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Happy Gorgeous Green Thursday... I guess I am making my watermarks more and more visible as another image of mine was seen on a girl's site (along with two of Shana Rae's)...she has since been removed from Flickr..but ya know how it goes..they can just come back using a different name, etc. but point being..I really should just place the watermark right across the "meat" of the image..making it somewhat more difficult to remove...but still easy enough to clone over etc. I've had to do it on some of my own older pics of mine..that I had not saved as a layer version but didn't want to re-open original file to start over. Well..there's not much else you can do .. I have reduced the image size to 72 ppi and approx. 11 x 9 size..instead of when I used to upload full res. images..

 

A Big thanks to Teresa for finding mine and Shana's images on that woman's site yesterday...;-D

 

**please visit my profile page for links to my new website and blog!!!****

 

Explore Front Page and #31...thanks everyone for your gr8 comments, visits, faves and ideas here! ;-D

 

While your awards, comments, visits and faves are very much appreciated....Please NO MULTIPLE INVITES or GLITTERY graphics!!!

~Roger Miller

 

Last Blast of Color: Since I'm going colorless for the entire month of April, I thought I'd post one more bokeh bloom featuring some out-of-this-world color. And you know these are San Fran flowers, because they brought hats in case of rain. :)

 

Cool Thing of the Day: There's a new weekly series, "From The Edge", premiering tonight on The Weather Channel (yes, TWC) featuring acclaimed fine art landscape photographer Peter Lik as he travels the world capturing the most amazing shots. Finally a show for us. :)

 

Press "L" for large

Press "F" for fav (but only if you want to)

 

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube

Aperture: f/4.5

Focal Length: 50mm

ISO Speed: 100

Lighting: Ambient

Polarizer/Filter: None

Exposure: 1/100

RAW File Processing: Lightroom 3

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

© Steven Brisson. Do not use without permission.

twitter | facebook | tumblr | stevenbrisson.com

Highest position in Explore # 1 & Featured at Explore Front Page on 21st Aug'09

 

The shot was taken from one of the highest points of Bavarian mountains located at Austrian & German border. It was so high you have walk through passing clouds and chilly wind.

In just another 5 mins entire place was covered with clouds and visibility was zero. On the right hand bottom of the image you can see the clouds just coming in.

 

This is from my archives, processed single RAW file straight from the camera other than slightly tweaking curves in photoshop.

 

Trivia

The Kehlsteinhaus (also known as the Eagle's Nest), is a chalet-style building which when built was an extension of the Obersalzberg complex built by the Nazis in the German Alps near Berchtesgaden. The Kehlsteinhaus was an official 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler. Nicknamed Eagle's Nest by a French diplomat, it was meant to be a retreat for Hitler and a place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.

 

RedBubble I Imagekind

Explore #12..thank you everyone! Apparently front page too..overnight..no ss!

 

So I guess this works for Scarlet and Sunshine Sundays! .. thanks to all for suggestions and ideas from yesterday...I believe the problems I was seeing in the background of the picture were more than likely due to using the EF12 Extension tube..and some settings I had in the camera..I did go to the dealer yesterday afternoon and we had a nice chat and he changed some settings for me..Don't ask me what ..I should have written it down..he also suggested I start processing the raw files using the Canon software instead of ACDSee and then editing in Photoshop instead of Paint shop pro..he said that perhaps since these file size are so huge and contain so much information, that maybe Paint Shop Pro can't handle all that information, etc...so I did process this raw file using Canon software..but the version of Photoshop I have is 1st CS version (or PS v.8, I think)...so i opened there and in Paint Shop Pro and really didn't see any difference..so unless I upgrade somehow to latest PS, I will use my beloved PSP for now! ;-D I do know how to use PS kinda..but it is so much more complicated than PSP...where will I find time to learn that now!!! ;-D

 

Wishing everyone a gr8 Scarlet and Sunshine Sunday ... this shot BTW is practically SOOC..I changed the white balance in order to get rid of the yellowish cast caused by indoor lighting...cropped, added watermark..removed noise...this one didn't even have that much noise for 400 ISO..but used my Nik Define 2.0 filter anyway...old habits are hard to kick! ;-D

 

Bokeh in the Drop

 

Please NO MULTIPLE INVITES or GLITTERY graphics!!!

