Tuesday 26 August 2014

Week 12: Kilnsey Show

A gloriously sunny day and the annual event that is the Kilnsey Show.  Taking place in the Yorkshire Dales - Upper Wharfdale and set under the imposing Kilnsey Crag.

A traditional agricultural show for the farming community with the judging of sheep, cattle and working horses, along with food, clothing and plenty to keep everyone fed, watered and entertained throughout the day.

There are sheepdog trials, gun dogs, dry stone wall building, sheep shearing, birds of prey and plenty of tractors - old and new.  Activities for children, a cookery masterclasses and a farmers market all finished off with fell races up and down Kilnsey Crag.

Prize winning Swaledales, Kilnsey Show
One of the 'highlights' was the Kilnsey Velodrome.  After the success of the Tour de France, Kilnsey had their own take on the tour with locals stepping (or pedalling) forward for their turn around the field.  Hilarious and competitive but TeamGB have nothing to worry about!

Sunday 24 August 2014

Week 11: Yorkshire, hills, raptors and a goshawk

Pendle Hill from Sharp Haw
A lovely extended Bank Holiday weekend up in Yorkshire and my first proper hill walk.  Just a short distance out of Skipton and a walk from Bog Lane up and around Sharp Haw.  Ideal weather - not too hot or too cold and a clear, sunny day.  There was a purple haze of heather up on the hill tops, with views across to Pendle Hill in the distance and great across the Yorkshire Dales.

Walking down the other side of Sharp Haw and through the woods, as well as a peregrine and a distant buzzard, I spotted a goshawk!  At least that's the only hawk I can think it can have been.  Bigger than a sparrowhawk and without the sharp wings of a peregrine.  Also spotted a kestrel hovering up on the hill, so definitely not that.  Lovely to see as there are plenty of grouse moors around the area.

Harvest time and the combine was out in the fields as we walked back to the car.  A relay of trucks following the harvester and gathering the wheat.  A hare ran out in to the stubble

Friday 22 August 2014

Week 10: Red Kite sightings

A Red Kite (Milvus milvus). Deutsch: Ein Rotmi...

Driving up to Birdfair on Thursday afternoon, while going round the M25, I spotted a Red Kite just before the junction onto the M1.

I know you can easily see them on the M40, so this isn't too far away from there but still nice to see.

While I didn't get to see the Osprey at Rutland Water, I did get to see another Red Kite while having breakfast on Sunday morning.  It flew low over the field next to the B&B where we were staying and had us all dashing to the windows for a better look.

You can vote for the red kite and up to six as part of the Vote National Bird Campaign.

A Red Kite (Milvus milvus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday 21 August 2014

Yeah - hit my weight loss target!!

Simple laboratory scales for balancing tubes
Today I finally hit the 9st 5lb mark, having managed to lose 1st (14lbs/6.35kg) in the last five months.

This was my weight this time last year, before I went through surgery, chemo and radiotherapy.

While I did weigh this just after Christmas and the New Year, after getting a gastric bug, ending up in A&E and then getting chemo two days later (not recommended), I did manage to put the pounds back on again when I started eating normally!  Not difficult when you're eating cake, sitting on the sofa and watching TV a lot!

After chemo was finished, I started exercising properly again with a bit of gentle Pilates (great for tone), adding juicing to my diet, watching what I ate, start running(jogging) again, completing the Race For Life in June and studiously logging food and exercise on MyFitnessPal (app).

It worked, because although it's been slow, I have seen the pounds slowly, ever so slowly drop off.  I'm not being fanatical about it, just eating more sensibly, plenty of fruit and definitely more veg, less carbs and still not giving up those occasional treats or saying no to a cooked breakfast every now and then!

Simple laboratory scales for balancing tubes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday 18 August 2014

Week 10: Birdfair 2014

This time last year I was recovering from surgery, so missed out on Birdfair.  However, 12 months later and I made it up to Rutland Water for the whole three days and what a great event it was.

It's regularly described as the Glastonbury of the birding world.  There are 10 Marquees, 100s of exhibitors, nearly 200 lectures over the three days and activities, guided walks and events around the site with plenty to interest young and old alike and plenty of shopping opportunities!

Urban Birder stand - Birdfair
Not that I got to see much - I was helping out on the @UrbanBirder's stand promoting the Vote National Bird campaign, which was launched on the first day of Birdfair.

Voting for the National Bird
It's also a good opportunity for a bit of Celebrity spotting as several of the BBC Nature presenters and Wildlife experts are giving talks - Chris Packham (missed his talk), Simon King, the great Bill Oddie (missed his talk), Mike Dilger, Jonathan Scott (the wonderful Big Cat Diaries - missed his talk), Miranda Krestovnikoff (came to vote).

I did managed distant 'spots' of all of them and a few of the other Wildlife Celebs who were there over the three days.  Big tick for David Lindo of course!

Birdlife Malta - prize winner!
I did however, manage to win a prize for the only draw I entered on the last day! :)  Thank you BirdLife Malta - another very worthy cause.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Week 9: Kayaking

Not exactly white water rafting down the Zambezi but kayaking on Widewater Lagoon in Lancing.  In amongst the little egrets and swans.

Almost white water, as it was pretty windy with waves across the lagoon.  In fact it was so windy that we didn't have to do much in the way of paddling down the lagoon with a following wind, just a bit of steering kept us almost going in the right direction.

Paddling back was a different matter however, but we made slow, steady progress.  Good exercise for the arms.  Great fun though and hoping to do it again soon. 

Friday 1 August 2014

Week 8: Meeting up with a friend

A very long overdue catch-up with the very talented photographer - Stephen Cotterell.

Initially at the Pavilion Gardens Cafe where we were treated to an brief burst of opera with our lunch from a group promoting their evening performance.

Then a walk out on to Brighton Pier in the sunshine with the holiday makers, watching the seagulls.  I had no idea there was a log flume at the end of the Pier!

He took some lovely photos with his polaroid-like camera.  A year to the day since I had surgery up in

Catch up with someone you haven't seen a while.  We're all busy and often things get left, phone calls don't get made, emails don't get written.  Get in touch this week.