Does Charity begin at Home?

(All photos taken by me 19/09/2021)

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the United Kingdom,

concerned with the creation protection and restoration of native woodland heritage,

they’ve planted 50 million trees in over 1000 sites across the UK.

……….and my financial contribution is £4 a month, yes I know a small amount but they do have 500,000 members!

Charity begins at home (he says tongue lightly in cheek). Now there’s a controversial statement if ever I read one, even more contentious awkward and perhaps slightly racist when written by a middle-aged white male, so I was born with white privilege, I’m sorry but it’s the cross I have to bare! And as we’re all aware, men do become extreme and right wing as they get older, whilst women lovelier and maternal for a second time as they become grandmothers.

(It’s true! Don’t disagree with me 😀 )

There was a time in my youth I donated money to causes in Africa and India, (wide eyed and in your twenties you want to save the world), I remember causes such as Live Aid in 1985, the question how that money’s spent is something you ask yourself when you’re 55! Sadly I watched that BBC Panorama documentary……. enough said 😦 .

Yes poverty remains in these not so Third World countries today, but they’re both fabulously wealthy in their own right, and it’s not an issue I worry about remembering both are corrupt as mine own, a patchwork of States where riches and wealth don’t trickle down to the poor and needy.

Today I gift my hard earned cash to charities closer to home (yes a conscious decision), there’s a hospice with family connections, others, also The Woodland Trust which is now the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK, they’ll lobby government and environmental policymakers, bring damaged woods back to life, create urban woods for local communities to visit all year round and enjoy free of charge.

I would suggest ensuring public access to local woods has been the key to this wonderful Charity’s success.

Ok so now that I’ve labelled myself right wing and extreme, though most definitely NOT racist, why is The Woodland Trust a favourite charity? Well to answer that question I’m sharing today’s photos ‘snapped’ on a sunny September walk around Eynsham Woods earlier today.

(Taken especially with WP in mind.)

Twenty five years ago TWT purchased what amounted to a brown soiled agricultural field on the outskirts of Eynsham, a smallish village in the heart of Oxfordshire, and proceeded to quietly create also plant a typically native British woodland. Volunteers tightly packed sapling trees allowing little space for humans to wander through, nurtured Blackthorn and Hawthorn sided pathways with native Silver Birch, Holly, Crab Apple, Oak, Hazel, Elder and Rowan trees within. Wandering around I could hear birdsong, caught site of several rabbits and even ate a few wild blackberries alongside other families enjoying their day.

The Woodland Trust has created a natural wildlife habit also woodlands for my local community to enjoy, perhaps environmental charity should begin at home and then we can go about saving the world?

A. Shepherdson 2021 (I know a little controversial but hey makes for an interesting discussion)

Stonehenge, ‘Christchurch beach’, The New Forest, and Wiltshire cornfields

(All photographs taken by me, August 2021, note, rather than several postings I’m sharing all the remaining pics)

If you’ve been following my WordPress closely, (humour me) today’s is the photographic finale to my families week long vacation. In previous postings I’ve shared our London sightseeing also canal boating legs, now to the visits of Stonehenge and our beautiful countryside walks through Wiltshire, a rural and farming County largely untouched by the current orgy of housebuilding across Oxfordshire.

(Big sigh), that’s called progress and now I’M veering off message. Anyways…………..rather than repeating my tale, there’s 3 earlier postings of photos that explain all 🙂 .

You’re all busy people, so if you wish to understand more about this beautiful and ancient English County, go visit Wikipedia but lol if not here’s the synopsis:

Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is noted for being the location of Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles which together are protected along with so many other ancient landmarks close by, with many raised ‘barrows’ and 4000 year old White Horses cut into the chalk,

…………….also the largest training area for the British Army.

An ancient County, Wiltshire is notable for its pre-Roman archaeology also Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age people that occupied Southern Britain, building settlements on the hills and downland that cover much of Wiltshire, with Stonehenge and Avebury being the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK.

Here endeth the History bit, but just understand Wiltshire’s downland could be described the birthplace of ancient Britain…………you, me, who knows may just have descended from here?…………..I think that’s fair lol.

Stonehenge

English Heritage describes Stonehenge thus,

‘Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors and circle the large blue stones transported great distances from Wales (however no body knows how), marvel at one of the wonders of the world and the best-known of all prehistoric monuments in Europe’.

I guess these mystical ancient stones might affect people in many different ways, Barak Obama famously describe them as “being on my bucket list!” Yes seeing them up close is emotive, 4000 years old no less! But being truthful a famous scene taken from literature crossed my mind, Stonehenge is the place Hardy’s ‘Tess D’Urbervilles’ apprehended by the police after murdering her evil manipulative and rapist husband.

There you are, Stonehenge is a truly incredible structure again described thus:

At Stonehenge on the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the north-east part of the horizon and its first rays shine into the heart of Stonehenge.  

Observers at Stonehenge at the winter solstice, standing in the enclosure entrance and facing the centre of the stones, can watch the sun set in the south-west part of the horizon

Christchurch beach

Moving on from Stonehenge we lunched at Christchurch beach on the South Coast, not far from the seaside Town of Bournemouth to be more exact, a cold day the weather can be described as bracing rather ‘bikinis and trunks’. Still after a year of COVID lockdowns, looking out to sea was a lovely highlight for me.

