Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Wednesday 31 July 2019

Back door birding

Like it, or not, Autumn is upon us - birds are, once again, on the move and I've re-established the garden feeding station as we await the final parts of the refurb to come to fruition. On Monday a Green Sandpiper called several times as it passed overhead whilst I was attending to the aviary and, today, I recorded my first Willow Warbler, of 2019, when I espied a "yellow" juvvy (no pics!) flitting about in the vegetation. Crazy - I've seen as many Hoopoe and Bee-eaters in Kent this year!

The feeding station is now even closer to my vantage point, since the construction of my "man cave". I've tried to make the most of it by keeping the camera kit at hand, although it seems the birds are quite wary of the open door; thus I'm getting the majority of my images through the double glazed windows. There's an awful lot of work to be done before we can say that the job's been completed, but things are slowly falling into place, bit by bit. The birds might be common fare, but are no less enjoyable when sat at home awaiting the start of another shift!

The most heartening aspect of this simple pastime is to notice the high numbers of young birds coming to the feeding station. It would seem that, locally at least, 2019 has been a good year for many of our garden birds.

Saturday 27 July 2019

Scamping in the rain

The morning after the night before - and so it is with the heat wave nonsense. Pissing down with rain for over 24 hrs, what's going on with our summers? Catching carp off the top - is there any better way? A short, after dinner session, despite the rain, was just what the doctor ordered! Twenty-one fish landed in little over four hours, three doubles, so absolutely nothing to moan about. Homersham must be the easiest carp fishery in Kent, the UK, the world? If you can't catch here then take up golf, fishing obviously a skill which is beyond you.

I really enjoyed my time, getting drenched, yet hooking these ridiculously easy carp at very regular intervals during my visit. Fairly even mix between mirrors and commons, yet it was a very pleasant surprise when I slipped the net under this "Fan-tailed" common - probably 3 lbs at a push!

Added to the variety for the session.

Friday 26 July 2019

Embarrassing farce and a new distraction

So Bozo has made it to the dispatch box and had his first exchanges with Corbyn. What a display of utter incompetence. Quite what the rest of the world thinks of the "Mother of all Parliaments" is up for debate. That "The Speaker", John Bercow, was called into action on so many occasions just highlighted the complete meltdown of our political system and did nothing to dispel the view that t/v is fast turning our government into a reality show. Bercow is the ring master and the MP's provide the entertainment. Pure circus - Whitehall Farce! Boris can spout all the populist crap that he likes - getting it done is what matters and, thus far, nothing has changed! So OK, he's only been in office for a couple of days but, talk is cheap, let's see if he can deliver? Oh no! They've all gone on holiday for six weeks, such a stressful way to earn a living, Theresa May went off watching cricket - wish I had a job like that, I only get five weeks a year and that's more than many others at the grass roots! How are we to trust any of these elitist clowns when they are so far detached from the reality of earning a decent income in the UK in 2019? "Do as I say, not as I do" springs to mind.

Sunset as viewed from the back door and a storm is coming
On Thursday I survived the ridiculous temperatures,working inside the air conditioned manufacturing facility of Fujifilm SIS, whilst the rest of Thanet was cooking! My shift ended at 14.00 hrs and it was like walking off a plane in a Greek airport - the heat just overwhelmed you! 34C is what where the thermometer peaked in Dumpton, yet it was four degrees hotter in Cambridgeshire, mad times! With heat like this, thunderstorms are to be expected and I had set myself a challenge; could I get a photo of lightning? I've seen some stunning images from around the UK, displayed on the BBC Weather-watchers pages. Thinking that I'd like to have a go it was Youtube that provided the basic lessons for my first attempt.

I didn't expect it to be an easy project, but enjoyed this first exploration, non the less. The ancient EOS 350 might be a limiting factor, but it's just a bit of fun, not why I own a camera.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

33.6 million v's 160,000 - We've now got a clown for PM

Well it's happened, the Conservative Party have elected an inept clown to be our new Prime Minister. In reality it wouldn't have made the slightest difference which of the two candidates won - neither are worthy of such a position! The Brexit referendum resulted in a turnout of 33.6 million voters. A very simple two horse race; first past the post wins? The result, of that exercise, is without question, one of the biggest demonstrations of democracy ever witnessed within the UK. The conduct of our political elite, ever since, has been shambolic, at best? That it has ended up with a complete clown at the helm is demonstration, if one were required, of how totally fucked up we currently are. That our new PM has been chosen by such a minority just highlights the massive flaws that exist within our current system. The Conservative party only has 160,000 members and 92,300 (ish) voted for BOZO - that's less than 0.13% of the UK electorate; yet within current legislation, he's the new head of Parliament. Very weird, when well over 50% of the electorate voted for leave, yet it still hasn't happened? And, despite his rhetoric, Boris has no more chance than Mrs May of delivering the wishes of the majority. The self serving political hierarchy will continue to impose their will upon the population, only choosing democracy when  the results coincide with their view of how things should pan out!
The Climate Change demonstrations might be a wake up call - if we don't get Brexit then the shit will really hit the fan!

