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Melantrys’ Page » photos

Archive for the ‘photos’ Category

My name is Prone. Accident Prone.

Monday, April 5th, 2010

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After all those beautiful pictures it’s time for a little shocker again.

Just a little one; I promise.

During the recent storm one of the roof panels of our greenhouse flew away.
After having picked it up from the lawn and having sunk into the mud with a normal ladder, I went behind the house to fetch a stouter ladder. It doesn’t sink as easily, yet it is rather heavy and was standing behind a lot of other stuff that hadn’t been needed during winter.

While I was still struggling to get one end free of the tomato stakes, the other end tipped over a top-heavy bucket containing several heavy pieces of iron.
Of course this hit me full in the left calf.

I do not recommend standing on tiptoe on a ladder in a storm, half lying on a slanting roof that would not support your weight if you really leaned on it, with a leg that is screaming at you, while you’re wielding some plyers in a frantic attempt to wrestle those weird (and seemingly spring-loaded) clamps that hold the panels in place under the framework again.

The pics I took several days later are rather low quality, the first one being rather blurry and the second way too dark, but I think they’re giving a “nice” impression of the bruise/scratch I got.
Enjoy. ;)

bruise 1

bruise 2

Actually, that would make a cool tattoo design….

And it was even more colourful than any Easter egg.

So…

Happy Easter, everyone!! ;)

.

Edit:

Ok, I’ll be generous and pander to someone’s delusions. :P
If you click on the image you’ll get a picture of the shark without my bruise.
Both images are - obviously - the property of Frans.

Frenzie's shark with legs
© Frans 2010

Frozen roses

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

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In spite of all the frost and snow we got in January, the sun was rather strong at times. Strong enough at least to melt quite a lot of the snow on our roof.
It seems the segments of our roof gutter don’t fit that tightly just above the roses. Thus, quite a lot of melt water dripped onto the roses, immediately freezing again in the cold air.

Here’s some impressions.

Without words. :)

roses 1

roses 2

roses 3

roses 4

roses 5

roses 6

roses 7

Birdies!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

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Each winter when there is frost or snow we use the plum tree as a feeding place for the local birds.
“Local birds” being every two-legged, feathered creature in the vicinity, apparently.
It really wouldn’t surprise me (much) if I were to look out and see an ostrich among the assembly.
Even the crows find something acceptable to eat in the form of the fat & seed balls meant for tits1 which they simply drag up to the branch they’re sitting on, clever buggers…

The pigeons are too big and unwieldy to partake of the feed suspended from the tree and too brainless to do as the crows, but luckily the smaller birds are messy eaters, so they don’t have to go hungry either.

fluffed up pigeons
fluffed up pigeons

The deep snow sure made for some funny impressions:

'duck' on a pond
‘duck’ on a pond

Here’s one of the messy eaters:

feeding bird
feeding bird

And if you’d all take a look at the original photo, I have a riddle for you.
Apart from that yellow birdie at the feeding station there is one other bird in the photo. Can you spot it?

feeding bird - riddle
Spot bird number two.

Eyes smarting already? Ok, let’s get on with the photos.
Here’s some sorting through the seed mess on the floor.
Note the duck impression the one in the back is giving. ;)

bird assembly
bird assembly

These two don’t have much going for interspecies relations, stolidly staring off in opposite directions.

not talking
Pigeon and magpie: not talking

Two more birdies feeding:

lookout
lookout

And for those who need it - the solution to the riddle above:

feeding bird - solution
spot the bird - solution

.

  1. The songbirds of that name, Caesar, the songbirds… :P [back]

Some more snow pictures

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

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The title says it all - a week after I shot the pictures in the post before the last one I took my poor camera out into the cold again for an encore.

Also, there’ll be a couple more photo posts up shortly - a few being more or less winter related as well.

But back to this one.
For these parts of Germany we had a rather long and harsh winter, especially in terms of the amount of snow that came down. We’re really not used to that kind of thing anymore around here.

