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022b 042b 073b 112bThese are the leftovers from my little forage on the Common the other day.

The first, because it is difficult to tell, is the dew on the centre of a large thistle.

I’ve had a reply from the countryside ranger about the broken trees. It’s all for the benefit of nightingales apparently, rather than woodland management.

Here is what they said: “If you are referring to trees near the airport area of the Common, these have been cut as part of a management scheme for the benefit of nightingales. These birds nest low to the ground in thick scrub but also need secluded bare ground area that for foraging that are protected by thick low level brush which gives protection from predators.

“The British Ornithology website explains more.”

SO it is off to the British Ornithology website, which sounds as though it is the sort of website I should enjoy, to see what else I can discover.

And there was me thinking they were just trying to get rid of the trees :)

 

Well, I had a fun day yesterday.

I worked in the morning and then had a hospital appointment in the afternoon.

I had to have a gastroscopy – a camera pushed down my throat to look inside. I opted not to have sedation but just to have a throat spray that numbs your throat.

Now I’m probably being a touch over dramatic but it was hideous! And if I ever have to have it done again I am definitely being sedated.

So it turns out I have a hiatus hernia to go with my umbilical hernia and gastritis.

Gastritis can be caused by a variety of things: excessive alcohol (I have about four alcoholic drinks a year), cocaine abuse (nope, never done that), excessive use of aspirin or ibuprofen (rarely take them, prefer just to go bed), immune deficiency conditions like HIV or AIDS ( when I bled into the surgeon’s eye during an operation last year he had me tested so I know I don’t have that) or stress.

Hello, there we go, there’s a possible cause. So, how do I get rid of the stress in my life? I drop kick this work thing into touch and do something different. Sadly not possible yet because I need the money but I need to find a way of working for myself.

Anyway, it could have been a lot worse (apart from the actual gastroscopy procss which was hideous). All of these things are treatable and at least I know what it is now,

Do know something else that I’ve found hideous this week? The Life of Pi. Have you read it?

I hadn’t and I felt I ought to (and I still haven’t finished it) but the description of the hyena eating the zebra and the orang utan is horrific. I nearly put the book down. But I am going to persevere to the end because I feel I ought to.

So because of all this activity I have had no chance to take more photos so I thought I’d show you some of the man-made stuff I found on the Common on Monday.

I think I’ve mentioned before that you can feel the archaeology of the area under your feet in places.

In the early 1940s this was the Hartfordbridge Flats airforce base. Over the Second World War it housed squadrons from England, Canada, the USA, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

At it’s peak 3,000 personnel were on the base. General Eisenhower visited before D-Day, as did Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard.

This was a bustling airfield for many years, now it still has an airfield but it’s mainly for hobbyists.

Anyway, you can still see some of the archaeology left by the camp, as well as random crap that people leave behind like the pellet tin.

And now, I have to head off to the stress pit again :)

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039bContinuing with my exploration of Yateley Common on Monday, I came across a little mystery as I strolled around.

Someone’s broken many of the trees.

There were loads that had been deliberately snapped about three or four feet up from the base.

034bScores and scores of them were snapped in this way and I have no idea why.

I went on to the website for the Common and found a section called Ask a Ranger so I emailed them to ask them. I haven’t had a response yet.

I presume it’s some sort of management system but as the trees are just snapped over and not dead, surely they will continue to grow in this way? I will have to wait and see what they say.

Yateley Common is an important area of heathland and is protected under UK and EU law. Apparently heathland like this is rarer than rainforest and it houses many protected  species of insects, birds and animals.

On the website it features a picture of one of those red and white fairy toadstools that I have been so desperate to take a picture of. If I keep wandering, I might find one.

It is also an ideal habitat for adders. I would be very cool to photograph and adder.

The only wildlife I managed to photograph on Monday was a robin taunting me from the top of a tree.

But I did get some fungi (although not a red and white fairy toadstool).

 

 

I don’t often take part in the daily prompt but I always look at them. This one, however, struck a chord.

Just short of 40 years on and I can still remember the stories Mr Perry used to tell.

He was old, well I was nine, so anything over 35 seemed ancient but he was a lot older than my mum and dad and looked nearly as old as my granddad, so I’m guessing he was in his late 50s or early 60s at the time.

He was the most wonderful story teller and he’d lived in places that sounded exotic to a nine year old.

I remember him telling us about living in Canada and the snowfall being so heavy, they’d had to dig the front door out.

He’d also work in Africa and he tell stories about young boys greasing their legs and sticking them in a hole to attract snakes.

