Monday, 17 April 2017

Sunday 16th April 2017

The weather forecast was supposed to be poor all weekend. I mention this because many orchids only photograph well in sunshine, they appear too lilac. So, as soon as I see sunshine on a non-work day, I feel the need to dash out and take pictures. And having studied Sunday's weather forecast all day through Saturday, I had it in my head that it wouldn't brighten up until near lunchtime. So focussed was I on the football on TV that it took several glances outside for me to realise it was sunny. Or at least bright enough for snapping.

Thanks to Twitter, I knew the orchids were out on The Hoe, so it was a no brainer to pull on some jeans, grab the camera and go out. Jools decided she did not need to go, so I was alone, driving into town, weaving in and out of the port traffic in order not to waste a second of top orchid photography light.

I drive like an Audi driver if I'm honest, as people are dawdling on Townwall Street, but after flashing my lights and tooting my horn at them I have a clear road up the A20 before turning off towards The Hoe.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes The overspill car park is now fenced off, not that there are many orchids in the centre of it, unlike last year, so I go to the main car park, pay a quid for two hours parking, then stride off towards the track, and where I hoped to see some flowering spikes. I mean I knew they were there, but as always I worry that my eyes might miss them. Of course I shouldn't worry, I can now spot a spike from 20m on a good day, so I don't miss any.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes The first one I come to is barely open, the flower still embraced by its petals, but that's open in my book.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes And further along I come to the largest spike of the day, larger than all others and with three open flowers. I snap that from every angle possible. Before moving on.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes In all, I find 13 open spikes, with maybe seven more yet to open. As in a good year there can be up to 25,000 here, so not that good, but with some rain, there could be a late rush. I photograph most of the spikes, including three that are faded, either aberrations or ones that have already been faded by the wind. I walk all the way to the tunnel entrance, then turn round trying to see if there were any i had missed.

I go back to the car, then drive back up the slope, through the tunnel back onto the A20 and so to home.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes It is Sunday, there is football to watch, and there is bacon in the fridge; so bacon butties, a large brew and the rest of the footie on the sofa. My word, this is exciting stuff.

Now, we had already done lots that weekend, but with the weather brightening, it seemed a shame to waste it: walk?

Easter Sunday walk to The Dip Only if we don't go down the dip. OK, then.

Easter Sunday walk to The Dip It is about three weeks since I last did the walk, and nature has come alive with new life everywhere, and the fields between which the path runs, looking verdant and lush. It is chilly, but pleasant enough walking with the wind at our backs. The path has been cleared where it nears Collingwood, but even here nature is fighting back, fresh ivy creeping up the wooden fencing on the left hand side.

Easter Sunday walk to The Dip At the Pig's Copse, there is a new class installed, six brown piglets, with black spots, and very lively and friendly. I bend over the fence to scratch the nearest porker on the back, only to find the cheeky chap is trying to eat my trainers through a gap in the fence.

Easter Sunday walk to The Dip We walk down the dip, over the other side four small figures are climbing up the other side. We could do that, but decide against it, instead take a shot of the dry ground, dried up mudpool, and turn for home, walking along the top road to see how construction on the new house at what we call "The Quarry" is going, then back down the track and on to home.

Easter Sunday walk to The Dip There is football on TV. I mean there is always football on TV, so I make a brew, toast the remainder of the saffron buns, smother them in butter, and share them out between Jools and myself.

Liverpool win, then Man Utd beat Chelski, and I retire to the kitchen to cook the leg of lamb for dinner. There Is always Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes, steam vegetables and gravy, and a bottle of red fizz too.

Outside the sun sets on a fine spring day, and we feast on roast lamb and all the trimmings, toasting our wonderful life together, whilst various cats watch us.

The round the evening off, there is the grand final of Robot Wars to watch, if I can keep my eyes open. Phew, rock and roll.

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