Saturday, 12 October 2013

Forgotten hobbies

Not blogged for a while so thought it time I did.   I have been trying to sort through cupboards and book shelves in an attempt to de-clutter a little.

Today I have been looking at stamp albums.  I used to love collecting stamps as a child and I think it helped me to learn a bit of geography.  This included where different countries were and what their names were in their own languages and well as their currency and who their monarchs were.  When I go to the post office to post overseas I have to ask for stamps and they just print out a label now instead of giving you stamps. For me part of the excitement of receiving mail has always been receiving a new stamp and even today I cut the stamps off any envelopes and keep them in an envelope with the idea that some day I might get round to putting them in an album.

 Children today don't seem very interested in stamps at all.  I have tried to instill an interest in stamps in all my children when they were younger and Darius received his first album, together with a lovely collection of Australian stamps, from my mother when she first met him on a trip over when he was five.   In turn all of them have started collections at some time.  Sophia found her small collection when she was sorting her room last weekend.  She remembered doing it for her collector's badge when she was a Brownie.

Today I plan to show the albums to Stuart to see if he might be interested.  When Imran was young I started sending him first day covers whenever one was issued.  If I missed one I sometimes bought a presentation pack instead.  Looking through the album of 59 first day covers and presentation packs I wondered if they might be valuable.  I was so disappointed when checking on ebay to find they were selling for about a pound each.  Only sentimental value then!

So many subjects are covered on stamps.  There is always a new set every Christmas and also to celebrate anniversaries of different organisations.

Christmas 1991 

75th Anniversary of Scouting
Not sure where this one came from but I think it was the start of the collection

Sport is well covered too, this one for football and we also have one with golf courses on. 

Historical event are also depicted on stamps
From the Civil War 1642 - 1651
To the D Day landings of  6th June 1944.  
This one I sent to Sam as Imran had lost interest by that time. 

This set were issued for the opening of the Channel Tunnel on 6th May 1994.

This set commemorate the 50th anniversary of the George Cross in1990

Green issues are also covered

I like the animal and birds ones as you might guess. 

This is the latest one which I bought this year

I think the collection is one that I won't be parting with unless of course one of the children want to claim it. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Swan update

Following up on my previous post about the missing swans.  A local blogger called Ben posted a story about the swans last week which you can read here: Cwmbran Life.   Today I went to see the swans in their new home at Cwmbran Boating Lake, and they seem to be very happy there with more people around to feed them bread.  Not sure it is very good for them but according  to Ben's blog someone mentioned they thought they didn't have enough food in the smaller lake.

One very bold cygnet posing for a photo. 

Mum preening while the cygnets relax by the lake
A juvenile seagull waiting for a chance to pounce on the bread being thrown for the cygnets
Dad looking for food in the water surrounded by ducks

Mum doesn't look any the worse after her injury and has been tagged with a lovely pink band

 Mum became a bit aggressive and was hissing at us. 
The cygnets are almost as large as their parents now

Think I managed to get all 8 cygnets on this photo. 

One last picture of dad foraging in the lake., 
Just hope they stay safe now and people keep their dogs on leads to prevent any further injuries

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Gharry's travels.

Gharry has been on a trip to London and here is what he saw along the South Bank.

London Bridge is falling down.  It was a bit windy and Gharry was worried he might fall in the river.

Wouldn't like to live here

This is the Globe Theatre of William Shakespeare fame.

Another precarious balancing act to see St Paul's Cathedral across the river

This brought out the thespian in me, Gharry and Sir Larry (Olivier) playing Hamlet.

And this lovely old man is Nelson Mandela.

 The tall glass structure to the left of the church is The Shard, which is the tallest building in the European Union. 

The Golden Hind, the ship in which Sir Frances Drake circumnavigated the globe (not the Globe Theatre by the way!)

Another bridge across the river, but can't remember which one, there are so many of them.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

More Wetland pictures

Went for a 6 k walk at Newport Wetland, a slow one as I was looking for subjects to photograph. Lots of butterflies around but difficult to catch on camera.  Lots of common blues but sadly out of focus, as was the small copper below it.  I think I hadn't set my camera for close up.

Below is one of the dozens of gatekeepers flying around

Meadow Brown


Small white

Now for something a little different. After a search on Google I have decided this is a cone head cricket.

Cinnabar moth caterpillars eating ragwort

Some wildflowers of the wetlands

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Miss Marple Investigates

Well not exactly Miss Marple but Mrs Sheila.  Two things have been on my mind just lately.  The first being that a few weeks ago I saw 2 men wearing wet suits in the small lake near where I live.  Then as I have driven past the lake since then I have seen a row of strange looking whitish objects in the water.  Today I decided to stop and see if I could find out what they are.   When I came close I saw that they are 2 litre plastic drinking bottle floating upside down and obviously attached to something so they won't float away. There was a row on them on each side of the lake.

 The mystery was soon solved.  It will look lovely with waterlilies growing in 

 The other thing that I have been puzzling about is the whereabouts of the swans and their 8 cygnets. The picture below was taken last month on the lake.

A few days ago I was driving down toward the lake on my way home from town when I noticed  what appeared to be a holdup of the traffic coming from the opposite direction.  When I came closer it was caused by the family of swans walking up the road in the middle of the left hand lane.  They looked so funny and ungainly walking, nothing like as graceful as they look in the water.  I couldn't stop to take any photos as the traffic coming the opposite was was waiting for the cars to pass by so they could overtake the procession.  I had been a bit concerned about them since then so today my second reason for visiting the lake was to see if they were back there.  They were nowhere to be seen.  All that was there was an assortment of funny looking ducks, which I believe are mallard hybrids.

When I saw the swans on their travels they were walking in the direction of the bigger boating lake which is about a mile away.  I drove there to see if they had arrived there but still no sign of them.  I can't imagine where they have gone to.  I don't think the cygnets were yet able to fly.  They will be missed as they had become quite a popular attraction and people were always stopping their cars to watch them or let their children feed them.  I liked to stop and see how they were progressing and of course to take photos of them.  Maybe the parents have taken them somewhere else as the lake was not big enough for all of them and they might come back again themselves. 

While I was at the lake I took a few more photos. 

Gatekeeper butterfly

Painted Lady

 Speckled Wood

Bee on brambles

Soon be blackberry time!

Back home and the lovely scent of my lilies hit me as soon as I opened the car door.  They have been in these pots for about 4 or 5 years now I think. I am surprised they do so well each year.  Suppose I ought to think about re-potting them.