Sunday, 24 February 2013

Our Half Term ...

Hello there! This post will be what it says on the tin - Our Half Term! The above is a photo of KP with George, our cocker spaniel - his fur just grows and grows and he really should be off to the groomers but it's been so cold. Do you like his quiff? The OH says "We should have called him Elvis!"

School closed on Friday and KP went to a friends house after school. On the Saturday she had a Birthday party to go to and so it wasn't until Sunday when we could drive down to Devon. KP has a more hectic social life than us and I fear that as she gets older it will only get worse! We seem to be employed as cook and cleaner - me and chauffeur - the OH.

Anyhow, I digress. On Monday the weather was great - lots of sunshine which meant that it didn't feel so cold. We travelled to the Axe Valley Wildlife Park.

I tested my camera on the manual settings. I find that when I get it right the photos turn out better than on automatic but that the automatic setting gets it right more often than the manual - the machine is better than the human!

A white peacock giving me the evil eye!

Kookaburra with wonky beak!

This bird was a right old show-off, strutting about its enclosure and posing well for snapshots!

As it was so obliging I took advantage!

Such piercing blue eyes.

We came across a crane happy to stomp about in the mud!

We came across a lemur that was also happy to pose.

"OK, OK - It's a fair cop. I'll come quietly!"

Close up of a lemur's hand.

This cockerel was strutting around and crowing very noisily from time to time.

Fabulous plumage.

The hens, ducks and other birds roam freely.

Crazy meerkats.

That beak looks a bit menacing!

After leaving the Wildlife Park we headed for Axminster and lunched at River Cottage - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's place. This was our second visit and once again the food was delicious.

On Tuesday the weather was again kind and we set off for the Great Western Canal at Tiverton taking the dogs with us.

There weren't many people about - mainly dog walkers and young families.

I liked this tree reflected in the water.

And then we saw something that kept us mesmerised for nigh on half an hour - a kingfisher. I had never seen one before apart from in books and on the TV. What a treat. If only I had a longer lens as he posed every now and again but was too far away. It made my day though!

We saw a swan gliding past - I liked the reflection.

And then we saw someone throwing some bread into the water. The ducks were very greedy but this moorhen was not to be outdone!

And managed to grab a piece of crust before disappearing with it firmly in its beak to a quieter location.

The male ducks kept trying to attract the attention of the females. This one was not impressed and escaped from two ducks vying for her attention.

As we continued on the towpath we came across this cygnet which had injured its leg. We spoke to some people who said that it had been there from the day before. We thought that it shouldn't be left there if it couldn't move as it could easily be attacked by a dog or a fox. We called the RSPCA who asked us if we could bring it to them! We were over a mile from the car and had the two dogs with us! We said that we would like to help but that we couldn't see how that was feasible.

The person that the OH spoke to said that they would keep us posted but that it was likely that someone could get to the cygnet within 45 minutes. We stayed with the cygnet but then got another call saying that it was likely to be some two hours before anyone could get there. A few hours later we received another call saying that someone had been to see the cygnet and that the plan was to leave it where it was and see how it was in a couple of days!

I hope that it was OK. You can see the injured leg more in this photo.

On Wednesday we ventured to Lyme Regis. We had thought of walking along the sea front but it really was very, very cold and so we didn't get far before turning around and diving into a cafe for a hot chocolate with cream!

There were plenty of seagulls about. It was too cold to take photos. I didn't want to take my gloves off! I know, I'm a wimp!

Beautiful crocuses - just about to open. On Thursday it was so cold that we stayed indoors. I was pestered by KP to draw a Woolly Mammoth!

Which she then coloured. In the evening we went out with our next door neighbours to the local Indian Restaurant in Lyme Regis. It's not licensed but you can take your own wine, beer, etc. Good food and good company.

On Friday I was once again pestered to draw a Sabre Toothed Tiger. In case you think that I'm drawing these from scratch I have to admit that all I can do is copy. You can glimpse the original in the book.

And there we have it - a coloured Sabre Toothed Tiger!

We then tidied the house up and drove back to Hampshire. We would normally have stopped over until the Sunday but KP had another Birthday party to attend!

Until next time,



  1. A busy out and about half term looks like it was enjoyable, but it was jolly cold at times I agree!
    Lisa x

  2. I think OH may be right - Elvis would really suit your dog!

    Gosh you are very good at drawing! Hasn't it been lovely to have some sunny days in half term, even if it has been too cold to remove gloves! I don't blame you, it's been really, really cold up here too!

    I feel the same about auto and manual. Sometimes through laziness I use auto and think that the photos probably turn out better than my manual ones would have, so why bother?! It's hard getting to grips with manual and so very easy to just turn the dial back to auto!

    I loved your photos from the wildlife parka and they reminded me very much of one of my posts from Blackbrook, a local zoo type place, which has very similar animals, though looking back at my post I realise I didn't photograph many of them at all - there are no pelicans or lemurs featured and so many others missing!

  3. We are so blessed to have such beauty in our world that was created for us.

  4. Sounds like a lovely week to me. Love all those photos and how lucky were you to see a kingfisher! I've seen one twice and could not believe that flash of colour.

  5. I hope that cygnet is OK, I'm surprised no one came to see it and I can't help thinking how much that poor bird must be suffering from the pain and the cold.

    I like your drawings very much, I can't draw to save my life and it's one the things I always wished I could do.

  6. Oh, the poor cygnet. I hope that someone did actually go to see it and that you wasn't just being fobbed off. I can't see how it could improve by just sitting there being unable to move, poor thing. It looks like you've had a busy time over half term. I think you did really well to get any sort of photo of the kingfisher as they're so fast.

  7. I love all your photos, they are amazing. The Meerkats in particular always bring a smile to my face, they look so comical!
    I hope that poor cygnet managed to survive.
    M x

  8. Oh dear, hope the cygnet will be ok. I love your photos of all the animals and birds and their funny, inquisitive faces. Yes, Elvis would suit your dog but I also think it looks as if he is wearing one of those long Restoration style periwigs that come down over the ears and shoulders like Charles II and etc:)

  9. I wondered whether you would be down this way over half term. I love the images if the wildlife park particularly the lemur! I was also interested to see your photos along the Great Western canal - it is on my list of places to go! It did get so cold towards the end of the week - we had the week off and decided to stay in during the latter part of the week.
    Sarah x

  10. What fabulous wildlife photos!

  11. Your photos are stunning. What a great week you had.
    Patricia x

  12. Sounds like a very full and happy week. I'm so jealous of your lunch at River Cottage - I've always wanted to try it there. What you said about manual vs automatic - I know exactly what you mean. I find manual great for things which keep still but when I'm out and about I spend more time faffing with settings than taking photos, which rather defeats the whole point of it really!

    Gillian x

  13. thattree picture with the reflection is very pretty I love your drawings also! :)
    Your daughter coloured them very well!


Please do leave a comment. I love to hear from you!