The boys are back in town

One of the good things to result from cancelling my trek is that I can get back to more sensible walks, and that means Rufus can come along again. So today, I picked him up and we headed off to Broadpool in Gower for a couple of hours of exploration.  Water attracts Rufus like a magnet, but Broadpool itself is hard for him to get in to and out of, so he treats it like an obstacle to be overcome. I can almost sense his frustration as he sees me stop to take yet another photos of some interesting bit of flora.

We skirted the north end of the pool, heading away from the road and towards another, hidden pool that we discovered a few months ago. While Rufus made his own way there, I stopped to take photos of the heather. I looked up to see that Rufus had disturbed a heron, which was flying over Broadpool. But he didn’t care and as I watched the laboured wingbeats as the heron gained just enough height to clear the road, Rufus was back on track. He disappeared behind some ferns and for a moment I wondered where he was. Then I heard the tell-tale splashes and I knew he was fine. By the time I reached, the water, Rufus was ankle deep, looking at me and waiting for the first stone of the morning.

Many stones (and some nifty catches) later, it was time to venture further west to parts of the common we hadn’t been to before. While I was distracted snapping away at a small grasshopper on an orange fern leaf, Rufus disappeared, lured by the aroma of something he had to roll in. The first I knew about it was when he got within 10 feet of me. It was the most appalling stink he’d ever managed to find, and he was so proud of it that he kept coming up to me to show it off. As I brushed the worst of it off with some dead fern leaves, I was gagging.

We went straight back to the pool for a bath. Stones were thrown to tempt Rufus deeper until he was swimming. Then I wiped him down again. Of course, it was all a game to him and there was much tail wagging and barking. When we finally got back to the car, the aroma was much weaker but I still drove home with the windows open and the air-conditioning blasting air from the front to the back.

Rufus had a long shower when he got home, which was punctuated by deep groans and sighs.

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Dave and Rufus’ lads week – day 1

Rufus is staying with me for a whole week. Just imagine, two young-at-heart adventurous souls with the world before them and no firm plans. It doesn’t get much better.

I picked Rufus up this evening after dropping his owner off at the airport. We raced home for food – I’ve stocked up on all his favourites – and after dining, we set off for Braodpool. It was only meant as a short evening stroll but very soon after leaving the car I managed to sink into a deep bog. The cold water and mud filled my boots. I was stood on ground that wasn’t supporting my weight and I could feel myself sinking. Rufus just breezed over it with his weight distributed over four paws. I managed to squelch out without getting trapped.

We left that bit of the common, crossed the road and walked in a wide arc around the pool. I found a dip in the ground which, when we investigated more, hid another large pool. Rufus found many scents here; it looked as if it was used as the communal watering hole for all the wildlife around. A duck flew over head, calling and circled us several times before disappearing off to the west.

Rufus chased the sticks I threw for him and explored Broadpool’s banks as we went back to the car. There was a cold wind blowing and my soaked feet were getting uncomfortable, so it was time to head home.

It’s an early night for us as we intend to head to the hills tomorrow morning.

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Early one morning

The sun woke me. That hasn’t happened for a while. I even managed to have a little lie in. But the morning was too nice to waste so after a swift breakfast, I was off down to Broadpool to see what there was to see, and photograph.

I didn’t expect the pool to be frozen but sure enough, the frost had got there before me. The sun was low and golden but a thin veil of cloud filtered it slightly. Nevertheless, I had the infrared camera out and tried a few shots and then as an experiment, I tried the same shots with the normal camera. Two are part of the slideshow below.

Small birds were rising and falling in the sky, trying to lure me away from their nests and I let myself be lured. I walked around the pool, carefully watching where I trod to avoid living things and the inevitable boggy bits, although they were more slushy today as the sun tried to melt the ice.

Then it was on to Fairwood Common and a little wood I’ve been visiting a few times. There are silver birches in it and in my head I have an black and white image by Ansel Adams of an almost white silver birch trunk against a darker background. I’ve tried to interpret a version of my own a few times and I’m getting some results I’m happy with.

Then it was back home for a coffee before heading off to the bank to redistribute a few pennies.

My knee is still giving me some pain so I’ve tried to stay off it this afternoon. I’ve even put a support bandage on to remind me not to run up the stairs. Typical – on a nice day I can’t go far!

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How to find a comet

Comet Panstarrs is visible low in the north western sky just after sunset. You’ll need a pair of binoculars at the moment as the comet is barely brighter than the sky that surrounds it. Later in the month it will be visible later in the evening but it’s getting dimmer as it heads away from us. Find where the sun set and look to the right.

Yesterday, with a clear western sky promised, I drove down to Broadpool in Gower to try and get some photos of the comet. Alas, I was beaten by the cloud, which formed a dark band just where Panstarrs was due to be. Even the sunset wasn’t spectacular. I drove home disappointed.

This evening, I went back a bit earlier but the same cloud band seemed to be there again. At least the sunset was better and I got a few photos I was pleased with. Imagine my horror, then, to see dark horizontal smudges on all the photos! I’d cleaned the sensor before leaving and the wipe had left smudges. Panic! I’ve just spent half an hour cleaning, checking, re-cleaning and rechecking. At least they weren’t scratches!

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