The New Forest

Wiltshire’s ‘The New Forest’ is one of Britain’s many National Parks (also protected from building houses upon), hmm I guess there’s little more to add than you can walk for miles through tranquil woods or across rugged heathland, the complete antithesis to bustling London…………..oh and you’ll be persistently bothered by wild horses stealing packed lunches of food (if you allow them to).

Wiltshire cornfields

As I described earlier, the rural County of Wiltshire is peaceful relatively un-spoilt and regarded as a ‘bread basket’ of Britain, summer views with fields of golden corn as far as the eye can see………..and hopefully for many years to come.

A. Shepherdson 2021

Nesting Boxes in my Mother’s garden

Been a while but not to worry 🙂 . Whether my seasonal Calendar agrees with me or not, this weekend feels like the first days of Spring, a low warming Sun has lifted air temperatures and I even walked the dog without wearing a coat for the first time this year………………… as an aside 20 million Brits have now been vaccinated (including moi), Covid-19 cases appear to be dropping, or maybe it’s the lovely weather but life seems ok at present…… finger’s crossed!

Oh yes returning to my theme of today’s Posting, my mother now has 4 bird Nesting Boxes in her garden and attached to side walls. I know because I constructed them from oddments of timber and erected in various positions earlier this year and joy of joys for my mother, because she loves her garden flighted visitors, Blue Tits have begun visiting one Nesting Box with hopefully a view to laying eggs and raising a family.

But first and pictured below are 3 species of birds regularly visiting British suburban gardens, or I should say 3 species that regularly take residence, the Blue Tit, Robin and Pied Wagtail.

Blue Tit (Stock image)
Pied Wagtail (Stock image)
Robin (Stock image)

I’m no ornithological expert but if you place these timber constructions around you garden either side of Christmas then with a little luck mother nature hopefully will provide, and as you’d imagine my mother gains great pleasure from watching and feeding her feathered friends……….. I may even buy her a pair of cheapish binoculars from Amazon, yes that seems a good idea. Anyways before I meander off topic below you’ll see photos captured this fine Sunday morning. Incidentally I don’t wish to get tooo technical but Nesting Boxes are very species specific, a Blue Tit prefers stand alone Boxes with a 25mm entrance hole (32mm for Sparrows), but not Robins or Wagtails who will only use the open front design……………….. and if you have densely foliaged bushes then just may have Blackbirds build a nest therein!

Oh and I’ve included a photo of mum’s garden feeder (resembles a Hat Stand), great for hanging bags of nut and attracting hungry birds who just might be house hunting?

Pictured above is my pride and joy, I constructed this timber design specifically favoured by Robins, a beautiful red breasted garden bird that can be so tame that they’ll feed from a person’s hand…………………… or so the wildlife books tell us………………oh and notice the position, whereas Blue Tits prefer open space boxes attached to poles, Robins prefer nesting within deep foliage. Apparently!

Picture above I placed an open fronted Nesting Box favoured by Robins or who knows the pair of Pied Wagtails that visit and feed, wildlife are fickle animals, you never know we might be lucky although March is leaving it late.

Pictured above and attached to a side wall is a second nesting box specifically for Blue Tits, might be lucky you never know.

HOWEVER every story has villain of the piece, over the past decade or so and as more open farmland’s been turned over by housebuilder’s excavating equipment, another bird species attracted by warm blooded protein has colonised suburbia as it’s own, and the results are savage and definitely not pretty. Below you see an all to common sight in British Towns the evil eyed Sparrowhawk, a small bird of prey that yes feeds on Robins, Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Wagtails……………… you could say Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection and yes a beautiful if brutal feeder. That being said I have seen one particular Sparrowhawk perched on a fence dividing gardens, a savage feeder yet striking bird of prey, you either embrace and appreciate its beauty or anger yourself over ‘what may have been’s’?

A. Shepherdson 2021

A Rainbow at Christmas (1)

Theme this my Christmas posting, and I hope you’re all making the best holiday you can after a challenging and awful 2020……. that’s enough of the Pandemic for this evening 🙂 .

(Been a while since I’ve Blogged here but I do check the stats from time to time, now here’s a perverse fact for you, I don’t write here yet I’ve never been so popular, why?……Well the sad fact of life is ‘sex sells’ and if you’ve read this Blog previously you’ll understand why the popularity, yep people enjoy reading about sex, watching others have sex (tedious and boring) and best of all we all live for sex with other humans. Oh and I haven’t lol met with any women since March 23rd and beginning of covid lockdown! Read a post or two here and you’ll understand why enough said 😀 .)

A Rainbow taken somewhere close to Oxford 21/12/2020 from my mobile phone

This afternoon I saw my first Rainbow since I don’t know when, then I got to thinking I only ever witness these wonderful meteorological phenomenon two or three times a year and that honestly shocked me, every one of us knows what a Rainbow looks like yet we see so few! Can you remember the last one you viewed for real?

After having delivered several Christmas presents to friends, pausing to chat also allowing a brief rain shower to pass important to this tail, oh and socially distancing which goes without saying, I began to walk my return journey home with a bright low winter sun shining behind me.