The shot was taken from one of the highest points of Bavarian mountains located at Austrian & German border. It was so high you have walk through passing clouds and chilly wind.

In just another 5 mins entire place was covered with clouds and visibility was zero. On the right hand bottom of the image you can see the clouds just coming in.

 

This is single RAW file straight from the camera other than slightly tweaking curves in photoshop.

 

Trivia

The Kehlsteinhaus (also known as the Eagle's Nest), is a chalet-style building which when built was an extension of the Obersalzberg complex built by the Nazis in the German Alps near Berchtesgaden. The Kehlsteinhaus was an official 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler. Nicknamed Eagle's Nest by a French diplomat, it was meant to be a retreat for Hitler and a place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.

 

RedBubble I Imagekind

Quick Summary (for those with little time):

 

Thanks to fast AF and excellent out-of-camera colour the V1 will allow you to take some nice vacation and family photos without needing to spend 2 hours reading user manual. LCD is great and EVF is nice enough (irreplaceable in bright light). Great battery time too. Keep the ISO low and you will get some very detailed photos that will give you some great prints. I would strongly suggest reading the review from Steve Huff to get better impression what these camera can deliver. In my opinion the V1 gives the user a very good balance of simplicity & performance & price (as of late 2013) as well as IQ & size & weight.

 

Versus larger formats:

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that smaller sensor is not going to deliver the same technical image quality as a larger one - in particular in term of colour depth, noise and

 

Now onto the full review:

 

Nikon V1 is no news since a while. When it entered the market more than 2 years ago it was seen as an overpriced and under performing camera that nobody should buy. At least to those that have never used one. I myself found next to no interest in the system at the time either. Only once the already mentioned review from Steve Huff was published I started to take the V1 more seriously. And yes - the camera body for around 700€ was overpriced at the time.

 

With time (and once V2 was introduced) the price of the V1 sank considerably and also positive reports started started to pop. I myself needed some small, fast and easy to use digital camera and after looking into options I made a sensible choice and went with the V1. I have actually surprised myself too as the camera I was considering was Olympus OMD E-M1 - at the time announced, but not on the market. There is no questions that E-M1 is in many (most?) ways a better camera, but it should be for about 4x the price.

 

I have used the camera since few months now with the 10 and 18.5 lenses - and recently also with the 30-110 and the SB-N7 flash and those are the items that I would like to mention briefly here.

 

So - what is the V1 and what it is not. First of all - the sensor. 1" sensor is already known from Sony in their great RX100 (though with 20 Mpix). Performance wise (dynamic range, noise) is is below current m43 like OM-D or E-P5, but that should be no surprise. It still delivers solid performance, and, what I consider very important, V1 allows you to turn off the noise reduction and so your ISO 1600 photos will be still very detailed (albeit a bit grainy).

 

On the megapixel count. It is 'only' 10 and that is GOOD. Cramping more on sensor this small would be of little advantage. Thanks to very sharp lenses these 10 Mpix have great detail and should give great A3 prints at low ISO (I am yet to print some photos from my V1)

 

The camera itself - I would describe it as professional point&shot. The main reason is the lack of controls and also the relatively low level of customisation (menus). The only control wheel (on top of the 4-way standard one) there is the scene selector which is unfortunately very easy to turn, so one quickly learns to check its position before bringing the camera to you eye. Another reason to call the V1 a pro P&S is, that it works best in the 'P' mode. But more on that later.

 

Last but not least - the EVF. The EVF is not WYSIWYG - it adjusts automatically and the output (image you take) may look differently than what you saw in the EVF when you pushed the button. This is however a big issue if you plan on using 3rd party lenses via adapter. I have briefly had one to mount Minolta AF lenses. The camera offers only manual mode and because of the way the EVF behaves - you have no idea whether you will overexpose or underexpose - photo looks always the same in the EVF - irrespective of the aperture and shutter setting. I assume it is different with the Nikon F lenses as the adapter is more clever.

