Saturday, 31 January 2015



Friday morning Sunrise at -3C




Three photos taken with the Nikon S9050
First two tweaked in iPhoto to remove telegraph pole and wires.
All three tweaked in Elements 10 to enhance the dark foreground.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Blackbird, Snow

This morning a female Blackbird sat close to me as I struggled to undo the frozen bolt on the back gate so we could go walkies. I sometimes get the feeling she is reminding me it is time to top up the seed feeders. The video clip was taken a few days ago as a female Blackbird came very close to pick up the seed and mini suet sticks I had dropped:

The snow from Wednesday night slowly melted on Thursday and had nearly all gone by late afternoon when a short sharp snow shower covered everything again. As soon as the cloud had passed through there was a sparkling pale blue sky for a short while:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you and take care in bad weather.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A Touch of the White Stuff

Occasional flurries of snow at tea time have gradually lengthened to more persistent snowfall.
This taken just before bedtime as the temperature dipped towards freezing:

Good job I salted the paths earlier but I think I will need my shoe spikes for our morning walkies.

My Feathered Buddies

When I am topping up the seed feeders on days when the temperature is near freezing I am always joined by two birds. A female Blackbird comes within a couple of feet of me picking up the seed I drop on the floor. A Robing is not quite as bold but will wait on the nearby fence and occasionally dart in to grab a seed:


Monday, 26 January 2015

Macro on Monday - Guess What



The virtual Midmarsh Gold Star and my congratulations go to just one person this week. Wilma got it exactly correct saying it was the +ve end of a battery.

IMG_7849     DSCN3807

Maybe this wek's mystery photo might be a little easier to puzzle out.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They, along with the answer, will be revealed next Monday.
No prizes, just for fun and possibly a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Penny Progress
She continues to heal well. It will take quite a while for the repairs to reach full strength. Penny is back to playing with her toys and reminding me when it's time for walkies. It is a good job it is Winter as she is satisfied to be indoors most of the time. I have spent some time gradually clearing ground ready to install the new fencing which arrived in less than 24hrs after ordering it. I just have to get round to making a couple of gates then I can erect everything.

Another Good Day
It's nearly a year since I bought the MacBook but only found out today that my copy of Photoshop Elements 10 had installation disks for the Mac as well as Windozy so I now have that in use again. It was like finding an old trusted friend when I fired it up. Now I need to remember and find the add ons I used with it on the PC.

A brilliant sight a couple of mornings ago. It is ages since I saw a Barn Owl. I often saw them hunting along the deep ditches and dykes on the drive to work. This time I was quite surprised to see one fly straight across the village while out for our early morning perambulation. It was only half light so not a photographic opportunity but great to see one around the village for the first time in the 40+ years I have lived here.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Driving Hazards

These day I have the iPod Touch recording every car journey I make. If there are no incidents of note I delete the recording. Coming back from the Vets yesterday saw a couple of hazards. The first, second on the video clips, was a pair of horse riders. I would think I meet things like that one in four journeys. Horse riders are not a problem. Just needs a bit of patience and slow wide manoeuvring to pass them safely.

The second, first clip, is more of a problem. An arrogant, impatient HGV driver who pulled out of a side turning, marked with give way signs, right in front of me. I had to brake and pull over to the side of the road to avoid hitting him. Such idiots are a real danger to all other drivers and as far as I am concerned should be banned for life from ever driving any sort of vehicle.

More good news this morning - I had to go for a check up on my blood pressure. Local docs have been trying to tame this for over a decade. It looks as though the latest combination of drugs is working as today's reading was a mere 125/74, the best ever for me. I did ask whether the monitor was broken.  Go near a hospital and I have easily achieved 200+/90+ in the past.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Bad Day, Good Day

Nodded off in the chair last night. Woke up about 3.30 in the morning and wandered through to the kitchen. What was that drip, drip, drip I could hear? Saw water near the sink, looked up to see if it was coming through the ceiling. No - sigh of relief for that. Investigate, both bottom cupboards under the sink running with water.  Eventually traced the leak to the under sink water filter. It appeared the O ring had sprung a link. Fortunately that has its own stop tap so I could easily shut off the water to the filter. Lots of mopping up and out with the vax carpet cleaner to suck up most. Good job I did go through there earlier than usual.

