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we loved pucks glen so much we climbed up it a second time with jane's aunt and uncle who live (vaguely) near by.


we had a great time admiring the gushing waters and catching up on life stories


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like all good climbs in scotland, we were rewarded with a fantastic view for our efforts.



and then we had a gradual descent to the tea shop in the local botanical gardens


we took the low road back which was a bit flooded






here's a couple on a walk.  the lady seems to be striding on whilst the chap behind looks a little annoyed. another walk spoiled by a petty argument perhaps.  or maybe she's said something about the eye on his jacket.


actually, looking closer at the picture, it looks like the chap is carrying a rather large knife.


the motorway of its time is pretty empty these days



i had a meeting near cambridge yesterday so i got up 3 hours earlier than i needed and got to Wicken Fen by 7.30am in the morning for an explore and a photo.


the windmill is a wind pump don't you know


i spent ages seeking the bird hides which were quite well hidden. after playing seek the hide for a while i found one and went in for a my petrol station bought prepacked chicken sandwich. the only birds i saw were 2 pigeons and a crow. oh well.


when i arrived i went the wrong way and ended up going on the adventurers' trail. although i didn't see many other adventurers. so it probably should have been adventurer's trail. am i being preposterophe ? that's a new word i just made up, combining apostrophe and preposterous.

eventually i found the nice boardwalk bit which lead to the windmill


but not before seeing lots of nice ditches


here's a final picture of the wind pump



we went to harcourt aboretum on saturday. a lovely place and well worth a visit. although we did get worried by about a dozen brave peacocks during a picnic making me even more unbearable than usual !


our friend stephen loves this tree, but doesn't know what it is. can anyone help ?


here's some close ups of the blossom which might help. drop me an email or leave a comment if you know !




we went to the warburg nature reserve yesterday and it's lovely

as with all good walks in a wood the girls ended up carrying huge sticks for no apparent reason.

very pointed out we'd seen lots of natures (plural) that day. and we had. including: a dead rat (on the road) and squirrels (dead and alive), various little birds, lots of red kites, a herd of stampeding deer in the wood, rabbits and probably other things i forgot.







i've still got a pile of photos to post going back almost a year. it would be poor to post something over a year old (even if i've not posted it before), so i should really clear out some of the backlog.

anyway, here's a picture of the lakedistrict from last august !


here is kezia in a tree trap. these things can close up at any moment, so she looks justifiably frightened


kezia got stung by stingers/stingas last weekend and i found a doc leaf for her. she thought it brilliant. (because they are brilliant).




esther and kezia have magnifying glasses as part of their going-for-a-walk kit. the idea is they are meant to be used for looking at small insects.

instead esther decided to do some detective work to see if she could fathom which animal had been here recently.

alimentary my dear whats on.





as a celebration that kezia has finally got through the chicken pox, we went on a family outing to the london wetlands centre. it's really rather good.

here's a hide

and here's the girls in masks they made

definately worth a visit. beware of camera lens envy if you do go though - it's absolutely packed with photographers with long lenses trying to get their perfect bird shots.

here are kezia and esther pond dipping at the london wetland centre.

here is some of their booty - water snails, shrimps and a funny fly lavae thing





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i don't usually post at this time of night, but i thought i'd share this photo of the moon i just took with my Sony compact camera out of the window. no editing, just a massive crop.


i'm quite pleased with it. now if only i had a telephoto lense for my Canon and knew how to drive it properly ...

here's a row of grass on a bridge outside Ofcom spotted by a work colleague

no one seemed that bothered though.

esther and kezia spotted something on the floor


it was a blue speckled broken egg. i took a photo as someone might know what sort of bird (or other egg laying animal) it belonged to

lucky people who live at the top of this hill - they've ended up with a crock of gold in their front garden


esther and jane in a daffodil field.

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touching the sun can be very dangerous and should only be attempted by trained experts.




the bad news is we ran out of bread. the good news is we've got you 8 silver bowls of cress.


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one of the great things about country walks are the kissing gates. here are jane and esther awaiting their obligatory (obli-gate-ery) kisses


this year's christmas tree experiment was a great success. people were asked to put their christmas trees outside in the street about a week in to January and suddenly london looked like a pine forest.

all the trees are gone now, but i noticed this morning that a variety of plants in pots have appeared along my route to work. some are doing better than others.

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i've mentioned about the early morning moving trees before. here's another one.


did you know that the moon is getting quite old these days and isn't working too well anymore ?

once it's going it's fine, but they have to lift it by crane in the evening to get it started.