HOWEVER (and remember that rain storm passing through) those same dark clouds now faced me in the distance, two meteorological ingredients perfect for recreating a quite remarkable visual colourful spectrum, because rays of sun shining into cloud laden droplets of water are the perfect conditions for creating colourful Rainbows and a que for other pedestrians to pause and whip out they mobile phones, for residents to spill out from their homes to like me, take photos of a wonderful 8 coloured Rainbow in the sky, a same natural world phenomenon sure to have perplexed cavemen several thousand years ago.

Other photographs were taken, to be continued……………………………..

A. Shepherdson 2020

Mother’s spring daffodils

Daffodowndilly
She wore her yellow sun bonnet
She wore her greenest gown
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head
And whispered to her neighbour
“Winter is dead”

Poem by A.A. Milne

My mother’s passion in life is growing flowers in her garden, and being as our own Spring season has finally arrived I thought why not share her potted flowering Daffodils. Exquisite beautiful perennials she grows every year, and yet again I’m so pleased with my £8 digital camera’s results, as I’ve said before bought from eBay……… quite probably the best purchase I’ve made in my life. (See more pics on this WP).

I Googled daffodil poems (as you do) and no word of a lie there were so many to choose from, however one delightful simple poem captured my imagination called ‘Daffodowndilly’ by A.A. Milne…… brilliant I love it!

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My mother’s ‘daffodils’ photographed 10th April 2020

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A. Shepherdson 2020

What Charles Darwin had to say about COVID-19

(My argument for today and final Posting for the foreseeable 🙂 . Allow this virus to take its natural course because suppression will have awful social consequences, it’ll then be over by Autumn and the survivors will have a herd immunity, yep survival of the fittest and if you’re curious I have epilepsy so lol I’m well and truly f#cked 😀 !!! Some readers may be offended feel free to disagree. Peace and love ❤ )

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“Living or dying is determined by natural selection, your struggle to exist is by selective breeding within the world’s natural cycle of evolution, so today might be your last day on earth? Hard luck my friend, life’s a bitch just live with it!” (Charles Darwin)

(Extract taken from ‘The Origin of Species’ written by Charles Darwin 🙂 )

“Why should Doctors and Nurses be the ONLY people in society risking their lives? Isn’t that a selfish way to live your own life? EACH and EVERY one of you should be exposing yourselves to this Virus every day, taking the exact same risks healthcare workers do, and unfortunately if YOU become infected then ‘C’est la vie’ your struggle for existence may soon be at an end.

You’re all adults you all should have realised by now life is UNFAIR, so take a deep breath, walk out of your home every morning, live your life the best you can, wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance from your fellow human beings, don’t bitch and moan about your lot, be nice to people and if the virus infects and you fall ill, you never know you just might be one of the 96% who survive to live another day!

I once coined the phrase survival of the fittest, the strongest live while the weakest die, Laws of Nature applying to every bird fish animal or organism on planet earth, so if you fall ill and corona virus kills you, like I said life’s a bitch and today just wasn’t to be your lucky day.

Don’t MAKE doctors and nurses the only one’s to risk their lives, stop being selfish and go risk your own!…… Blacksmiths, Serving ‘wenches’, Stonemasons, Candle wick makers, Prostitutes, Stagecoach drivers and other essential occupations included 😀 .”

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The Mountain goats of Llandudno

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Well appears everyone on social media across the planet is posting photos of the Mountain goats of Llandudno, so I thought to myself ‘Andrew why not jump on the bandwagon?’

These Mountain goats normally populate the rocky Great Orme Country Park land, also occasional visitors to the seaside town of Llandudno (in Wales UK).

Ever heard of the phrase

‘Wild nature always takes an empty space’

If you haven’t but you’re a keen gardener, you’ll be all tooo aware clear a patch of soil from all vegetation, leave unattended for several days, and weeds will have already begun re-invaded the space as their own….. yep wild nature always takes an empty space goats included.

The wild herd of ‘shaggy coated’ goats were most likely drawn by the lack of people, few cars, and the absence of tourists due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Oh and a plentiful supply of lush green grass………… they won’t be the only wildlife species either!

A. Shepherdson 2020

‘Tower of London’ ravens

Our tour group was assigned a Yeoman Warder (above), a lovely guy his humorous and fascinating tour lasted one hour and interestingly they are ALL serving soldiers in the British army…. if you wish to upset a Yeoman Warder lol call him or her a tour guide, being an entertaining story teller is a prerequisite and you know how children love tales of murder blood and intrigue! 

I wouldn’t imagine these photos taken during my 2018 summer visit to the Tower of London will be of terrifically great interest, but I feel passionately about the Tower’s 1000 year royal history and cherish the wonderful stories that it holds because I’m unashamedly proud to be British…. sometimes I wonder if I can admit such a ‘heresy’ within present day multi cultural Britain? Not to worry 😀 tonight’s post was as much an exercise in historical research for me, as well as an excuse to ‘show share’ my photos somewhere!

(Please note ALL the unpublished photographs below were taken by me.)

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Clear blue skies… I’d forgotten how lovely the day was.

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Raven facts written in many different languages for the benefit of tourists.

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A raven looking at the central White Tower which seems pretty apt for a Castle that’s recognised the world all over, an image that defines England and what it is to be English.