 

Resolution wise and contrast wise the EVF is behind current offerings, but it is perfectly usable and takes very little space on the camera. I find myself using it about 50% of the time. Contrary to the EVF the LCD is sharp, detailed and very fluid. There is nearly no lag.

 

When it comes to construction the camera is very robust (and feels 'dense' in your hand). The surface finish is very nice, but still given the shape of the camera it is not particularly nice to hold. I got the stick-on grip from Richard Franiec and it improves the handling considerably. Only downside is that it could have been less slippery.

 

In P mode the camera will not hesitate to select the widest aperture to keep the shutter speed reasonable (close to 1/f) and to keep the ISO as low as possible. However for some reason - once you enter the 'A' mode (aperture priority) the camera will push the ISO even mode down what often results in shutter speeds too low to handhold. This was a known 'feature' (bug, actually) already when I was buying the camera, but it affects me very little, since the camera does so well in P (and I use it as pro P&S anyway).

 

JPG versus NEF:

There is no bad news here. Jpegs are nicely detailed - in particular if you turn off noise reductio. Since the automatic white balance is really robust, you just point and shoot - I find that rarely I need to use the exposure compensation. When wring with the NEF files I can only say that I am not very impressed with what included Nikon software - View NX has to offer. Since I have recently got Lightroom 5 I gave it a try. You get even a bit more detail and if needed you can recover some highlights - I think that there is about a stop or so (no scientific assessment) which sometimes held. Indeed - large sensor camera would offer you more headroom, but there is still something you can do. But the message here is - the JPGs are so good that you will rarely need to mess around with NEF files what takes time and some decent software.

 

Since the above paragraphs do not sound all too great - what are actually the strong points of the V1? That is easy:

The strong points:

- Fast AF

- Very good video quality (get stabilised lenses for that)

- Excellent color - and I mean EXCELLENT - also with fill-in flash

- Size. If you really need not only compact camera, but also the lenses - the V1 will get you there. The camera with 10 and 18.5 lenses will fit any day bag you have. The 30-110 is really small too if you need a longer lens. The flash is tiny.

- Very good price-to-performance. The V1 with 10 and 18.5 lenses costs around 500€ in Germany - that is a great deal in my opinion.

 

And now for the weak points:

- Lack of manual controls - very little can be done without entering the menu.

- Lack of distortion correction (for JPEGs) - this should really be there. Both 10 and 18.5 have visible barrel distortion and it just costs too much time to remove it with 3rd party software - even if not necessary for every shot.

- The aforementioned behaviour of the A mode.

- Nikon View NX software is nothing to write home about. I am about to start using Lightroom 5 and will try to compare the RAW conversion of both softwares.

 

Now a few words about some of the lenses and accessories.

 

10/2.8

- sharp from wide open

- very compact - fits the body very well

- mild barrel distortion

 

18.5/1.8

- very sharp from wide open

- not as compact as the 10mm, but still small and very lightweight

- surprising amount of barrel distortion. I guess Nikon was trying to save on more complicated design.

- very little CA (this is good :) )

 

30-110/3.5-5.6 - yes - it is a slow lens, but ..

- it is excellent from wide open

- it is very small

- the stabilisation works very well - I had no problem to get a perfectly sharp photo at 1/60 seconds at the full extension (equivalent of 300 mm on full frame).

- comes with lens hood that can be attached in reversed position to save space and the lens cap does not need to be removed when the hood is being mounted or unmounted. This is a little details that counts.

 

SB-N7 flash

This is a little great guy. A bit smaller than a pack of cigarets, operates with 2xAAA. The head swivels from 0deg (pointing towards the subject) to 120deg what allows to bounce the flash off the ceiling even if you point the camera down (photographing a child or a pet on a floor). It allows you to make some really nice portraits or interior low-light shots. There are several different flash setting on the V1 - even a second curtain synchronisation for some creative effects. The flash locks into the hot shoe so you do not need to worry about loosing it.

