Friday 25th September 2020, 1.55pm (day 3,319)
The working week ends as it started — with a bird photo-bombing the shot. But I like it.
A choice today. Do I go with the more artistic and in-focus portrait of the jackdaw alone, or this group shot? Let’s do this one. It’s funnier. The duck appears quite cheerful about the jackdaw’s attention — but the drake is definitely giving his rival a dirty look.
The view from my house. The picture was of the mists, with the mobile phone mast on the other side of the valley just peeking through. The heron (for that is what it is) flying over was an added bonus.
Get used to pictures from home. The whole moronic farce is kicking off again. If you’re an easy target, expect to be put back under house arrest soon enough.
This little stand of apple trees outside the Ellen Wilkinson Building on campus sees its crop go mostly to waste even in a normal year. And as it is right now, the whole campus is neglected and starting to rot away. Such a waste.
What would have been the best photograph of my day was never actually taken. At one point on my walk through the hills of the Medway valley, I came round a corner and a grass snake and I startled each other — the first snake I have ever seen live in the wild, even including other countries. But my camera was in its bag and it was far too keen to leave my vicinity for me to be able to bag it. Never mind. Instead, I present this mildly sinister hedge tunnel: I can quite imagine some goblins coming along to surprise me in the other direction.
The Leeds and Liverpool canal takes a very roundabout route to link its titular cities. Here it is going through Burnley, a stretch which is a nice bit of greenery in the middle of that what is, otherwise, a workaday town. But it also feels very neglected, becoming swamped in places by algae (a sign that there are too many nitrates in the water) and litter (a sign that some people shouldn’t be let out of doors). This coot takes advantage of examples of both.
It was a public holiday in the UK — for some. Those that weren’t on holiday included the many people who work in pubs, driving trains or buses, police, nurses etc. And me, who stayed in all day reading funding proposals submitted to the Kazakh government. Well, it’s important to them, at least.
Spending all day sat at the dining table at home would not have given many photo opportunities except that next to me were these sunflowers in a vase. They help August 2020 go out with some vivid colours.
The slightly overblown title of this post is not mine. As explained on a notice board beneath this tree, ‘Spontaneous City has been designed for the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Gardens [in London]… The design of the bird boxes is inspired by the architecture of the Georgian houses and 1960s flats that surround Duncan Terrace.’ So there you have it. I didn’t see any birds using this bijou residency, but maybe they can’t afford the rent on an Islington property.
Ragwort, or Jacobaea vulgaris, is one of those plants that demonstrate environmental priorities. Its bitter leaves are full of alkaloids and poisonous to horses and cattle, so farmers are supposed to keep it under control and there are acts of Parliament that declare it, by law, a ‘noxious weed’. But apparently horses don’t eat it anyway, as it tastes vile. Meanwhile, it is highly beneficial to pollinating insects: indeed, for some, its their only source of food. So let that ragwort grow, I say. This large clump of it currently flourishes in a field above Hurst Road.