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is it just me or have plants and trees recently started to climb out of the ground and move around ?

thanks to my new train timetable, i now get in to London just before 7am which means i see things that others don't. like the trees going back to bed after their nights roaming the streets.

here are a couple of trees easing themselves back to bed:
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and here is a little tree in a plant pot with some small plants still waiting to jump back in:

the celebrations aren't quite as popular (poplar?) as last year

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i've not been looking forward to my morning commutes, especially since the timetable change (which has resulted in much more crowding and a much more unpleasant journey).

however, this morning i got a seat and saw this excellent sunrise. it hasn't been light by the time i've got to London for weeks, so this is a sure sign that summer is on the way !



some paths and bridges are just crying out to be followed. this was one looked like it would be great to walk along. the kids thought so too.

but we snubbed it as it wasn't on our route.

there's probably a message about life in there somewhere.



these leaves must have fallen off a tree a few days ago. they've been run over so many times they are now part of the road

i suspect this is what is commonly known as a 'road tattoo'.


there was a smashing sunrise this morning as i came out of Paddington Station. The sky was glowing red, not that you can tell that from this picture !




esther shouted "come quickly daddy, there's something we need to photograph".

we both ran like the wind to get to the scene. it was half an acorn (haycorn) on a leaf.

esther was very proud. this is her picture.


kezia was a good girl in a flower shop yesterday and the lady behind the counter gave her a free flower. she was very proud of it and very carefully carried it to the front door when i got home last night.

it's a pity shop keepers don't do that kind of thing for growned-ups. it would be great if you got to the checkout in the supermarket and they said "well done, you've been really well behaved whilst doing your weekly shop. have a milky way".

but they rarely do.


it's a shame that all the leaves are dropping off the trees. so, how does a tree keep warm in winter ? simple. wear a coat.


i had to get down low for this photo. much to the worryment of passers by.

the flower itself was about 5mm long, so this photo is probably actual size.


here are some plastic flower petals on the floor. i included my boot-toes as i thought you might be interested.

if you aren't interested in my boot-toes then just look at the top half of these photos.

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here is a light bulb in a flower bed. also in the bed is a cigarette and a cigar. i look forward to seeing how these develop. i think it might be slightly foolish to plant them as the weather is turning cooler.

but maybe they are winter flowers, with the bulb providing light in the dark evenings and the cigarette and cigars providing heat.


when jane and i were out festival-ing, esther and kezia went to stay with their friends katie and olivia. here is katie with a sunflower.

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it's always nice to see some nature in the middle of london. here is a blue flower sticking through some railings.

this is a 'Morning Glory' according to my work colleague Harry. i hadn't realised they were so temporal. if i had i would have spent longer than 5 seconds taking the photo.

here is a nice little page with a movie about them


here's a very sad thing. it's a red rose that's been abandoned and walked all over in the rain outside paddington station. there's definately a story behind this.


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look. blue skies. in a forest. in england. lovely.




walking down a residential street i spotted this rather nice gnome tableau. very attractive i'm sure you'll agree.



it's not clear if this tree is going up or down. such is life for the city tree.


as you may know venus got in the way of the sun today for a bit.

i tried taking a photo of the sun directly (by sort of hiding behind this polling sign), but it obviously didn't work (not that expected it would). don't worry. i took all the usual precautions such as closing my eyes as i took the photo.

luckily across the road were some bearded old men who were constructing a 'thing' which displayed it on a piece of paper. they were very pleased with the results and asked me to stay for a few seconds whilst they adjusted it.

i gave them 10 seconds, took my photo then zoomed off to my meeting round the corner.

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moments before there was a fox standing here. i decided not to wade in to the stingy nettles to find him. sorry about that.


half a poppy by the train station


i'm loving the weather at the moment. it's great to have sunlight until after 9pm. today it's been a bit colder and cloudy and i've spent lots of time in the underground due to work meetings all over the place.

just as i got off the train this evening it chucked it down with rain and then suddenly stopped. everywhere looked and smelt so fresh and all the leaves were covered in perfect little rain drops.

this picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.


random sheep graving in the middle of london on a tiny strip of grass.


i spotted this outside Buckingham Palace this evening whilst walking back from some meetings at the House of Commons (just thought i'd drop that in !).

it's a stick but it looked like a beconing finger. very eeery.


plant pot smashed. plants thrown over the pavement (there was another one down the gutter). what IS going on in London these days ?


look at these two snails 'making out'. i suspect they went for a romantic walk alongside the flowers and before you know it ...

just to reasure you, i have got standards. if they'd taken their shells off i wouldn't have taken their photo.


here is another reconstructed deconstructed cellotaped unnatural natural thing.


guess what happened here ?


that's right. i was trying to kill a bug after midnight last night (this morning). the bug was on the stairs and I decided my best strategy was to keep throwing newspapers and magazines at it from the landing until i hit it.

In the end i stunned it by bashing it directly with a Swimsuit wearing 'celebrity' called Michelle (on the cover of Heat magazine).

I then trapped it under a glass so i could inspect it in the morning. notice the sugar bowl on top in case the beasty woke up and tried to push the glass out of the way.