Sunday 21 July 2019

Even the gulls are bored

The drudge of normality is ever present as Bev and I learn to adapt to the massive upheaval as a result of her Mum moving in with us. Bev is an absolute star, coping as she does. At least I have the escape of work to give me a break, she's on call 24/7! It can, therefore, be no great surprise that my fishing project has taken a major hit and is now, once again, in the slow lane and well down any list of priorities I might have.  Don't get me wrong, life is still very good and getting better as our financial security is becoming more clear due to the assistance of a certain Peter Harris. Once the details of my Kodak pension fund have been clarified, Easy Street here I come should I so choose?
In the mean while, I am very limited in my free time and seem to spend much of it in, and/or around, the back garden. We've reached the stage where completion of the bungalow refurb project is very much on the horizon. The replacement of the conservatory and laying a new lawn will see us finished - before Christmas is our target, so not particularly rushed. Finances, not time, are the limiting factor at present, although just a temporary glitch in the bigger picture.

The second brood of Robins have recently left their flowerpot nest, just beside the aviary, and are starting to explore the surroundings. I managed to grab a couple of shots as one of them visited the feeding station in our neighbours garden. The adult Herring Gulls are still tending to the youngsters, although they are now on the wing and wandering further afield, so any food waste is soon cleared when thrown out onto the lawn. Natural recycling is how I see it - others view it very differently? Feed the birds or don't feed the birds? How is it OK to put out peanuts for Blue Tits but not OK when gulls are involved? My brother, Simon, has it even more defined - he's not allowed to feed the, re-introduced, Red Kites in his Buckinghamshire garden! On the other hand, Herring Gulls; The Isle of Thanet - the clue's in the title - these birds are here because this is where they live. Seagulls - an island - where's the problem? It's quite bizarre how emotions are aroused when the subject of feeding gulls is on the agenda. To my way of thinking they are just as welcome as any other species. So it was one of the resident birds, standing on the garden fence, which provided the inspiration for this blog post. I'd picked up the camera, just because it was there and the sun shining brightly. What I hadn't foreseen was the demonstration of boredom I was to witness. Up close these birds are very impressive and this individual could be a candidate to replace Jonathan? Time will tell.

I managed to get out with the kit for a couple of hours, this evening, over at Homersham. My tenth double of the campaign was my very first fish, so quite pleased with the outcome. Mick Jones, the bailiff, did the honours with the camera - hence the square image - cheers Mick! Have no idea when I'll get out again? But life goes on.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Lunar eclipse

As we walked out of the factory, yesterday night, at 22.00 hrs Darren "Twatters" Twyman mentioned that there was a partial eclipse of the moon. He'd heard this on the BBC weather forecast at lunch time. Arriving at the car park - there it was, happening there and then! I quickly drove home, grabbed the camera kit, my Manfrotto tripod and set about attempting to capture a few images. Once again my complete lack of skill resulted in fairly ordinary, sub-standard shots, yet they do capture the gist of the event.

Meanwhile, the House Sparrow population around West Dumpton is absolutely thriving. It's normal for there to be 100+ birds in our, and the two adjacent, gardens with an estimated 55 - 60% being this year's young. All three pairs of Herring Gulls, along Vine Close, have reared three youngsters to fledging, much to the annoyance of passing dog walkers. The adults aren't particularly endeared to dogs, they must see them as foxes, I suppose? Their dive-bombing behavior is quite aggressive and often sees the dog walkers make a hasty about turn - bloody wimps!

Saturday 13 July 2019

Few words - mainly pictures

Man; am I struggling at the moment? Very simply I can't find any carp and have been chasing shadows and playing hunches. Either, which way, the result is the same - silent alarms and the rod cradled, untroubled, in the rests. One fish in twenty three sessions is a very damning statistic, yet accurately reflects the campaign thus far.

When I'm on early shifts I collect Emily from school, Monday to Thursday, and this week we've decided that we needed to do something different than going back to Nanny's and playing on the I-pad. In the four days we've done quite a bit. Stroking lambs, riding on a zip wire, the pub, pre-baiting my swims and finally seeing Emily catch her first fish - all in school uniform.

