Saturday, 20 August 2016

Insect Encounters

On our walk along the trail this afternoon the first insect we encountered was this small moth, feeding on the flowers of a white teasel.

The teasel was also attractive to this Yellow Swallowtail butterfly, but he was too far away to photograph properly with a phone.

Further on we came across a large cricket, sitting quietly on a narrow branch over the path.

Our biggest surprise was to find several young trees where cicadas were easily visible.

We know that we are surrounded by cicadas as we hear them night and day from May to the end of October - but other than the occasional dead one on a path, we don't usually see them.

They are remarkably well camouflaged against the tree bark.

The presence of these strange dried up carapaces is a sign of cicada activity.

Cicadas start life as a small white egg laid on tree bark and turn into a white nymph which feeds on the tree then drops to the ground and burrows to eat the tree roots.  It remains there between 2 and 17 years (depending on species - there are 390 different ones in the US - as well as climate).   The mature and aging beetle then emerges from the ground and climbs up the tree where it sheds its outer casing to reveal the adult winged insect.

David took this photo which shows the detailed features of the adult cicada -  which is around 3 inches long.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Another Day, Another Cinema..

We went to the cinema this evening to see the film Florence Foster Jenkins..

The AMC Worldgate Cinema is rather different to most - the chairs are huge and they recline...fully!  Wouldn't have dared to leave it like this as would probably have been snoring before the film started.

It wasn't particularly busy..

...but it was a good film (and we both stayed awake despite comfy reclining chairs)!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Keeping Cool

When I visited Washington Plaza at Lake Anne today to have lunch at Kalypso's, the children's fountain was empty of people and looked very tempting!

There were also boats for hire to go out into the lake - pedalos, kayaks and even paddle boards.  I managed to resist those too!

On my way back to the car after lunch I passed the Washington Plaza Baptist Church, and a sign on the front of the building caught my eye..

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Bargain Loft Finds

Working at the Bargain Loft today, I was very taken with a number of genuine Japanese kimonos that have been donated for sale.

Featuring bright colours and intricate designs, there are several in heavy satin and others in cotton.

They are all quite beautiful - provided that you are tall enough not to trip over them and don't need to do any washing up!

We also seem to have had a number of donations of sterling silver items for baby - some looking quite well used, although they wouldn't necessarily be considered practical or appropriate for modern infants!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Art at the Spa

Looking back today to last Wednesday, when I visited the museum and art gallery in Leamington Spa.  

There are some beautiful paintings there in the permanent art collection, by very well-known artists.    I photographed just a few of them which caught my eye.

Above, a work by the famous Manchester artist, L.S. Lowry, entitled 'The Mission Room'.

This beautiful landscape is by Samuel J Lamorna Birch - 'A June Morning'.

This is 'The Connoisseur', by  Henry Hoyland, depicting a collector of oriental porcelain.

The final painting that I photographed was this lovely work by Dorothea Sharp, entitled 'Where Children Play and Seagulls Fly'.

Bringing the art collection right up to date, this series of large photographs is a study of bouncers at pubs and clubs in Coventry!

Monday, 15 August 2016


We used to enjoy watching the hummingbirds at the nectar feeder in the other house - at this time of year they would be frequent visitors.

Here we have found it difficult to attract hummingbird visitors - until this evening.

Seeing a hummingbird check out our seed feeders, we thought we should put up the nectar feeder.

Within minutes first one then a second hummingbird came to drink from the feeder.

These are Ruby-throated hummingbirds - the first two photos are of the males and the second two are the females.

The 'hummers' have continued to visit the feeder regularly throughout the evening - hopefully they will continue to call.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Nine Lives

Another very warm day and so we decided to go into Reston for brunch and to see the film 'Nine Lives' (which was very good - won't say any more than that).

In Town Center Square the fountains were switched on and one little boy and his Dad were having a whale of a time in the water.

Back home this afternoon and the heavens opened, reducing the temperature from 36C to 30C very quickly...

After a few minutes rain it was sunny and warm again.