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Enjoying the warmth from a late afternoon sun.

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Perched precariously on one leg… now that’s what I call a clever raven.

Our Yeoman Warder Guide would pause at points of interest throughout the Tower grounds, address the assembled group of tourists with captivating facts and lurid tales of murder intrigue and English history anecdotes I’d last studied 40 years ago!

One of the many legends to have grown around the Tower of London, is that of the Tower ravens. The legend states that if the ravens, which can be seen dotted around the grounds or perched on walls, should ever leave then the iconic White Tower would fall along with the entire kingdom (happened 2016 after Brexit!), incidentally it’s said to be King Charles II (1660-1685) who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected. 

Long before the conquest, ravens had been a familiar sight in the streets of London, where they were welcomed as natural scavengers who carried away bones and edible refuse from the gutters. The legend of the ravens, and no one is quite sure by whom it was started, has become of such importance that for hundreds of years royal decrees have been issued protecting the birds…  our Yeoman Warder said they can never leave, they cannot fly away because a vet has clipped a single flight wing.

I guess the saying ‘better safe than sorry applies’!

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Apparently this is the brand new raven enclosure, housing 6 birds.

One Yeoman Warder is tasked with caring for the ravens and is termed ‘Raven Master’. Up until just recently 6+ birds were caged by the Wakefield Tower but have since been rehomed, and I guess rather than name the birds each Tower raven has a different coloured band on one leg, interestingly captive ravens in the Tower grounds have reached the age 40 years…… I imagine the lack of predators helps!

Click here I’ve been sightseeing in London again! (The Tower of London)to view ‘loads more’ gloriously colourful photographs.

A. Shepherdson 2020

Helen’s office window

🙂 A ‘penny for your thoughts’ dear Readers and NO this isn’t a sexual Post!

I’m curious to know if this photo below speaks to you? No SERIOUSLY, gaze at this woolly mammoth and I’d suggest after a moments thoughtful contemplation your emotional reaction will be similar to my own!! Well I’m hoping so, because my imagination struggles to appreciate this living breathing animal actually existed and isn’t a product of CGI science fiction.

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A relative of the modern Elephant, they went extinct 3000-10000 years ago.

So did you take a good long look at this majestic shaggy Beast? Imagined it roaming ice-age Siberia Tundra, or perhaps a similar furry specimen, with its small ears to limit heat loss in sub zero temperatures, following the route of the £1.5 billion A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon road improvement scheme.

Huh?

You may be unaware a pair of ‘British’ mammoths were discovered here in 2018, and who knows perhaps the last two remaining species alive before receding glaciers covering prehistoric England pushed them into extinction!

So what an earth is the point to this evening’s Post? Baring in mind I know absolutely ‘diddly-squat’ about palaeontology, other than a great many Dinosaur skeletons have been discovered around Oxfordshire these past 200 years.

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And yes, I’m genuinely mesmerised by these Googled digital images.

Several weeks ago my Workplace Human Resources Manager by the name of err Helen? (Her name befits my tale) ‘forwarded’ an email ordering me to visit and speak with her 9am Friday morning, nothing to worry about other than a general housekeeping chat and check up on how I’m feeling, lol a long story. 

Now comfortably seated within her office, a cup of steaming coffee positioned on the desk in front of me, I’m silently looking across at this 35year old slim woman with mousy brown hair, pleasant in appearance and busying herself looking through Andrew’s medical records forward to her by Occupational Health. And yes I’d be lying if a wicked thought hadn’t momentarily crossed my imagination, visions of Helen bent forward over her desk ‘skirt pulled up, knickers down’ me giving her kitty ‘a good seeing to’ from behind!

‘Doesn’t everyone daydream of sexual possibilities with their work colleagues?’

Where was I? Oh yes woolly mammoths!!

Feeling bored and day dreamy, I glanced sideways through Helen’s office window looking across buff stoned University Colleges and distant open fields of South Oxfordshire beyond, a truly magnificent view for one reason! The 8th Floor of our Department’s workplace is in fact the tallest building across the whole of Oxford City, a ‘skyscraper’ constructed for unknown reasons many an employee has wondered about over the past 50 years.

“How an earth did the original planning application ever get approved, when Oxford’s strict planning laws limit buildings to no more than three stories tall?” 

Visit the 8th Floor, and you’ll see unobstructed panoramic views of dreaming Spires, ‘buff coloured’ Colleges and immaculate pea green lawns enclosed within high walled Quadrangles…………… jeeze, some Council Official must have been drunk at his desk the day this 8 story planning application passed through his hands?

Not to worry, when you are summoned to HR by ‘mousy’ Helen the real joy is admiring stunning City views through her office window, and it was at this moment I found myself momentarily whisked back thousands of years in time, near unbelievable vistas and visions of woolly mammoth giant elephant like beasts roaming across icy cold windswept Tundra landscapes, and what’s even more incredible these thoughts weren’t the product of any far fetched science fiction! I had to near prick my skin reminding myself these magnificent beasts ACTUALLY LIVED quietly plodding along (as elephants do) thousand year old tracks across this same land, and that truly blows my mind!

Then catching me unawares! Helen looks up into my face ready to begin her Friday cosy catchup conversation and with that all dreams of woolly mammoths disappear to be replaced by Helen’s lovely smile 😀 .

