Thursday, 4 October 2018

Flying on...

If you left a comment on my last post, this is just to say that I will reply!  I love getting comments and love replying, but also I like to visit your blogs and see what you are up to as well.  I can't quite do it all because I haven't been much at the computer for the last two weeks.  Must admit I do presently feel a bit like Alice being dragged along by the Red Queen in Tenniel's illustration.

I'm not complaining, because it's a good reason for rushing about.  I've suddenly been gripped by a project that pulls together a few aspects of my life, and right now I'm gathering material which will decide its exact final form. As I said last time, I can't really share it just yet, because I'm still putting it together and it might change, but it does involve a bird like this,

and also one like this. I wonder if you can guess what kind of bird it is. 

I did go out to Oxfordshire at the weekend and on the way I looked at the OS map and saw "White Lion" marked. I thought it must be a pub (since "The White Lion" is a common pub name) but if so, couldn't imagine why they had put its name on the OS map, which never usually marks pub names.   Then I saw this,(below) in the vicinity of the village of Whipsnade, and realised it was a chalk figure.

I'd never heard of this lion, but as you might be able to tell by the style,  it is modern - that is, it was built in 1933.  Which counts as modern by chalk figure standards.  It was a clever advertisement for Whipsnade Zoo, as it was then known (it's a branch of the London ZSL Zoo).  The chalk figure lion isn't accessible to the public but I read up about it here and loved the idea of a colony of wallabies living on it - don't you?

Also saw an old windmill. Don't you agree this is a strange place for a windmill, right in the middle of a field when it could be up on the hill?  I've been to working windmills before, one in Holland and one in Lincolnshire, the wonderful Maud Foster Mill in Boston, which I thoroughly recommend if you are in the area. The one below is picturesque but its sails were not turning and I didn't have the chance to pass by and see if it is ever open to the public.

As I walked around I wondered if those were beech nuts or sweet chestnuts I was crunching underfoot, and just deciding they must be beech nuts, when ....

...I realised a lot of insects seemed to be flying around. Mostly they were going in and out of the hole beneath that white stone.   

I suddenly realised the stone was covering a wasp's nest and so I beat a quick retreat, after taking a photo.

I thought it was a rather elegant insect and looked it up in case it was a special sort of wasp, but no, it's only Vespa vulgaris, "common wasp."  It is always worth looking at nature close up, though in the case of wasps, not too close.....


  1. Sounds like you're going to be adventuring!
    We call those horrible bugs "ground wasps" and they can swarm you before you know they're there.

  2. Is it a merlin?

    And a new project ... oooh! Sounds very exciting!

  3. Wasps are not a welcome sight. Bees don't bother me as much
    Glad you're all right.

  4. Your first image says it all!!

  5. Peregrine Falcon comes to mind for the bird.
    Good you got out again and saw the White Lion. Not that I had ever heard of that either. Good advert mind.
    The mill looks well kept from a distance, I wonder if houses stood closer at one time?

  6. Loved it all except for the wasps. I am afraid of wasps and bees. Wasps are nastier. :)

  7. Oh, that feeling of being pulled in so many directions while trying to make plans. Hope the plans work out wonderfully.

    The lion is fascinating, and the last time i got stung by a wasp, i had to have my wedding ring cut off. Needless to say, i am very cautious of the little buggers.

  8. Good Luck on your new project !
    Your photos are wonderful except for the wasps ! I love my Arizona Bees but wasps are not a favorite. Plus I am allergic.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

  9. Beech nuts, no doubt about it. I must have eaten tons of it as a child - every time we went to the woods (which we often did with our parents on weekends) this time of year, I'd collect and eat as many as I could.
    Your project sounds intriguing! The bird could be some sort of falcon, a kestrel? Or maybe a Red Milan?

  10. Somehow I accidentally deleted my initial comment, so I'll try again.

    I have always loved the Tenniel Alice illustrations. They are true classics.
    As for the photo of the bird - I admittedly don't know much about our feathered friends, but my uneducated guess is that it's some type of a falcon.

    I really like the white lion. I visited the website and was surprised to see that it's illuminated at night.
    I've never seen a wasp nest under a stone before (it's a good thing you didn't manage to disturb them!). That wasp looks a lot different than the ones around my house here in Tennessee. The local ones here are much thinner.

  11. The bird looks a bit like a Kestrel - good luck with your new project- I shall look forward to learning more about it in due course.

