Friday, May 28, 2010

Across a field and through a hedge

I'm in a fair bit of pain today due to some heavy duty dental work. I can't talk at the moment, although some who know me might say that's not too bad a thing. Unfortunately I can still type. I once read a medieval description of dental pain where it is described as a large worm burrowing around inside your gums and teeth and this is exactly how it can feel sometimes. I can't remember who said the thing about us coming into the world crying and covered in blood and very often leaving in this state too. We all get pain at some time, we have that in common.

There is much ugliness in the world, there is a lot of ugliness here and I think that this country has exported much that is ugly and destructive. I could show you the photos of how ugly this country can be as I have plenty, but there is also much to find that is beautiful here. Strangely I find most of it is the stuff that mankind has not got hold of and mucked around with.

When I was quite young I had a year in a classroom almost within reach of the woods and trees that I grew up with and loved so much. The woods were just outside the classroom and behind a fence. One of the oak trees had grown up over the fence nearby and I would spend plenty of time gazing at it. I would observe it catching the morning sunlight in the spring when all the leaves were fresh, like they are here now. I was captivated by this beautiful sight, so simple yet holding so much magic and promise. I always wanted to be able to get out of the classroom and get into the woods, a feeling of freedom and wanting to escape that has never left me. Usually as soon as I got out of school I would be in the woods being filled with wonder by things, like the first time I encountered a giant rhododendron towering over me in full flower.

There was the tricky nature of finding beauty in the industrial landscape across the water from where I lived, which was a huge oil refinery and power station. You may remember the beginning of Bladerunner, it was that sort of a thing. When sat on the beach at night there was the spectacle of this infernal city, flames of gas flares, smoking chimneys and much banging and blast. It was obviously horrible and destructively polluting but it was also somehow beautiful as well, a bit like sitting on a beach observing a vision of hell from a distance, lighting the clouds up and reflected in the sea. What is this captivating ugliness?

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the time to spend exploring the woods. I am constantly surprised where my small curiosity has lead me. I sit on a fallen tree in a place already largely a secret and see a small gap that I hadn't noticed before. This turns out to be a tiny path which leads to other beautiful hidden places, and again the site suddenly increases in unimagined size. The location where these photos were taken has some nice and unusual plant species and is a place to tread very lightly.

I see destruction of nature going on around the world and I think it is intentional. For a long time I thought that these things happened because of an uncaring attitude and incompetence but I don't think it is incompetence anymore, I think it has been intentional all along.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bluebell Woods

Up in the woods it's bluebell time again and their attractive purple haze is spread lightly across the warming hillsides. These are common bluebells and are the older and native species of flower, differing from the Spanish bluebell which is now often found in gardens in the UK. The common bluebell has a deeper colour than the Spanish variety.

Bluebells are used as an indicator of ancient woodland and have been around here since the ice retreated about 12,000 years ago. Also out at the moment are the Ransoms, a form of wild garlic with an attractive smell and nice white flowers. These are similar to the three cornered leeks which like the ransom are also edible. The bulbs can be smoked and eaten, that is smoked like a fish rather than in a pipe, although I haven't tried smoking them in a pipe yet.

The first couple of photos show the bluebells as they were just coming out a couple of weeks ago and most of the rest were taken yesterday, which is a lot more up to the minute than I can usually manage.

It has been a long cold winter and it is good to be able to spend more time pottering through the woods enjoying these signs of returning growth. Nature gets on with her business seemingly unhindered by the increasing foolishness of man. I think she will sort things out in the long run, somehow, although we are not really helping her much as a species at the moment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Amazing Volcanic Ash Red Sunset Photos

Volcanic ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano spread quickly across the UK sky, turning our normally lame sunsets an unusual dark red hue, a sight not seen in this country since the Krakatoa eruption of 1883. The above photo perfectly illustrates the massive difference that the volcanic ash made to our skies. Or at least it would do if I had taken this photo in April but unfortunately for the official narrative I took this picture in January, well before the eruption and subsequent phony ash cloud story.

I was enjoying the sky being clear of jet aircraft so much that I didn't doubt the official story until the Daily Mail had to overdo it and publish this on the 16th of April. Spectacular-sunsets-blue-moons-dirty-cars--volcano In which they describe the spectacular red sunsets seen all across the UK on the previous night. That was the moment when I started to have some serious doubts because I had been out looking at these wonderful skies, clear of jets alright, but the one remarkable thing about the sky and the sunsets was how blue they had been.

Below is a panoramic picture, stitched together from photos taken on the evening of the 16th of April of a spread of about 180 degrees. As you might be able to see, the sky is very blue, with a little hint of yellow at the bottom. If anyone is interested in sunsets you may have noticed how often all the really colourful stuff happens after the sun has gone down.

It is typical of the UK's weather not to play ball. Usually at this time of year it should be cloudy and rainy, with the odd bit of red sunset, but right across the whole period the skies were abnormally clear and blue. How very inconvenient, but it doesn't stop the Daily Mail printing a really bullshit story and thus alerting anyone with eyes that something was amiss with the official version. Thanks Daily Mail!

The dangerous ash cloud lingers on somehow and air traffic is still affected in the north sometimes even though when I looked at this site at the appropriate time the cloud was vaguely blowing in our direction but still looked a long way away. Other nice satellite photos can be found here Dundee Satellite Receiving Station but you do have to sign up a bit.

In the above blue sunset photo we did have a little discussion about the nature of the small cloud to the very right. Bonfire of some sort? Starlings flocking perhaps? No, I remembered that my charming assistant of the evening, Miss Boo, had been sat on the bench next to me puffing a nice big cigarette. Mystery solved. I also learned that just because I like a story and find the effects agreeable it doesn't always make it right either.