Mike Wright Photography

20th June 2018

 

Quite a few pictures from the garden, this month, but also some from further afield where I have had to travel up North for a funeral. Sadly, my Auntie Evelyn died. She was 103 and the last of my Mum and Dad's generation, so I felt it was important to make the effort to attend her funeral.

 

Starting in the garden, I was looking for insects, really, to enter into an Outdoor Photography Magazine competition. There weren't a huge number of insects about, but I was pleased with the shots I got – particularly the bluebottle on the forget-me-nots. You can see from the picture of the forget-me-nots, that most of the flowers have gone and the bluebells also have gone to seed. I cleared both sets of plants out and the garden now looks very different, having lost all the blues which dominate through most of spring.

 

Next I had a trip down to Maristowe, again looking for possible entries into a competition. This time the theme was macro art for the International Garden Photographer of the year. In the end, I didn't use any of these shots, but I do like the light when you get there early in the morning. I thought the family of canada geese was also worth a shot.

 

Browsing thought Facebook, I saw a post which said that people wishing to drive through the village would find delays at about 12.00, as there was going to be a parade of tractors. This was the only reference I saw about it, but decided to go up to the top of the village and catch them as they came through. I went up at about 11.00 to make sure I was there when they came through. Fortunately it was a really pleasant morning and I enjoyed just sitting there in the sun and chatting to the people who came past. The tractor's eventually came through at about 12.30. Apparently they were on their way to a rally nearby. Not many people seemed to be aware it was happening.

 

During the week after that I had my trip up north to Mansfield. I booked a hotel for the night before the funeral, so that I could take my time and then travel the last few miles to the funeral the next morning. I was staying just South of Nottingham, and having researched the area, found a nature reserve near a village called Attenborough. It was close to the River Trent had been a gravel quarry, so there were several deep water lakes which had been reclaimed as a nature reserve, complete with visitor centre and cafe. I was much in need of a cup of tea when I arrived at about four o'clock and after relaxing for a while, I went for a walk around some of the lakes. Unfortunately, I was a bit late to get into the hides, but still managed a few shots as I walked around.

 

On the day of the funeral, I arrived at the crematorium some hours early, and after making sure I could find it again, went to Kingsmill Reservoir, which also had a cafe, so after a walk along the bank (beautifully dressed in my suit and looking out of place with the other walkers/runners/cyclists) I had a quick bit of lunch and then went to the funeral. It was a short service, with only eight of us there, so the singing was a bit shaky, but as funerals go, it was as good as it could be.

 

My next trip out was due to Lesley having to go on a Moderation Course to Tiverton. I dropped her off at the hotel just before lunch and then set off for Knightshayes house which, theoretically, was not too far away. Unfortunately, I missed the sign and ended up driving around for a while not finding it! I ended up at the Grand Western Canal Country Park. I had a walk along the towpath and got some good shots of dragonflies before having to go back and pick Lesley Up.

 

Then it was back to the garden – coming out of the back door to feed the hedgehogs, the full moon was rising. Apparently it is a flower moon, as it is the only full moon during may. It looked really spectacular with the last of the sunset glow lighting up the clouds.

 

The annual Bere Pen 10k race was my next photo session. I like to catch the runners as they come through the village, while they are still reasonably fresh and still able to smile! Other photographers are more cruel and take their pictures towards the end of the run, at the top of a long steep hill. Mentioning no names (Helena!!)

 

During the half term holiday, we went up to Okehampton, mostly for Lesley to have a look at the Adventure Centre that she will be taking her children to for a one-night residential. It was right next to the station and there were some old carriages sitting in a siding, so I took some shots of graffiti and rusting sections. I may return and see if I can get amongst them from the station side. They make good abstract costs. When she'd finished, we went to Sticklepath and had a look around Finch Foundry, something we've been meaning to do for some time. We just got there in time for one of the talks they give, which was really interesting – particularly when he set the hammers going, powered by the waterwheel.

