Sunday, 12 November 2017


I felt I hadn't really done justice to the Autumn colours last time we went through the Botanics and that maybe another trip was overdue before all the leaves fall off. There hasn't really been any heavy frosts this year and I have a feeling a cold snap is really required before the leaves go properly mental and turn unlikely shades of red. However there is always something photogenic and if all else fails, there's the squirrels. 

I didn't quite get the timing right and either left it too late or maybe the low sun just doesn't make it high enough to light the place at this time of the year. Oh well, squirrels it is!

The squirrels were busy rigging the lighting for the Christmas light show. The Botanics has a good reputation for putting on great light shows on dark nights and I hope this continues with the coming spectacular and that they don't get too low brow with the whole Christmas shopping theme. As they say, there are only 12 days of Christmas and none of them are in November. 

Come the revolution people that celebrate annual events too far from the given dates will be marched off to the camps. And I was about to start complaining about that other seasonal treat people who can't be bothered picking up their dog's poops which increases at this time of the year but might have fallen foul of celebrating my own special christmas grumbles too early and marched off to camp.

And while I'm complaining, there is that "Me Too" campaign. Mostly I am sensible enough to keep my mouth closed and just walk away from all the fodder that collects like plaque on the teeth of facebook. Because in general we should try to treat each other with more grace. And there can be a sea change through campaigns - look at drink driving. So why does this particular campaign grind my gears? I feel I'm being accused of something I didn't vote for. And I resent the tarred-with-the-same-brush approach. Weren't a lot of the women who posted me toos the same ones posting how thrilling 50 Shades of Grey was? Because I never heard any favourable reviews from men for that abusive novel which if memory serves was written by a woman. I presume this whole thing is about Trump and how unappealing his locker room attitude is. But since he is leader of the free world someone else has to be burnt at the stake. That was Harvey Weinstein. And that went so well we had to hang Kevin Spacey out to dry next. It seemed to me like there was then a frenzy for blood and a self-publicity drive in the rush to declare victimhood that the politicians and media then exacerbated. And have we addressed the problem? While there may be a couple of politicians deciding not to send texts or make suggestions to less senior colleagues, human nature has not taken a blind bit of notice. The rappers and porn directors and advertisers have not had a change of heart, I'm prepared to bet. And women will still read tawdry romance. And the angry ones; please target your hate more accurately.

Next time: why David Attenborough should retire. (Never scared to be unpopular.)

right there under your nose!

Meanwhile in a parallel universe I am luring cuties out the shrubbery with peanuts. Their eyesight seems remarkably poor given the speed they dash through the canopy. And keener sighted but more timid magpies hop around after, picking up lost kernels. It usually takes 2 or 3 visits to thrown nuts before a squirrel will take them from your hand. However one, straight line out the bushes, knew the formula, and, dispensing with formalities, was handfeeding in the first instance. About now I fell foul of the touch screen controls on the reverse of the TZ100. While juggling a bag of nuts, the camera, gloves and backpack, I somehow reprogrammed the camera to shoot only video and not stills at the touch of the shutter release. I had to sit down on a bench and work out how to sort it out. Meanwhile this squirrel was running up and down my leg and trying to get into the poly bag of nuts. Eventually after much cursing I got it sorted. But the light was fading fast and it was too cold to hang about. I had a quick wander about the place looking for red leaved Maples and Rowans but the light and the autumn colours were parting company, so I headed home.

A great place for a wander and full of superbly maintained trees, plants and flowers. And if all that isn't enough there's always the squirrels!


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