Saturday, 30 March 2013

Surf's Up!

Well, you go weeks without a blog entry, then three come along at once!
Today I fancied going for a walk down the beach, only not the beach 5 minutes from my house, which has banks of shingle that takes far too much effort to walk along.
Instead I got in my car and drove 5 minutes down the road, to a car park popular with surfers and people watching them.
I can count the times I have parked here on one hand in the past twenty years. I don't know if it's because it's so close, or always looks full, or that I'm just not interested in surfing. It counts as one of the sports that just looks no fun at all, to me.

Anyway, the car park in question is half as big as it used to be, due to coastal erosion.

The road that runs past has also suffered. This is where it was, ten years ago, before it got too close to the edge and had to be moved inland.

You can just make out the original edge, and the white car is running down the new stretch.

Talking of land slips, there were large, recent slips due to the wet winter. People fossil hunting, especially as a new species of flying teradactyl was discovered by a young girl recently. I have also found a teradactyl bone, which has been in a local museum for several years now.

 For the scale of this slip, look at the people walking on the grass over the top.

Above is a recent slip, cutting right through the path and nearly taking the farmer's electric fence down to the beach!

My plans to walk along the flat and sandy beach here were thwarted by the tide, which was crashing against the cliffs. Instead I walked along the coastal path until I reached these steep steps down to the beach.

I turned round and went back, here. 

Back at the car park I had a lovely mug of milky coffee for £1, and sat in my car watching the surfers. There was a lot out today, with the big waves attracting them. It looked like they were getting in each other's way. Many of them floated right out, beyond the point where the waves break, just waiting......
Those who did have a go seemed to stay on for a few seconds, then had to paddle back out again, ducking their heads down to get through the crashing surf.
It must be a huge adrenaline rush to spend half an hour or more getting into position for a few seconds on the board.

It was freezing, as usual for our British Spring this year.

Why are they out there, beyond the waves? Just having a chat?

Looks fun, doesn't it? ( not )

Back in the warmth, my two boys were sharing a small bed. This is a rare event in my house, as my cats are not related, all different ages and don't trust each other.

I love the photos from other peoples' blogs of their cats squashed up together, looking like giant cat cushions. This scene only happened because Rolly was so deeply asleep (snoring) that he didn't wake up when Whiskers muscled in. Whiskers is good at muscling in, and he didn't understand why he wasn't having the usual effect of getting his own way, so he had to make do with his head not fitting on the cushion.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Little Bit Of Sun!

Today was the first day of my week off, and it was sunny! Or at least the first part of the morning was! Enough to have a coffee outside, do a bit of tidying up and watch the cats and the birds.
Rolly enjoyed the sun.

Kitty watched from the safety of the wall. My neighbour's young cat Hagar is too boisterous for her. She always runs away, inviting him to give chase, whereas Rolly just stands his ground and bashes Hagar on the head!

Hagar has a spectacular tail!

Here he is doing his impersonation of a fox in the snow.

Some blackcaps have arrived. After fasting on the ivy berries, they've now discovered fat balls and bread.

We do usually break the bread up into bits for the small birds, but we threw a couple of slices out for the pheasants, who promptly strutted off into the woods without so much as a peck.

One of our resident robins looks on, bemused! Our birds have always been safe feeding on the ground. The cats ignore them. I'm hoping Hagar learns from his elders in time, too, although with his bright colour at least he's easily spotted against the grass.

My daffodils are tied together in a rather untidy bunch to stop them falling over in the strong winds we have had. 

The trees round here are silver birch, larch, apple and elm. Unfortunately the elms succombed to disease badly last year, and most of them have been felled, leaving strange, open spaces we will have to get used to. While the trees were dying, young elm shoots come through to replace their short lives. I was relieved that the small elm tree that grows right next to my house has, at last, revealed some welcome new leaves.

New leaves look so fresh and bright, full of hope for the summer!

No photos of Whiskers, today. He was sleeping off a night on the tiles, or rather, on the haystack in the barn.

Looks like we're in for a chilly Easter. It's my favourite time of the year, and I'm going to make sure I get out as much as I can, whatever the weather!
Happy Easter!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Today we will be mostly..........


with a bit of posing........

and maybe some snuggling up......

And while the cats spent the day doing as little as possible, I made a cake for a Comic Relief competition at the library.
Oh, it was a cat. What else! The Very Rare Red Nosed Cat.

My first ever attempt at cake decorating. It took so long to do, it will most likely be my last attempt as well.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Two Halfs

The Isle of Wight is diamond-shaped and has a ridge of chalk downland running through the centre, from the eastern tip to the western tip. It's known locally as the Back of the Wight. It often divides the Island weather-wise, usually with sea fog on the south. sun in the north, or gale force winds in the south, slight breeze in the north.
On Monday we had an extreme distinction. I live in the very southern part, along a road called the Military Road. It doesn't take a lot of traffic, and it never ever gets gritted. If you don't live on it, there's usually an alternative route. So when we woke up to thick snow drifts, I knew it was going to be a struggle getting to work. I drive eight miles down the Milly Road each morning, then cut through villages to get to the tourist town of Sandown.
No chance of that in my Micra, so I watched and waited to see how many cars were driving past the house. Two land rovers in ten minutes, good enough. If we don't attempt to get to work, we don't get paid so off I went up the slippery hill in the opposite direction from work, aiming for the nearest village and gritted road.

This was the view from my car. It was scary driving in very windy conditions. I had IOW radio on for travel updates, getting lots of phone calls from people saying how idiotic it was to have such problems when it was only a light dusting of snow!
Not here, it wasn't!

The wind kept up all day and all night, blowing snow across the flat fields of the south western side, with shapes like this where it blew through hedges and across roads.

I made it to the village. The roads had been gritted but drifting snow covered large parts, and a policeman told me to go back. He said the only way to Sandown was to head in the opposite direction until I reached the 'middle road', which was OK.
I found this hard to believe, but did what he advised. The middle road is high, and you can look down over the north side of the island. It was clear, apart from the odd drift, and there was hardly any snow to be seen.

Gradually word filtered through to the complainers and moaners that, yes, there was snow deep enough to close roads, including the roads I normally travel down. In fact, those roads stayed closed for two, and in some case three days. On Wednesday I was able to take my usual route, and the bulges of drifing snow trapped high in trees right above the roads had to be seen to be believed.

I sent the road photo to my manager, who had no snow where he lived and walked to work in ten minutes, but I did manage to get to work, albeit half an hour late!

Here's a lovely Red Squirrel photo from our local paper! I haven't seen any for a while.