Monday, 21 September 2020

Sunday 20th September 2020

Sunday.

Day of rest.

And it was going to be a fine, if windy day.

And after my glorious success in snapping the Queen of Spain on Saturday, I thought I would go for another migrant, the Long Tailed Blue (again) that morning.

Jools said when wanted to go pitter picking near Westcliffe church instead, so wasn’t going to go with me, so after breakfast of coffee and fruit, I dropped her off and went to the Monument, where it appeared most of the camper vans from all over Europe were.

Overnight camping is not allowed, but angry campers destroyed the signs that said that, so people camp, leaving little space for people to actual park. Doubly true this time where the young couple in the converted van had emptied out all their stuff onto the ground beside their van, but I was going to park there anyway.

An hunt for the Long Tailed Blues They had to move some of their stuff and the young woman gave me a dirty look. I took my camera out and walked off.

So it goes, so it goes.

Not much change from the previous time I did the walk, only that the year is two weeks older, and flowers and plants are pretty much at the end of their season, and in the low sunlight looked ragged.

An hunt for the Long Tailed Blues And it was breezy. Did I mention that?

I mean it was really strong, meaning any hope of seeing a butterfly was almost zero, but I press on anyway.

An hunt for the Long Tailed Blues I reach Kingsdown and check on the Gentians, most had gone to seed, and the single spike that was green had its flowers all closed as the sunshine wasn’t yet warm enough.

An hunt for the Long Tailed Blues No LTB at the first site, and after waling ten extra minutes to the second, I saw no butterflies on the wing still.

There is a seat overlooking Kingsdown beach, so I wait there for twenty minutes to see if the sunshine, then breaking through, would change the situation.

It didn’t seem to, so I began to walk back. After about 5 minutes, in a fold on the land, I saw a good half dozen butterflies: Common and Adonis Blues, Small Coppers, Wall and Large Whites, but no LTB still.

An hunt for the Long Tailed Blues At least further on the gentians were open, or a single flower was, so I snap that and walk back into St Margaret’s parish, taking the path through the wildflowers field edging, back up the hill towards the Monument and where the car was.

Nothing exciting seen.

Back in the car and drive home where Jools was at work in the garden.

I make a brew.

We have pork pie salad again, as it feels like summer outside, OK, feels like summer looking outside, where you can’t feel the wind. We stay inside and listen to Desert Island Discs, then try to stay awake.

And at four, the final stage of Le Tour, a cruise into Paris then 60km of going in circles after and faster until there is a blue when they reach the line for the 9th time and it is done. 3950 km I think was the length today.

It is half six, already getting dark, so we have supper and I have the rest of the tripel, before it is time for #wildflowerhour again, and I had dozens of shots to post.

Another weekend had flown by, it was dark outside and we were very tired.

The crest of the wave

Brexit is very quiet right now.

I mean it still happened and the transition period will end in 14 weeks and the UK hasn’t the infrastructure or IT systems to cope with driving off a cliff, or not driving off a cliff either, because deal or no deal, there has to be checks and assessments. This has been true since May said we would leave the SM and CU.

The Irish Border/regulatory border is still an issue.

There is more action on the IMB this week, though instead of rushing it through all stages into law in a week has been replaced with it going to the Lords “in October”.

But the UK’s much vaunted rival to the EU’s Galileo sat nav system has not so much run into problems as been quietly killed. The money spent has been lost. And the takeover of a US mini-satellite company which had totally incompatible technology was the waste of half a billion pounds that it was always going to be.

This is what happens when you elect the morons into Government and they appoint their rich moronic friends into jobs to deliver policy they know nothing of. Still, we can print more money.

Knives are out for Did Harding, the head of track and trace and the nominal head of the PHE replacement. I have seen buckets of sick with more intelligence. No one, she said, could have predicted the increase in demand for COVID testing after the reopening of pubs, restaurants, telling people to go on holiday, paying everyone a tenner to eat out to help out, sending kids back to school and weeks of banner headlines urging people to return to work in their city centre offices. I mean who could have seen that, other than anyone except Dido Queen of Carnage?

And current figures are for the period before most schools reopened. Its going to get a lot worse.

COVID testing will be rationed to those who are nearly dead. Or something.

Because after being told, by the Government, that anyone who wants a test or feel the need one should just get one, now it is that too people have been getting un-necessary tests and overloading the system.