 

There are of course other lenses available - in particular the wide angle zoom 6.7-13 and the portrait tele 32/1.2 seem to be great lenses. But there are still white spaces in the lens lineup - in particular a dedicated macro lens - something like 42/2.8 is missing (and I think that V1 would make a great macro camera).

 

Hope this short write-up will help some of you.

 

If you have any questions about the V1 just ask :)

 

Regards, Matus

Some of you might already know what I do, if not; I design tooling that is used to make the little semiconductor chips that makes our modern electronics work... and soooo I grabbed a handful of old test pieces and played with my new off-camera flash stuff.

 

Here's the deal:

-Pile of old work stuff

-Two coated pieces of optical glass, one mirrored

-One plastic rainbow colored slinky

-One cheap ass flash

-One cheap ass radio flash transmitter and receiver

-33” umbrella, stand and bracket

Set-up:

-Flash upper right

-Slinky in the back

-Glass below

-Whiskey in one hand, camera in the other

-Close eyes and push the shutter release, repeat 99 times

Aftermath:

-Open files, delete 99%

-Post whatever is left to Flickr

-Go back to watching shark week on the Discovery channel :-)

 

Big on black slideshow

 

This photo is FREE for PERSONAL use

Creative Commons license

Furano is called Belly Button city of Hokaido and it is near center of the island.

 

Furano was beautiful, everything was frozen in Furano everything was so beautifully white.

 

The village itself was like a huge skate rink.

 

Is the Sony FE system actually becoming the true dominant player in this game?

 

My long time A mount friend wrote me below:

"Had some fun kicking little A7R2 around at a camera store yesterday. As I suspected all along,it was too small in my hands. starting with the 70 mm kit lens, my left hand cradling the lens with my right hand attempts to access the controls and buttons. They wasted precious space on this huge 1/2 inch exposure compensation knob which tells me that the design was poorly thought out. Does anyone use exposure compensation? why? I have a few of the older cybershots that I use for editorial photos and reports and the controls architecture is a marriage of pocket camera and DSLR with pocket camera winning out. We adapted the 16-50 mm A77 kit zoom on it via the very substantial annoying adapter and my left hand still interfered with my right hand. Yes,I felt like I was pinching my hands together and about to stick something in my eye. When we opened the body to change lenses, I could not help but notice how exposed the FF sensor is with the lens off. Count on dirty sensors and damage caused by incidental contact. Later we put the huge Sony lens PZ 28-135mm f4 G, on this tiny little camera. It is a magnificent lens and probably well worth the 2500 US price tag. I was immediately embarrassed because I tried to turn the zoom to watch the lens extend. Not this lens,all extensions are internally done. There is a toggle switch W-T just like the little pocket camera Cybershot W100. Think about that for awhile when you imagine zooming in while video taping. Not too much fine control there.......The lens is impressive, but it seems as though manual control is a thing of the past.I am absolutely sure that Sony has the electronics right, but human interface? Doubt it. No A7R2 in my future."

Interesting opinion but I 'd say he(Mike) is very biased against A7 series, do not know anything about its design concept but he speaks about it harshly from the typical die-hard SLR type camera user point of view.

I , for one, love the dedicated EV compensation dial and ISO dial of the A7M2 and A7R2, I often use it and believe or not it is the fastest way to shoot in lowlight because you do not actually see the button and push it down to turn the dial to change EV value or ISO value, Nikon and Sony A mount cameras always require two step controls to change EV value or ISO value, which I hate. The dedicated dial on the A7R, A7 , A7M2 and A7R2 is much wiser and efficient way to change it, and if you know the Sony well, you should know that you can just use the control wheel as ISO dial as many A7 shooters do it.

He obviously did not know anything about it but felt compelled to put harsh nasty critical comment on it. This shows his insecurity, I guess he is now nervous about his doomed A mount system, so feel compelled to bash the A7/R and S.

He continued as below:

"Just like CaNikon answered Minolta AF tech within two years, and dominated afterwards, I will wait for them to answer Sony temporary E-Mount fad. Anybody who thinks CaNikon, and the huge field of other players, is sitting on their laurels is sadly in a worse state of denial than A-Mount users will ever be.

