Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Descent

I usually only post one Sky Watch Friday image but am posting two this week. The first I love despite the burn from the sun in the image as it reminds me of that fabulous view and how long I sat there staring at it last weekend, and it is unedited. The second one is slightly edited but I love it just the same as it appears to me that the parachutist is descending over the ocean and I really like the effect.


Sky watching and how we interpret what we see is so personal; maybe we only see what we want to see, and I always want to see the ocean, combine it with a beautiful sky and thats pretty much my favourite view.


To see other Sky Watch Friday images from around the globe click HERE.

Balloon Fesitval

Last weekend was our local balloon festival and we decided to climb up to Dinas Bran Castle to get the best views of the event. It was not quite what I expected but was a great afternoon and evening with a few additional surprises. We had a clear view of the balloons as they were inflated and began their ascent from the venue below. Most of these shots were taken with my telephoto lens but without the aid of my tripod and image quality has suffered somewhat as a result.


We were then able to watch them pass over the town and up the vale.


Most of the balloons appeared to be solo manned.


As the balloons ascended they all headed south towards the Ceiriog Valley.


Suddenly to the west we spotted these two balloons ascending simultaneously and away from the main event.


Once they reached a certain height we were surprised to watch two nutters jump out of them and begin their hair-raising descent to the event field below.





The evening culminated with the most beautiful sunset over the gateway to Snowdonia.


I took a hundred and one photos of this sunset, it was just magical.


The event went on for two days and the following morning we were lucky enough to catch the balloons flying over us as we took the pupster for her morning constitutional.


Both of these balloons were solo manned with a bucket seat underneath.


I had expected there to be themed balloons however am in no way disappointed. It was a beautiful afternoon and we met some great people who had also come to share the experience on the adjacent hill that overlooks Llangollen. It will be a definite for next years calendar. (Note to self, take a flask of tea with your pack up next time.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Ring of the Nibelung

I have been getting a classical music play list together this week and to that end decided to expand on my collection by raiding the CD's at our local library. I have always liked Wagner but been quite ignorant of his work. I am of course aware of The Ring Cycle but knew little about the actual story, until today! I was pleasantly pleased to learn that it is steeped in Norse Mythology which is a subject I have a particular interest in. 

I managed to get parts 3 and 4, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, from the library and read the synopsis while listening to them but then I also found this little gem. Serious fans please don't take offence, it is a 3 minute animation with narration that tries to explain the whole story and I include it here as an educational tool only so anyone who like me had no idea what the tetralogy was about can get a grasp of it before possibly finding out more. 


There are numerous versions available on DVD which I intend to follow up with shortly and I note that the library also has parts 1 and 2, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, on CD which I have reserved for my next visit. 

I listen to many genres of music, most commonly folk, rock and pop, but classical music is amazing, beautiful and baffles me. How can a human brain perceive such beauty and complexity!

Friday, September 09, 2016

A change is as good as a rest.

I have always liked that saying, and it is relevant to me at the moment as I find myself ready for autumn, a sure sign that we have had a good and long summer. I now find myself craving wilder weather, rainy days and cooler air (and as such better sleeping!).

Spring and Autumn have long been my favourite seasons, although I treasure all four and their contrasting conditions, however as an arborist and amateur photographer Autumn has the added interest of being the best time for spotting fungi and autumnal foliage.


I am not entirely sure what to expect from either aspects of the season at this point, its been a while since we had such a dry summer. Wet summers usually produce better fruiting seasons for plants, trees and fungi and I have no idea what impact it will have on autumnal foliage, however I am excited to find out.


Sky Watch Friday - The Last Skies

After a glorious dog walk this sky welcomed us home the other night, the most unusual colour. It never ceases to amaze me how unique each sunset and sunrise is.


To see other Sky Watch Friday shots from around the globe click HERE.

Friday, September 02, 2016

It Must be Autumn....Strictly is Back

It feels very autumnal these last few days, the shadows are a little longer, the skies have changed, I feel like I should be on holiday (this is when we usually go away) and I have the lights on still this morning as the house is so dark. No complaints though, it has been a beautiful summer, and there is always the other cheery news that the only show of this kind we watch and enjoy each year is about to start. Saturday 3rd September, BBC1, 6.50pm we will be there!

The Event


The Judges


The Hosts


Sky Watch Friday - Fire in the Sky


The sky was amazing last night and I couldn't take enough shots before the sunset; how quickly it goes. To see other shots from around the globe click HERE.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Village Walk

It's a cool, late summers days here today and I have just enjoyed another village walk. I have done this one once before with Mr Dancin. Today I did it in reverse so as to ensure I exited the woods at the right place at the midpoint of the walk. Once inside from the direction we walked it originally it is a bit of a maze of paths and the last time we walked it was in winter so no leaves on the trees. 

