Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spring Reflections

I love this time of year - Spring is in her infancy, tree sap is rising, and each passing day reveals ever more colour and growth. The sun rides higher in the sky, Gold Finches flit in and out of the shrubs, Blue Tits build their nests, and hopefully we too can hatch our own plans for the coming months that stretch before us.

In our area, the first official day of Spring, gave us a 90% view of the solar Eclipse during 8.00am to 10.00am - after rummaging through several drawers I successfully managed to find the correct glasses. Watching it through the special lenses was brilliant so much better than the one we viewed back in 1999.
The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly; through the glasses we could see the moons passage across the front of the sun clearly and sharply. When the eclipse was 90% total it was as if night-time dusk had arrived, the birds flew into the trees to roost, and there was an eerie silence.  
the special glasses turned the sun bright orange and  the moon and sky black

It was such a lovely morning that we decided to make a day of it, packed a picnic, and headed off down to the canal 
The Lock Keeper's Cottage
All along the canal towpath wild Anemone blanda were flowering
A boat from Wales moored in the canal honouring Shirley Bassey. She was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff
A male Mallard keeps a close eye on a female
A perfect Spring day

62 comments:

  1. Spring perfection Rosemary: the light is so clear and bright, the cottage gorgeous with its pretty garden and the blossoms are heavenly! Shirley the mermaid is very cute...

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    1. Hello Patricia - yesterday we were blessed with a perfect Spring Equinox and it was lovely to feel the warm sun on our faces.

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  2. We had no eclips to see, only a thick cloudy sky unfortunately....You made a wonderful photo of the eclips. Love those english houseboats, so colourful.

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    1. Apparently there was quite a lot of cloud cover over many parts of the UK too, but for us in the West it was as clear as a bell - we were fortunate.

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  3. Rosemary, How beautiful, the blossom, the reflections. What a lovely day you must have had..
    Regards,
    Margaret

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    1. The canal is a perfect spot for reflections especially on such a still and bright day.

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  4. Dear Rosemary, What a beautiful story your photographs tell. What did you pack for your picnic?

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    1. A very boring picnic for me Gina as I am cutting down on bread. So I had a flask of soup and a yogurt. H on the other hand had the full works - pork pie, tuna salad roll, and a bar of chocolate. I did have a little of his chocolate though.

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    2. Cutting down on bread is the hardest part for me. Mr H had it made. I especially like the idea of pork pie and chocolate bar. Happy Spring.

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    3. When you don't eat bread its appeal is even greater.

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  5. Stunning photos - they have really lifted my spirits today - thankyou.

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    1. Thank you - walking in the sunshine and feeling the warmth on our faces lifted ours too.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, I am so jealous that you were able to see the eclipse. Despite a previous interest in astronomy, I have never witnesses a solar eclipse, although I have seen some lunar ones. I am glad that the eclipse proved to be the augury of a beautiful spring day. Although we don't have strict seasons in Taiwan, we do get some extra birds and blossoms, and also the largest hornet I have ever seen hovering around my balcony today!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I was present at a total eclipse in 1999 but it was not perfect as there was cloud cover. Although our eclipse was not total we could not have had a better morning to view it using our special glasses. It is rather humbling to see the mechanics of the solar system at work.
      I hope that you managed to get a photo of the hovering hornet.

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  7. I saw a total solar eclipse in Winnipeg about 35 years ago and that's what I remember too -- the eerie silence that fell with the unnatural mid-day darkness. No wonder our ancestors were scared witless by eclipses.

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    1. I often think about our ancestors and what they would have made of occasions like this eclipse. The river near to this canal has the second highest tidal bore in the world, and I wonder what an innocent ancient person would have made of seeing a sudden great wall of water rush down the river. There is actually a 5 star bore predicted for tomorrow I suspect the eclipse maybe has something to do with it.

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  8. Oh you did see the eclipse, here the light was very strange, like in the middle of a summernight! What a lovely day you have had and thank´s for all beautiful pictures on your little trip!
    Warm hug,
    Titti

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    1. Hello Titti - we could only see the eclipse properly because we had the right eclipse glasses to wear. The use of the glasses made such a huge difference to the whole experience. I think that it should have been made clearer to people how essential they were.
      Glad you enjoyed the pictures from our little trip♡

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  9. Your pictures are particularly gorgeous today. Glad you got to see the eclipse. Loved the Shirley Bassey barge.

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    1. Thank you very much Mac n' Janet - I have just noticed that the Mallard, who was sitting beside the Shirley Bassey boat, is sporting the same shade of turquoise/green, perhaps he was trying to outdo her.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    I did not see the solar eclipse and indeed we have more than enough sun here today in Florida. The temperature is in the low 80s and I have my air conditioning on as I type this.