Still, it made for the odd freaky picture. ;)

Behold a cold climate relative of the Blob devouring our neighbours’ driveway lamp!!!

snow eating lamp 1
View from the side

snow eating lamp 2
As seen from the front

Also, bear witness to the amount of snow that poor me had to shovel off the driveway!
It had to go somewhere, so I heaped it up in the more or less empty spots between the larger shrubbery of our front garden.

snow hills 1
Way too much snow…

snow hills 2
… and running out of depot space.

You should have seen our poor Christmas rose when that snow was finally gone. It did look a wee bit squashed, the poor thing.

In other blog related news, I managed to finish the update to my smiley page.
And, no, Caesar, I am not open for further suggestions; it took me long enough to add these, and this poor old woman needs a rest now. Plus, I don’t even like popcorn.

Winter returns

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

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So, it snowed again today.

After spending some time cussing (with good reason…) and shovelling the snow off the driveway, I grabbed my cam and took a few pics.

Enjoy:

snowy fence
the neighbours’ fence

snowy crown
snow supported on hibiscus seed pods

advancing snow
snow invading the partially roofed backyard

Path, what path? 1
Path?

Path, what path? 2
What path?

the greenhouse
the greenhouse

paw prints 1
paw prints…

paw prints 2
… from the neighbours’ tom

snowy blanket
snowy blanket covering every pot, shrub and barrel

Trip to Damascus - pt. 5

Monday, September 7th, 2009

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Monday, June 11th, 2007

Well, *coughs*, I’m afraid here my detailed notes stop, so I have to rely on my hazy memory, which means shorter posts for the last couple of days. :blush:

After a late breakfast of peppers, zucchinis and onions it was alreay too late to head out and visit the Immigration Office.

Immigration Office? :think:

Yes, Immigration Office.

Although I had applied for a visa for a longer period it said on it that it was only valid for 15 days. I had checked with the embassy before my trip and had been told that I’d have to go to a police station after 15 days to get a stamp, which would allow me to stay for longer.
Caesar was not so wild about the thought of going to a police station after the incident with the bus trip and suggested we go to the Immigration Office instead.1

But, as I said, that day it was already too late for that.

I’m afraid I don’t recall much else of that day except for buying veggies for dinner, which included a lot of eggplants, and Caesar claiming that the result was “awesome”.
I think the poor boy needs a veggie cook at home. ;)

In the evening I finished off the bottle of strawberry liqueur under Caesar’s critical (analytical?) eye.

strawberry liqueur
Hhhhhm, booze…

Obviously, the young man doesn’t deal with tipsy people very often.
When he left later that evening he remained standing in front of the house until I had reached the living-room again and waved at him from the window.
Thus he could go home in the happy knowledge that I had safely made it upstairs again without falling and hurting myself.

Should I have pointed out that later I had to climb down one flight of stairs again to reach the bedroom? Nah… :heehee:

.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Tuesday started with Caesar being worried about me as I didn’t answer my phone due to being under the shower.
Still worried about my “alcohol excesses” of the previous night…?

That day we managed to set out early enough to go to the Immigration Office.

After finally having found the right room I did get my stamp - and the information that even without that stamp my visa would have been valid for a whole month, and that I really needn’t have bothered.
Okay… at least now I know what the Immigration Office in Damascus looks like from the inside.

As we tend to say about bureaucracy here in Germany: “Often the right hand is not aware of what the left one is doing.”
A universal truth, it seems.

Caesar asked me if I’d rather walk home or take a taxi, and although I am a rather lazy person I opted for walking.
After only a few minutes of walking through the blazing noonish sun my faithful guide got overwhelmed by his worry for the White Woman and hailed a taxi anyway. :rolleyes:

Soon after arriving back at the flat, Caesar took off to some meeting with the guy they’d rent their new flat from, so I was all alone when Khalid called to let me know that he was in Syria, “showing Whities2 around”. The reason he did that, he said, was to “show them how wonderful Jordan, Syria and its people are until they’ll commit suicide”.
Ohhhhkay. :shifty:

When Caesar came back we went for some dusk veggie shopping, the results of which I had scribbled down in my note book as an example of how cheap veggie shopping in Damascus is for the western tourist.
It already is if said tourist goes shopping all alone and pays Silly White Tourist Woman™ prices, but it gets really insane if you get an Arabic speaking guy to handle the actual purchases.

