Monday, 31 October 2011

Adventures & Starfish

Cornwall & Devon :
The weekend before last saw mini ‘S’ and me on a short dash, heading for my Cornish homeland.  We arrived on Friday afternoon to a Cornwall bathed in bright sunshine ! ‘I thought your last blog was the sunny blog !’ I hear you say... Which is true, I didn’t expect the sun to still be shining this late in October...
No sooner had we pulled up to the house, then we decided to have an expedition up the wooded valley behind the house. It was lovely, with a stream for wading, fallen leaves for kicking on the path and strewn with rather out of season (climate change again) wood violets. As my farmer uncle ‘P’ is not too well at the moment, we decided to bring the outside in and pick just a couple for him, which he was very happy with.

In the middle of the day on Saturday, we took my grandmother ‘E’ out for lunch, which was by no means an easy task. She has dementia, and although has a few moments of clarity each day, suffers from short term memory loss. It is wonderful to spend time with her though. She is nearly 90 and has such an interesting life. She was able to talk about all sorts of things like her wartime experiences in London, memories of my grandfather and some of her previous cars (including a convertible Jaguar XK something glamorous sounding in the 60’s).  She really seemed to enjoy our trip out and here are some of the best things she said :
  •  ‘You see, we have such a lot of ships these days...’ While we were parked up, looking out at the sea. 
  • ‘Aaah...  Freedom !’ As we drove over the brow of a hill and looked down into the sunny valley below. 
  • ‘Look at their dear faces !’ When we stopped for mini ‘S’ to gaze over the fence at a herd of Holstein Frisians.
Starfish :
After we had dropped my grandmother home, we wanted to do a little bit of rock pooling at Kennack Sands. It actually turned into one of the best rock pooling sessions of my life ! Here are some photographic highlights:

We also found a rock pool with 36 (yes, 36 !) hermit crabs living in it, which was strange as would have thought that they would have been in competition with one another. Although unfortunately the photo I took didn’t do it justice, as every time I held my hand over the pool trying to focus, they hid in their shells !

This song is an ‘oldie but goodie’ as they say ! Released in 1970 by Atlantic records. This song has  great childhood memories for me, and involves yet another fabulous junk shop find by my farmer (and soul aficionado) uncle ‘P.’ One day we found a vinyl album at Trader Gray’s ‘Shiver me timbers’ shop in Longrock, entitled ‘Black Magic’ containing this song and many other classics. I heard it on the radio last Saturday and in an instant I knew that it HAD to be my record of the week ! Jerushah X

Friday, 21 October 2011

October Sunshine

There have been plenty of ways to enjoy the October sunshine, but the best two I can think of are fieldwork and a day at the beach in our new(ish) car !
We still love mud:
A week and a half ago a small group of us went to check on the submerged forest site at the Erith foreshore and take some surface samples... Sometimes I feel like a muddy Cinderella, because the mechanical corer is still broken. We have been to the site so many times, and it is still as magical as the first time I visited it. I can’t wait to take a core and start some analysis, I’m hoping that one day my research supervisor will ride in brandishing the newly repaired mechanical corer and say ‘you shall go to the ball!’


A day at the coast :
Last weekend there was yet more glorious sunshine, but with a slight bite. My friend ‘Y’ aptly referred to it as ‘the sun with teeth.’ Still it was warm enough for a day at the beach...
On Sunday ‘S’ and me gathered our things together and set off for Dungeness. Our day started at the Pilot Inn, which is renowned for serving fish and chips with gargantuan sized battered cod. I enjoyed watching everyone else chow down while I munched on my salad sandwiches (ever the veggie !). I wondered if they had been genetically modified due to radiation from the local nuclear power station until I remembered it is in the middle of being decommissioned

We had a good hunt for shells and brought lots home to add to our collection, on our way back to the car we noticed that the lifeboat station was open and were shown around by some very enthusiastic  volunteers, who explained that at any one time there are about 600 vessels in the English Channel – amazing !
After leaving the lifeboat station we decided to look around at all the little cottages and shacks, with their imaginative shingle gardens incorporating drift wood, fishing floats, old bottles and plenty of other interesting things including one with an old locomotive tank and a big rusty anchor. There were some funny things too, for example; the cottage next door to Derek Jarman’s cottage (which was wonderful -  I wish I had taken a photo), had  a mini version of Derek Jarman’s cottage in the garden which made us chuckle !
Driving down the road towards the miniature railway station, we thought our day was just about finished, when we noticed that the old lighthouse was open to visitors.

Now it would have been a bit obvious if I had chosen anything by the Lighthouse Family, but don’t worry I’m not about to do that ! On the way home from our little jaunt to Dungeness I heard quite a surreal song on the radio. While I was listening I thought ‘this sounds familiar, actually no it doesn’t, but then again may be yes etc. etc.’ Only to find out that it is that latest single from Kate Bush. I’ve never been a particular fan of Kate Bush (even if she is from  Eltham, for all you Avery Hill types), but I rather like the spacey, wild, ethereal feel of this song – perhaps it suited the location ? Jerushah X

Monday, 3 October 2011

Cricket Capers

On September 11th we attended our last match of the season at Lord’s. Strangely, it turned out to be a day of wrong assumptions !
Firstly we were prepared for rotten weather, with rain gear, warm layers, umbrellas and a flask of hot coffee – only to find that apart from a downpour at the end of the day, we had lovely warm, dry weather.  Secondly with the amazing performance of the England team thus far in the One Day International series, I was convinced we were guaranteed a day of domination by Stuart, Graeme, Ravi and the rest of the boys... How wrong I was ! 
England had done really well throughout the afternoon, with our Ravi scoring a respectable 96,  but with the odd drop of rain in the latter part of the day things started to go awry... Personally, I blame Duckworth & Lewis for their (frankly unfair) mathematical formulations, for the resultant DRAW (!) and consequent loss of the £1 that I had placed on England to win L!
For those not initiated there is a brief potted history of the Duckworth-Lewis method here :
J’s record of the week
‘Dreadlock Holiday’



This has to be the archetypal cricket fan’s song, with those iconic words ‘I don’t like cricket, I love it yeah !’  ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ was released in 1978 as part of the ‘Bloody Tourists’ album. I was only four at the time, and although my parents would be more likely to listen to Bob Marley than 10cc, I have always loved this song ! ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ was the third (and last) UK number one for 10cc. I say... ‘I don’t like Dreadlock Holiday, I love it yeah !’ 
 Jerushah X