Monday, 11 December 2017

So has Bavaria moved then?

Went shopping in Cardiff today... and I hate shopping in Cardiff... but it was almost worth it when I spotted a bunch of Bavarian's selling interesting things to us Welsh Christmas shoppers!

I couldn't resist a Krakauer from the sausage seller
I was driving so I did resist getting a beer from the Bierkeller
I also resisted the Hot Mulled Wine
The cakes and doughnuts looked good though and the hot chocolate was creamy
And the pancakes smelled wonderful, even if they were French!
Just for a few moments I was transported to a much nicer place.... ­čśä

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Frosty mornings and icy patterns

The early morning was truly beautiful here today, clear, crisp, truly Autumnal. A tad cold, but then it is November after all.

Frosty Car
As you can see we had a nice frost... well I say nice, some of the neighbours weren't too happy at having to scrape the ice off their cars! I like the frost though, it's so beautiful and creates some wonderful patterns for us to enjoy. Can you see the ice-tree on my bonnet?

I've rotated the image and enhanced it a little to make the ice-tree easier to see... beautiful isn't it? Nature is often hugely spectacular, but sometimes it's the small things that please me most.

Monday, 6 November 2017

More woodland dog walks

Took Tilly to one of the UK's ancient woodlands today, Wentwood Forest. It's not a new experience for us, but we don't walk there that often. Wentwood is an excellent place for dogs to go ramble though.

There are footpaths, bridleways and off-road trails to wander along and of course lots of things to sniff! Didn't see any deer today, but Tilly did chase off after a fox so the walk certainly wasn't wasted!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Woodland Walks

Autumn is a wonderful time for woodland walks if, like me, you enjoy the browns, golds and reds of this time of year.

I never tire of walking between the trees on carpets of leaves...

Especially when there are so many wonderful colours to enjoy.

Of course Tilly is always happy to visit our local wood because there is always something new to explore.

Left to her own devices she'll lead you this way and that sniffing for signs of rodents and foxes.

Just occasionally a bird call will stop her in her tracks...

Autumn is also the peak time for collecting fungi. Always be sure you know what you're picking though.

These wood blewits are safe to eat even if they have gone a little past their best.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Damn American influence

So it's Halloween and my neighbours are busy preparing for the evening's onslaught by laying in baskets full of goodies and decorating their houses in an effort to placate the night's callers.

Happy Halloween - Ba! Humbug!
 It all looks so innocent doesn't it?

Pumpkins - Bloody Americans, what ever happened to Turnips?
Time was a time when Halloween actually meant something here in Britain, especially to those from the non-mainstream religions. Over the last 25 to 30 years the whole thing has become so American influenced a once quiet night of innocent fun has turned into a nightmare event for the old, the lonely or the nervous thanks to gangs of marauding kids roaming the streets screaming and shouting, banging on people's doors (I use the term 'kids' lightly).

I'm particularly pissed off by the wilful damage wreaked upon the householder when the Trick or Treaters don't get what they want and that's increasing money, not sweets. No I'm not talking about the odd egg or a handful of flour thrown as a trick, I'm talking about smashed windows, broken wing mirrors and scratched paintwork, uprooted plants and shrubs, broken bottles and tortured pets. If it was up to me the whole Halloween nonsense would be banned! Of course that's just wishful thinking on my part.

I refuse to get involved. Bang on my door at your peril!

This is the only pumpkin I'd put outside my front door

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Making use of that extra hour

So here in the UK we've departed from British Summer Time and returned Greenwich Mean Time, this means the clocks went back one hour at 02:00 today. For most people this is a godsend because they get an extra hour in bed, for me it's an additional nightmare since it means I have an extra hour of insomnia... oh well, more time to stooge the Internet then.

As it turns out it was a lovely morning here so after an early breakfast we hopped in the car and headed for the coast to give Tilly a bit of beach time.

Ogmore to Porthcawl panorama
We parked beside the River Ewenny at Ogmore-by-Sea and walked down to the beach. Bizarrely, for a dog that hates water, Tilly loves the beach. I think it's because the sand has so many different textures and there are always so many things to sniff and explore.

Me and My Shadow hit the beach
As usual Tilly's first reaction on the beach is to stand and stare, after all a dog's got to check out the opposition and see if there's any available talent in the offing.

Checking for other Doggy scent
Then the sniffing starts. First thing to check are other dog prints.

Can I go play now?
Then I get the big brown eyes and the unspoken question, it's obvious to me she wants to go and play and is just asking permission.

While Tilly is off doing her things I do a little exploring of my own, there is always something of interest to find on a beach. In shallow water beside some rocks I spot my first victim... he's a Rag Worm that has been uprooted, probably by some marauding seagull. He's damaged, but is still alive.

