Looking for otters on the River Mease: November 2016
by Mat Bingham
My next project is to capture images of the otters on my local river, the River Mease. As I see it, there are two challenges with this; to start with I have to find the otters and then I have to convert a camera and lighting system to infra-red (otters cannot see infra-red). The camera will be remotely triggered by an infra-red sensor taking high quality photographs without disturbing them. More on the technical bits in later posts.
Firstly, a bit about the river. The River Mease is a lowland river carving a natural course through farmland sown mainly with barley, wheat and oilseed rape. Supplied by drainage ditches and runoff from the surrounding fields, it is a flashy river which has a tendency to burst its banks. The soil structure is fairly stable, supporting vertical banks that are good nesting habitat for kingfishers. There are stretches where trees of mixed species overhang the river, providing cover for wildlife. The riverbed is approximately one meter below field level where the soil abruptly encounters underlying bedrock. Hollows and bowls in the riverbed vary the flow and depth, supporting good numbers of bullheads and sticklebacks. Historical surveys suggest there are water voles on the river, although I have not seen any to date. (more…)
..In which, as the year comes to its end, our friends and collaborators look back on the past twelve months and share their moments:
Last year was a year I wanted to forget. After my mother died, and the dust had settled on a particularly traumatic summer, my aunt gave me a box of jewellery and make-up that belonged to my mother containing her silver charm bracelet, diamante costume clip-ons, rings, necklaces and cosmetics. She always wore the most expensive types. Her key to looking young was plenty of sleep, no smoking and investment in the best eye shadow money could buy.
It is now 2016, and each day since then I have worn my mother’s make-up. A trace of her on my face. The old powdery mascara has just run out. I cried when I threw it away. I have spent the year clinging to each lost conversation with her, wearing splashes of colour around my eyes that don’t suit me. Cobalt, peppermint and rust. Her eyes on mine. Letting me see through the grief of it all. (more…)
Animal. Vegetable. Mineral. Organising Nature: A Picture Album
(Wellcome Trust, hardback, 112 pages. Out today and available here)
Review by Lara C. Cory
T.S. Eliot understood the profundity of names. In this poem he ponders the naming of cats in an amusing way, but ends his thoughts alluding to the notion of a Name as enigmatic and unknowable:
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess. (more…)
From tomorrow through to the 12th of December, we will be running a series of special offers in the shop.
As well as flash sales, we will have specially-put-together bundles available – containing books, records and other lovely bits and bobs. They’re limited in number, so nab ’em while you can.
Each offer will last only 24 hours – and will appear here.
Over and out.
Stream Of Life
Cold this morning. The first really cold morning of the year. Grey and without edges; mist softened and damp. As I walk outside pheasants greet me, hoping for bird seed. Squirrels, intent on some private business, disappear. The trees are completely bare now, dark sticks against the grey. I walk slowly up our gravel lane, avoiding puddles and sheep muck. The air is just what I need; sharp and harsh and wakeful.
Last night I spoke to a friend in America who said: it’s going to be alright. The energy of a nation in free fall is better than the energy of a nation in endless stasis. This is the jump over the ledge, this, finally, for better or worse, is change. (more…)