Apparently boa constrictors would open their jaws and try and swallow their legs. When the snake got to their thigh, the boy would slit its throat and pull the dead snakeskin off his leg. You know, even after 38 years of remembering that story, I still have no idea whether it is true or not.

Mr Perry made my brain pop, I wanted to see these places he described, meet little African boys who stuck their legs in snake holes and I wanted to play in snow deeper than me.

What he gave me was a curiosity about the world around me, a love of a good story (true or not) and a desire to travel. And I’ve never lost any of those things.

So thank you Mr Perry, you were the most inspiring teacher I ever had and I never thanked you, I just moved up a class.

But do you know the very best thing about Mr Perry?

If the whole class was very good all week – and it had to be the WHOLE class and ALL week – Mr Perry would take out his glass eye and pass it round the class to anyone who wanted to see it.

How can you not be inspired by a man like that?

Read about other inspiring teachers here.

I did manage to get out for a walk yesterday morning.

I went across the Common to the nearby airfield and then explored a bit more.

Then I crossed the road and walked across behind a scrapyard.

Then I got lost. You wouldn’t think it was possible to get lost so close to home, but it is.

I lost the path completely and ended up clambering through the undergrowth. I got stuck in the brambles several times and then finally slipped down a slope and fell over.

II now have a lovely bruise at the base of my thumb and it is quite swollen and sore. But it moves ok so I don’t think I’ve done enough damage to keep me off work (sadly) even if it is my right hand.

It was only later that I realised quite how mismatched I must have looked as I was walking around. Among the Christmas presents from gorgeous daughter number 2 was a pair of very funky pink, flowery wellie boots which I’d teamed up with some beige leg warmers to keep my khaki-coloured trousers tucked in.

Among the Christmas presents from Man was a pair of very funky fingerless gloves in oranges and reds with flip over mittens. They’re great, they’re lined and warm and I can flip the lid off and still operate the camera. They clash, however, with pink flowery wellies … and the blue and white striped sweatshirt I also had on.

Oh well, I never was very fashion conscious.

Anyway, nursing a sore hand and scratched legs from the brambles I got tangled up in, I eventually found my way to a main road about half a mile away from where I thought I’d be, which wasn’t too bad :)

I found lots of fungi and lots of interesting shapes and, because it was such a grey day, and I was wearing such an odd combination of colours, I set myself a little challenge of trying to find some natural colour.

These are the results – reds, yellows, greens … there was quite a lot of colour to my grey day when I actually looked for it :)

(Incidentally, I am still loving this gallery style)

Woo hoo, it’s Monday and, for the first time since the beginning of December, I have returned to having Mondays off :)

Yay.

Weekends are lovely but I very much enjoy waking up on a Monday morning knowing loads of other people are heading off to work and I’m not. What a smug feeling of satisfaction that is.

I have some chores to do today (I’ve already washed the inside of the downstairs windows) but I haven’t been out with my camera all weekend and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.¬†It is however, grey, wet and miserable … even so I think I might take a walk over the common to see what I can find.

Christmas has been packed away for another year, gorgeous daughter number two and both the boyfriends shoved them straight up in the loft for me. There’s a little bit of furniture shifting to be undertaken but not too much. And nothing that can’t wait for an hour or two.

I might log in to the work laptop for half and hour – I need to create this year’s holiday chart (mainly so I can book a week off work lol) – and it’s easier to do that when I’m not working then when I am.

But today is a chilling day. I have some reading and writing to catch up on and I want to get out with the camera before it hammers down with rain.

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So here’s a nice sunny summer picture to remind me of the colour that is lacking outside today.

 

 

photo (5)Did I mention I got spoilt rotten at Christmas? Well I did, both by Man and by my two gorgeous daughters and their boyfriends.

One of the things I was given was this birdfeeder and yesterday I decided to put it together.

photo (4)The instructions told me it was very simple … and, to be fair, it was.

photo (3)And within a very short space of time this had turned into this.

photoNow I need a few more containers to hang off it (which I think the gorgeous ones stuffed in the loft a few weeks ago) and then I shall sit and wait for the birds to come and take pretty pictures of them.

002bAt the moment the little buggers insist on sitting at the very top of a nearby tree so I can only just see them. They are going to have to come closer or I am going to have to save up for a much bigger lens.

A friend and I went to a friend’s house last night for dinner and sat putting the world to rights for a very long time. I didn’t get in until 2am (which is about four hours past my bedtime!) So now I have Christmas to erase from my house when actually what I would love to do is to go back to bed.

Still, it was a very nice evening/night/morning :)