I think we all agree that the so-called " E mount success"does not go unnoticed by the competition. Neither does third party support for EMount. The competition, as always, will answer, with even more useful solutions. And if history is to be trusted, Sony will abandon E-mount at the first sign of any serious competition... EMount will be filed in the Sony archives alongside betamax, BMG rootkit, UMD, Minidisc, Memory Stick, Playstation, ATRAC, etc... AMount...In the meantime, until the competition answers, I will enjoy my AMount gear for the final few years it will serve me. At worst, I'll still be capable of adapting all my glass to whatever incarnation EMount can adapt to in a few years, after it matures to the degree that it actually becomes AMount reboot. At best, the competition will provide more useable solutions that take Sony's tech porn to the next level that our photographic enthusiasm deserves. A perfect world will see Minolta or some other smart player purchase AMount away from Sony, and leverage the most loyal user community to their advantage."

Well, I think Mike is too negative about Sony and the E mount as I was but he is even more negative about it since he obviously thinks the Emount will be abandoned soon as first serious rival announced. I personally do not agree with his view on the future of the E mount or A mount at all, the E, at least FE is already a serious system and will not be abandoned or neglected anytime soon. So he seems to be a bit too paranoid about it.

And as opposed to what he says about Playstation, it is still popular and still the dominant player of that sort of game consoles, the PS4 was actually a big success for Sony. So his logic fails miserably here.

Honestly, I've been hearing this Canon Nikon taking over the mirrorless market with their hidden secret weapon kind of thoughts for about 6 years now, ever since it became evident that the original Oly PEN was the start of something greater. It has yet to even come vaguely close to passing. Instead the almighty Canikon have given us the 1 V3 and the M10/M3. First it was, oh Canikon are just waiting to see what the market actually wants before making a move. Now it's, oh Canikon are just testing the waters and this isn't their REAL effort. I used to agree with them on this,and as they seem to have thought , I also thought Canon Nikon would eventually take over the market with better real life usability and better brand recognition in this business than Sony. But it has never happened, so now I personally think Canon Nikon cannot do it not choose not do it now.

That's not even starting on the compact ILC video market. Canon has declared that the C100 is their (excellent) entry level video product, with begrudging allowances for the 5D3 and total disinterest in prosumer 4K. Nikon seems a little bit more serious about consumer video as seen in the D500 and D5, but they are still way behind Sony, Panasonic and Samsung. The D500 so-called 4k is not really 4k, it is UHD and only when it shoot near 4k UHD resolution is in crop in crop mode. So there is no real wide lens for it when it is used as a 4k camera. As a cheap 4k capable stills camera I will take my A7S or Panasonic GX8 any day over it or the over-hyped Canon EOSC300MK2,which costs more than 11k. Even before that, I think I have had a Sony FS7,which beats all of the above mentioned cameras with regards to video features.

Sorry but those waiting for Canikon to take over the mirrorless market are living in a fantasy world. They've chosen their horse. Sony tried to assault the DSLR duopoly and it failed miserably, so A mount is on the way out and Canikon see only each other as threats. E mount is succeeding beyond Sony's hopes, so that's where the effort is, and the group of the extreme Minolta fanatics who tend to think Minolta was doing everything better than Sony is in every single way in this business is really becoming a big nuisance for Sony. I think the real reason behind why Sony is not serious about the A mount any more is that Sony does want to POLITELY ask the Minolta fanatics like my friend Mike to leave Sony alone, and in order to do this , or even the easiest way to do this is to abandon or neglect the A mount system. Who do you think want to keep old Minolta farts that only complain whatever step Sony take and pan about it in comparison to what imaginary Minolta might do or might have done logic, who actually abandoned the A mount that they loved so much about after neglected it for 4 long years? It is Minolata or Konica-Minolta, definitely not Sony or Panasonic that the A mount guys seem to really despise.

By now, I am already very sure they will always complain about whatever Sony or anyone else does unless it does say Minolta.

