Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Monday, 29 November 2010

A WINTER WALK AND A CUP OF TEA


I don’t know what it is about old brick bridges but they always seem to be running with water. If there isn't water trickling under their arches, they are likely to have damp patches or small streams dripping from the parapet instead. I don’t know where this water comes from. It’s as if the bridges are standing in for mountains. I’m never clear how mountains manage to spout water either.

But the water on this bridge wasn’t being water for long. It was dripping into the undergrowth and fossilising the plants with ice.

This twig, encased in ice, reminds me of a certain kind of pear liqueur. Bottles are tied over small fruits while they are still on the trees. The pears grow inside the glass and the liqueur itself is added when they are ripe and plucked from the trees - bottles and all.

An imprisoned thorn!

Young Alexanders. These ice-ed plants spark connections. This one reminds me of Snow White in her glass case waiting for the Prince to come and thaw her with a kiss.

* * * * *

It was bleak, yesterday afternoon; beautifully bleak.




Strewn on the sand were these tightly closed carnations with small buds. It seemed terribly sad. You can see another stem a little further away.







The beak of this juvenile herring gull (Larus argentatus) caught my eye.

What had caught the eye of the gull was something to eat. It dropped onto the water, bobbed up and down for a few seconds, then spread its massive wings (a herring gull wingspan can be more than five foot!)  hopped into the air, dived back down into the water - and came out with something pinkish in its beak - then off it went. In the picture, it’s getting ready for lift-off.


And, at last, to my destination - the National Trust Van. 


That’s what I call it - "The National Trust Van". The National Trust calls it a “Recruitment and Engagement Vehicle for the National Trust and Jurassic Coast in West Dorset”. These cheerful (though shivering) people who do the recruiting and engaging are called Ben and Caroline.

I’ve been following Ben on Twitter for a while - under the delusion that he’s a cross between a palaeontologist and a botanist and . . . and . . .  that he wanders up and down the coastline imparting wisdom and knowledge about our rocks and wildlife and history. Because his Twitter name is @jurassiccoastin I expected him to be more of a Jurassic expert than a recruiting one. HOWEVER, he and Caroline (recruiters!) were very friendly and invited me into their van for a cup of tea.

And was the tea welcome! The right hand side of my face (which had been facing east for most of my walk) had frozen so I felt a bit awkward at the beginning of our conversation. Meeting new people when it feels as if you’ve just had a tooth extracted and your mouth hasn’t fully recovered from the anaesthetic isn’t . . . isn’t . . . comfortable.

So that was my afternoon; my walk. Completely without a theme - an ordinary-for-round-here kind of walk at the beginning of winter. (I’ve given up calling it ‘autumn’. The leaves have powdered to dust because of the cold and I haven't smelled a bonfire in days.)

* * * * *

To read more about this roving and recruiting and to reach Ben’s blog, click here.

13 comments:

Quasi Serendipita said...

Hi Lucy, I do love the new blog! The first picture in this post is particularly lovely, I just love the perspective.

Lucy said...

Hello Quasi Serendipita - I'm glad you are enjoying Loose and Leafy. The funny thing is - this isn't a new blog! I've been writing it for two and a half years! The new blog is Message in a Milk Bottle

http://messageinamilkbottle.blogspot.com/

- which is a picture a day (just like Pictures Just Pictures. (I ran out of space for photos there and solved the problem by starting afresh).

Hope you find that - but continue to read here too!

Lucy

Elephant's Eye said...

That red spot on the herring gull's beak that intrigues you? Apparently the youngsters Peck Here when they want mum or dad to serve lunch please!

RuneE said...

Impressive that gull with the wings spread out wide. Sharp and fine. Magnificent birds for photography, but not loved by one and all :-)

Damo said...

Great photos, can't believe how cold it is now, was T-shirt weather earlier in the month!

Phoenix C. said...

I love the ground elder in the ice - looks so sculptural! Wonderful photos.

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Waw, wonderful pictures.. the former are awesome.

Tim Austen said...

Hi Lucy, love the icy pics!

Rosey said...

You made me crave a popsicle though not one made with herbs.

Brrrrrr!!!!!

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Hi, wonderful pictures! i really liked..

BLOGitse said...

You have ice and we have snow. A LOT of snow! :)

Lucy said...

Diana - that's interesting about the red spot on the gull's beak. Young gulls pester their parents for food until they are quite big. In their early months they grow bigger than their parents and get quite bullying.

Glad you like the gull with its wings spread, Rune. They are impressive birds but can be pests too - dangerous at times. A nesting pair took against a neighbour once because he had been on his roof to adjust his television aerial. When he went up, he took a broom with him to fend them off and, thereafter, they attacked him every time he went up the path to his house.

Hello Damo. I'm glad you like the photos on the Winter Walk post for Loose and Leafy. There are moments, even now, when the temperature rises and the birds sing so loudly about it one might imagine spring - but T-shirts are packed away!

Hello Phoenix C. Good to see you here as well as at Message in a Milk Bottle (http://messageinamilkbottle.blogspot.com/). I was astonished to see the way the ground elder had stayed upright while the ice froze round it - and how clear the ice was too. I've not seen anything like it before.

Hello Dejemonos Sorprender. So pleased you like the photos. It's such a pleasure to be able to put them on a blog and to share them with others.

Hello Tim. So pleased you like the photos.

Hello Rosie. I took a lot of photos of these ice-plants and some had formed in a series of regular rings and they really did look like sweets on a stick.

Hello Blogitse. Our snow has melted now - though we have a lot of frost instead. I expect your snow will be much more dramatic than ours! Best wishes for your move.

Thank you for your comments, folks. The next post is now up - Sites you might like:-

http://looseandleafy.blogspot.com/

Lucy

Hoops said...

Hi Lucy,

A really enjoyable blog, I love the pictures with the plants entombed in ice - totaly unique and unusual images.

Thanks for following my blog as well.

Ian (Rodwell Weather)