This year Autumn seems to be extra colourful and extra long. I have been gazing all week at the extraordinary hues of the sycamores and beech trees in my neighbourhood. Some photos will follow in another post. But I thought I couldn’t let Autumn pass without at least one shot of another characteristic part of the season, funghi.
And then of course there has to be a minibeast. This shot of a spiderling will never be a competition image – the background is too busy. But I could hardly resist sharing the little critter’s autumnal livery.
Finally, here’s a truly terrible shot but I include it because it is my first ever recognisable photo of a bat in flight! Karen Anderson, of Modern Memory Keeping, and I went for a morning stroll in Painshill Park the other day and to our astonishment spotted this bat flitting about between the trees. Of course, I had my macro lens on, but I gave it a go anyway. What the little thing thought it was doing out and about at nearly noon is anyone’s guess. I suspect stocking up on some last minute protein before hibernation.
No matter what you think about the politics of conflict, today is a day to remember those who have died in war. I want to share some images of one of my local war memorials, the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.
Inside are commemorated over 20,000 airmen lost during World War Two but for whom there is no known grave. The names of those killed seem to run on as endlessly as the memorial’s labyrinthine corridors.
Flags in the roof remind us that the war dead came from all nationalities.
So many young men were lost, literally. With no body found, often the name carved on the wall is all that family have to mark their loved one. Countless small tokens left in nooks around the walls show that even all these years later, individuals are still remembered and mourned.
The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede is a beautiful place, yes, but also a sobering one. It was somewhere I was pleased to take my teenage son whose idea of conflict is influenced by computer games and adventure movies. As we walked the corridors and porticoes, he became quiet and thoughtful. As did we all.
It’s been a while since I posted something buggy, so here’s a little leaf hopper hanging out on a blade of grass. I liked the way the background has the same two colours as the grass blade only the other way up.
But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September. It stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you. ― Stephen King, Salem’s Lot
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
― Robert Frost
Windsor Great Park
Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.
― Jane Austen,Persuasion
At the risk of boring everyone, I thought I’d post some more pictures of La Corbiere, Jersey’s iconic lighthouse. Reached by a causeway at low tide (a claxon sounds to warn visitors foolish enough to ignore a rising tide), the lighthouse is attractively perched atop a granite outcrop, high above the Southwestern tip of Jersey’s coast.
It’s an attractive spot for watching sunset but, even if the sun does not put in an appearance, the view is stunning and the rocky foreshore provides plenty of nooks and crannies as foreground interest for the intrepid photographer.
One day I hope to be there in a storm to catch waves crashing over the lighthouse. In the meantime, however, here are some more shots taken at this lovely, windswept place.
Last post I showed some of the World War 2 fortifications on Jersey. Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, sits close to the French Coast but has for centuries been loyal to the English crown. It is not surprising then that the coast has plenty of other, older defences.
The North coast is craggy and rugged but the bays of the South, East and West coasts were very accessible to invaders. During the Napoleonic wars, a series of towers was built around the island.
General Conway, Governor of the Island, planned for thirty towers to protect the coast from the threat of French invasions. La Rocco on St. Ouen’s Beach was the twenty third to be built, in 1795-6.
It makes an attractive landmark, standing sentinel over the five miles of sand that make St. Ouen’s Bay.
What a wonderful setting for a spot of sunset kite surfing!
But you have to admit that as a silhouette it looks a little like a submarine.