We bought 1kg of tomatoes, 0.5kg of sweet peppers, 1kg of zucchinis, 1kg of eggplants and 0.5kg of onions.
For all that (4kg of veggies) I paid 90SP3. :bigeyes:

.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

It seems Wednesday mainly consisted of eating, watching tv and shopping for souvenirs.

:shifty:

Ok.
That’s all I jotted into my notebook on this last day of at least jotting stuff into my notebook if not keeping a full diary.

:shifty:

.

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

This is what you could see of the Omayyad Mosque from the roof of my rented house.
With zoom of course, but it wasn’t really that far anyway.

Omayyad Mosque among the roofs
the Omayyad Mosque peeking out among the rooftops

The following…. decoration…. adorned the wall above the door from the kitchen to the living-room.
What it was doing there, only Amer knows…

ugly
Why?!?!

This day Khalid called back about a meeting.

He said he couldn’t shake off the Whities, and would be going out with them tonight and simply include me and Caesar.
When he knew more he’d call again to fix a time and place.

I had just bravely bought a falafel sandwich from the Cockroach Stall and was sitting in the shadow of the Omayyad Mosque, devouring it, when my phone rang again.

I think Khalid spends wayyyy to much time hanging out with his “Whities”.
Caesar answered my phone then for two reasons:
1. to try and confuse Khalid, and
2. because I was eating that sandwich and had my mouth full anyway.

He wasn’t too confused about Caesar answering, but what confused Caesar and me then in return was that Khalid didn’t even try to switch the conversation with Caesar to Arabic. That man is too fond of English! ;)

Anyway, he told us to get over to the Four Seasons Hotel, where he’d be waiting in the lobby.

Now, I had been chatting with Khalid on yahoo in the past. Where he is using a somewhat - not to put too fine a point on it - outdated avatar picture.
I had certainly spotted no-one remotely looking like Khalid’s picture in that hotel, when suddenly this bearded bear of a man :P broke into a huge grin and hurried over to us, profusely showering us with greetings.

Tonight’s tourist activity consisted of dinner at a picturesque Arabic restaurant.
Which was imminent.
So “the Whities”, Khalid, another guide, Caesar and me rushed outside and crammed into various taxis, Caesar and me sharing with Khalid and two Americans, Debbie and David (not the one commenting on my blog).

Due to some miscommunication between the two guides we ended up at the wrong restaurant first.
Maybe Khalid can enlighten us here; did they have the same name or how did that happen? Fact is that some guy he asked for directions took us to the wrong one.
Well, a phone call cleared things up, and we managed to find the right restaurant in the end.

The picturesque restaurant turned out to be picturesquely Arabic because it was situated in the Old City, and not only that, it wasn’t very far from where I lived. :lol:

When I told Khalid that my choice for dinner was (the appetizer) Baba Ganoush he asked me “You want to eat Baba Ganoush for dinner?! May I laugh at you?”, did just that and then ordered it for me. Hey, it’s not my fault there were no vegan main courses…. *mumbles*

Khalid
Khalid, looking sarcastically grumpy4 for some reason

In the course of the evening various topics were discussed, including blogs.
Khalid asked Debbie if she had ever heard of “In Iraq sex is like snow”, which she had. Before she could say anything else he added that this was a really horrible blog, wasn’t it? His whole stance made Debbie give the seemingly polite answer that, indeed, it was. The poor woman was then very embarrassed to hear that the author was sitting across the table.
When she was done apologizing and insisting that she liked it, I asked her if she had maybe noticed someone called Melantrys commenting on the blog. “Yes, I think I….. no! You?”
Small world, innit? :D

As only Germany seems to produce cola and orange soda mixes, and for some horrible reason Khalid is a Pepsi person, I had brought him some Schwip Schwap, which is the Pepsi version of my favourite Coca Cola Company drink, Mezzo Mix.
Alas, I am senile, and only remembered about the Schwip Schwap in my house now.

I asked Khalid if he had to herd his tourists back, or if maybe he could accompany us to my lodgings at the end of the evening to get his drink.
No herding was required, most of the group took off immediately after eating anyway, and as he didn’t want to stay there for long and I had assured everyone that it really wasn’t far from the restaurant, Debbie and David decided to tag along.

