So far the birds have refused to sit on the tree stump. This is getting tedious. Today’s images are again of the outlook from the house. They are a combined effort as I had endless problems generating versions acceptable to me. I consulted my photographic guri (is that the plural of guru?) Sandra Schänzer and Steve Gingold.  Due to time zones Sandra bore the brunt of my stupidity. Eventually I stopped the iterative process here:E4view finalversion GardenE4

The original thinking was to prove that we do occasionally get clear days in Hong Kong The rain has probably soaked all the toxic crud into the ground, poisoning all the subterranean dwellers and indeed those that feed upon them. I was struggling to get a decent sky – it looked very washed out in my initial efforts and there were artifacts in the sky. I spent some considerable time trying to work out whether Lazarus the Laptop was right in correcting my artefact to artifact? It seems both are acceptable. I finally rid images of the distortions by increasing the image size. This is the first time I have had this problem and I’m not sure why. Normally a 200kb low res file is perfectly ok.

I also wanted to show a little more of the habitat that brings in the birds. The semi-manicured lawn in the foreground is opposite our house. This is owned by the government but within our compound in a manner of speaking. That is to say the residents have occupied it at one end with children’s playthings – trampoline, small slide, etc.; in the middle with a running area for the dogs, which sadly are not always garden trained; and finally the top end has various plants and shrubs that provide berries and the like for the birds to plunder. The migrants are pretty indifferent to where they drop in. Luckily the middle section, which is roughly in front of our house, seems quite attractive. Behind the burning bush (careful Lottie) is where the 6′ Rat Snake appeared and the Slaty-breasted Rail was pottering about further right.This is a very photography friendly range. Over the back of the hedge is a hidden veggie garden. In the distance are houses that follow the road towards the Country Park.  Some of the water birds fly towards us from the bay below, so we get Osprey over the house now and again. White-bellied Sea Eagles nest very close by and they fly right to left across our view. Raptors appear from the wooded hillsides. Peregrine Falcons dash past, Crested Goshawks and a Bonelli’s Eagle a few weeks back. The challenge is the light. We face pretty much due East. So in the morning photography would be straight into the sun and afternoons the sun disappears below the top of the houses quite quickly. The optimum time for bird snapping is quite short – maybe 4pm to 5.30pm.

I was quite surprised by the reaction to dear old Boris in my post about London mayors. Sitting 6,000 miles away my exposure to him is usually through the pages of Private Eye, which is available in the reading room of my club (no ladies allowed in the reading room I am afraid). I am not quite convinced that he is a tiny step away from candidature for entry into the world’s worst megalomaniacs club. You can’t conquer the world on a bicycle and nobody will take you seriously with a haircut like that. In the haircut stakes he ranks far behind Hitler and Kim Jong Un but slightly ahead of Mao. I always struggle to work out how much is an act and how much is the real Boris. To help my American readers a little, Boris would be a sort of (highly) intellectual Ronald Reagan. With a bad haircut. He has hired one of my ex-colleagues as an advisor and that, I regret to say, would preclude me from voting for him.

I tend to steer away from politics and religion.  You are bound to upset almost everybody at some point if you head down those paths. I am not even sure I know myself what my views are. I always felt that the box I needed on the ballot paper was the one that said “no suitable candidate”. Instead I occupy myself with the world about me. I divorce myself from the horrors of reality as much as possible. My greatest worry for over 24 hours has been how to get rid of my artifacts. That and Lulu’s trip to the vet tomorrow. She is not a well dog and we are worried. And on that depressing note it is time to hit the publish button.