“Ursula Andress, Eat Your Heart Out”

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Late this gloriously hot and sunny afternoon Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond in search of ducklings.

Cattle

Cattle chewed the cud on the verges of Canterton Lane.

Ponies on road

We made good time to the pond, but an equine trio delayed us taking the last right turn.

A delightfully friendly couple enjoying a picnic in the shade pointed out several paddles of ducks and ducklings. Strong pigments splashed over the surface of the water and the shallow bed.

Jackie alerted me to the arrival of a couple of ponies and a foal. If only I could have made the constantly twitching youngster aware that the flies he was desperately trying to escape were taking off from the flanks of the mare to which he clung.

The young lady by this time had entered the water attempting to catch tadpoles. As I took a couple of these shots I exclaimed “Ursula Andress, eat your heart out”.

This evening we dined on a thick crust pizza to which the Culinary Queen added more cheese and salami, served with plentiful fresh salad.

Head To Head

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A patch of mostly dull and cold weather is giving me ample reasons for continuing with the scanning of the negatives of the long walk of the rather hot July of 2003. Today we are again back on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire.

Couples walking 7.03

This was still near enough to normal civilisation for elderly couples to be out walking along the banks.

If there were any footpaths on this stretch, they lay beneath the ripeness of Summer requiring negotiation, in the form of wild flowers attracting bees; grasses in seed; plantains trip over; broad backlit leaves bearing shadows of other floral forms; and convovulous carrying tiny beetles.

Convolvulus reflected 7.03

One of the latter plants trailed over the river, reflecting on the murky water.

Derelict hut 7.03

An avian trio perched on the coping stones of a derelict shed in need of replacement tiles;

a pair of peacocks entered into head to head negotiations;

Mallard and ducklings

a mallard paddled along ahead of her imprinted offspring;

Swans and cygnets

and a pair of swans introduced their cygnets to further reaches of the Thames.

Sheep and farm buildings 7.03

A flock of sheep grazed alongside what I took to be farm buildings of some sort.

The sun-baked natural world disregarded the two young men taking a leisurely row along the sleepy waters, passing a dangerous-looking weir, and negotiating a narrow lock.

Here, at home, dusk this evening lent a dramatic air to the looming skull of the virtually gutted North Breeze next door.

Shelly and Ron gave me a couple of very good Blason du Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015 wines for Christmas. I drank a glass this evening with Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi, and aromatic pilau rice, served with vegetable samosas. My lady finished the Coquimbo.

The Headbutt

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Lace cap hydrangea

Here is a lace cap hydrangea in our front garden.

This morning, Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond and back. This lies beyond the Royal Oak at Fritham.

Teenagers on bank 1Teenagers on bank 2

A group of friendly teenagers perched on a bank.

Water Lilies

Behind them was a carpet of waterlilies.

Teenagers on bank 3

The group were very happy to have their photograph taken. I gave them the blog details and said they were welcome to take copies. (I hope you enjoy them, folks.)

There was not as much avian activity here as there had been during nest-building time, but I did manage to catch

Blue tit 1Blue tit 2Blue tit 3

blue tits,

Chaffinch

a chaffinch,

Duck and chicks

and a duck steering her two ducklings around the pond.

Someone had left birdseed on a gatepost. This was quite handy for photography.

The chaffinch stepped so gingerly on the gravel that it reminded me of

Becky 8.72

Becky at Iwade in August 1972.

Ponies 1

As I concentrated on the ungainly chaffinch a clattering behind me alerted me to a fast-moving string of ponies passing along the path.

Ponies 2

After a while they returned. One, in the foreground here, laid claim to a clump of bracken.

Pony headbutt

Others who dared approach were given the evil eye, squeaked, and backed off. Just as I was about to focus on its gentle orb, the bravest was given a resounding headbutt by the creature with the mouthful of ferns. The assailant really batted the victim. There was a resounding crack, the hopeful horse staggered off, and I was relieved not to have been noticed.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled gherkins and pickled onions. I finished the Côtes du Rhône.