    I enjoyed seeing the boat decorations (especially Dame Shirley) and the views of the lock keep's cottage. Would that be azaleas that I see around the house?

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    1. Dear Mark - My brother and his wife living in Canada are in Florida at the moment for the sunshine, but things are not going well for them. A truck rear ended my brother's car just as they drove onto Anna Maria island, and my sister-in-law has fallen off her bicycle and broken her arm.
      The solar eclipse was only visible in the UK and Northern Scandanavia, the very best place for the total eclipse was in the Faroe Islands, but we were very happy with the view that we had.
      The plants around the Lock Keeper's cottage are heathers.

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    2. I'm sorry to hear about your brother and sister-in-law's misfortune! As I recall, the speed limit on Anna Maria Island is very low, but I suppose such accidents can happen at any speed. I wish both the dents and broken bones a good healing!

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    3. Apparently it was a truck that didn't stop at the traffic lights, but it looks as if the repairs cannot be carried out before they return to Canada. My SiL has two fractures in her wrist, and is having a caste put on it next week. I think that they will remember their time in Florida this year, but probably for the wrong reasons.

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  11. Welcoming Spring with beautiful blossoms!!

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    1. Yes, I agree, Spring is very welcome.

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  12. We could not see the solar eclipse, it was gray and cloudy. You really had a beautiful springday, I can imagine that picnic along the canal, the perfect setting for spring.

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    1. I understand that many parts of the UK were also cloudy too, but for us it was clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine, we were very fortunate.

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  13. What a splendid Spring day.....jealous!
    Have a great weekend...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Winter and spring have been kind to us Linda.

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  14. Looks like it was too beautiful to stay indoors, and you really had a perfectly lovely day, Rosemary, starting with the nice shot of solar eclipse. As it is said “Neither summer heat nor winter cold lasts after equinox.” in my country, I’ve been enjoying a lot of sunshine and spring warmth (winter chill is returning tomorrow though), and Prunus mume are also in full-bloom in my place. Time is fleeting, enjoy your favorite season of the year to your heart’s content.

    Yoko

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    1. Thank you Yoko - it is lovely to be outdoors again and feeling the warmth from the sun, each season is a favourite for different reasons.

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  15. I got so happy feeling when I look your photos. I love the river, the boats, the sunshine and I love the reflections.
    Your spring is so beautiful.
    Have a happy sunday.

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    1. I think that we can finally say goodbye to winter, it truly feels that spring has arrived.

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  16. Happy Spring, Rosemary! I must search the internet for goggles to watch eclipses! Hopefully I'll be able to get enough use for them in my future! When I saw your photo with the orange "slice" I was struck at how it would be a good design for a country's flag. So distinct. Great clarity from your camera. As Mark commented, the canal keeper's cottage is certainly eye candy with the ivy and heather - not to mention having the changing (I'm guessing, here!) scene of various canalboats coming and going. Just what is the reason for the various painted designs like in the earlier photo on the front end? Just to ID the owners? After reading your response to Gina, I realised that I could certainly cut back on my bread eating. Love your comment about the bread seeming even more tempting when one can't or is trying to not eat it!!!
    Send my good wishes to your SIL - 11 months ago I was toppled over onto my stair treads (by my cat) and broke my right wrist. I encourage her to have a local anesthesia (1st time for me ). It was painfree and wonderful. I healed quickly (I kept my arm up in the air almost incessantly), followed all the physical therapy suggested and I have absolutely no after-effects. I can type, play the piano, do my calligraphy,lots of heavy lifting ---everything I did before.

    Mary in Oregon

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    1. Hello Mary and thank you for your interesting comment. You are very fortunate as there is a total solar eclipse heading your way in August 2017, and you are living in the perfect spot to see it. Make sure you are around as the following one heading your way will not be until 2024, and it will actually be seen better in Mexico. Be on the beach in Oregon on Monday 21st August at 10.15 in the morning. The perfect spot is just north of Newport where it sticks out into the Pacific. Put it in your diary. Normally when you have an eclipse in an area you can pick up the glasses very cheaply. I think that mine were given out by a local Supermarket when we had one 19 years ago, but they are very inexpensive anyway - they are rather like the old 3D glasses you used to get with cardboard frames, but they are very important if you are going to witness the experience properly. It is dangerous to look directly at the sun as you will know.
      The painting on the canal boats is Folk Art - I should have shown more of the designs. I will endeavour to go again sometime and show more of them. If you are interested you can look at this page here:-
      https://www.flickr.com/groups/roses-and-castles/
      Glad to learn that you successfully recovered from your fall, hope it is the same for my SiL.

