The ladies’ turn

Women's road race Olympics 2012

The ladies arrive

Yesterday we enjoyed the men’s Olympic road race as it came through our village, Oatlands, near Weybridge in Surrey. Today it was the ladies’ turn.

Motorcycle outriders

A rainy day for cycling

What a difference from yesterday’s sunny weather. Intermittent heavy rain and thunder greeted the women. But even the capricious English weather couldn’t spoil the fun for the hardy onlookers and the Police motorcyclists.

Dutch rider in front of Olympic road race

Netherlands lead

As it came through Oatlands, the pack was still together. Although the Dutch rider was out in front, it was still anyone’s race.

Canadian rider in women's Olympic road race

It’s still anyone’s race

As my other half is Canadian, we cheered two countries on. I hope the Canadian riders saw our huge maple leaf flag!

Canadian rider in women's Olympic road race 2012


The race has just finished. Congratulations to Vos who won gold for the Netherlands but also to our own Lizzie Armitstead for bringing home a silver! Well done to all the hardy cyclists in a very wet race.

Next Olympic fun for us: the time trials on Wednesday!

Olympic road race!

Olympic road race 2012

The pack arrives

The Olympics got off to an exciting start for us today as the road race came through our village, Oatlands, Weybridge, Surrey.

Motorcycle riders for Olympic road race 2012


The motorcycle riders who preceded the cyclists were very jolly, waving to the crowd and sounding their sirens or horns.  One even zig zagged down the road, much to the crowd’s delight.

Front riders in Olympic road race 2012

The leaders

It was very exciting when the cyclists finally appeared.

Cyclists in the Olympic road race 2012

A steely stare from the USA!

One of the USA riders seems to be staring at me but he is in fact looking at another rider moving up to his left, out of frame.

Men's Olympic road race 2012

Australia was leading the front group

Twelve riders were out in front as the race came through Oatlands.

Men's Olympic road race 2012


But at this early stage there was still everything to race for.

Men's olympic road race 2012

Silver medalist in action

The Columbian rider caught here near the very back is Rigoberto Uran who come through to collect the Silver medal.

Cavalcade of support vehicles for Olympic road race 2012

Support bikes, reflections and shadows.

After the riders came all the support vehicles and a multitude of spare bikes and wheels.  Notice how the shadows bottom left seem to be forming some Olympic rings?

Steward takes family's photo Olympic road race 2012

Olympic spirit

Afterwards the crowds dispersed in very good cheer.

A smiling steward, Olympic road race 2012

Friendly steward

The stewards were really friendly and good humoured – doing a great job.

Tomorrow it’s the ladies’ turn and we’ll be there cheering them on.

By evening’s light

insect in flight

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

William Wordsworth, ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality’ (1807)

All of these images were taken in my garden yesterday evening.

bee taking off

bumble bee

Robber fly

machimus atricapillus

This fine fellow is machimus atricapillus, the Robber Fly. He perches waiting for a hapless and punier insect to fly by and then darts out – game over. He is not fussy in his choice of perch, even making use of handy humans, but he does not bite people. Here, he is enjoying a spot of evening sun in my garden.

Gasteruption jaculator

This bizarre creature is gasteruption jaculator. Whoever named it should be banned forthwith from all future namings. I am grateful to afrenchgarden for the I.D. I was wrongly was calling it a sand digger wasp. I have never seen one in my garden before this year. Yesterday I noticed one feeding on fennel pollen but was unable to get a decent shot before it flew away. So, today, I returned to the fennel plant at the same time of day and, low and behold, there it was. And I was delighted to be able to capture it in flight!ammophila

It is an elegant creature with its long spike looking not unlike a cigarette holder from the 1920s (or is that just me?). I am assuming this is the female. Her consort, a much smaller beast without cigarette holder, is below. (It’s a lousy shot, I know, but illustrative.)


For an earlier post on other wasps found in my garden, see here.

The weekend summer arrived

butterfly on verbena
This weekend, summer finally arrived in our little corner of the British Isles. And with it came the butterflies. This Comma (polygonia c-album) just loved the verbena bonariensis in my garden.

butterfly on verbena
I played around with the image in Photoshop. Well, why not?

butterfly on verbena
It was a tatty fellow, even for a Comma, with a notch out of its rear right wing, but that didn’t seem too much of a handicap.

The honey bees were enjoying the verbena too. Nice to see some more about today. They have not enjoyed our very wet and cold weather.

How did you enjoy the weekend? I hope yours was as good as mine. 🙂