  12. The bird looks like a falcon, to me...but I'm probably wrong. Perhaps, if it isn't a falcon, it's a close relative....maybe a kestrel....

    I, too, make a hasty retreat when I come across wasps. Nasty little critters...I don't like them...and the feeling is mutual. :)

  13. England is so interesting. We are currently reading Bryson's latest, On the Road to Little Dribbling, or something like that. Last night we read of the greenbelt around London.

  14. You sound so happy about your new project and I wish you the best of luck with that.

    I have never really appreciated the beauty of the wasp, as I have been on the other end of their elegance too many times.

  15. Lovely Tenniel's illustration, Jenny. I love reading Lewis Carrol's books. And as older I'm the most interesting books are for me. The bees are not as kind and nice as some people think. This summer I have found two large bee's nests under the cottage roof. It wasn't the pleasure to see them flying around food, meals, head etc. Be careful meeting them anywhere.

  16. Hello Jenny, The last time I was stung by a wasp was a couple of years ago at a large rummage sale. The people running the sale said, "Oh, we get stung all the time" which seemed like a rather blasé attitude, as well as a good way to scare away customers.

  17. That White Lion is really cool looking. Yeah, you don't want to mess with wasps for sure.

  18. Oh wow...I am scared of wasps, glad you made a safe and quick retreat!

    I just love your header photo,how bright and beautiful.😂

  19. It's good to have a few projects on the go. Or just one. :-)

    Have a great weekend.

  20. A lovely walk, it still awfully hot here to want to roam about outside. We'll probably go from summer to winter.

  21. You do provide some excellent posts, Jenny. Wondering about the bird... is t a kestrel?

  22. You were very lucky to take a wasp photo.
    I love an illustration of Alice with birds, too. I wish I could meet a dodo.

  23. Those are called yellow jackets here. They are mean! Those suckers will come after you as a group if you disturb them.

  24. I grew up close to the Cerne Abbas Giant, Jenny, and I love these chalk figures. The Lion is magnificent! Those are beautiful vistas you had there too. I like the Windmill as well, although it is quite an odd place to put it, I agree. And yes. Beware of wasps in holes in the ground! I've had them in my tiny garden in the past and they were quite vicious to my poor dog.

  25. I've no idea what that bird is, but then my knowledge of birds is pathetically small.

    We have a functioning windmill at Ballycopeland in County Down. It fell into disrepair during WW1 but has now been fully restored and welcomes visitors.

    A good job you spotted the wasps nest and retreated before they took a liking to you!

  26. I'm no bird expert but I'm thinking falcon??

  27. This looks like such a beautiful hike. I always enjoyed walking the English countryside whenever I was there. I don't know what kind of bird it is, some kind of hawk I assume, but I have no idea - I am not very familiar with the birds in Britain. But it's beautiful - an amazing shot!

  28. Life can be a bit like being pulled down a rabbit hole, at least it makes things more intereasting! Great post.

  29. Count me among those who think the bird is a kestrel. We have a pair of them living near our house and I often try to get a picture of them.

    Your project sounds intriguing - now you have me all curious. Can't wait for you to reveal what it is all about!

  30. Whipsnade is the first Zoo I can recall visiting when I was a small child.

    I've an interest in birds and birds of prey but photos can be deceptive and it's difficult to tell the size. It is similar to a female kestrel but for the fact that a kestrel has a yellow rim to its eye and yellow legs and that does not appear to have either. Added to that the breast markings are not right either. It's the wrong colour for a peregrine. The markings are not right for a sparrowhawk nor for a merlin nor a hobby. The only raptor in Alice was an Eaglet (I think) and it's not an Eaglet. Without access to my books (I'm away at the moment) and without doing some research I'm at a loss - which disappoints me. I wish I hadn't started on that, I really do.

    1. That is a very interesting post and the reason you have not identified it is that it is extremely rare. I have posted about it today though. I hope you were away somewhere nice. I am about to go blog visiting.

  31. Hi Jenny, finally catching up with you!
    You've found lots of things but so glad you beat a retreat with that wasp's nest. We had some near the house and they're terrible!
    I was intrigued by the lion on the hill. Cheers, Sue :D)

  32. Splendid hike jenny!

    i can imagine the fresh air taking in your lungs :)

    yes windmill would be rather good on hill i agree

    this white lion symbol looks fascinating

  33. Yikes! Glad you beat it out of there before the wasps. That would have been a bit of a total freak out! (And I loved the idea of the windmill out there!)


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