Tag Archives: hampshire

A Shield Bug – Looks Like a Stinkbug

I was out in the garden of our place in Stockbridge and was surprised by how many ladybirds and flies I saw on the leaves.  Then I saw something a bit different.  I reminded me of the stink bugs we see in Washington.  According to Ian, who was in the yard shortly afterwards, it is a shield bug.  In all my years in the UK, I had never heard of or seen one of these.  Now I have.

Another Chance to Photograph the Hovercraft

During our trip to the UK, my mum came across to spend some time with the family.  She used the hovercraft to make the crossing and we went to Southsea to pick her up.  Regular readers will know that I love hovercraft so it would have been churlish not to get some shots of its arriving – I mean her arriving!  I skipped the long lens shots and instead focused on the approach and arrival.  Here are those shots.  Her return journey was frustrated by high winds, so we didn’t get a second chance to photograph the hovercraft when taking her back.

How Low Will the Light Be for My Robin?

The Airbnb that we rented in Stockbridge had a grass area out front that had a steady stream of birds in and out.  That included some robins that would show up under the bushes and find themselves some food.  They clearly liked the shade because they would either be under the bush or come on to the grass in the areas shaded by the bushes.  Never in the sunlight on the grass.

The evening improved things a lot.  The shade was now over the whole of the lawn and they would hop about finding their latest meal.  However, if I wasn’t already by the window, moving into position would spook them and they would be gone.  I consequently spent a bit of time sitting by the window with the camera in position waiting for another one to appear.  When they did, it was getting pretty dim.  However, high ISO is worth a go these days and there are going to be good options in post so why not?  I used the tilt screen to frame the shot to avoid moving the camera much and scaring them off.  It also provided a lower angle which helps.  Much hopping around and then eventually it was right in front of me.  How cute European robins are!

What is This Boat About?

Nancy and I were having lunch at a great pub on Spice Island called The Still and West.  I would certainly recommend it if you are in the area.  We were watching the many different boats as they came in and out of the Harbour entrance.  One boat was heading out which seemed curious.  It was a low profile vessel, looked like it was designed to look suspicious and, when you look closer, it has a FLIR installation on the bridge.  Since this is Portsmouth, it could well be a military vessel but that doesn’t preclude it being one for an overseas customer or just a company or individual with rather specialized interests.  I wonder which it is.

Memorial to the Wrens

Walking through the old parts of the city of Portsmouth took us by the cathedral.  In the grounds there was a memorial to the Women’s Royal Naval Service.  Known more commonly as the Wrens, this was the branch of the Navy for the women before everything became more integrated.  The top of the memorial is the various types of hats that Wrens wore in service.  My gran was a Wren in the war and made friends in the service that stayed with her for the rest of her life.  She would go to many reunions.

HMS Warrior

I think HMS Warrior has shown up in the blog before.  During our trip to Portsmouth last year, I got a different perspective on it from previous visits because I went up the Spinnaker Tower.  I did also take a look from ground level too, though.  There were some people up in the rigging working on the ship.  I don’t have a great time with heights so that would not be a good thing for me I suspect.  An open door of a plane is fine but that is different.

The view from above is a great way to see the ship (or anything for that matter).  It also gives you the background of the historic royal dockyard.  Having a 60,000 ton aircraft carrier as a backdrop just goes to show how things have changed over the years.  At one point, this would have been the pinnacle of warship design but now it is considered archaic.  How things move on.

How Much Can Grow on a Thatched Roof?

Plenty of the houses in Longparish are thatched.  One of them has a roof line that drops very low to the ground on one side of the house with the door and windows on the other side.  That must be the side that gets more light.  The back side of the house seems to be very shaded with the result that there is a lot of growth on the roof.  It was covered in various lichens/mosses.  I wonder whether they degrade the thatch or actually provide an additional layer of insulation.

St Nicolas Church

Walk right to the end of the village of Longparish and you come to St Nicolas Church.  You know you are going to find a church because the clue is in the name of the village and, besides, what village in the UK doesn’t have an old church in it?  As you drive in to the village from the south, the church is the first thing you see and it looks pretty quintessentially English.  Near the end of our stay, we did walk down to have a look inside.  The churchyard was not too large and there is a newer graveyard across the road.  Inside, it is a simple but pleasant little church.  No idea how popular it is but it seemed in good shape.  I did take a stroll down the lane to get a shot of it from the south, only to discover that the house in front of it tends to be more intrusive in the shot than appeared to be the case when driving along the road.

Merlin Tormenting Me

During our stay in Longparish, we could hear the sound of helicopters on a regular basis.  We weren’t far from both RAF Odiham and Middle Wallop so getting military movements was to be expected.  Getting a camera to hand when they came over was another thing.  However, while on one walk, we did see a Royal Navy Merlin operating across the fields and behind some trees.  Getting a clear look at it was very difficult and, as we got closer to where it was on our walk, it naturally moved off somewhere else.  I never got a good shot.  Here is the best I could manage as they taunted me by remaining just out of reach.