You'd have thought she might be a little more impressed?

I had my company medical, on Wednesday, and am pleased to report that I'll still be making ink for another year, God willing! Whilst I was undergoing the examination, the insurance company employee engaged in all the usual banter associated with such a pointless exercise. I moaned about arthritis and getting old, but still managed to add the positive bits about the joys of being a grand parent. She looked on horrified, her kids were eleven and four, grand parenting still not on the radar - yet!

Not catching carp does have some strange benefits, as I've discovered. Steve Gale once made mention of "big skies" on his superb North Downs & Beyond blog. Ever since I have found myself in wonder of this phenomenon whenever I'm out on the flatlands and have started to point the camera in their direction at an increasing rate. The results have been very pleasing, although not always able to capture the feel of that moment?

Sunday 7 July 2019

Rock/hard place and sad news

I nicked this from the BBC News page - Getty Images own the copyright. Hope they don't mind?
God only knows how I've tried to steer clear of airing my thoughts on the lunacy surrounding the Conservative Party leadership nonsense and, as such, the subsequent incumbent of No. 10 - our new Prime Minister! I wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them - they are politicians, thus liars for a living. Boris is a clown, couldn't even cut it with Deayton, Hislop & Merton during the "Have I got news for you" period and is now much akin to the fake tanned buffoon from across the pond, except Bozo doesn't do the orange spray! The other deluded wannabe is equally out of touch; I know what'll swing it my way, let's allow a free vote on fox hunting! You what? We're on the precipice of a democratic catastrophe, so a vote on hunting with dogs will change all that! What a fucking twat. Yes, the Conservative party members might be swayed - the UK electorate are totally opposed to the idea, thus another manifestation of the blinkered world in which politicians orbit.
Theresa May couldn't have done any more, mainly thanks to the idiotic, party political, stance from Corbyn and his associates. Brexit never was, and never will be, about party politics, it's about national identity and our right to define our own rules and sovereignty. Quite why these two goons think that they will be able to achieve something which, previously, has been impossible is to be seen. History will judge them accordingly, but let's hope that Corbyn, and gigantic ego, also receives his comeuppance? Party politics had no place in such an historic period of change, therefore it requires a united parliament, fully supportive of the negotiating team, to go to Brussels and sort a deal which delivers a sustainable way forward. At present, we've got more chance of getting struck by lightning, whilst walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls!
Shambolic, dysfunctional, chaotic? If you can think of any other word for screwed up, it will be equally descriptive of our present political situation. The UK, it would seem, is like a ship without a skipper, but we've lost the rudder as well. In times of trouble the UK has demonstrated an ability to throw up characters who have the leadership qualities which transcend the mundane and able to refocus the nation. Sadly, in 2019, I fear we have such a requirement again - just who will pick up the baton? The only personality on offer is Nigel Farage and, even though I voted for him, he's definitely not going to be our savior, just catalyst for change maybe?

The camera never lies - except when you use digital? Sunrise out on the flatlands this morning.
Out on the flatlands, again, this morning - same result! "If you're not catching then you're learning" is a phrase that Tom Lane used in an email the other day. I'd love to say it were true, but I've found myself in a rut. Only this morning, whilst watching the sun rise and playing with the camera kit, did I start to think through my strategy and what I'd achieved. Soul searching at this level is quite a painful process, especially when you realize that you've made a fundamental error of judgement. School boy stuff, not rocket science! Location, location, location - what have I been doing? Fishing to a feature, not to fish. I'm getting on for sixty hours now, just one fish for my efforts, time for a serious rethink. I've made a few changes already and prepped three new swims before I came home, fish being seen in all of them before the bait went in. Back out again this evening, so hopefully I will see a change in my fortunes?

Finally, on arriving home, I clicked the BBC News pages, as is my habit, to learn of the passing of Tanya Jones, the wife of Vinnie. Although not a mate, Vinnie and I have crossed paths on many occasions during our lives. He was a resident of Nicholl's Farm when I worked for Brooke Bond at their Redbourn Factory and many an hour was spent in the Bell PH after a days' beating at Chalkdell, a game of darts and much banter. He attended my brother, Tim's, 40 th birthday party, we spent a Christmas Day's morning in the company of Johnie Gardner, supping Champagne in Boxmoor. He and Tanya attended Baz Baron's birthday celebration in a hotel outside Dunstable, the first time Bev was to meet him. They were a lovely, ordinary, couple and we send our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time for him and the family. Stay strong buddy!