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    2. August 2017, exact date and time duly noted for future journal in that year!!! Thank you so much, Rosemary. I look forward to seeing it and I will be on the lookout for inexpensive glasses. Another eclipse, we used film negatives (as suggested in the newspapers and media, then) to view.

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  17. So many beautiful photos, very uplifting. Spring time is just the best time !

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    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos Jane, it was a lovely day and particularly made special by witnessing the eclipse - thank you.

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  18. Lovely crisp clear spring photos - I love that duck!

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    1. Thank you - I think that the duck thought that he was rather special too.

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  19. Beautiful photos, Rosemary. We just came home from England and France. Spent time in Bath and Tetbury. Enjoyed a lovely full English breakfast at a charming cafe along a canal near Trowbridge. Forgot the name, but it was very popular.

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    1. Tetbury and Bath are both very near to where I live Loi - glad you have returned home safely.

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  20. A lovely spring reflection, Rosemary. You certainly made a day of it last Friday. -) Not having any special eclipse viewing glasses, we had to resort to the old pinhole camera trick, which worked surprisingly well. It definitely went twilight-like and chilly when the 90% coverage point was reached.

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    1. I was pleased that I managed to rummage around and found the glasses from 1999 Perpetua. Back then I am sure that they were freely available to pick up in supermarkets, but I didn't see any around this time - they made a huge difference to our viewing experience. I have read that Faroe was cloudy, and it seems that many parts of this country were too, but for us it happened to be as clear as a bell.

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  21. Such a colorful, exciting post. I did enjoy opening the eclipse link at your photo and watching some of it!

    The canal area is really beautiful - love the stone house with ivy and pretty shrubs. Are you near Cirencester by chance Rosemary? I've been there to visit my SIL's family - such a lovely area - they are not far from Highgrove.

    Happy Spring my dear - Mary

    P.S. Dame Shirley Bassey and her beautiful voice. . . . . lots of memories!

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    1. Dear Mary - Thank you for your lovely comment. I am near Cirencester, it is one of my nearest towns. It was enjoyable to spend time outside being in the warm weather and seeing the opening blossom after our earlier excitement with the eclipse.

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  22. A beautiful day for getting out and spending some time by the canal - perfect for those reflections in the water! I'm glad you had a good view of the eclipse. Too sunny in Rome, we didn't have any special glasses and we were mainly undercover in the main terminal train station during the hour's event looking at timetables so it was a bit of a non-event for us!

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    1. Yes, glasses are a necessity to view the eclipse, it is too dangerous to look at the sun without.
      Do you travel to and fro on the train to Italy and back?

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    2. We use the regional trains a lot, but haven't travelled across Europe in this way for many years. It's something I would like to do again.

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  23. What a wonderful place for a day out and picnic and as for the Lock Keepers cottage......beautiful!! I've not seen one as pretty as this before. x

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    1. The whole setting is really rather lovely especially on such a beautiful day. It is a favourite place of my husbands.

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  24. Rosemary, thank you for this incredibly picturesque, joyful and beautiful post! We've often talked about a canal boat cruise – they look so romantic and peaceful. I hope you are well and have a glorious spring!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Georgianna - when you have time you must try and do it. It is an incredibly relaxing and friendly way to spend a week cruising the waterways - stopping off at canalside pubs for lunch, and learning how to drive and negotiate the locks. I can just imagine what beautiful photographs it would inspire from you.

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  25. Such a pretty place that lock keepers cabin, and nicely landscaped. I also like the long shot of the canal. Happy Spring!

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    1. The canals are lovely for photography with their long vistas and lovely reflections Janey - hope you are enjoying Spring too.

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  26. I can't believe you have this heavenly sunlight over there while we suffer from a gloomy weather and almost incessant rain!!! Cotswolds, an area of an outstanding beauty, I'm convinced!

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  27. You are correct Olympia, the Cotswolds does have the classification of being an AOB, but I cant believe that you do not have lovely sunshine in Greece. I am sure that the gloomy weather and the rain is just a tiny blip and soon you will be back to your wonderful blue skies and glorious sunshine.

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  28. Beautiful reflections of spring Rosmary. It looks like nature is ahead in the UK. Those blossom trees look magnificent!

    I am happy to hear the eclipse was clearly visible in the UK. Unfortunately our sky was too clouded. It got a bit darker in The Netherlands, but that was it!

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

    Madelief x

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    1. A lot of places had cloud over here too Madelief, we just happened to be fortunate in the west of the country. The warm weather this week has encouraged lots of flowers to open. Take care and thank you Madelief.

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  29. I love walking by the side of canal banks doing a bit of gongoozling ........

    Lovely pictures thank you for sharing

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hello Jan - that is a new word for me, but yes, you are right, so do I. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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