Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Andalucian pot pourri: Part 3:Meandering around Mijas

It's been a couple of months since we were in Andalucia and these are a few photographs I put into a draft post at the time. What happens on an all-too-regular basis is that I go away somewhere, draft a post with good intentions and then, when I get back home, I move onto the next thing and the post gathers dust, until it's so out-of-date that I delete it. Not this one, though, because it brings back memories of warmer climes as Cornwall moves into a damp Winter.
Our visit coincided with the annual Mijas Fair. A week long celebration, in honour of the patron saint of the town, The Virgin of the Rock. Lots of decorations were up and provided an excuse (as if I ever need an excuse!) for mucho snappio (impeccable Spanish, eh?).
Snappio #2
Snappio #3
Snappio #4

A warm evening strolling around the back streets of Mijas. Very pleasant.

What a lovely succulent. How pleased I'd be if I could grow something like this in my greenhouse. Anyone know what it's called?
I wish I could say that I remember what this is, but I can't. I was obviously attracted by the pattern but was it a gate? Window shutters? Lost in the mists of time.
I think the Hibiscus is a great flower to photograph. The green sepals and bracts, showy petals, deep red pistils surrounded by bright yellow stamens make a great study in contrast. You may not enjoy the botany, but I’m sure you’ll agree that nature offers a marvellous spectacle for those who take the time to look - and admire.
A better look at the naughty bits of the flower: pistils (male) and stamens (female).
The small Folk Museum in Mijas is a little gem, giving interesting insights into times BT (Before Tourism). I particularly liked this olive oil delivery bike. Apparently, daily deliveries of small quantities was the norm.
The local market at Fuengirola, possibly the least inspiring we've ever been to anywhere. Lots of tat and very few stalls selling local produce.
The beach at Fuengirola, with lots of people and lots of high rise blocks. Fine for some but not for us. We beat a hasty retreat back to the hills and our own pool...
....where we could swim accompanied by some local wildlife. In the background is a small gecko which seemed to have formed an attachment to an outlet pipe. And in the foreground is a small ant carrying away a much larger one. The physics of this are incredible when the comparative sizes are taken into account.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Horrabridge to Sampford Spiney and back.

We've done most of this walk before and it was one that was a pleasure to repeat. It took us over the border into Devon (shock, horror!) and gave us just a touch of Dartmoor plus fields, green lanes, muddy footpaths and views. A still, clear day and a delight to be out and about.
We started and ended in Horrabridge, just outside of Tavistock. We headed north east to Sampford Spiney and then returned near the river that gives the Walkham Valley its name. Around 6 1/2 miles and a good stretch of the legs. Sampford Spiney? Odd name. Where did that come from? Let me tell you. The first documented record of the settlement appears in the Domesday Book when it appears as Sanford. Simply meaning in modern terms; ‘the sandy ford’ which was on the nearby River Walkham.  The second element was added later on, being Spinne which referred to Gerard Spineto who held the manor, Over time the spelling slowly changed to that of Sampford Spiney. Obvious, innit?
Just a couple of bare trees in the autumnal sunshine.
The over-arching branches along green lanes, like this one, always form attractive verdant tunnels. Leafy in season and skeletal in winter.
.The church of St Mary at Sampford Spiney. In front is what used to be the Poor House and which was also used, variously, as the church rooms, the community hall and the primary school. The school closed in the 1920's, when it was deemed that the local children should walk the 5 mile round trip Walkhampton School each day. It was eventually sold and is now a private dwelling.
The tower of Sampford Spiney church with the corner pinnacles that are so characteristic of churches in this part of the world.
Here's a test of your eyesight. One of our group is a specialist in old churches and he was able to point out something unusual about these pinnacles. In most churches, the various pieces of the columns are held together by dowels. But in this case, they are bound together with external metal straps, which you should be able to make out. It's little facts like these that give a greater understanding of what you are looking at. Well, that's what they do for me. Others might think "so what?".
In the nave is a stone marking the vault of the Manadon families which, according to the inscription, measures fourteen feet by nine feet. I've never seen anything like this before and wonder why it was considered to be so noteworthy. Perhaps someone ought to tell the Manadons that size doesn't matter.
The small community of Sampford Spiney has a reputation of being very generous towards and hugely supportive of its church. The church itself is thought to have been originally built as a chapel to the local manor house and was first mentioned in 1257. Until the Reformation it belonged to Plympton Priory and services were performed by a monk sent out by the Abbot.

Until recently, there were some substantial stepping stones across this, the Black Brook. They were washed away in a recent storm and a little paddling was necessary to get across today. Walker's Tip: be very wary of standing on wet, moss-covered stone.
Just a roadside bank with, if you look very closely, the flat leaves of navelwort glistening in the sunlight. Rather attractive to my eye. I think I've mentioned on previous occasions that navelwort is called 'pig's bum'? And it does.
I've no idea what the H stands for but we were near Huckworthy. Perhaps it was something to do with that?
The Parlby Arms, which closed in the 1930s, was a typical roadside drinking house serving those travelling along the road from Walkhampton to Tavistock. And Parlby? A one-time vicar of the Parish.
The bridge at Huckworthy, a cluster of some 11 houses on the Walkham. It's present day tranquillity belies the fact that once-upon-a-time when the silver and cobalt mines in the vicinity were in full swing, it would have been quite a buzzy place.