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here are a couple of photos of the beast
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jane and i are proposing a 'bush tucker trial' for anyone interested

this seat has been surrounded by stingy nettles. .


there was masses of pollen (or something) in the air today. it was settling big time and made this little lake look like it was frozen with frosty whiteness. quite amazing.


esther asked me why this duck had a big lump on its head. i didn't know, but i said you probably would. please help me solve another nature problem so i don't appear a completely useless dad !


this cat lives under a hairdressers shop. here it is looking up at the street from the stairs that lead to its cellar flat. perhaps it was waiting for the baker to turn up with his slice of white.




last night when i was helping clear up the garden i stumbled across this scene. esther had been picking 'rabbit ears' and sticking them together to create art for the senses.

she had another one with some mint cellotaped together and the idea is that you stroke the rabbit ear leaves and sniff the mint and experience the various sensations.

i was very impressed



taking photos of flowers is a bit boring. but boring is what i do best. so here are some daisy things:

and here are some wet crokii:

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update: our friend lynda just emailed me to say that they aren't okey-crokiis, they are in fact turnips. highly unlikely in my opinion, but what do i know (very little probably, though i can't be sure).


here are some bluebells in kew gardens

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here are some weird little flowers from our garden. esther spotted that they looked like little hearts. and so they do.


there was much excitement this afternoon when the girls found a big snail walking across the lawn. unfortunately it moved too fast for my camera skills to catch a photo of it.

but a little later this massive worm wiggled by our feet. it was above half a metre long at maximum stretch. (jane says it was around 20 centimetres - andy or mary-anne may wish to add their estimates as they too witnessed the monster).

whatever it was i didn't like it and will NEVER go in to my garden again.


i didn't realise that both of these things are dandelions until fairly recently. i've posted this picture so you'll know if you don't or be reminded if you do.



here is our friends' dog in a lovely fairy hat.


here's a flower i saw near paddington station this morning. it's nearly black which is an unusual colour for a flower (because bees are scared of the dark and won't go near black flowers for fear of being sucking in to eternal torment).

of course in the light of my office it now looks dark purple and is therefore a pointless slightly battered flower picture.



just a few hours later, it's like this. nature's quite amazing really.


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so as to avoid making too much noise i popped outside whilst the kettle was boiling and was amazed by all the little water droplets on the lawn. they looked fantastic and the lawn was covered in them. these pictures don't really do them justice.

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as i walked back to my house this evening there were loads of fresh baby birds making their first excited airborne voyage. they sang nice tunes to celebrate the gift of flight



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if i walk really fast i can get to the far side of London Zoo and back in my lunch break.

i don't have time to do anything when i get there, but it's a nice walk on a nice day

you can see quite a lot without going in:


we went to Polesden Lacey today. we went last easter too. there was no chalk fire engine this time.

however, there was this funny little animal which popped out of a clump of grass next to where we were having a picnic. it was shaped abit like a mini-squirrel but without the tail and was very jumpy. it was also quite ferret like.

we've not a clue what it was. any thoughts ? i managed to get some photos of it as it popped it's head up. it was quite small and far away, hence the poor resolution:

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update: as sandi spotted, it's probably a weasel:
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oh dear. but now i'm not sure if it was actually a Stoat.

Apparently, "the stoat is sometimes mistaken for its close relative, the weasel, but it is larger and has a distinctive black tip to its tail, whereas the weasel's tail is all brown". we have no tail pictures to investigate. i don't think i saw black on the tail.

if it were a weasel, perhaps it tricked us

i spotted it. the first ant of 2004.


it was a wet, cold and miserable day in henley (weather wise), but we were rewarded at the end of the day with an amazing rainbow.

my camera hasn't got enough of a wide angle to get the full crescent and hasn't enough zoom to get the full detail. ho hum.


here's a close-up

a long time ago we had two cats. one of them, billy, used to love drinking tea from a mug. here he is in action. file 32KB in RealMovie format




it's a little windy today and there's been a black bin bag floating outside my window for the last 5 minutes.

the wind has transformed an ugly black plastic bin liner in to a beautiful flying machine, dancing and twirling with me as the only audience.


have you ever wondered how bins work ? here is one handily displayed in a cross section so we can see how it all fits together.

someone has put their rubbish in a paper bag. the paper bag sits in the metal bin. the metal bin (the 'actual' bin in this case) is then slotted in to a concrete holder which has been purpose built for the purpose.

brilliant isn't it ?


spring is in the air and the pigeons are getting amorous. these two were snogging so passionately i couldn't get a decent photo.


a squirrel furtively nibbling an acorn


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this time an urban tree trap.


here is a funny thing. it's a tree trap. i've read about them, but never seen one in operation before so i sent esther and jane in to demonstrate.

a carnivore tree bends itself flat and reveals its roots. foolish animals (as demonstrated here) then step in to the giant hole left behind. when the moment is right, the tree snaps itself back up vertical thus crushing its prey.

luckily this was a slow one or had already just eaten. either way, nothing happened.


these catkins amuse me. they look like they are scurrying off somewhere. but where ? i think they are acting like paisley with their swirly wirlyness.



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