This first picture is taken about a third of the way around the walk which starts off in the village but I didn't want to photograph the urban aspect.


The trees on the right hand side are predominantly Sycamore coppice regenerative growth however the woodland boasts a wide variety of broadleaves. It is suffering from lapsed management and fly tipping in areas from residential areas on its periphery but is still a lovely environment.


A stream runs along the left hand side of the path, affronted by a retaining wall with houses on the other side.


The last time I was here the stream was in full flow; today it is a mere trickle in places however some areas where deeper pools persist still have fish in them.


At this point the stream disappears into a tunnel. I am unsure of its original usage, this area has a history of mining, canals and a steam train network, however now the stream runs below a footpath built through the tunnel.


There is some more exotic tree planting and evidence of some more recent management. 


This is the pool where I saw several fish approximately 20cm in length. I suspect they were tench however am not completely sure.


This is the view through the tunnel.





After the exit of the tunnel back into the woodland the stream heads off in another direction to the footpath.


The path continues into a large expanse of woodland that borders the parkland I am heading for and carries on up the valley passed several derelict farms and cottages. In the late winter/ spring this area is covered in wild garlic.


Finding the right path I pop out into the parkland. This is municipal land and there are grazing rights although I am unsure of the details. There are currently two horses and a foal here. They were not close enough for me to photograph today and I do not like to disturb them as they make an effort to avoid people who are usually here with their dogs.


There are a few parkland oaks in various states of decline but still providing character and habitat.


The path then heads towards another area of woodland and follows a jitty through it and back out into the top end of the village.



One last look back at the park before I leave.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Pastel


I saw these colours in the sky as we returned to the vehicle after a dog walk the other night. There was no way to get a better view and set up the scene better so I just had to point and click through the hedgerow but I don't think I ever seen such pastels in the sky before. To see more Sky Watch Friday shots from around the globe click HERE.

Masks and Masquerade

Its our niece's birthday party this weekend; she is having a masked ball and unfortunately we cannot attend. So we decided to make some masks anyway, and as she is such a big film buff, act out scenes from 5 famous films about people wearing masks to send her as a video quiz for the night, accompanied by a birthday message from us. It was such good fun and I really hope she enjoys watching and taking part in the quiz. I am not going to share the videos here, I don't think Mr Dancin would forgive me although his acting was outstanding and considerably better than mine, but I am sharing the masks I made as I am really proud of them. Home made is always the best and such good fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Burning the Midnight Oil


It's my last day at work today before maternity leave and it has been a long count down to get here. Typically I have been awake since 1.30 am and have finally decided to give up on my attempts to get back to sleep. In fact my alarm is due to go off in 20 minutes now anyway so there is not much point and once again it affords me some quality blogging time. 

I am going to miss a lot of things about my job and it will be hard not to have the focus as it can be stimulating and demanding. In addition I have spent the last three and a half years building a department and I am really pleased with where we are. On the other hand I absolutely cannot wait for the next 8 hours of work to be over so I can start focusing on my little girl, due to arrive in about 10 weeks, who is also awake...or so it feels anyway.

Right, time's up, shower here I come.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Close of Play


Just when you thought it was safe to stop looking, this happened. To see other Sky Watch Friday shots from around the globe click HERE.

New Walk

I came across a new walk round the village last week that incorporates an area of open space I had not found yet and it is beautiful. There is a small hill to get up there which stretches the lungs and legs a little and the views are amazing. 

I didnt take photos of the urban areas that start and complete the walk, although they are lovely and interesting.


There are actually three paths that go through the park area, I took this one first by mistake and doubled back when it started to take me down towards the estate to the east as I was heading south and then west again to home.



This is the view to the east further along, looking towards England and below is the view southwest up the Vale of Llangollen and to the mountains.


This is the view of the middle path that I took across the park.


And then again the view south west heading towards the woodland and the old railway line.


A foot bridge crosses the old railway line which closed around the 1960's. The view below along the old track has become overgrown and obscured by trees however I like it. Nature has taken it back and   despite the restricted view it is a beautiful and peaceful vantage point.


After the railway bridge the path descends into formal open space through an area of old cottages. We are still high enough up to have a good view and strong breeze. I predict many family trips here flying the kite in years to come.


The walk only takes 40 minutes at a leisurely pace but in my current condition is ample and gets me out of the house to stretch my legs and stop thinking about work. My maternity leave starts next week but I plan to keep the walk up as a daily trip and look forward to visiting at different times of day for some good sunrise and sunset shots.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Oppression


To see other Sky Watch Friday shots from around the globe click HERE.

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