That way Khalid got his Schwip Schwap and “the Whities” got to see a regular house in the Old City from the inside.
I think the stairs impressed them the most…. ;)

By the way, did I mention that dinner was on Khalid? :bat:
No, I didn’t, and then it didn’t fit into the text flow anymore.
Well, dinner was on Khalid; thank you again. :)

.

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Wow, my last day already.

Obviously, I packed.
Including what was left over from the salt, pepper and curry I had bought, and the insanely fresh garlic, the latter of which I wrapped into various layers of plastic so it would not be smelled out.

It was a bitter-sweet day of walking around the Old City and thinking about the imminent departure.

In the evening we went into Bab Touma and found ourselves a restaurant that also served alcoholic drinks.
The menue was rather…. short though, and the only drink on it that I actually knew (although it doesn’t exactly range among my favourate ones) was a margarita.

Sooooo we ordered two margaritas. :shifty:
Well, margarita is not really the most palatable of drinks, especially when you’re not in the habit of drinking, so I ended up drinking both of them.
And, no, that was not intentional.

Way too shortly after that we were back at the house, checking if I had packed everything, fetching my stuff and locking the door behind us.
Caesar pocketed the key, so he could give it back to Amer the next day.

Despite the late hour (the plane from Damascus to Istanbul was going to leave at 4:25am) we quickly got a taxi to take us to the airport.

Unfortunately, the driver stopped almost immediately, and practically in the middle of the road - without explaining himself - to hop out and buy himself a glass of tea from a street vendor at the side of the road.
I had totally forgotten about this incident (Repression?), but Caesar reminded me after having read this entry.

Nevertheless we arrived well on time, and as passengers were called to their flights from the main waiting hall, we still had lots of time left to just sit and reflect on the holiday.
When they finally called the passengers of flight 1255 to Istanbul to check-in, at least the bustle of dragging all that luggage over kept us busy enough not to make a spectacle of ourselves and totally burst into tears.
We hugged good-bye, and I went through the gate and checked in my luggage.

.

  1. More on that topic in the “Epilogue” that will follow shortly.
    Yes, shortly, ‘cross my heart and all that. :eh: [back]
  2. i.e. some Brits and Americans [back]
  3. € 1.35 or $ 1.80 [back]
  4. Or grumpily sarcastic? [back]

Trip to Damascus - pt. 4

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

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Finally, the end of the epic travel saga:

Friday, June 8th

I had breakfast, then sat watching “The Piano Player” :yawn: on tv while waiting for Master Caesar.
He - coincidentally - arrived soon after some SMS threats and told me that his family would be moving to another apartment in a few days, and he’d been conscripted for some work connected to that.

I had been doing a bit of reading in my travel guide book and wanted to see the cellar chapel in the house of Ananias.
So we went back into Bab Touma and easily found it, although we had our noses in my book for guidance instead of checking for obvious street signs. ;)
At the gate into the courtyard of St. Ananias’ house Caesar totally surprised me by announcing that I should give him a call when I was done, as he was not allowed to enter there, then he strolled off.

entrance
entrance

The man at the ticket office spoke English, took my entry fee of 25 SP1, asked me where I was from, handed me a glossy pamphlet about the chapel in German and pointed me towards the entrance to the stairs.

way down into chapel
way down into chapel

When I entered, there were a couple of French tourists standing in the main room of the chapel - to the left - obviously getting a guided tour, so I walked straight across into the only other room down there and started trying to take some pictures. Sadly most of them turned out really bad. I suppose I should either buy new, steadier fingers or a tripod if I want to make more photos without using the flash.
Anyway, that room tells the story of Saul, in 30 framed pictures, 15 each to the right and left hand walls:2 from his being struck blind on his journey to Damascus in order to prosecute the Christians there, over his conversion and baptism by Ananias, his flight from Damascus, and all the good he did as Paul in spreading the Word as one of the apostles, to his death as a martyr.
A bit confusing for a westerner was the arrangement of the pictures from right to left.