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Walking around Darite and Minions

The day dawned fine with sunshine in the morning and the threat of a few showers in the early afternoon. Sounds like perfect for a walk.
We started at Trethevey Quoit just outside of Darite, headed southish and then northish around Caradon Hill up to Minions for lunch. And then it was downhill all the way back to our starting point. Just over 6 miles and a good stretch of legs with very affable company.
Trethevey Quoit is thought to be a Neolithic 'dolmen' burial chamber. I say 'thought to be' because, as with most of these structures, nobody knows for certain. It stands 10 feet high with five standing stones, surmounted by a huge capstone, which must weigh around 20 tons. Recently it has been placed on the Monuments at Risk Register as the capstone is gradually pushing the standing stones outwards. Hopefully they won't leave it too long before they do the necessary stabilisation work.
A very nice piece of ironwork casting an interesting shadow. Maybe I'm being romantic but are there two rings with two love birds on each gate? Or are they just crappy pigeons around a feeding bowl?
A sight to gladden the heart of any walker in Cornwall at this time of year - a lovely stretch of mud glistening in the morning sun. What could be more inviting? What could be more invigorating than a good splosh?
From the splosh into a muddy lane, soft underfoot with fallen leaves. This is an old trackway leading up to the mines on Caradon Hill. It is not fanciful to think that many of Mrs P's forebears walked this way.
Odd things by the wayside #1: Obviously originally from an much older building but where from? And why here?
Odd things by the wayside #2: outside the shop at Minions. Just one relatively new Dr Martens boot. What the story behind this? We did look for a bare-footed one-legged person but didn't see one. The woman in the shop had no idea it was there.
Odd things by the wayside #3: let's hope the owner of this can get to sleep without it.
I thought this looked like a bridal veil.
Looking due west over the Gonemena Valley with Plymouth in the distance.
Looking down into Gonemena with its fine display of stacks and spoil heaps. Imagine, if you can, that all of these were hewn out of the ground by pick and shovel. And moved around, primarily, by muscle power.
And, shining in the distance, is the sea, round about Seaton on the coast. Funny to think that just about as I was taking this photograph, our daughter and two of our grandchildren were frolicking on the beach there. Who would have thought that we'd all be down here enjoying Cornwall?
I've got no idea who Maisie Baynes was but she was obviously held in high regard by her Gardening Club colleagues. It's a pleasure to remember a fellow gardener.
We finished the day with a visit to nearby St Cleer's graveyard to find the headstone of Mrs P's 4x-great grandparents, Charles and Dorothy Jay. We did find it but, unfortunately, it was at such an angle and so close to another headstone, that a full frontal photograph was not possible with the kit I had with me. But, from the records of the Cornwall Family History Society, the inscription reads:
Jemima BINNEY who died 17 Jul 1862 aged 21
Dorothy JAY who died 12 Dec 1853 aged 63
wife of
Charles JAY who died 22 Apr 1856 aged 70
grandparents of
Mary Ann BINNEY who died 8 Mar 1851 aged 8
daughter of Henry and Mary Ann BINNEY
Nearby, an unexpected find, the headstone of Henry and Mary Ann Binner, the parents of Jemima and Mary Ann mentioned above. The elder Mary Ann must have been the daughter of Charles and Dorothy which, by my calculations, makes her Mrs P's 4x-great aunt

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Don't waste your time trolling me: I don't care.

Just one of the many joys of writing about Brexit is that you get your very own trolls with a lovely line in vitriol. What is it about Brexiteers that makes them so sensitive? It’s difficult to understand what they imagine they’re achieving by doing it. Although, truth be told, I don’t really mind as it’s possible it’s some sort of therapy for them and they clearly lack more productive outlets for their views. Perhaps it's my contribution to 'Care in the Community'.

There are a few reasons I don’t worry at all about the slurs and insults. After all, if you dish it out you can’t complain about being kicked in return. It would be nice, though, if some of them could display just a modicum of wit, or anything approaching a sense of humour, or indeed anything approaching the ability to spell. Sometimes it would be nice to be attacked for what I’ve actually said, instead of what the person thinks I said. Another reason for not minding too much is that, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it’s remarkably easy to set up filters to catch all the hateful missives from my regular adversaries. Their communications go directly into the trash folder without me ever seeing them – unless I deliberately look in the trash, which I very rarely do.  So they throw brickbats at me in vain. They assume I care what they think. They are wrong. I. could. not. care. less.

But the most important reason I don’t mind about being the target of insults and abuse is that it means that my messages are getting through. Someone who spends their valuable (?) time writing to inform me, in 'robust' terms, that I'm having no influence or affect is disproving their own argument by the mere fact of their interest in my opinion. 

So, it’s pretty clear that I’m having a strong affect on that person. And that makes me all the more determined to continue. And I shall.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Ten minutes in the afternoon of 13th November 2017

Just a few minutes on a November afternoon looking out of our lounge window at the birds, with camera in hand.
An infrequent visitor to our patch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It's a male as evidenced by the red nape.
A female Great Spotted Woodpecker (no red nape), an even less frequent visitor than the male. This shot, like some of the others, is obscured by the glass of the window.
We've been seeing Grey Herons quite a lot recently and they've taken to wandering around the field at the back of us, presumably looking for worms.
When they take off, the breadth of their wingspan becomes evident. It's got to be at least 10 foot across.
A glimpse of a Long Tailed Tit. There are lots of them around us but very few come into our garden.
But Blue Tits do.

This male Pheasant has been hanging around for a few days, pecking up the seeds that drop from our feeders.

A not-so-common House Sparrow. But their numbers are increasing from what they have been in the recent past.
Most numerous today were the Great Tits. Acrobatic and very active.