Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Going Home - Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

This sensational 'instrumental' and accompanying stills encapsulates for me all that is
SCOTLAND
not only the Brave but Diversely Beautiful and Spectacular.
 (Please linger long enough on this link to also to soak up what is
considered by many to be the Greatest Guitar Solo Ever, the riff from
Sultans of Swing)
Just to have been privy to our conversation over the past few days would have been enough to come to the realisation that we would, one way or the other, return to Wrexham for another crack at those magnificent Black Grouse. The weather on that first visit had put paid to any sensible viewing or recording, via cameras, but now being a full day ahead of ourselves the choice was a 'no-brainer'! Luckily, the same hotel, not a 15 minutes drive from the Lek, had just one vacant (family) room which it was thought would be more expensive than previously but no it was a full 'tenner' cheaper - "who does the pricing of these things"? Having done a straight 5 hours behind the wheel, Dave was happy to take over for the last hour knowing my reluctance for 'town driving' and the plan was laid. As before we were strategically parked in one of only 2 small lay-bys, on the narrow moorland road that allowed close viewing, by 04:30 and without a sign of adverse weather already these fine male birds (c29 in all) were strutting their stuff.
Out on the wiley, windy moors, we'd roll and fall in green.
You had a temper like my jealousy, too hot, too greedy.
How could you leave me, when I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you, too.

Bad dreams in the night.
They told me I was going to lose the fight.
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights.

Kate Bush
video
Early Morning 
We publish most of the best of stills and video so the reader can 
enjoy most of the antics and  nuances of these magical
Game Birds!
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video
 "Hold these 2 Sheep while I count them"!
video
 SKYLARK
Back for breakfast and in the meantime confirmation of the continued presence of another very rare bird to our shores was received only a one hour drive in the direction of home. The very mention of the word Telford drummed up childhood memories of both the engineer and town name which then, living in the heart of the Industrial Midlands (Nottinghamshire), were often subject of my schooling. Priority would be given to the bird but we were not to know it was to be found among a tangle of the past. Arriving at the
(Still Open All Hours)
within a very few paces we could already hear the distinctive song of this tiny Pyloscopus Warbler,
and even a shorter time later were viewing it all too high in a nearby tree.
 Able to watch it from the quayside of this ancient
 Canal Barge Dock
we probably spent as much time surveying the intricacies of the
Olden day brickwork as the bird.
Lucky to get any images at all,
video
let alone video footage of this
IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF,
as like all of its ilk, it wasn't given to sitting around posing.
 Additionally, there was also an old Colliery, just left to the public gaze,
 to where, as we were told by a local gentleman, iron ore would be transported
by barge for smelting. 
Something of an industrial wonderland of times gone by which, on reflection, 
deserved more attention with the camera as now having been overtaken by nature.
HOVERFLY
 OPPOSITE-LEAVED GOLDEN SAXIFRAGE
If you can tell the difference 'on sight' between this
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF
and this (via the Link)
Your a Better Man Than I Gunga Din.
Failing, as promised, to recall all the Bird and Mammal Species encountered
during these 9 episodes it can be reported that
Birds = a total of 120 Species 
Mammals = a total of7 Species
Having had our fill of this nondescript but no doubt rare bird,
the next question really didn't need asking as together and being so close
we agreed it would be a tragedy not to pay homage to
Scottish Civil Engineer
THOMAS TELFORD FRS - FRSE (Link)
It would be true to say that we were both agog before even parking the car
as a panorama of the town of
video
IRONBRIDGE
was viewable from the park, and what a sight!
Memories of Telford and Ironbridge were not confined to my school days,
but also in adulthood there were connections as a modest philatelist when my
interests were strictly with Great British Postage Stamps and more particularly Stamp Booklets.
The collection spent more than enough time at the back of a cupboard,
but has since found a new home as the property of my 4 grandchildren in Australia.
It is hoped that one day they will find enough interest to pursue this most educational hobby.
From the car park it is no more than a 2 minutes walk to the western root of the bridge
where we both stood riveted (no pun intended) for who knows how long.
 The Toll Hose
was a joy enough but the plaque which hung high on the outside wall
was poignancy itself!
 How many hoofs, wheels, feet etc had crossed this
Narrow Strip
over the years? The soldier returning from battle and at the last ditch having
to 'stump-up' before being repatriated with his family. Those who were not so
lucky and returned by hearse would also be relieved of 3d and, so it says, even the
Royal Family would not be exempt - it would be a brave, or foolish, man
who held his hand out to the King!
All of this put a huge 'lump in the throat' and a 'tear on the cheek' before
looking for the best spot to capture Ironbridge itself.
 Looking North
Looking South
Having crossed the bridge we walked the main thoroughfare where Dave mused
"I wonder what sort of shop that was originally?"
As he wandered on my lingering found Richard leaning against the rail
so engaged him in conversation. He told me that it was formally a
Grocer's Shop
where he had been set to work at the tender age of 12 years, and even
occasionally does so still - he is now 101 years old - you cannot purchase such encounters!
The steep and narrow alley Severn Side proved to be as good a vantage point as any
to photograph the
South-facing Aspect of the Bridge
and the
neat little cottage across the river of the same name.
All this walking, 200 yards at least, had brought on a thirst so next stop was



Ye Olde Worlde Coffee Emporium

(probably not its real name but it looks good)
for Coffee and Forno Bonomi Amaretti Biscuits.
 Walking the High Street we noticed a shop where an Albanian Lady
was 'hand crafting' local Pork Pies and need more be said save
"grunt, grunt - grunt, grunt"!
She nearly threw a cartwheel when told of my visit to he homeland,
and the chatter continued for quite some time.
Not surprisingly, it was the other end of Severn Side which afforded
the best spot to capture the
 North-facing Aspect of the Bridge
 along with a little 'detail'.
 A couple more interesting looking
and substantially constructed buildings, with our final port of call being the
Toll House which doubles as the
Ironbridge Museum
where was found this most intriguing artwork.
The inscription reads
Discovered in Stockholm in 1997, this is the only known view of the Bridge under construction.
Watercolour by Elias Martin (1739 - 1818) painted Summer 1779.
Bearing in mind 'advice' is only for the 'giving', you would be well directed, 
should you ever be in Shropshire, England, to visit this
Friendly, Eye-Catching, Historical, Welcoming and Pleasing little Town.
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