This morning was also when Penny was due to be seen by Mike to check her progress. He was very pleased and took all her stitches out so that should be more comfortable for her. Apparently there are also layers of self dissolving stitches under the surface. Anyway she doesn't need to be seen again for three or four months to check on her teeth so that was a good end to the morning.

Penny finishing off lunch, hair beginning to grow:

stitches out

Clicking the photo will take you to Flickr for a larger version if you so wish.

Topped up with petrol on the way home. My usual £25 fill gave near three quarters of a tank as opposed to the half tank I had been getting so the drop in petrol price seems to have made a good saving.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ouch, That's Cold

Starling on the frozen bird bath:

Starling on the frozen bird bath

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Red Watches Brown

Once or twice each winter I catch a glimpse of a visiting Blackcap. This time it was a female which was being closely watched by a Robin.

Robin and Female Blackcap

Robin and Female Blackcap

Monday, 19 January 2015

Macro on Monday - Gues What



No problems with last week's Guess What.  Congratulations and virtual Midmarsh Gold Stars go to Wilma, TexWisGirl, ImaBirdie, Adrian, Dave and Sue who all identified the toothbrush. Yes, TexWisGirl, it s Penny's.


and a virtual Midmarsh Silver Star to Glo who said it is a brush.

IMG_7863    DSCN3800

I have a feeling this week's mystery photo will cause more problems to identify.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

No Prizes. Just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Penny Progress
Healing of her wound seems to be going along quite well. Good appetite and has started playing with her toys again. It is only two weeks since her accident so I think it will be some time before the repair is strong enough to stand up to strenuous activity. The problem is keeping her reasonably calm. Not helped by the few anti-social dog owners who have their dogs off their leads on the public highway. Especially those which take no notice when their owner call them back. We visit Mike, the vet, later in the week for a full progress report.

I have ordered some fencing to cut off the bottom part of the garden so she won't be able to go charging through the wilder area when she is finally allowed out off her lead. Hopefully I can get that erected early next week. The fencing is a green coated mesh so it won't stand out too much and still allow me to see the full length of the garden.

This is the fencing I have ordered. Four foot high so should keep her restricted:


Monday, 12 January 2015

Macro on Monday - Guess What


A good start to the new season of Monday Macros.


Congratulations and a virtual Midmarsh Gold Star to Wilma, TexWisGirl and Adrian who each sussed out it was a close view of a cactus plant:

IMG_7858           DSCN3808

On to this week's new macro shot.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They, along the answer, will be revealed next Monday .
No prizes.
Just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Penny is continuing to make progress. Her appetite returned to normal (eating me out of house and home) on Saturday. The new dressing which Mike put on teatime Friday didn't stay on long. By Sunday afternoon it was only hanging on by half of one side so I took it off. A quick yank and a short yelp and I think we both felt better. This had already been agreed with Mike. It had been irritating Penny. I think as it got looser it was rubbing on the ends of the stitches and must have been very ticklish to say the least.


Now I can see the extent of the work Mike did to patch her up. Hopefully, once fully healed and fur re-grown she will just have a long scar to show for the incident.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Friday at the Flicks - Twilight Journey to the Vets

One way or another it has been a tiring week. Mainly keeping an eye on Penny day and night but the care is paying off.  Today was the first day she didn't cry out loudly when standing up after a long sleep.  That was what I found hardest to cope with - not knowing when the next cry would come.

