RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond


We had a day off today, and the weather was at least dry (in the morning), so N and I decided to head out to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Gartocharn – a fairly new reserve that we pass on the way to Ross Priory. The Visitor Hub was shut, as it’s only open at the weekends, but N and I were hoping that we could still wander around the paths. It was quickly obvious that we could not do that, as the paths do not exist yet – we’ll have to go back at a weekend and walk around with a guide.


It was still a stunning site, though – with beautiful views:


And lots of coal tits on the feeders. I got  a lot of pics of “where a coal tit was until I pressed the shutter”,  as they move so fast, and a few good ones, like this coal tit perched on top of a feeder:

Coal tit

And, as we turned to go back to the car, I noticed signs that Autumn is on the way:



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5 Secrets about DS106


Today’s Daily Create is to:

Use the Portent Title Generator to randomly generate a title about DS106…then WRITE THAT POST!

So here’s mine:

5 Secrets about DS106 the government is hiding:

  1. It’s free. Take that, government capitalist pig dogs.
  2. It’s fun. Yes, fun! We drones are allowed respite from our toil.
  3. It’s real learning. Not like that rote stuff the government pretend is education.
  4. It’s collaborative. As we riff off each other, we learn more and more.
  5. It has nothing to do with the moon landings.  Or maybe it does …
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It’s been a fairly awful week. It should have been a restful week’s holiday around the house forgetting about work, but instead it was a stressful period that’s still not over. So Kim’s weekly challenge this week is particularly apt: Fighting the Blahs. On Wednesday, determined to salvage at least a couple of days peace, Niall and I headed up to Ross Priory for lunch. It was an overcast day, with the clouds down over the hills as we looked over Loch Lomond:

Loch Lomond from Ross Priory

But this is always one of our favourite places, with such a beautiful house:

Ross Priory

A gate with no fence or wall around it:

The gate to nowhere

A walled garden with a sundial:

THe Walled Garden

Without any sun this is not much use:

Sun Dial

And lots of flowers with hoverflies and bees:


So I could practice using my camera in macro mode:

Just visiting

And a final puzzle – what use is this here?


As we wandered around we spotted some brambles – so we popped back yesterday to pick some. Next: bramble and apple jam making 🙂


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Down at the pond earlier I was taking a picture of this beautiful swan preening itself:


when I noticed another swan heading towards it:


Oh, hello:


Getting closer:


I’m off then:


Uh oh:

Puffing up

And then the attack:


At which all of the gulls flew up off the pond

Duck pond

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Looking closely

Kim’s photo challenge this week is to look closely, and – like Kim – I find that getting into the habit of carrying my camera with me is encouraging me to do just that. I’ve been fascinated (even maybe borderline obsessed) with taking close ups of bubbles and ripples recently – not surprising given the climate here in Glasgow. Here’s one I took recently of the fish pond in the Botanics:


and this – using my fish eye setting to photograph some of the ripples over the huge carp:


As Niall and I went out for a walk the other day I paused in the front garden and took this close up of one of our weeds – a pretty weed, out of place in the lawn:

Little weed

and this ash sapling, trying to grow in a crack on our steps:


Last week I was on a trades union reps training course in our spectacular main building. One lunchtime I played around taking photos through the (very dirty, but very beautiful) window:

Window to the world

This has the flagpole in it – I love, love, love these windows:

Window to the world

Another day and another walk  -this tiny feather caught my eye:


And at Warwick Uni this week, wandering around in the early morning, this moorhen let me get up close and take this pic:


My camera is such a joy to me. On days when the world seems grim I can lose myself for a while as I look through its lens and see beauty around me.

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ALT-C 2016

On Monday I travelled to Warwick Uni for the ALT-C 16 conference, which was taking place in the Warwick Arts Centre:


The main purpose of the visit was to present some thoughts that Maha, Kevin and I had put together:

I think the presentation went well – certainly folk said nice things afterwards, and I think that Maha’s slides about inclusion really gave us something to think about – as I said in the presentation – this is hard stuff to think about  and implement – but it’s important. Some of the slides got into the wrong order and some of the background images do not show in the slideshare, but I managed. I was wearing Susan’s Team Awkward T-Shirt but forgot to ask somebody to take a pic of me. It went down well though.

As usual, I had my camera with me, so late Monday evening I strolled around the tiny campus appreciating all of the art. img_1207

After breakfast the following morning I wandered around again taking more pics:



Spirals in the grass

There are so many beautiful pieces of art around the campus – I wish I’d taken more pics. But I was glad to get back to Glasgow with it hills and sprawling campus – this is home.


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Fossil Grove

Fossil tree sculpture

Today we drove down to Victoria Park to visit Fossil Grove, some fossilised Lepidodendron trees discovered in 1887 and preserved in a museum. Inside was very dark, and it was really hard taking any pics.

Fossil grove

Fossil tree stump

Here’s the model showing where the trees are:

Fossil Gove

Back outside, we wandered around the lake, taking pics of the birds – moorhens, coots, swans and gulls:




Who are you looking at?

As we wandered around, cameras in hand, a local with his wee lad told us that he’d been taking pics of a nesting duck when a gull had swooped down and snatched a chick. He was visibly shocked by it. Here’s a parent on the nest afterwards:


What do you have #CloseToHome?


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Evening walk

It’s been a dreich weekend, but yesterday evening it was dry enough that Niall and I headed out for a walk. We walked up the road behind our house and I was pleased to see a gull posing nicely for me:

seagull on lamppost

The view at the top of the hill is stunning – the hills look so close:

Glasgow hills

And, in front of us, a very faint rainbow:


Further along on our walk we saw the empty gas storage tanks looming over the city:

Gas Storage Tanks

Then home past the fire station and the weightlifter sculpture put there for the Commonwealth Games in 2014:




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The CLMooc Community

Over the last year or so I’ve been part of Karen’s postcard project. It’s a lovely feeling coming home after a long day in the office and finding bright rectangles of card on the mat. I’ve covered one board  thoroughly, and the latest are stuck to my whiteboard. So when the Daily Connect today sent me to this random connect, I immediately thought of all these cards. Join us here, if you will.

IMG_1051 IMG_1050

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Apple jelly

On Sunday it was very windy, and when we got to Niall’s mum’s for lunch she pointed out into her garden and we saw piles of unripe apples scattered all over the grass. Oh dear. After lunch we gathered them all up and Niall wondered whether they could be made into jelly like the crab apple jelly his mum used to make. I didn’t see why not, so I ordered a cheap kit off the internet to strain the juice, some wee jars and a jam funnel.


When I weighed the apples there were nearly 3 kilos – wow, that’s a lot! I was hesitant about my jam making abilities (I’d only ever helped mum before, and that was a long time ago). So on Monday I cooked up a kilo of them until they were a mushy pulp and left them straining overnight. Yesterday I took the pint of juice that resulted, added sugar and lemon juice and … made apple jelly!


It’s a bit firmer than I’d ideally like (I left it a bit long), but it tastes lovely. We had some with our tea last night and Niall said it might even be nicer than his mum’s crab apple jelly. So tonight I’ve cooked up the remainder of the apples and the juice is gradually dripping through. Tomorrow I’ll make more jelly and hope it’s at least as good.


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