As children we used to pick a buttercup and hold it under each others chins to see if we liked butter, if a yellow glow appeared then it was said that you were indeed fond of butter. In reality every chin the little flowers were thrust under glowed yellow as the intense yellow of the pigments shine bright to attract insects which home in on the little yellow beacons and aid their pollination.
Buttercups are a member of the Ranunculus family. The bright yellow colour of a buttercup comes from the yellow pigments that are in the surface layer of the petals. The shiny, glossy look is caused by layers of air just beneath the surface which reflect the sunlight like a mirror.
May is a good time of year to find large quantities of these bright little flowers as it grows well when the sun is high and warm. On colder days the flowers can turn to follow the sun with the flowers being dish shape to collect energy from the sun which warms up the flower which in turn helps to attract more insects. The dish shape also focuses the light to the centre of the flower to help with the ripening of its pollen.
One of the fields i walked through today was carpeted in these gorgeous little flowers and i thought it only fitting that i did a little research and give them a dedicated page. Having looked into these plants online the fact about them facing the sun to gain warmth from the sunlight made me think to the positioning of the flowers i walked through, and they were all in parts of the field that had sunlight for best part of, if not all of, the day.
About a month ago i was up early, as per usual, and had chucked the boys in the back of the van just as the sun was starting to rise. Our destination was only a few miles up the road at a point on my local tidal river where i can access the bank and take a nice long walk along the waters edge and watch the wildfowl at this time of year. We started our walk along a concrete access road then up onto a pathway on top of the flood bank turning left as i have done many times before. A few hundreds along this path is a small scrubby bush and for some reason when i reach this point i like to turn around and look back along the path as its quite a lovely view across the river from here. Reaching the bush i turned round and what a beautiful sight i was greeted with.
The attached pictures really don’t do much justice as to how beautiful the sky actually was. I stood and watched this spectacle for a fair old while before realising that i could make a small video recording of this stunning sky.
After admiring this gorgeous natural lightshow i continued to walk along the riverbank happy with what i had just witnessed that morning…….
On one of my local walks there is a disused PILLBOX sited on the marshland and fortunately this one has not had the doorway blocked in so earlier this year i decided to have a little walk round the inside of it with my camera. I’ve included a link to the video on my Youtube channel below so head on over there for a watch and don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ and ‘SUBSCRIBE’ to my channel.
Now for those that don’t know what a Pillbox actually is here is a brief explanation of why they were built.
They were built in the ww1-2 as small fortified structures, made of steel re-enforced concrete to withhold small arms fire, and used as defensive observation posts in various locations around the UK that might be vulnerable to an attack. There are many located around Essex in large fields and along the banks of our tidal rivers and creeks as these were considered to be prime areas for enemy attacks from both air and sea. Entrance into these ‘buildings’ was via a small doorway and once inside the roof was barely inches above your head with the only light being from the small ‘slit’ type openings which were used to observe through and also to shoot through is an enemy was seen. Having been inside one now, usually the doorway would have been bricked up, i can’t imagine what it would of been like in there during the winter period as it was a dark cold place to be.
For the past couple of weeks i have been confined to the house as i unexpectantly came down with appendecitus and ended up in hospital for a few days whilst they removed the offending appendage and i recovered, this has meant that after being released from hospital i have literally been unable to do anything that involves too much movement or exertion. Now sitting in front of the tv watching crap all day may seem relaxing to some but for me its a nightmare as i,m a pretty active guy not to mention i,ve taken time out from my day job to finish of the work that needs doing to our house and extension, this is now on hold for another couple of weeks.
Yesterday however i was suffering badly from ‘cabin fever’ so decided that I, i mean the dogs, needed a nice walk in the afternoon sunshine. Off to a local area i call ‘Secret Fields’, they’re not really a secret but you’d only know how lovely the walk is if you ventured down a long overgrown track leading from a small one car parking area roadside, for a nice stretch of the legs as it really was a lovely afternoon. I couldn’t,t walk too far though as i started to feel a little ‘rough’ as we made our way from one small field to another, but the short time i was there really hit the spot. A few pheasants burst out of the long grass as the boys ran, pigeons were dropping into the sparsely leaved trees to rest, i saw a gorgeous kestrel hovering a short way of in an adjacent field, found some lovely looking Parasol Mushrooms and generally just soaked up the atmosphere of this peaceful paradise.
In total my walk barely lasted 30 minutes but i enjoyed every second of it, and so did my boys. Although short i feel totally refreshed today, body, mind and soul, and hopefully this feeling will last for a couple more days before i feel fit enough for another little outing. It just goes to show that you only need a short time in the great outdoors to re-charge the old batteries and relax….
So a couple of months back we had a series of exceptionally low tides in the UK which resulted in the low water tidelines being further out than usual. On one of these tides i happened to be walking the dogs along my local tidal river and as i had my usual walk along the water line i spotted somethings i hand,t seen before. Just above the current tideline and below the normal one there were some curious orangey sponge like objects attached to the rocks.
I,ve not seen anything like this around the Essex coastline before, but i do remember seeing similar in rock pools when i was holidaying in Devon and Cornwall many moons ago when i was a kid. I have tried contacting a couple of Oceanic Institutes but have not had any replies. They were firm to the touch and quite abundunt attaching themselves to the scattered rocks which litter the shoreline.
I,ve done a little vlog about them so feel free to have a look as the video shows them a lot better than just the above four pictures.