©A. Shepherdson 2019

Easter ‘Bluebells’ and our Pet Dog

Readers to this WordPress may be aware the walk from the housing estate I live upon, through to our Town centre is by means of a tree lined Lane which later divides a grassy Common. A lovely walk in all weathers, fun when there’s snow on the ground, glorious in springtime or sunny summers days, and I even love the driving icy rain on cold Winter mornings as I walk to work! 

Below you’ll see photos of wildBluebells’ growing alongside the Lane’s pathway, they looked beautiful bathed in this evening’s dimming low sun, so I ‘snapped’ a selection of photos below adding three of our family pet dog taken Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

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‘Bluebells’ growing in the wild

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Spring has finally arrived!

🙂 When the sun’s shining and the sky is blue I don’t think my £8 camera from eBay could take a poor photo, especially when I’m no great photographer.

Garden 1

This house has been my home for twenty years now and yes I love it, incidentally I live in the English county of Oxfordshire if you are wondering (a farm half a mile away features in Downton Abbey), and in all those many years I can honestly say I only really appreciate this vivid yellow flowered tree several days a year.

Mind you I once had to ask my mother what its name is? And yes as one or two readers will recognise the yellow tree at the bottom of my Garden is a Forsythia 🙂 . So there you are, I was giving my lawn its first spring trim of the year and snapped a few photos for my WordPress. 

The question is have we dodged anymore snow until winter this year? I think so.

A. Shepherdson 2019

Full Moon through MY telescope (18th Feb)

This is a post for lauraroettigerbooks.com also anyone else interested in seeing new photos of the moon taken by meee!

Some Readers may be aware I own a telescope! Well Christmas 2018, 22nd of December to be more exact, I shared photographs taken through the telescope eyepiece using my Fuji digital camera and I’d agree they weren’t particularly good.

Have you ever heard of the saying killing three birds with one stone?

Several days ago on the 18th of February we had another full moon and seeing as I have a new telescope lens, I was curious whether my Galaxy tablet camera would capture superior images AND Oxfordshire’s night time skies were crystal clear, I decided to have a second attempt at taking photographs of our moon, below you’ll see the best 15 from 133 taken and I’m really happy with them.

I could witter reminding you how I never tire of gazing at our moon, perhaps we all take for granted that up there in the sky circling our earth is a big grey rock we call the moon, I’ve always been incredibly awestruck and fascinated by this celestial marvel, so much so I purchased myself a telescope and you may well find me gazing at a full moon………… when our English weather permits!!

(The final photographs below is a map of the moon showing the Apollo landing sites………….. gaze into the Sea of Tranquillity knowing Apollo 11’s Lander sits on the surface!)

🙂 Lol if you’ve skipped directly to the ‘pics below’ remember they were taken by myself and please feel free if you wish to download.

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WEST side of the moon (the large white crater is Tycho)

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S.WEST side of the moon (the dark grey mass above Tycho is ‘The Sea Of Clouds’)

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SOUTH side of the moon

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NORTH side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon

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N. EAST side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon (the upper dark grey is the ‘Sea of Serenity Apollo 17 landing site’, below it is the ‘Sea of Tranquillity Apollo 11 landing site!’

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WEST side of the moon (the white crater half way up is ‘Copernicus?’, and above ‘The Sea Of Moisture’

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N.WEST side of the moon

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N. WEST side of the moon (do you see all the craters on the left edge of the moon)

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Full FACE of the moon (notice the sharp circle of the lens) (the small dark grey far right is ‘The Sea of Crisis’) 

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FULL face of the moon (again showing a sharp lens periphery)

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NORTH side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon (the lower dark grey is ‘The Sea of Nectar’

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WEST side of the moon (again do you see all the craters far left? The East side of the moon has larger craters than the West)

And now for a Google map of the moon!

map_of_the_moon_by_nikofoxfire

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Apollo 11, Tranquillity Base image taken by the LRO

Shepherdson 18th February 2019

Walking in the Windrush Valley, pt2

Several days ago I posted photos of myself and Holly the ‘cross collie’ (our family’s pet dog), both out walking together in the Windrush Valley, the title is ‘see if you can spot the collie dog ‘ and if you click the link you’ll see my photos and incidentally a post I’m very pleased with. 

Now that you’ve hopefully returned, I also filmed a brief mp4 of the two of us and uploaded onto my (rarely viewed) YouTube Channel which I’ll share below. Oh and apologies if you thought I sounded worse for drink…………… I’m not! I narrate like this when I’m concentrating 🙂 .

A. Shepherdson 2018

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 2017

A photographic post for you and note all taken by me. Feel free to download and use if you wish 🙂 (btw you may wonder why I’ve reblogged? Well the post didn’t appear in any tags? Hmm :/ ).

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Above is a panorama of the lake with the Palace behind me.

A few readers to this WordPress will be aware I had a Blog before this one, how do I know this? 🙂 Several followed the old one. A short story made even shorter, I deleted that Blog along with ALL my posts (a Blenheim also), I didn’t copy any apart from ‘Pretty lady on a train‘, no in the hurry I lost stories tales and plenty of bs but in hindsight I’m pleased, the thought ‘Oh I have this old post, it’s ok I’ll just slip it in’ will never cross my mind and in hindsight what’s the point in that!