 

The following Saturday, Lesley and I decided to go down to the cafe at Lopwell, little realising that we were about to witness a mass murder. It started innocuously enough, with a family of swans swimming peacefully further down the river, but as we sat at an outside table, the male swan appeared in the river just below us, swimming purposefully across the river towards a female mallard and about ten ducklings. They quickly climbed out of the water and disappeared behind a large lump of soil which had broken off from the main bank.

 

The swan cruised up and down in front of this for about ten minutes and then suddenly took off and flew about a hundred yards down the river. Thinking nothing of this, we continued to drink our cups of tea until there was a flurry of activity. Fortunately I had brought the camera in with the big lens on it and on putting it up to my eye, suddenly I worked out what was going on. The swan was attacking a family of mallards, systematically killing one duckling at a time while the mother frantically flew round it trying to distract it. She didn't succeed and after a few minutes, there were several little yellow corpses floating around the river at that point.

 

By the time the swan was finished, I think there were only two survivors from a family of seven or eight ducklings. I shall never see swans in the same light again.

 

I followed this with a few pictures from Mount Edgcumbe, where I had to go to help Jen dismantle her lighthouse which had been part of an art exhibition in the grounds. It was a beautiful, misty morning and she was a bit late. I had the added bonus of a gannet coming in and flying around for a few minutes before disappearing upriver.

 

Then a shot of Lesley at 1.00 on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by books for marking and assessing and sheets and sheets of grids to be filled in. She was at it for most of the day (and has pretty much worked non-stop at this for over a week) trying to get extra work ready for moderation. I you are thinking of going into teaching, take this as a warning.

 

Finally this month, back to the garden. For the first time since we moved in (about twenty years) we had song thrushes nesting nearby, so there is a shot of a juvenile song thrush and a juvenile blackbirQuite a few pictures from the garden, this month, but also some from further afield where I have had to travel up North for a funeral. Sadly, my Auntie Evelyn died. She was 103 and the last of my Mum and Dad's generation, so I felt it was important to make the effort to attend her funeral.

 

Starting in the garden, I was looking for insects, really, to enter into an Outdoor Photography Magazine competition. There weren't a huge number of insects about, but I was pleased with the shots I got – particularly the bluebottle on the forget-me-nots. You can see from the picture of the forget-me-nots, that most of the flowers have gone and the bluebells also have gone to seed. I cleared both sets of plants out and the garden now looks very different, having lost all the blues which dominate through most of spring.

 

Next I had a trip down to Maristowe, again looking for possible entries into a competition. This time the theme was macro art for the International Garden Photographer of the year. In the end, I didn't use any of these shots, but I do like the light when you get there early in the morning. I thought the family of canada geese was also worth a shot.

 

Browsing thought Facebook, I saw a post which said that people wishing to drive through the village would find delays at about 12.00, as there was going to be a parade of tractors. This was the only reference I saw about it, but decided to go up to the top of the village and catch them as they came through. I went up at about 11.00 to make sure I was there when they came through. Fortunately it was a really pleasant morning and I enjoyed just sitting there in the sun and chatting to the people who came past. The tractor's eventually came through at about 12.30. Apparently they were on their way to a rally nearby. Not many people seemed to be aware it was happening.

 

During the week after that I had my trip up north to Mansfield. I booked a hotel for the night before the funeral, so that I could take my time and then travel the last few miles to the funeral the next morning. I was staying just South of Nottingham, and having researched the area, found a nature reserve near a village called Attenborough. It was close to the River Trent had been a gravel quarry, so there were several deep water lakes which had been reclaimed as a nature reserve, complete with visitor centre and cafe. I was much in need of a cup of tea when I arrived at about four o'clock and after relaxing for a while, I went for a walk around some of the lakes. Unfortunately, I was a bit late to get into the hides, but still managed a few shots as I walked around.