story of Saul 1
the story of Saul 4-6, 12-16

story of Saul 2
the story of Saul 17-19, 22, 23, 25, 26

Shortly after I was done there and had returned into the main room, the French people were done as well and trooped into the room with the pictures.
The first picture below is rather shaky but I want to give you an overview of the chapel.

the chapel - altar and pews
the chapel - altar and pews

altar
the altar up close

As you can see, there wasn’t really that much to see, so I soon left and climbed the stairs back up again.

exit
exit

I’ve been doing some reading, and it is said that this chapel is in what used to be the cellar of St. Ananias’ house.
Now, presuming they didn’t get the wrong house number, and the house of Ananias was indeed at this spot, the story still has a flaw.
Like so many really old cities Damascus is built on top of Damascus. So if the chapel is in Ananias’ house, it is in, say, his living-room, or his parlour, as most of the old Damascus of that time lies 5m below ground level today. By a stunning coincidence *wink, wink* this happens to be how just deep down the chapel is situated.
Some historians even put forth the theory that the house of Ananias was destroyed and a large Byzantine church built where it had stood, and today’s chapel is what remains of that church, which had been destroyed in part as well.

I stepped out into the searing sun again and informed Caesar that I was done.
As Hananiah Street branches off to the left of Straight Street right in front of Bab Sharqi, I took a few more pictures of the gate. This time from inside the old city wall and in glaring daylight.

Bab Sharqi 1
all 3 gates of Bab Sharqi

Bab Sharqi 2
Bab Sharqi with all of the minaret

street sign
a street sign we spotted then

In the background, on the left side, you can just make out a bit of the arch of the right pedestrians’ gate of Bab Sharqi. So, Hananiah Street was indeed very close.

On the way back we bought some vegetables in Bab Touma and new oil at the store beside my house.
Then Caesar took off to get his stuff from home, as he planned to spend the night at my place.
As you may remember, we had bought bus tickets to Palmyra, :eh: :wait: and the bus was going to leave at 8 am the next morning. The bus station was relatively close to my place, but far away from his.
I cooked the vegetables, had a dinner of first hommus (this time from around where Caesar’s family was staying) and bread as an appetizer, then the cooked food with some bread. That hommus was really good as well. Then I gazed at the tv and waited. ;)
Some time after his arrival I was waiting again, as my host/guide/trash collector depositor/knight in shining armour took off to try and buy another 1l bottle of coke. When he returned - without a small bottle - we watched the Simpsons; then decided to go to bed. I had left my cell phone in my bedroom, so I only then found several mised calls and an SMS from Caesar’s brother. Caesar had not only forgotten his own cell phone back home, but also his passport, which for some cryptic reason bus travellers are required to carry on trips within Syria. So the poor, senile man had to go and fetch it of course.
It was rather late, so I went to bed, but he managed to rouse me when he returned, so I could let him in.

And for those with evil nasty thoughts among my readers: I spent the night in my bed downstairs, while Caesar took one of the sofas upstairs in the living-room. Two closed doors, the kitchen and a dangerous flight of stairs between us. Sounds proper to me.

.

Saturday, June 9th

Surprisingly - after the short night - I heard my alarms, showered, got dressed, and then woke Caesar while making breakfast.
We ate, packed our stuff together and even managed to catch a taxi right in front of the house.

At the bus station Caesar enquired about the bus lane, and after a short wait the bus arrived. Everyone boarded.
The driver checked the passports, handing mine back to me, but keeping Caesar’s. After a while of settling in in our seats and waiting for departure time to arrive, Caesar got called to the front of the bus. His valid passport was not enough ID - for an Iraqi refugee in Syria - to legally board a tourism bus headed out into the desert to historic sites within Syrian borders. They also wanted other papers, including his residence permit. He tried talking to the people at the office inside the bus station, but to no avail. They kicked him off the bus, and thus me too, of course. I was not going to take a trip into the desert all alone in a country where not so many people speak English. Besides, I could hardly just take off and leave Caesar behind at the bus station.
They also refused to refund the money for the tickets. Ok, they hadn’t been expensive - from my tourist point of view - but quite apart from this being the icing on the cake their behaviour really pissed me off on general principle.
I surely don’t remember the dude at the travel agency saying anything about bringing more than just passports.

