Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Snowdrops With a Difference

Last September I planted some Puschkinia Libanotica bulbs, common name Russian Snowdrops.
That was the first time I have used this species and they are just coming into flower.


Exquisite small white flowers with pale blue stripes.


Two thing I have noticed about the flowers.
In the shade they appear pale blue:


In direct Sunlight they turn to follow the Sun

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Opening Up

Such wild variations in temperature lately.
Another morning starting near 0C though afternoons are reaching around 15C
Plenty of warmth from the Sun is waking up many plants.
Today it is the turn of my corkscrew Hazel bush.
Some of the catkins are opening:


and the minute flowers are starting to appear:


These are only 3 to 4mm across.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Winter Clings On

We may be having some lovely sunny days but clear skies at night can still means frosts:

This morning the temperature was just below 1C




Saturday, 23 February 2019

Buzzing With Life

Yesterday we had wall to wall Sunshine.
The second day where the temperature has reached 14C by the afternoon.
Returning from our mid morning walk the first thing which caught my eye ...


... the various growths on the Hibiscus bush.
Its branches always looks well and truly dead this time of year.

Next spotted were the first opening flowers on ...


... the tete-a-tete miniature narcissus bulbs.

Nearby were in the order of 20 ...


... 7 spot ladybirds scattered about.

I decided to wander over to have a look at my heather plants.
Even more of them there ...


But almost deafening was the sheer number of ...


... bees busy buzzing from flower to flower.

Lots of background twittering from the House Sparrows.
Amazing what a bit of warmth will produce this time of year.

Friday, 22 February 2019


When I lifted the lid on a garden store I thought a small moth had flown out.
When it landed on the lid I could see it was ....


.... a lacewing.

Things are coming back to life.
I have noticed plenty of flies recently.
Spiders are making a nuisance of themselves building their webs in front of my cameras.
Even the occasional bumblebee has been seen.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Church of Saint Mary, Manby, Lincolnshire

It is quite a while since I took some photographs around the outside of St. Mary's, Manby. Since then I have been promising myself to have a quick look round the inside. As I had to visit two other places in Manby I took the opportunity to see whether it was open.

Saint Mary's Manby dates back to the 15th Century and may have been built on the site of an earlier church. One clue is a late Anglo-Saxon slab which was discovered during Victorian restoration work. It can now be seen embedded in the north wall of the Nave.

Church of St. Mary, Manby

On entering the church through the North porch the font is the first item to be seen:

 Church of St. Mary, Manby

It was very dark inside which made the magnificent East window stand out:

 Church of St. Mary, Manby

Close view of the central figure:

 Church of St. Mary, Manby

The inscription:


Either side, behind the choir stalls, are identical windows:

Church of St. Mary, Manby

From the outside I was just able to make out another stained glass window near the base of the tower.
Unfortunately this is hidden from view behind the organ loft:

Church of St. Mary, Manby

A couple of views of the pulpit:

Church of St. Mary, Manby

Church of St. Mary, Manby

One of the roof timbers:

Church of St. Mary, Manby

and finally a brass memorial plaque:

Church of St. Mary, Manby

All photographs taken with my trusty Nikon Coolpix S9050 pocket camera.
Its tiny built in flash gun did a grand job dispelling the gloom.

Information found on and Lincs to the Past web sites.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Time Lapse Clouds

This time I mounted my 3D printed phone holder on a tripod.

 iPod set up for time lapse video

iPod clamped in place and set up in the garden.
5V power bank hanging below.

iPod set up for time lapse video

That view shows why I end up walking about half a kilometre when cutting the grass.

Once again I used the Apple Camera app to take the shots and produce the video.
I let it run for about 45 minutes.

Next time I'll try to get things level!

Monday, 18 February 2019

Another Phone Holder

I have been searching through many designs for 3D printed holders for phones which were suitable for use on a tripod. Finally I found one on thingiverse I thought worth trying out.

Just three printed sections


which fit together to make


I fitted it to a universal ball joint I already had and clamped my iPod


The whole thing will fit on the standard screw on a tripod.
I also found the stand from an old 7 inch monitor and attached it to that


so I could stand and angle it in the bedroom window to take a time lapse video.
The block on the right is a rechargeable 5V power bank.
Useful when something may need  power for an extended period.