Meanwhile care homes that have had testing kits are reporting that the kits have not been collected and swabs had to be thrown out. Remember this is the “throwing a protective ring around care homes” in action.

And Johnson warns the public they’re on their last warning over breaking lockdown rules. Oh and it appears Johnson and family flew to Italy last weekend to christen their son in the home of a Russian billionaire who Johnson just made a Lord.

But you follow the rules or else. They say.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Saturday 19th September 2020

Out 12th wedding anniversary.

We got one card. But we were expecting none, so, a win!

It is the weekend, a time of rest. And yet, the week had not been that rushed if I am honest, but with Radmac, Huey, Liz and then football followed by Le Tour, it would have been easy to stay home, messing around online, doing next to nothing.

Walk to Windy Ridge But Jools said, are you coming out for a walk?

No.

But I did.

We have coffee, then fruit, then another coffee and criossants.

Walk to Windy Ridge A perfect hobbitses start to the day, two breakfasts, then a lazy walk in the country to be back home for lunch.

I go out for walks with no expectations, just to snap what is there. I hope to snap some flowers in bloom, and maybe a butterfly, but then its late in the season.

Walk to Windy Ridge We go out over the field to Fleet House, the path is very overgrown, but now mostly dried vegetation as nature waits for the first frosts. I see mostly Bristly Ox Tongue and dried Burdocks, but there are other dandelion type plants, but no butterflies.

Walk to Windy Ridge Past the butterfly glade, and again, none seen, though a couple of teasels are still in flower, whilst others are dried out husks, food for Goldfinches and other birds.

We walk on.

Down past the farm, then up the long slope beyond. The ground is hard like iron, as we have had little rain in a month, and what we do get drains away into the clak bedrock six inches down.

Walk to Windy Ridge Through the wood at Windy Ridge, which has always been disappointing as far as fungi is concerned, usually only good for Jelly Ears and King Alfred's Cakes, but not even those.

Walk to Windy Ridge I cut through the undergrowth to the track, and was rewarded with a Wall Brown that was more than happy to bak in the sunshine for me to snap. I then had to make way for four horses and their riders, going for a trot in the countryside, I wish them all a good day.

Walk to Windy Ridge Because it was.

And it was at the point we turned for home that I saw The Queen. (see previous post).

Walk to Windy Ridge I didn't know it was a or the Queen, or that the Queen was a male. But I knew it was "something".

Back home down to Collingwood, then down the track to the one that leads to our street.

Walk to Windy Ridge And to home to review shots and ID the Fritillary, which was confirmed on FB.

And then lunch, hame and home made chutney rolls followed by toasted crumpets and lashings of melted butter.

Walk to Windy Ridge And a huge brew.

I could have litened or even watched the football. I, instead, watch the time trial stage of Le Tour and keep in touch with football via Twitter. Norwich draw 2-2, but came back from behind to get a result for the first time in 17 months.

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera We have to take these tiny positives.

We have coffee then go to Jen's for cards, a Chinese takeaway and fizz!

Queen of Spain Fritillary Issoria lathonia Betty is doing OK, though drifts in and out of being coherent. But she seems happy enough, though her carers warn of bed sores, so she needs more moving about.

Jools goes to get the meal, which was very nice indeed. We each have a glass of fizz, they toast us and I get wet granny kisses.

As it should be.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

An audience with the Queen of Spain

Sometimes you wander along and think you see something rare, and when you review shots and compare, you realise its something fairly common after all.

Well, this morning, having just snapped a Wall Brown displaying well, I saw what I thought was a Comma, but turned out not to be, as the wings were not Comma-shaped.

It was a Fritillary.

The only one I have seen nearby was a Silver Washed last year and one in our garden this year.

So, I take shots at an angle, walk round and get two better shots before it flies off.

Two hundred and sixty three I know that late summer/early autumn last year, a Queen of Spain was seen at the other end of the village, I wanted to go and hunt for it then, but work pressures meant I didn't. So all the way back, I wondered.....

Back home comes the identification, and what I was hoping was the legendary Queen of Spain Fritillary, but it didn't look right.

A Dark Green looked right-ish, but two months too late.

I post a shot on FB stating:

"Saw something different in St Margaret's this morning, Saturday, closest match seems to be Dark Green Fritillary?" And waited for any replies.