I wish Caesar had let me make more of a scene; I had the impression they looked somewhat concerned that they had pissed off a western tourist. But he just wanted to get away, which was understandable.
1. Iraqi people who are graceously granted permission to stay within Syria should not go about making scenes at being treated unfairly but are expected to be thankful and humble.
2. The poor man felt like crap for spoiling the trip, as he perceived it, and me ranting loudly about wanting my money back did nothing to cheer him.

As it turned out, Caesar’s residency card had expired and his father had intended to fix that at the Syrian embassy in Iraq - but so far hadn’t done so.3 So no trip for us.

But I am jumping ahead of the tale; I only heard about all that much later when Caesar returned from home.

So first we bought some veggies so that I wouldn’t starve.
One vendor didn’t want to charge us for the garlic because I only took such a ridiculously small amount: only one bulb (yes, one bulb, not one clove ;) ). Ohhhhhhhkay.
Caesar gave him 5SP anyway.

We sat for a while, talking about what had happened that morning, then Caesar went home to discuss paperwork related things with his mother and to catch up on some missed sleep.

While I was cooking lunch I noticed a commotion outside.
A light blue minibus was trying to drive past my house from left to right. It took the driver quite some time of inching back and forth and annoying the heck out of all the people who wanted to drive their cars past in both directions4 until he realized that where regular cars barely fit minibusses do tend to get hopelessly stuck.
He somehow managed to back the bus up into a side street, allowed most of the traffic that had been waiting for him to finish his silly attempt to go past, then he returned whence he had come.

minibus
retreating minibus

I took some photos of the event, but the mosquito netting got in the way in most of them, sent SMSs about it to all and sundry, and returned to my cooking.
Exhausted by the thrilling minibus event and all the work with the cooking, I sat down to have lunch and watched tv and read some until Caesar returned. I felt like booze but by that time it was pretty pointless to go and stare at the closed stores.

We met with Amer to give him the passport copy that he had requested, but then he suddenly said he needed a copy of the visa. Make up your mind, pal!
People who rent out houses should know about tourists and their needs, so we asked him about places that sell booze. He mentioned some square Caesar had no clue how to get to and Bab Touma of course.
We went and made a copy of my visa at the Suq Al Hamadiyya, then hung out at the house for a while until tired Caesar took off to get his beauty sleep.

.

Sunday, June 10th

On Sunday we bought a couple of books, and later a bottle of strawberry liqueur in Bab Touma. 100% artificial colouring, the flavour was ok though.
While traipsing around Bab Touma I aspied a place that offered “Pizza and Pasta” in big red neon letters, which indeed they did have on their menue.
I had a rather huge pizza with green peppers, tomatoes and onions while Caesar had some pasta with a sauce that looked like bolognese.
What was a bit confusing was that this Italian restaurant was playing French music while the walls were decorated with (item 1) a large ad for Scotch whiskey with Sean Connery and (item 2) a tasteless wooden(?) deer head.

The kids of the people at the next table at some point wanted coke, then quickly changed their minds when being told it was a Pepsi place. Clever kids.

After a nice dinner in the ambivalent ambience we strolled back home and tried the liqueur.
Well, that is, I tried the liqueur, while Caesar took mental notes.
At some point I complained to my sister, Mafdet the nasty Kitten, about Caesar’s making fun of me drinking, which led to merry SMSing all around: my sis mock-scolding him for his behaviour and whatnot.

.

  1. Know it by now? No? Ok, still € 0.375 or $ 0.50. [back]
  2. Actually, there’s 16 to the left, with a smaller rendition of picture 3 in a more noble looking frame hung up before (to the right) of picture 1 and only 14 to the left, as number 24 seems to be missing. [back]
  3. So much for leaving official dealings like that to the head of the household. (Which seems to be an Arabic thing.) At times it’d really pay off to get important stuff done yourself. [back]
  4. which of course involved a lot of honking of car horns [back]

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 3 - the surroundings

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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I may have neither the know-how nor the impressive gear that Kik has, but still we have one thing in common: give us a camera and some nature and we’re happy as a pig in the muck, and cavort around, taking pictures of just about anything.