In any rational sense of view, the F E system is already a good system, if not the best for many non-action shooters. It has a good set of lenses and it is the only one Mirrorless system (other than the m43)to already have good range of speedlite products. I know then CanonNikon or A mount guys say there aren't enough lenses yet, maybe, but then I will ask them how many lenses do they or can they actually carry on them everytime they go out of their house ? and do they really need to change lenses every few seconds or so? Honestly, it is not safe to change lenses in the field or dusty city area, I do it only when I must do it to get the image. When I was shooting Nikon or Canon I used to carry 4/5 lenses with me all the time, but now I just use 3 lenses and often never change lenses in the field because I can easily carry 2 A7Xcameras with 2 different lenses. I often mount my FE 90 mm f2.8 or FE 55 on my older A7M2 and my 24-70 mm f4 zoom on my newer A7M2 or A7R or A7S, shooting this way really almost eliminates annoying lens changes out side of my house or studio.

I think the quantity of lenses is not very important but the quality is, and the all FE lenses are actually quite good, even the really harshly panned FE 24-70 mm f4 is not a bad lens, just not a great lens. The FE 55 f1.8 is incredibly sharp, small and light, with good contra light performance. The FE35 mm f2.8 is not as good as the FE 55 or the Batis 85 mm but cheap and sharp across the FF from f3.2.

The FE70-200 mm f4 G is not the best in the class (the Nikon is better), but it at least comes with the very usable tripod collar,which Canon and Nikon force you to buy separately. It is optically a very decent lens with very good anti flare coating, just not the sharpest 70-200 mm at 200 mm f4 setting, it is actually a slightly sharper lens than the Sony A mount 70-200 mm f2.8 G.

The FE35mm f1.4 is an incredible lens if you get a good copy, but I was out of luck here and I gave up on this one. But if Sony improves its QC on this lens, I will get it again.

The FE 28 mm f2 is not a great lens but a decent lens for what it is designed to do(snap and travel).

The Loxia 21 mm f2.8 is an incredible lens, sharp as it gets and it is very very compact and reliable, tactile MF ring makes it the best wide angle for video use.

Now, Sony even has an excellent quality f2.8 G Master series zooms. I expect the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G master lens is sharper than the new Nikon AFS24-70 mm f2.8 G VR, but at the same time, it seems fatter and a bit heavier than the Nikon. The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G master lens is overpriced, it will cost almost 3k, it will be sharp and great lens for sure but heavier than the same class Canon zoom, almost as heavy and as long as the Nikon VR2 70-200 mm f2.8, which is not a great lens optically compared to the new Sony or the Canon.

 

So unless you do really need a set of TS primes or super bright f1.2 primes or long zooms like Canon or Nikon 200-400 or 200-500 f5.6 zoom, there is no reason to choose Canon Nikon or Sony A mount over Sony FE for any sort of lens related reasons any more.

But if you use LV remote on tripod type of shooting tech often like me, you may have the infamous battery issue with the Sony. But honestly, it will be solved with the new A7M3 series ,which will have a bit bigger body with a bit more powerful battery(the same tiny battery but more powerful new design). Sony has just developed a new battery tech that extends battery life on charge of tiny Li-ion battery for the FE camera dramatically(Sony says about 75 percent better longer battery life on a charge), and I think it will be used from next generation A7M3 series.

This is one of a few reasons why I cannot wait to see the A7M3 and I have decided to pass the A7R2 and the A7S2 this round. That means I must stick with my old ancient A7M2 for several more months but if the MK3 gets longer battery life on a charge, it will be an ideal camera for me. I think only one down side of FF mirrorless design is that it will definitely increase sensor heat noise and high ISO glow noise compared to non-LV cameras use the same sensor. And, I kind of understand why Sony did not allow us to use uncompressed RAW in their A7X cameras from the start, because it shows how noisy it actually is without significant IQ improvement over the heavily compressed 11-7 RAW.

It was a huge disappointment. And I still have a bit bitter taste left in my mind because of the poor read noise performance of the A7M2 I had to add a Nikon to my kit. I wished I hadn't had to do it.

UPDATE: Now, Sony FE system get the new line of high end G master series lenses, and it is a contraversial lens series. But I see its messege clearly that they are saying Zeiss is no longer considered to be high end by Sony, and Sony will grow their own lens brand that will beat up Zeiss hands down.

