Friday, 1 January 2021
The inedible fungus Daldinia concentrica is known by several common names, including King Alfred's cake, cramp balls, and coal fungus. I have never seen this fungi before. King Alfred’s cakes are named after the king’s poor baking skills. I remembered this story from my Junior days but never imagine I would see King Alfred's cakes!
This fungi does rot away quickly but can remain on deadwood for years and is probably why I found it in this ancient wood.
Gills/spores: inside, the flesh is hard and a cross-section shows concentric zones of grey and black. Spores are released from the outer surface of the fungus through perithecia (small beak-like holes), leaving a darker area on the surrounding wood. Cells inside the fruit body eject the spores beyond the edge of the stroma, leaving a black spore print up to 3cm wide around the fungus.
Cap: round or cushion-shaped, 2–10 cm across and formally referred to as stroma. Matt, pinkish-brown when young, becoming black and shiny with a ‘burnt’ appearance as they age. The outer shell cracks easily.
Thursday, 31 December 2020
Temperatures had dropped to minus 3 degrees and there was a mist. We ventured to Hardwick Wood, an ancient woodland full of magic. The soft mud had hardened with the chill and the pond was visible. The wood looked beautiful in the mist. Most photographers would understand the frustration of not having a lens they felt would be wonderful to use. I missed my macro lens. On the way many trees branches hung in the mist showing the shape of the tree's skeleton. I took many images with my 24 - 70 mm lens
Friday, 25 December 2020
Christmas has been very different for everyone this year and many have spent it alone as I did. I decided to make a sandwich and a flask of tea and set off to Wixham on the Norfolk coast. The SatNav took me through Winterton and Horsey before reaching Wixham when the heavens opened and heavy rain descended. It was a chance to eat the sandwich before walking to the beach. It was cold and there were a few dog-walkers and families. I saw one cow and pup seal and a bull hanging around in wait. Several young bulls tried to swim ashore but the bull on the shore soon made them unwelcome. I had hoped for some sanderlings, and a variety of gulls but I had to be satisfied with a Herring Gull who was standing on one leg near the seals looking like an opportunist.
I was lucky to have a glimpse of Horsey Windpump in the sunlight before the rain. The present structure was built in 1912 on the foundations of the 18th-century Horsey Black Mill. The windpump was working until it was struck by lightning in 1943. It was acquired by the National Trust in 1948 from the Buxton Family who still manage the Horsey estate, emphasising nature conservation. Because of this, the estate has become an internationally important wildlife site. The windpump looked in great condition after a resent refurb.
Thursday, 17 December 2020
Viroconium or Uriconium, formally Viroconium Cornoviorum, was a Roman town, one corner of which is now occupied by Wroxeter, a small village in Shropshire, England, about 5 miles (8.0 km) east-south-east of Shrewsbury. At its peak, Viroconium is estimated to have been the 4th-largest Roman settlement in Britain, a civitas with a population of more than 15,000. The settlement probably lasted until the end of the 7th century or the beginning of the 8th. Extensive remains can still be seen.
I stopped on my way home as the sun was coming up and captured this image.
Monday, 7 December 2020
It was cold and foggy but the forecast stressed fog would lift at the coast so off we went! The beach was inhabited by a few fishermen earnestly trying to catch Whiting but not having a great deal of luck. The sun strained through the fog occasionally casting light on the sea. Someone came out of one of the cottages and raised the Union Jack on the flag pole and a little later someone else raised another blue and white flag.