Which we then did.
As you might have guessed.

I tried to narrow it down to a certain type, but did not succeed, so all I can say is that the following pictures show mallow.

pink flowered mallow
pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, zoomed
zoom on pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, closed buds
closed buds of pink flowered mallow

pink flowered mallow, opening bud
opening bud of pink flowered mallow with bug

white flowered mallow
white flowered mallow

Near a pasture I found a patch of white clover (Trifolium repens), which stunned me somewhat:

giant white clover 1
white clover

“Well, yes, that is white clover,” I hear you say. “Seen it, searched for the four-leaved ones, thanks to those never-quite-dying superstitions… But those are all only trefoil, so what’s the big deal, Mel? Don’t get out much, do you?”

“No, no,” says I, “I know my clover. Actually, we have tons of it growing in our lawn, unfortunately.”

“Well, it looks a bit tatty,” you say, trying to be polite.1

Ok, it seems you’ll never guess, so I’ll just show you, ok?

giant white clover 2
OMG, it’s teh giant man-eating clover, ruuuun!!!

*coughs*
Sorry.
Got a bit carried away there.

Anyway, a bit further on we found some normal sized clover, which came as a bit of a relief for me.

normal white clover
normal white clover, with bee

And there was more - albeit less astounding - flora to see:

thistle
thistle

grain
some grain growing wild, with insect

white campion
white campion (Silene latifolia)

But what’s a foray into nature without some buzzing insects?

soldier beetle
soldier beetle, on flowering goutweed, if I am not totally mistaken

Then someone got it all wrong about photos and how they are taken and alighted on the telephoto lens of Kik’s camera…:

common scorpionfly
common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis) being “photogenic”

Let us now get to the point Pandora has already been demanding in part two of my castle posts:
The shy creatures that were on the pasture I mentioned earlier on.

sheep 1
“Bummer, that two-legged creature found our hiding place…”

sheep 2
“… let’s go, Lizzy.”

landscape 1
And last but not least…

landscape 2
… a bit of a view.

P.S.:

baaa
“Who’re you lookin’ at?!?”

.

  1. I can’t help the feeling that this sounds like the type of conversation I might have with Pandora…. [back]

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 2 - the moat and some oddities

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Like any good castle the Kasteel Doorwerth of course has a moat.

bridge
moat, bridge and castle

The most important picture I took, I think:

stick
stick beside the moat

through arch
moat, seen through an arch

water lilies
water lilies

ducks
ducks, in and out of focus

plants
some plants, as seen from a bridge

huh?
Anyone got any idea what those baskets are for?

determined plant
determined plant, clinging to the wall of the moat

ugh
Um, ugh, ok….

Push to call…. the Vikings?!?!? Um, better not….

strange device
strange device at one of the doors

garbage
could be so authentic… except for the plastic….

Kasteel Doorwerth - pt. 1 - the castle and the old tree

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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The day after seeing Disturbed we did not lazily recuperate but drove to a castle that is not very far from Kik’s place: Kasteel Doorwerth.

Dating back to the 13th century (and originally named Kasteel Dorenweerd until around 1800) the castle has been burned and bombed (ahem…) to pieces a few times and has been through the hands of various owners, including German ones through the 17th and 18 century.

These days you can come and gape at the castle and the surrounding landscape, visit a museum situated inside or eat at a restaurant there.
We settled for gaping and snapping photos.

turrets
turrets, as seen over outer wall

court
a view from the inside court

from behind
view from behind

castle gardens
the castle gardens

gate to nowhere
gate to nowhere

Growing inside the the court is a somewhat tattered (*cough, cough*) black locust tree, or false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), which is said to be the oldest one in the Netherlands.
Considering that it was apparently planted in the first half of the 17th century, only shortly after the North American tree was introduced to Europe by the Frenchman J. Robin in 1601, this sounds very likely indeed.

close-up 1 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 1

close-up 2 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 2

close-up 3 Robinia pseudoacacia
close-up 3

Robinia pseudoacacia
false acacia in all its splendor