Enough talk of my old ‘yawn’ Blog!

August 2017 I visited one Blenheim Palace situated in the English County of Oxfordshire, well the day was gorgeously hot and sunny, the Palace grounds looked stunning in the sun and Blenheim Palace looked magnificent. Well I took my trusty cheap but very competent digital camera with me and took many photos and quite a few videos for my YouTube Channel……… then the other day I thought to myself ‘perhaps my new Followers would enjoy looking at them because I absolutely love looking at other people’s photographs’.

One more word about Blenheim Palace, you may think to yourself ‘never heard of it?’ Well I’m here to tell you I’d strongly suggest you have but perhaps not realised! Lol why do I contradict you, the Palace and Parkland have appeared in many movies for example Transformers Last Night, several James Bond films, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix to name several, not forgetting TV and music concerts PLUS when Donald Trump arrives for his 3 day visit he will be based at Blenheim.

And I think I know the reason why, a little birdie tells me and he works in security, he reliably informs me that because the Palace Grounds are encircled by a high stone wall in addition all three entrances have large oak gates apparently makes Blenheim Palace one of the most secure residences in the UK plus closely situated to London! And I’ve also heard because of the future demonstrations (note I don’t say possible) no because of the planned massed demonstrations and threat’s Trump is unlikely to visit London…………….. I maybe wrong but you lol read it here first lol.

Again note this is a politics free blog and if Trump’s your man then fine 🙂 but the security threat is large so all his Apache gunships and Black Hawk helicopters will be parked in Blenheim grounds along with the Chinooks and tanks…………… I’m sitting on the fence here, but I don’t think he’ll be as welcome as Obama.

Anyways if you wish to learn more about the Palace’s History I suggest you search Wikipedia that reliable mine of information, all I will say is the Palace’s Parkland was designed by the landscape architect Capability Brown.

I hope you enjoy and remember these were snapped August 2017.

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I waited for the lady (MILF) below in blue tight tee shirt to reach me, you know taking pictures of scenery, a swig of drink wasting time etc, all on the pretence of looking at her magnificent shapely boobs, well you just have to don’t you! I remember I said “hello”, she replied “lovely view” but then I was dumbstruck………… hmm when you meet a single older woman what an earth do you say? “Fancy a roll in the long grass?” JOKING.

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The panorama individuals below,

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All photos by A. Shepherdson 2107. (Remember download and use if you wish and there’ll be more to come)

Holly buttercups and pools of water! Part2

I borrow my mum’s collie Holly at ever opportune moment, we all love our animals whatever they may be and perhaps owning a pet is our last tentative connection to being part of mother nature? 🙂 Isn’t it odd that I feel the urge to owning a dog……………… do they fulfil some primeval need so which is it? Companion friend or just that they are utterly devoted to their owner?

Hmm how would a blog fair dedicated solely to my mum’s dog? (Might be more popular than mine? 😀 )…………….. btw I won’t be but it’s an interesting thought all the same!

The photo below shows Holly adores being in the countryside, her brain is alive and thinking and I love the way even in a 3 hour walk she’ll always stay close, never stray and keep me in her sights.

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There’s a guy at work called ‘Dave the plumber’, a lovely colleague who likes joking around and taking the ‘micky’ out of me, I should explain that’s light hearted ribbing to you foreigners, well at one point in our conversation he said,

“Andy you must be the last person alive who still uses a digital camera!”, I thought for a second or two, and yes perhaps I am because EVERYONE I know takes photos using a tablet or mobile phone! Hmm but are each as good as the other?

I’m NOT going to write a comparison test “yawn”, but looking again at the photos uploaded and displayed on Holly buttercups and pools of water, my previous post, I have to be bluntly honest and say in my own humble opinion, I think my little digital camera captures pretty good images.

I hope you take a peek at the linked post (part 1) because then part 2 (this post) has a context and additional point of view, and lol saves me repeating the exact same text again. So if you’d like to see several more photographs taken from my afternoon walking Holly the collie, I’ve included them all below and all snapped in what’s affectionately known as ‘The Indentation!’

Pictured below I’m standing on the edge looking down into the ‘bowl’ which incidentally has been known to flood 2 feet deep!

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Looking closely at photographs from both posts, I’m hoping you’ll understand the reason why this small piece of wasteland came to be known by residents as ‘The Indentation’, and yes you’ve guessed correct it’s shaped similar to a large bowl and lies below the level of all the surrounding houses, simply because at times of sudden heavy rainfall, say an electric thunderstorm, excess water is piped into this manmade bowl and stops people’s homes being flooded out! The beautiful consequence of a designed civil engineering functionality is the basin is constantly replenished with clean life giving water, it’s not stagnant, and as we all know, wherever in the world water comes in contact with the land then nature thrives………… and buttercups have taken hold in this moist soil also toads no doubt sourced from resident’s garden ponds!

Here endeth the natural history lesson.

I guess for those readers who live in America, would you say ‘The Indentation’ is another name for a ‘Storm Drain?’

Lol who cares 😀 , I think this wildlife haven is fabulous! And don’t you agree the vivid yellow buttercup with its gloss shiny petals is as beautiful as any garden flower?