Within ten minutes, I got this:

"That's a Queen of Spain Fritillary ... 🦋😲🤩"

Confirmation.

I looked at the page on UK Butterflies for the QoS, and found:

"This butterfly is an extremely rare immigrant to the British Isles with the first record from Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire in 1710. It was first noticed in numbers in 1818 and was seen every year until 1885 - with the highest total of 50 records in 1872. Since then, sightings are few and far between with an additional 42 records up until 1939. Between 1943 and 1950 an additional 75 records were added and, since then, there has again been a dearth of sightings with no sightings at all in some years. In 2009 several individuals were seen near the Sussex coast, including a sighting of a mating pair. Even so, there have been less than 400 sightings in total since it was first discovered.

Although females have been seen egg-laying, neither larvae nor pupae have been found in the wild except in the Channel Islands, where larvae were found in 1950, and larvae were again found in 1951 and 1957. However, in 1945, 25 individuals were recorded at Portreath in Cornwall, suggesting that a migrant female had deposited her eggs in the vicinity and that this concentration of adults were her offspring. Unfortunately, this species is unable to survive our winter. The vernacular name of "Queen of Spain" was given in 1775 by Moses Harris in The Aurelian's Pocket Companion, although no explanation for this name was given. This species is a rare migrant to the British Isles. The vast majority of sightings are from the south coast of England, with a fairly even spread from Cornwall to Kent. There are fewer records further north and several records from southern Ireland. It is believed that the presence of this species on our shores is dependent on individuals originating in northern France. Unfortunately, the number seen there is also decreasing due to loss of suitable habitat and this undoubtedly has a knock-on effect.

This species is most-easily recognised by the large silver spangles found on the underside of the hindwings. The hindwings themselves are a curious shape, with a comparatively sharp angle at the edge of the hindwing that is not found in other fritillaries found in the British Isles. This butterfly has a powerful flight, as one would expect of any butterfly that is able to migrate over large distances."

One of less than 400 sightings!

But what Jools has said is this:

I was out looking for butterflies (and flowers).

I saw something, took a second look, and recognised it as something worth photographing.

And got shots.

Since posting, it kinda went viral in the Kent butterfly world, and we shall see how many, if any, come down to hunt for it But it seems that the QoS has a smilar aura to it as does the Ghost in the orchid world.

THis is the 40th species of butterfly seen in the UK for me. 3 of which are migrants: Clouded Yellow, Long Tailed Blue and now the Queen of Spain.

The Government of the stupid

Alexander Boris de Piffel Johnson is Prime Minister. He filled his Cabinet with Brexit true believers and those willing to accept orders from the Walking Brain, Cummings, without question.

It was a Cabinet for one task: to deliver Brexit.

I mean, lets be honest, they can't even do that.

It was a Cabinet to deliver Brexit, people who can barely tie their shoelaces in the morning, so to expect them to deal with Brext is a bit much, but throw into the mix dealing with a global pandemic and then Cummings waging war on the Civil Service, it was always going to be an omnishambles.

We really should not be surprised, when the PM himself is a workshy liar, who has gone through life making things up and delegating work to underlings.

When he has appointed such a dumb Cabinet, we should be not that surprised that not only has Brexit been botched, but look at the way they are dealing with COVID?

Dominic Raab has been touring the US, bleating at how nasty the horrible EU are, and his last bleat was that the EU forced a border down the middle of the Irish Sea.

This was in the WA.

This was in the WAB.

Raab was the Minister for Brexit for a year, you would have thought he had learned something.

But no.

He tried mansplaining to Nancy Pelosi about Brexit and the GFA. A document of 11 pages, remember, that Raab admitted when Monster for Brexit has "not read all of it".

Maybe JRM can lend Raab his Nanny so Raab doesn't have to tie his own shoes......

Friday 18th September 2020

Today, I am officially old.

I joined the RAF at twenty five, quite late. Stayed in 15 years, best years of my life and all that, and as off 11:00 yesterday (Friday) morning, I have been out longer than I was in.

Meaning that 30 years ago, I took the Queen's shilling and joined the Royal Air Force.

I mean, I know we say time flies, but that is incredible. 30 years, gone in a flash.

I joined the RAF after being a giblet stuffer by Royal appointment, but I was selected to be one of the bretheren of piss heads.

What could go wrong?

