we are on the Orange river…. which is actually green at the moment. Yesterday on our way from Springbok to Uppington we detoured to the Augrabies  Falls, which are on the Orange river. Absolutely amazing scenery and there is a game reserve, part of which was accessible to us in a non 4WD vehicle.  On the way round we saw this little bird of prey. A Pygmy Falcon, it only weighs about 60grams

What a little gem