346/366 Contrasts

I went for a walk at 6PM this evening. First time in quite a while I’ve been out at that time of the day. The contrast is with the morning.

Of course the light was different, but the main differences were that there were people around, lots more people. Out strolling, or on a mission to a social event. I did my normal walk anti-clockwise. Along Stokes there are a number of food places. As I walked along, there was a mix of Thai, Chinese, Kebabs, Burgers assailed my senses. I found a geo-cache, only my second one, but nicely found. Sadly, I didn’t have a pen to write in the log book, but I will Monday. I then walked on down to the cockle ponds. There I paused for a while to look at the pond life, and there was lots of it. There were some translucent fish swimming around at lower levels, but there were some small creatures, sadly I have no idea what they are, but for their size what impressed me was the speed at which they moved. For some reason, my mind was drawn to the film “Blade Runner”, a science Fiction starring Harrison Ford, it was the city scape, and the flying cars I could imagine the chaos, and all that life in the pond running around on their projects – whatever they are it was fascinating.

I took a swing past the bit of water adjacent to the start of the Gosport Ramparts;

I wanted to see if the Cormorants were there. They weren’t but the egret was, I had another go at trying to get a picture, but it is way too nervous. Just won’t let you get near. Just beyond the bridge over this stretch of water, I noticed a flock of sparrows that were flitting between to bushes, pausing on the roof of a nearby building – either resting or keeping a watch out for threats, they seemed very busy. The promenade itself wasn’t very busy but the approach to the ferry ramp certainly was. I walked up the high street, and my senses were once again attacked by the smell of cooking, I must admit I am craving Kebab meat and chips, with some Mayo on – I didn’t succumb tonight, but I am very likely to soon. Outside the Lord Nelson, there were two groups of people, sat at tables with beer, I really wanted to take a picture of them, but lacked the courage to ask them. Why didn’t I? I’m sure it would have been a good picture.

It taught me a lesson. I’ve lost that shot, perhaps I may get another chance in the future. I was walking by the Snooker hall the two blokes in the B&W picture were sat outside having a smoke – I would have preferred them to be having a pint, but there you go. I approached them, explained I was in to street photography, asked if they would mind if I took their picture – there response was brilliant, yeah, not a problem. Just goes to show doesn’t it. You don’t get if you don’t ask. On the other hand, if you do ask you are very likely to get.

345/366 Writing

This time two years ago, our impending 2020 trip to China was really beginning to take shape in our minds. As time moved on and Covid-19 was really beginning to raise its ugly head the the thought of not going was very near changing from a possibility to a likelihood through to a certainty, we had a decision point where that likelihood turned in to an absolute certainty – we were not going to China. The dissappointment was palpable.

It was around then that I thought of the fantasy holiday. If we couldn’t really go to China, we would go virtually. The wonder of the virtual holiday, is that you can do what you want. Even ignore the rules of physics – I don’t think I did that though, I think I kept everything as real time as possible. But, I did take certain licenses, such as commandeering The Queen Elizabeth for the entirety of the journey, and the captain was at our beck and call. And, we could go wherever we want. that was fun. I’m not sure whether I was doing it for my facebook friends or me, Actually, really it was for me, it gave me a focus for my writing. I enjoyed doing it. Of course, I had to bring it to an end, and I did so to allow enough time for Christmas.

I like America, there are lots of places I would like to visit. As were coming to the end of Fantasy Holiday 2020 (FH20) I started to think that I wanted to do it again, so I fairly quickly decided that FH21 would be a tour of the 50 continental USA states, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

That allows us to get home in time for Christmas. We are now in Week 30, so well past the halfway point. I’m wondering if I want to do an FH22. I do have an idea, and I am thinking about it.

I wanted to wean my facebook friends off that medium, and come to my block. I haven’t been that successful – perhaps I haven’t tried hard enough, but as it happens, it’s worked out fine.

344/366 Weather

These last few days it has been hot. Almost uncomfortably so, but I have managed. I hope you have as well. Only a few days ago, we were moaning about the amount of rain we were having. I’ve spent a period time in an environment where you can pretty much guarantee that it will be light at 0700, dark at 1900 and in between it will be bright, hot unremitting sunlight. I think once, it rained. Very briefly, hot large droplets and it lasted 5 minutes. I didn’t enjoy it, not just the heat, the predictability.

Whilst the uncertainty about weather may drive up us the wall, I would not have it any other way. I love the variability. It could have rained at any time today (I knew it wouldn’t), the forecasters do have some credibility – just a bit.

I’ve always said that my least favourite season is summer. My heat tolerance has always been low. When I was quite young, I got into a situation where I got a dose of sunstroke. That put me off any extended exposure. It’s not that I’m becoming acclimatised to summer, these last two mornings in particular have made me realise that all the seasons have their own characteristics that can be enjoyed.