Well, not much, all went to plan, other than not doing 22 years which would have meant a livable pension when I finished, so now I have to wait until I'm 60 for a lesser pension. But I'll take that.

But it is Friday, last day of the week, but like every other Friday, I have four hours of meetings to start the day.

Sigh.

We get up and are having coffee as the sun rises.

There is the early morning meeting to prepare for. And by prepare, I mean get dressed. And have breakfast before it start. Which I manage.

THe big news is that our department now has its own cost centre, which is a good thing apparently.

The meeting ends, and we all join the next one for more auditors talking about audits and audit planning. Which goes on for an hour and fifty minutes before I have time to make a fresh brew before my weekly catch up with my manager.

It is more of a social call, we talk about work some, cats a lot, and pubs a lot, live music a lot. There goes another 50 minutes.

In that time Jools had gone out for her yoga class, had a walk with her friend, had breakfast out, had a haircut, had a facial, went shopping in M&S and back here before I had finished the meetings.

We have lunch, ham sandwiches with some of the chutney Jools made the day before. Very good indeed.

And then it was time for Le Tour, the final "proper" stage, with the time trial on Saturday and the final stage in Paris on Sunday. Better make the most of it.

An evening at Ham Fen Once that finished, we get ready to go out, as we had tickets to visit a local site where beavers have been introduced.

Beavers.

For the last twenty years, KWT have had actual beavers here in East Kent.

These are not North American beavers, but European beavers which were brought over from Germany and Poland.

An evening at Ham Fen The European beavers build separate dams and lodges, so are not so obvious as ones I saw in New Hampshire nearly two decades ago.

Beavers are secretive creatures, and it was always a long shot that would get to see one on land or swimming, and we didn't..

An evening at Ham Fen But Ham Fen is a wonderful site, and long may that continue.

We met at the site car park at half five, I along with another guy watching Migrant Hawkers, hawking before the sun went too low and it got too cool.

An evening at Ham Fen Once all 15 of us were there, the warden gave us a talk, explained where the beavers came from and their habits and what they had done to the site, turning woodland into a swamp and replacing the trees that were there which died because of the boggy conditions with willows and other favourites of beavers.

An evening at Ham Fen We walked to the fen, and for over an hour we wandered, hoping to see one on the surface, but we didn't.

We did see a beaver dam though, so good that behind the dam the water was two feet higher than the other side.

Two hundred and sixty two By the time we walked back to the car park it was just about dark, and the English longhorn cows had huddled around the cars out of curiosity, their shapes looming out of the gloom as we approached.

We had not eaten, so we went to Deal, parked on the seafront near the pier and bought two battered sausages and chips from the chippy, eating them in the car as the evening had turned nearly cold.

And that is that. We drive back home where the feline welcoming committee was waiting. They all got fed, I looked at my shots and the evening had gone.

Riding the second wave

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that for the preriod from 4th to 11th September, the number of recorded infections in the UK was at least 6,000 for ech of those seven days, and not between 2 to 3 thousand as per the official figures.

Dido Harding stated in a select committee, after she had been found, that no one could have foreseen a second wave of infections after schools repopened, the return to work and month of encouraging people to eat out in crowded restaurants.

I mean, who could have forecasted that?

Oh yes, just about everybody, and the hostorical record of the Spanish Flu of 1918.

So, as infections surge, nine football games are to have some fans today, while the Prime Minister warned of a national lockdown of at least two weeks is inevitable.

Lockdowns are a crude tool, usually something to use while you set up testing and track and trace. So the return to a national lockdown will be a signal that the five months since the end of May have been wasted, and hundreds of millions of pounds of quick fixes or the worl leading kind, which saw Dom's mates given wads of cash to produce apps that failed to work.

We will reap a very bitter harvest in the coming months.

Matt Hancock announced that there will be a movement of at risk people from hospitals to care homes, including those with COVID, but don't worry he will deploy his "protective ring" once again, a ring that allowed 20,000 people to die before their time last spring.

But not to worry, bold announcements trump atual plans and actions every time with this bunch of clowns.

Thing is, I don't think they really care. The trevalis of ordinary working people doesn't register on their radars. JRM's nanny, who has looked after him since birth is still employed to tend his needs. JRM is 51 years old. He knows all about the worries and fears of ordinary working people.

The Chancellor is not going to renew the furlough scheme, with at least two weeks of lockdown coming, people will run out of money and food.

But don't worry, they understand.