Just as it was getting dark we were on our way the the vets for Mike to check on her progress.  I wanted to see how  the iPhone / iPod Touch app Hyperlapse would cope with poor lighting conditions. The app nags that the light level is too low but still allows a video to be made. Here is just the first part of the journey out of the village while the light was fading:

Mike, and I, were pleased with the way things are going, the stitches are holding and the join looks as though it is healing well so far. The original large sticking plaster was gradually lifting so it was removed and a new one fitted to keep things covered for a few days longer. Then we can 'look forward' to all the stitches being removed. Only one more day of disguising ten tablets a day so there is less hassle getting Penny to take them. What works with her is to coat them with strawberry jam and then they are lovely treats!

Penny says many thanks for all the good wishes. She is wagging her tail when I get her harness and lead and sets off at a cracking speed every walk. It will take her ages to repay the £289 vets fees (so far) out of her pocket money.......

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Back Home

Penny was able to come home this morning sporting a large bald patch where she had been shaved and a dressing over the newly sewn area.  Can't be seen but she also has sparkling teeth again as they were polished while she was under.


To say the least it is very painful for her this soon after her accident but she is eating a little and drinking and even managed a gentle tail wag when I put her harness on for a short walk.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Macro on Monday - Guess What


It's been one of those traumatic days but more of that later.

Having had a think about this year's puzzles I have decided to return to using macros so here is the first which I hope will be a gentle start to the new season. They won't be stacked macros as I think the out of focus bits will add to the puzzle element.

Guess What:

As aways - Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.
No prizes, just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

This morning I had just started building up a small collection of new macro photos when Penny, who had been chasing round the garden let out a loud cry. I went rushing out to find she had caught herself on something and unzipped a few inches of her fur coat. Obviously that meant a rapid call to the vets and a flying visit. She was seen immediately by Mike and kept in for work to be done. I have just checked with them and she is doing fine, all stitched back together and teeth cleaned while she was under a general anaesthetic. She has eaten a little and will be staying the night so they can keep an eye on her as the practice has vets and nurses on duty there 24 hrs a day.

Then the company I had ordered some stuff from (mentioned on my Midmarsh Pi blog) finally got round to refunding my money as the goods have never arrived. It was all done through PayPal but the company did it the wrong way and I was charged for receiving the money. Naturally I phoned PayPal who were extremely good, worked out what had been done wrong (they had sent me money instead of reversing the original transaction) and put it all right then and there so I got all my money back.

I'm just hoping, with about 4.5 hrs left of today that things don't come in threes as I have had enough excitement for one day!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Squirrel Visitor

A couple of days ago I spotted the grey squirrel visiting all the feeders but it didn't seem to find anything it fancied eating. Photos taken through the kitchen window with the Nikon S9050. Slideshow video made with mac app 'Photo Movie + DVD Slideshow Pro' (silent):

A bit of a shock waking up this morning to -1.5C and a thick frost. Quite a change from New Year's Day when temperatures reached 13C. At least the Sun is shining giving some free heat indoors.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Yet Another Weather Station

Caught sight of a weather station on Maplin. Their Professional Solar Powered WiFi Weather Station. Looked impressive and seemed to have decent reviews so ordered one which arrived late yesterday. Quickly assembled and set it up to make sure it was working OK.  It has a temporary location above my shed until I design the fixings to mount it on the main mast.

What I like is its all-in-one design, rechargeable alkaline batteries charged with the solar panel at the front of the unit, a colour display with about 2.5GB of memory so it can display past data in graphical form.

The outdoor unit:


The display unit: (silver grey and not dirty brown)



Also the unit can send its readings to Wunderground where results are also stored and can be seen in graphical form. Finally a widgit near the top right of this blog shows the latest wind, temperature, rainfall and pressure readings. Clicking on that opens a new tab showing my weather readings in graphical form. There is a sudden jump in the pressure reading where I made an adjustment to correct the pressure. Wunderground seems to be owned by The Weather Channel.

So far I am very impressed and pleased with this set up.
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