There were two points in this mornings walk, as I was crossing Clarence Road, next to the tavern I can look down toward the Spinnaker and the lipstick. There was a quality of light on those two buildings, that I’ve seen that light in other places; the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Then as I was walking along the promenade, the warmth, the waterfront I could have been in anyone of those places. A visitor coming here has so much opportunity, things to see, history to experience – all through the year (I have to maintain the weather link).

I was going to try and make a grand ending, but it didn’t work. Just enjoy the weather, whatever it is!

343/366 Stuff

This house is at the side of Spring Garden Lane. It’s next to the railway station. In times gone past the railway line would have gone over this road. The people lived here in Queen Victoria’s time would have been a part of history. They would have seen trains going past in to the Navy’s victualling facility at Clarence Yard. They would have seen Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their entourage passing through on their way to catch the boat over to Clarence House, and they would have been part of that day in 1901, when the passing by of Queen Victoria’s Coffin signalled the end of an era.

This is one of the many places in Gosport that has a role in history. Places and times to explore.

I’m having a quiet time, sitting in a swinging chair under the awning of our shed, watching the light as the evening draw in, listening to the birds singing, and the clatter of talon against wood as the pigeons try to work out how they can get from the roof of the bird table into the food tray, with enough room for only one of them. They manage it though.

Every so often, a sparrow or a starling takes a low, fast pass over the garden, I don’t know if it is to check it out for food or hazards, or if they really are on a mission to somewhere else in the area. Apart from the plants and the leaves of the trees rustling in the very gentle, almost non-existent breeze, the garden is quite still.

I came out earlier this afternoon and spent 15 minutes where I am now, getting up occasionally to go and look at a butterfly. I’ve started doing the Big Butterfly Count again this year https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/ I loved doing this last year, and was determined to take part again. They have an excellent app. Today, I saw three small whites and a small copper, About this time of year, we are due to start seeing Painted Ladies. Can you believe that the butterfly you see, may very well have come from the Sahara? Isn’t nature amazing?

Soon, as the evening light draws in, it’ll be reasonable to start looking out for stars at a reasonable time.

342/366 Observation

Should it be easy to write? I suppose that depends upon the individual. The thing is that you need something to write about. Even if its writers block.

Whether it is here, or my facebook account, I need things to write about. Mostly, the morning is easy. It only gets a bit difficult if I haven’t gone for a walk, then I have to think something up. Otherwise, I have my observations from the walk, my observations of the menagerie and of course the Fantasy Holiday (week 29 now, Maine).

Now there you see is the crucial word, used twice in the last paragraph. Apart from some wildlife, there is one area where I haven’t been very good, and that is plant life. I think I could do more in both wildlife and plant life, but I am no good with plants. But, there’s an app that could help me with that.

Nature is such an obvious subject to observe, but I don’t think that I’ve added it as one of my interests, perhaps because there are aspects of it that I observe and comment on every day. But not to a very high level. Now, don’t start thinking that I am going to get in to botany or zoology because I don’t need to. It’s just what I see. I take a massive delight in seeing the birds, and it is lovely to see a nice flower, especially a wild one.

I need to work on my observation skills.

341/366 Books & Magazines

I’ve watched a few of the videos made by Ali Abdaal, he’s a doctor who has got heavily in to media, YouTube primarily, here’s a link to his channel; https://www.youtube.com/c/aliabdaal. He’s done extremely well out of YouTube. One of his videos recommended three books;

  • Steal like an Artist – Austin Kleon
  • Show your work – Same author
  • The war of Art – Steven Pressfield

Actually, he didn’t recommend Steal like an Artist, but it precedes show your work and it made sense to buy it. They weren’t expensive and they are the kind of book that only takes a couple of hours to read. I’m 3/4 of the way through the first one. It is not critical book despite the perception that the title might give. It talks about how artists get their inspiration, and how you can become inspired in the same way.

I haven’t started the second book yet, but it follows a similar principle. I think in the case of both Books, I am seeking in a way to take away some of my conservative (with a small ‘c’) inhibitions. I was walking down the high street and there was a pile of litter, dispersed in a certain way. I wanted to take a picture, low level, with the camera on the ground. I looked around, there was only one other person on the street, he was easily a couple of hundred yards away. But that was enough. I didn’t take the photo. I thought “He’ll think I’m weird”, I was embarrassed to be in the position of wanting to do something that wasn’t normal. The picture may have been rubbish (yes, yes, I know) but I’ll never know because I was either afraid, or too embarrassed to do what I wanted. Why? You’d think would you – (and I’ve talked about this in a previous post – can’t remember the number) when I bought the dictaphone in Berlin, and was then too embarrassed to walk down the Kurfürstendamm making audio notes in case people thought that I was talking to myself and was therefore mad. What a joke that turned out to be. Everybody is now wandering everywhere, talking in to little boxes. I need to release my inhibitions – just a tad, not too much.