 

On the day of the funeral, I arrived at the crematorium some hours early, and after making sure I could find it again, went to Kingsmill Reservoir, which also had a cafe, so after a walk along the bank (beautifully dressed in my suit and looking out of place with the other walkers/runners/cyclists) I had a quick bit of lunch and then went to the funeral. It was a short service, with only eight of us there, so the singing was a bit shaky, but as funerals go, it was as good as it could be.

 

My next trip out was due to Lesley having to go on a Moderation Course to Tiverton. I dropped her off at the hotel just before lunch and then set off for Knightshayes house which, theoretically, was not too far away. Unfortunately, I missed the sign and ended up driving around for a while not finding it! I ended up at the Grand Western Canal Country Park. I had a walk along the towpath and got some good shots of dragonflies before having to go back and pick Lesley Up.

 

Then it was back to the garden – coming out of the back door to feed the hedgehogs, the full moon was rising. Apparently it is a flower moon, as it is the only full moon during may. It looked really spectacular with the last of the sunset glow lighting up the clouds.

 

The annual Bere Pen 10k race was my next photo session. I like to catch the runners as they come through the village, while they are still reasonably fresh and still able to smile! Other photographers are more cruel and take their pictures towards the end of the run, at the top of a long steep hill. Mentioning no names (Helena!!)

 

During the half term holiday, we went up to Okehampton, mostly for Lesley to have a look at the Adventure Centre that she will be taking her children to for a one-night residential. It was right next to the station and there were some old carriages sitting in a siding, so I took some shots of graffiti and rusting sections. I may return and see if I can get amongst them from the station side. They make good abstract costs. When she'd finished, we went to Sticklepath and had a look around Finch Foundry, something we've been meaning to do for some time. We just got there in time for one of the talks they give, which was really interesting – particularly when he set the hammers going, powered by the waterwheel.

 

The following Saturday, Lesley and I decided to go down to the cafe at Lopwell, little realising that we were about to witness a mass murder. It started innocuously enough, with a family of swans swimming peacefully further down the river, but as we sat at an outside table, the male swan appeared in the river just below us, swimming purposefully across the river towards a female mallard and about ten ducklings. They quickly climbed out of the water and disappeared behind a large lump of soil which had broken off from the main bank.

 

The swan cruised up and down in front of this for about ten minutes and then suddenly took off and flew about a hundred yards down the river. Thinking nothing of this, we continued to drink our cups of tea until there was a flurry of activity. Fortunately I had brought the camera in with the big lens on it and on putting it up to my eye, suddenly I worked out what was going on. The swan was attacking a family of mallards, systematically killing one duckling at a time while the mother frantically flew round it trying to distract it. She didn't succeed and after a few minutes, there were several little yellow corpses floating around the river at that point.

 

By the time the swan was finished, I think there were only two survivors from a family of seven or eight ducklings. I shall never see swans in the same light again.

 

I followed this with a few pictures from Mount Edgcumbe, where I had to go to help Jen dismantle her lighthouse which had been part of an art exhibition in the grounds. It was a beautiful, misty morning and she was a bit late. I had the added bonus of a gannet coming in and flying around for a few minutes before disappearing upriver.

 

Then a shot of Lesley at 1.00 on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by books for marking and assessing and sheets and sheets of grids to be filled in. She was at it for most of the day (and has pretty much worked non-stop at this for over a week) trying to get extra work ready for moderation. I you are thinking of going into teaching, take this as a warning.

 

Finally this month, back to the garden. For the first time since we moved in (about twenty years) we had song thrushes nesting nearby, so there is a shot of a juvenile song thrush and a juvenile blackbird, along with some of the flowers we have managed to grow that the slugs haven't eaten.

 

Hope you have a good month. d, along with some of the flowers we have managed to grow that the slugs haven't eaten.

 

Hope you have a good month.

//mikewright.foliopic.com/gallery/recent-photos