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🙂 Now having looked at both posts, do you see this low lying ‘bowl’ with it’s gently inclining sides so as to collect storm water flooding in? Hmm buttercups seem to like this ‘spongy’ moist soil.

A. Shepherdson 2018

Holly buttercups and pools of water!

I’ve been rereading the introductions to many of my posts and lol I keep saying the same friggin thing and it’s gotta stop! Right here stop now! Btw I’m far from annoyed I just dreamt that opening up and it made me laugh, but being serious for a ‘mo’ my Blog is devoid of a theme and always will be an eclectic random mixture of whatever captures my imagination…………. so if adult content isn’t for you (you have taste btw) then perhaps nature posts or a cookery lesson possibly will (you have taste btw) just be aware this is all new original content by me. 

Lol rant over! (A nice friendly rant 😀 )

Above you are looking at a picturesque sweep of 4 photos that form one scenic panoramic view, and taken by me 03/06/2018, to be more precise you are looking at a pond and heathland very close to my mother’s home, and this small oasis of British plants and insects is enclosed by housing estates on all four sides.

Yes this urban natural scene is most definitely by definition an urban wildlife oasis and absolutely essential for both quality of human beings life also for keeping British wildlife alive and thriving…………. Town planners have to realise these sanctuary’s in overcrowded urban environments are incredibly important no absolutely essential if we’re going to have any type of wildlife left in the United Kingdom………. and yes they’re as important as acres of picturesque National Parks with their deer wildfowl.

Within large cities such as Birmingham Manchester and London these sanctuaries for plants bees toads and birds are important places for inner city children to visit on school trips, so they at least feel some sort of connection to the Natural World. Btw I’m not being patronising we have charities which will transform rubbish laden filthy shitholes into wildlife havens and we should feel grateful for such great citizens.

Oh and they’re fabulous locations if you are a dog walker like myself but then I’m very lucky because we have many such nature reserves dotted around my Town, I have old photos but I’ll not publish again…………… I used to belong to a conservation group hmm perhaps I should join again……….. perhaps I’d meet a middle aged single with large saggy breasts!

Well if you enjoy looking at the panoramic scene I’m sharing above, larger individual images are shown below, and being absolutely honest if I didn’t walk my mother’s dog from time to time then I doubt I’d have any sort of affinity or connection to my natural surroundings, without Holly I’d have been inside tapping on my laptop keyboard writing bad erotica on this Blog rather than enjoying a sunny June afternoon walk……………. isn’t that at least one great reason to owning a dog! Get away from social media lol.

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A busy trunk road and large housing estate lie exactly 26 seconds walking distance directly behind me 😮 .

More pictures will follow because I walked further out into our British countryside, in fact I walked several miles I guess that’s why Holly is so pleased to see me when I visit mum on a Sunday and have a beef roast dinner made for me! But she gets to tell me about her week and chat so all’s good.

Below is Holly, not quite a collie dog but an intelligent loyal companion all the same……. she loves ‘The Indentation’ as well………………. oh I forgot to tell you it’s called ‘The Indentation’ because it’s basically a large bowl lower than the surrounding houses.

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A. Shepherdson 2018

Policewoman and her near indecent exposure!

(Contains references to sex crime)

🙂 Now even if I say it myself that’s a friggin awesome post title! Lol I’ve truly surpassed myself but yikes now I have to write the post…………….. f#ck it’ll never live up to that hype but oh well I’ll tell my true tale.

(A brief Intermission similar to those they used to have at my local cinema when I was a child, Saturday afternoon’s the matinee would stop then ‘old stumpy’ would walk round selling cartons of ice cream and shout at kids to stop throwing sweets at him! Just to explain I’m telling the near indecent exposure tale one hundred percent true and, because I’m ALWAYS honest, I’ll admit her knickers could be an exaggeration but till this day I’m utterly convinced I saw them!)

A few years ago now, but I’m living at this same address so we’re talking quite recently, dead on 6.07 am on a weekday morning I pulled my front door shut, and why such a precise time you may well ask? Well I catch the bus to work 6.25 and it takes me exactly 15 minutes to reach the stop.

My walk to work is an absolutely stunning one though at times can be a little nerve-wrecking but I’ll get onto that in a moment just hold that thought. My 13 minute walk is quiet peaceful and a changed landscape everyday of the year yet I take exactly the same route? The beginning couple of minutes are breath-taking strolling beneath canopies of overhanging trees, leafy in summer cold and bleak in winter, and stunning in the snow. Then I walk alongside the wall of an ancient Manor House, turn left at the Dovecot, pass by an ancient Church then cross open common land with it’s 2 bridges over the river Windrush with woods and trees either side.

🙂 

I’m unbelievably lucky, some early mornings I’ll watch ducks geese and swans as I cross the rivers, a heron if I’m lucky, and circling over the open fields I’ll quite often see Barn owls swooping down for food and best of all I’m often the only person walking across the common. There’s never another soul in the dark winters and only the odd female jogger her tight ass squeezed into body hugging Lycra in the summer…………. if she’s bouncing boobs then all is right in my world!