The third book, the War of Art, is mostly about defeating procrastination. That’s something that I think I suffer from. I do a little bit, I don’t think it’s extreme, but there are times when I avoid doing things until I have to do them. I’m not ready to read that one yet (no, I’m not procrastinating about the book. I have something else to do.

It’s magazine time again. This month’s issue of Country walking has turned up, and it looks interesting. Apart from my Breakfast book, I shall be focussing on that for the next couple of days. My breakfast book? I’ll write about that in a bit.

340/366 WordPress

I’m not sure what you would call this position, it would be a wheel house but i’s out in the open, is it still a wheelhouse? Whichever it is it looks interesting.

This blog is produced using WordPress. I started with this format and have stuck with it, especially through 366 as I don’t want to disturb things at the moment.

The thing about wordpress is that it is so much more than this. Once I feel able I will start looking at this. There’s a lesson to be learn’t from yesterday. Whilst we were travelling I was the passenger for part of the journey, I got the book out and started looking at some of the controls. I learned what a certain button does. I think it would be useful to learn one new thing each time.

The thing I learned with WordPress was how to do a scheduled post. The thing with that though was that I needed a topic prepared in advance to post. Luckily, the topic of last nights post occurred to me earlier in the week and I managed to hold back from using the piece before I wanted or needed to. Setting the scheduled post up was quite straightforward. One of the things I’m going to do when 366 finishes is learn something new about wordpress.

339/366 Hidden History

All this foliage is hiding an important piece of Gosport’s history, actually two pieces of history. The first and the oldest is the undergrowth is hiding part of the Towns Ramparts. They were built in the 1600’s around the old town. There’s still quite a bit of it left and they are being refurbished, but not this bit – but what would you do? Would you clear away the trees and the undergrowth and disturb all the wildlife that must be there?

Underneath all that undergrowth and underneath the ramparts, in fact through the ramparts is a tunnel. It was built after 1843 at the built at the behest of Prince Albert and was used until Queen Victorias death in 1901.

The tunnel is still there, but is gated off at both ends. I would love to be able to walk through and touch the walls to feel the history. The picture makes it look very over grown, it is much more easily approached during the winter months.

338/366 Writing Block

I know what I am going to write tomorrow night, and that appears to be inhibiting my ability to write tonight. That kind of begs the question, why not write tonight, what I am planning for tomorrow? I’ll explain that tomorrow.

In the meantime, do I write about the screaming seagull, or the lightship, or the walk? The thing is I have thoughts running through the mind and I can’t isolate one to bring here.

It was a bright and sunny start to the day, but I know that the night is creeping towards us. I was sat in the office last night, and before 9PM I’d had to switch the light on. I must admit I had found that a. Bit surprising. Although as the evenings start to encroach, it’s heading towards that time of the year when it becomes easier to look at the night sky. It won’t be long before I am able to sit in one of the loungers in the garden and because the back of our house faces north I will be able to locate most of the constellations I know, and am looking forward to adding a few more over the coming months. The first objective is to find Leo, and I think I have the pointers for that now.

Street photography is still figuring in my mind. I took this picture on my lunchtime walk, and I must admit, I debated whether or not to post it. I didn’t want people to think I was taking advantage. Something about the contrast between the mobility scooter and the brick wall just caught my attention.

I am trying to look for wider photographic opportunities. I may end up taking a lot of pictures that are rubbish. But, I’m trying not to.

337/366 Bad Planning!

Last year, when our holiday to China went wrong because of Covid-19, I kind of just started writing about a fantasy holiday, which got a little bit out of control. But I really enjoyed doing it, and I knew that this year i would want to do it again. So I made up my mind that for our Fantasy Holiday for 2021, we would visit all of the continental states of the USA.

That trip is happening on Facebook, and we are currently on Week 28 and are busy exploring New Hampshire. I somehow knew when I started this Fantasy Holiday (FH21) that I would have problems with this collection of states, and I also now understand where New England is. There are so many tons names that have been taken from the UK.

The Numbers on the map should be adjacent to the capitals of each state, and you can clearly see the confused order in which we have been dotting about this area.

I have to say that it has been very educational to read about the history of the states, and the towns. This area in particular features very significantly in the early history of America. It’s also taught me about some of the really beautiful parts of the country.

It has been a fascinating exercise and we are only just over halfway through the holiday. And because we are past the halfway point, I am now beginning to wonder if I want to do this again next year, and if I did, I was wondering what to do. I have to admit, visiting the counties of England has potential.

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