At around 15 inches he's quite a big fella with a pale belly and greenish upper side.

Having photographed him I returned him to a section of quiet, shallow water with a sandy bottom. A few minutes later he was busy burrowing into the sand. I doubt he'll survive, but at least I gave him a fighting chance.

I took a few other images while Tilly was playing and may or may not share them at some stage. Here's one of the River Ewenny flowing down to the sea at Ogmore, which I hope you'll enjoy.

River Ewenny at Ogmore

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Autumn Leaves & Dying Eyes

So it seems I may have Glaucoma... that's a bit of a shit really. My optician seems fairly certain I have damage to the optic nerve in both eyes and has referred me to a specialist. I'll know more in the fulness of time no doubt.

The good news is, I'm told the condition is treatable.

The bad news is, I'm told I may end up going blind.

Life is full of little surprises it seems. Perhaps best to enjoy the colours of Autumn while I still can just in case...

Friday, 6 October 2017

Early Christian cemetery

There's an early Christian cemetery on the outskirts of Pythagorion (on the Chora road) that was built adjacent to and on top of an archaic Sanctuary of Artemis. As you may know Artemis was goddess of the hunt and I find it interesting the early Christians would choose this site for a cemetery.

Early Christian cemetery
Since the very early Christians were persecuted and even hunted I suppose it's kind of apt a site used to worship the huntress was adapted by their descendants.

Like a lot of ancient sites in Greece information about these remains was sparse to say the least. A lady at the museum in Pythagorio told me the site dated to the 2nd century AD.

Burial Chambers
These are some of the burial chambers.

Burial Chamber

Inside one of the chambers
Some of the stonemasonry and brickwork is in remarkably good condition even if it is hard to determine exactly what was what.

Sadly very little of the ancient Sanctuary of Artemis remains visible. There are a couple of broken columns, but any outline of the buildings are mostly covered in vegetation.

Another Rusty Usky moment

Came across a Rusty Usky object on my morning walk with Tilly today...

I grant you it's a little larger than my usual Rusty Usky objects, but I think it qualifies.

Somehow I can't imagine this old combine ever working again... looking at it it brought the late Adge Cutler to mind.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Potami Waterfalls, Karlovasi, Samos

There's a mountain behind the beach at Potami and somewhere up on the high ground near the town of Leka you can find a fresh water spring, which feeds the small river that gives life to the Potami Waterfalls.

The walk up the valley to the start of the falls isn't exactly hard, but it certainly isn't suitable for anyone with limited mobility and here's a tip: wear clothing and footwear you're happy to get wet.

The pathway soon gives way to a dirt track and you'll have to negotiate tree roots and boulders as you go.

It's a green and leafy walk, the shade giving pleasant relief on a hot day, especially with the sound of the water making its way downstream.

You'll soon find yourself between steep-sided rocky cliffs and I was reminded of the last time I explored a river valley, the magnificent Almbachklamm in Bavaria; not an obvious comparison.

I was surprised at how small the river was in its lower reaches although bizarrely it becomes wider and deeper as you progress up the valley.

Don't be mislead when you come to the first of the small waterfalls, these are not the attraction!

You need to cross back and forth over the river several times. Wooden bridges are provided, although some of the crossmembers are not secured care must be taken unless you prefer to paddle through the stream.

I was amused by the pile of cut branches, are they there so visitors can make temporary repairs to the bridges?

Keep an eye open too for life in the river. There are plenty of small fish to look at, but also in some of the quieter pools you'll find these:

Fresh water crab
Something else you may notice are visitors who have been to the falls before removing outerwear and stashing bags of kit among the trees for retrieval on their return.

There's no doubting that swimwear and beach-shoes are the outfit of choice since once you reach the steps leading to Taverna Archontissa you'll have to wade up the river.

Rickety Steps
We were told the river water was ice-cold, but in fact I found it pleasingly cool. Also you're told the water is never more than waist deep, but that kind of depends on how tall you are!

Something else to note, the water is opaque and there are some hidden rocks you'll have to negotiate. They are smooth and slippery so watch your step.

I saw one chap miss his footing and take a dunking, I don't think it did his camera much good!

Don't be surprised if you find fish nibbling at any loose skin on your legs, especially if you have any scratches or open cuts.

One of the things to do is take a shower under the first fall. This chap said the water was freezing!

Not everyone agreed. This guy kept asking for the soap.

Sadly this was as far as we could go up the valley. To progress to the next waterfall you have to climb up and over the first one, which I was not prepared to do. There are three more waterfalls above this one and we were told you used to be able to access them by climbing the steps to Taverna Archontissa then taking the footpath down the cliff, but due to a landslip the pathway was now closed.