However my early morning gorgeous walk can be unnerving in the winter, it’s dark but for a few pavement lights, pitch black in some parts and frigging scary some days especially if my imagination is alive and I’m feeling jumpy. Why so? You may have guessed already, the common is a magnet for men who have sexual propensity to run up to females and expose their genitals, ‘flashers’ I KNOW frigging sick or what, WTF why do it for f#cks sake?

rapepngwebA tragic tale for you, two years ago and on the same day I crossed that open common, I arrive at work switch on my computer to catch the local news only to read a young woman was attacked @3.00am before I’d walked past that same wooded area, it’s always dark because of the closely planted trees.

I know I’m getting off topic, sort of! But it turns out this particular early morning a man dragged the woman from the pavement, into the undergrowth, assaulted her breaking bones in her back then he raped the unfortunate woman. However by breaktime that same morning the case was solved, it turns out minutes after the Police arriving at the crime scene they went directly to a particular known address close by and arrested a convicted rapist who was out on remand soon to appear in Court for the rape of another woman………….. it was written there in black and white, the rapist was allowed out of prison ready to attend Court where he’d be found guilty for whatever and sent back to prison! But he assaulted in the meantime and sentenced life/9 years minimum.

Unbe-f#cking-lievable, you just cannot make this incompetence up!

Anyways returning to my story of walking to work one particular evening and now you understand why I’m both elated by the scenery and nature and nervous that I’ll get beaten up or robbed blind. Several years prior to the serious assault our local Police, in I guess a gesture to calm public safety fears over the number of exposures taking place and because several hours later around 9.30am children walk across the common to get to school, a visible Police presence was increased from zero to quite a few and I’m not being sarcastic there’s only so many Policepersons and FAR too many crimes taking place.

11949846491773218673woman_police_02_gerald_g_01.svg.hiI’ll get to the end of this frigging true tale if it takes all evening lol! So I’m often nervous, the only member of public out and about this early hour, now if you look at my photo below this is virtually the exact spot where I was startled. Suddenly aware of movement and rustling between the bushes and because I’m a fast walker I strode past the noise and commotion half expecting to see a cat or the grey squirrel my mum’s dog chases HOWEVER what do I see but a uniformed attractive Policewoman squatting on the ground her skirt pulled up over her knees halfway up her thighs, knickers down around her ankles (side on so I didn’t see her actually doing ‘it’ or she’d finished) well all I can add is she was as startled as me, our gazes and eyes briefly caught each others, both no doubt WTF? I hurriedly kept walking and just understand there was an awful lot of commotion from those bushes as said Policewoman adjusted her dress! I will be absolutely bluntly honest, the image of her squatting half naked is still kinda sexy!

I realise now the juxtaposition of a story about a rape and a peeing policewoman don’t perhaps sit happily? Hmm, I’ll leave it, they happened but feel free to comment. 

(I remember later smiling to myself thinking ‘I’d hope she saw the funny side afterwards’, out hunting for flashers but no instead she flashed a pedestrian. 🙂 )

It’s a strange old world, day after day month after month I take that exact same route through beautiful countryside, passing various wildlife and then one day what do I see but a peeing Policewoman! BUT being deadly serious for a second and please don’t think me flippant, on another day a young woman takes that exact route and is raped! Jeeze we have to take care these days, there’s far too many assaults robberies and knife crime in my Town!

My morning route to work, the common and lane with bushes. (My old photos but I doubt you mind. 🙂 )

A. Shepherdson 2018©

The Beast From The East (March 2018)

Photos © A. Shepherdson.

Perhaps if you reside in a Country outside the United Kingdom you may not have come across the phrase ‘The Beast From The East’. Don’t worry it’s not a name attributed to the evil Russian who’s been leaving deadly nerve agent inside restaurants and smeared on park benches around Salisbury, no the ‘Beast…..‘ is a phrase attributed to a very British weather system, or more specifically a sudden blanket of snow falling across parts of the UK.

Weathermen do like to conjure up imaginative descriptions, Great Britain finds itself at the heart of five different weathers systems the worst being a cold front which blows down from Siberia, possibly catching a little Arctic blast on the way! Well temperatures plummet, snow falls and my Townscape resembles photos which wouldn’t look out of place on as next years Christmas card………. all good fun unless you use public transport to get to work.

Bah Humbug! (I must be getting old)

We’ve experienced three overnight ‘snow bombs’ this winter and were due to have a fourth this Easter, however the short boring story is the wind changed direction, a warmer front blew in from France bringing four days of persistent rain.

All of these photos below were taken by myself one Sunday morning in early March, follow the journey from my little house, all the distance across Town to my Mother’s for a Sunday roast beef dinner…………. I guess you could call the occasion a little treat in return for doing a few jobs around the house.

Follow the journey and bare in mind the house above may or may not be mine.

Below right is the side wall of an old Manor House and Farm used as a set and backdrop in the period TV Drama Downton Abbey… you may have heard of it!

I won’t say where abouts the 12th Century Norman Church below is located, just be aware we’re talking rural South East England.

Perhaps I’m becoming a little weary and jaded and yes I’ll admit to being rather cynical as the years roll by (I’ll have to keep an eye on this), I didn’t really mind this winter’s snow, in fact it’s quite astonishing how overnight the Town you wake up to is totally transformed and looks nothing like the evening before.

A. Shepherdson.