Not a brilliant day for time lapse photography!

If I understood things correctly the built in Apple Camera app (when set to the time lapse setting) chooses the number of frames per second so that the resulting video is no more than 40 seconds long no matter how long it has been filming. It does this after the recording has been stopped. Not exactly a speedy process but nor is it speedy transferring 100s of individual photos to a laptop and putting them together to make a video,

Sunday, 17 February 2019


A couple of nice sunny days, warm out of the cool wind.
Managed to get the grass trimmed yesterday.
Today I was checking how well some plants had survived the winter so far when I saw:

Ladybird IMG_0503

a seven spot ladybird soaking up the sunshine.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Traditional Korean folk paintings and wall decoration

I just had to make this 3D printable decoration found on the Thingiverse web site.
Designed by user hyojung0320

Being printed with green PLA:


Finished item:


Print time just under an hour.
Size about 11cm (4.25in) across and 1.5mm thick.
I chose this as a trial in printing something with reasonable detail.
On close examination there are some tiny gaps in the structure.
Maybe if I had chosen a finer print setting it would have been better through that would have taken a bit over 2 hours to print.

I must get some more colours. Not cheap but each 1kg reel seems to last a long while.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

A Couple of Solo Visits

It has been a couple of weeks since anything last visited the camera nestbox.
Today there were two visits by a solo Great Tit:

This morning:

This afternoon:

(Snapshots from the automatically recorded video)

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

A Simple Start

It's been too darned cold in the unheated conservatory to consider 3D printing until today.
I have a small collection of business cards which usually end up in an untidy pile on the desk.
Then I keep knocking and scattering them on the floor.
I had been looking for a simple idea for my first 'from scratch' 3D design.
Previously I had only used designs downloaded from various sites.
A little box to keep the cards tidy seemed like a good place to start.

First task was to come to terms with v0.18 of FreeCAD to design the box.
Essentially it is made starting with two solid cubes.
One is enlarged to make the outside walls of the box.
The second is made slightly smaller to make the inside walls.
The small one is fitted inside the larger one and the program told to cut out the smaller one.
This makes the hollow box to hold the cards.

(2019-2-12 10.36.52 am)

The idea was to save that as a .stl file for the next process but FreeCAD refused to do that.
Fortunately there are lots of export choices so I tried saving it as a .obj file.
That worked.

Next I loaded the .obj file in Ultimaker Cura and told it to slice the design to make the instructions needed by the 3D printer. It will instruct the printer what to do on each 0.2mm layer.

 (2019-2-12 10.44.25 am)

That was saved as a .gcode file and transferred to the 3D printer on an SD card.
Reel of grey PLA filament loaded.
Finally the long wait as the printer strutted its stuff to create the box.


It took 3 hrs 16 minutes to print.



Job done.

Monday, 11 February 2019


I have heard a Mistle Thrush singing most mornings for several days but haven't spotted it as yet.

At tea time today this Song Thrush did make a short appearance in the garden just beyond mine:



It appeared to be singing but I couldn't hear it above the noise from the microwave cooker.
Just as I decided to try moving the camera outside it flew away. I swear they can read my mind.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Springing Up

The Winter Pansies are looking more than a bit bedraggled after recent cold snaps, gale force winds and persistent rain. Fortunately their place is being taken over by the first of the Spring flowering bulbs - the dwarf Iris:



Also on the way to flowering are some Hyacinth bulbs and Ipheion Rolf Fiedler Starflower bulbs.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Blustery Sunrise

The one thing a photo lacks is atmospheric sound.
On this morning's walkabout we had to lean into the gusts of wind as it moaned and howled through the trees and around the buildings.


I was going to move to a more open, less cluttered, space to take the Sunrise.
In the end I stayed in the lee of the Co-op store and took the photo across the village crossroads.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Catching Up

The Snowdrops



and the Winter Aconite

Winter Aconite

in the village churchyard have only recently started to open up.
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