Ivy

I was walking up St. Giles’ Hill this morning and noticed the sun bathing this wall and picking out the ivy. I just had to photograph it. It would have been rude not to.

Ivy

Hopefully off now to exchange contracts on our new money pit.

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View From The Top

A quick walk up St. Giles Hill this morning as the air was clear. Three shots to brighten my day. If you look carefully at the first photo you can see the statue of King Alfred the Unready. He was a famous Saxon King, who launched a contemporary version of The Great British Bake-Off. Unfortunately he was distracted by Nigella Lawson and the cakes burned. He was livid and shouted: It’s not fair. I wasn’t ready. Thereafter he was always known as Alfred the Unready. Some refer to him as Alfred the Grate as the burnt remnants of his Victoria sponge ended up just there. In the grate. He is often confused with his crossing-dressing sister, the socialist leaning Red Ethel. I hope this insight into English history is useful.Broadway

St.GilesHillviewpoint

StGilesWA

Sunday, Balmy Sunday.

Yesterday I capitulated. I have packed my 2 pairs of good binoculars not thinking we would face months living out of a suitcase. The frustration of birds just out of eyesight was too much for me so in the afternoon I bought a pair of Vortex Razor HD bins. That meant I had to try them out. The forecast was for a cold, sunny start to Sunday. And so it proved. We went out earlyish when it was -6c.

This week we did a slightly longer walk and with my bins I started to tick off more birds. In fairly quick succession I added the following to my bird walk list:

Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch, Redwing, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Song Thrush, Water Rail and Grey Heron.

I was delighted with the Water Rail, a skulker of the first order. The star however was the Kingfisher. We stood on a bridge and I saw it flash past and land, perched on an overhanging branch. A man gazed down the river, clearly not seeing the Kingfisher. I simply said “Kingfisher” and pointed. After a few seconds he became quite excited. He admitted he had lived locally for 50 years and never seen one. We talked for maybe 20 minutes and it transpired he knew Hong Kong reasonably well. His first visit was 1949 and he recalled the HMS Amethyst incident. I am not sure he was old enough to have served at that time but he certainly knew his stuff. We bumped into him again later and he was telling us about the heron he had just seen. “You’ve got me going now on this bird lark”, he said. You are never too old.

Here are some images from the walk. Nothing special. Just snaps.Fullers

Across the river

Jane Austen wuz here?Jane Austen

Close entrance

Cathedral

Riverside walk

We wandered back through the town, bought some chops at The Farmers’ Market and stopped for a brunch in a local cafe. And there we found something once made famous by Our Gracie:

When father’s had a snoot full at his pub, ‘The Bunch of Grapes’
He doesn’t go all fighting mad and getting into scrapes
No, you’ll find him in his bear-skin playing Tarzan of the apes
Off the biggest aspidistra bacon sandwich in the world

Yes, I am reasonably confident I battled my way through the biggest bacon sarnie I have ever seen. Mrs. Ha settled for a more modest salmon bagel. And that was enough to warm the cockles until we reached home. Rain is forecast after lunch so it will be time to snuggle up with Lulu and dream of Water Rails.