As all of us who actually saw the G master lenses almready know they are huge, heavy and well(extremely) built lenses, and probably sharp as they get,but is this lens line what many of us Sony FE users actually wanted in this Sony pre CP+ announcement? I don't know but for me they are not the kind of lenses I wanted to see this round from Sony, I really wanted to see a new series of TS lenses introduced and Sony's own f1.8 primes introduced. I wanted Sony to go lighter not heavier with this iteration and make the system a bit more reasonably priced. But unlike the Zeiss Batis lenses, the new f2.8 GM zooms seem promising in terms of IQ and BQ, the new 24-70 f2.8 is built like a tank, the 85 mm f1.4 GM is superb , sharp even at f1.4 with better color tone(subjective) than the big warm color tone of the Batis, and therefore justifies the high premium over the poorly made extremely fragile Batis 85 mm f1.8.

Now I see many almost unused mint 85 mm f1.8 Batis lenses and we are having many many guys trading in the Batis for the new GM85 mm f1.4 evey day here.

I expect the Batis price goes down significantly and if you want to sell it like I do, you may wnat to do it now. Personally, I feel the 24-70 mm f2.8 GM is a bit too oversized for my tiny A7M2 or A6300, and I do not like it but those who are shooting the Canon 24-70 mm L 2 on their A7M2 or R2 may get interested in this lens since it eliminates the annoying adapter connection, and it is actually equally sharp or a bit better than the Canon 24-70 mm f2.8 L2, and the new Sony 24-70 mm f2.8 GM is a much better lens than the overpriced Nikon Af-S24-70 mm f2.8 E VR2. The 70-200 mm f2.8 GM will cost about 3k US, and as such I must say it is one of the most overpriced lenses ever, I guess the Tamron 70-200 mm f2.8 VC with an A mount adapter is a bit better more logical choice here..

But I think this shows a big progress because it proves that Sony can design a great lens that beats Zeiss, Canon and Nikon hands down. Actually, the FE 55 f1.8 already showed it but many many people still accounted all greatness of that remarkable lens to Zeiss, but now the GM series has no silly Zeiss badge and I welcome that.

 

View On Black

 

That's it. One image every day for all of 2009. Strangely, my 365 is more like 501. I blame my indecision on some days. But wow, so cool! I don't often get to tackle huge projects. Definitely not outside of work and not since college. It's a great feeling to look back at all the hard work. So to wrap up:

 

Why did you start the project?

 

I'd owned an SLR for almost 10 years, but hadn't really used it consistently. I didn't even learn the basics of photography until early 2008. With the free time I found myself with at the end of 2008, I needed something to keep me going. I decided it was finally time to justify my purchase. Also, I'd always tinkered with the basics of Photoshop, but I didn't really know how to use it to enhance or, in some cases, overhaul a picture. So my goal became to generate one image, self-portrait or not, every day for one year.

 

What did you learn?

 

So much. So so much. I started out just trying to get a handle on aperture and shutter speed. Between that and my trusty Scott Kelby Photoshop book, I took part of the year just covering the basics. I then learned about non-destructive editing, light photography, intentional bokeh, and HDR. About a third through the year, I bought a new lens to get a wider aperature range. I then learned about overlaying textures, reverse macro photography and photoshop actions. About two-thirds through the year, I got an external flash and started learning the strobist thing with light stands and umbrellas. I got more ambitious (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse) with Photoshop and started adding more obvious effects. I got a better handle on using the 50mm lens, and the strobes at the same time as tinkering with Fractalius, compositing images, and doing color overlays. But overall, most of what I learned was from watching others' Flickr streams and using that for both inspiration and motivation. Every time I felt I reached a new plateau, I was pushed to go further by the infinite awesomeness that is the rest of Flickr.

 

What worked well?

 

First off, absolutely essential to the year was the Nikon remote my mom got me for Christmas 2008. Then also was the Wacom tablet I got about halfway through the year. Then also the strobe I bought helped a ton because most of my images were coming out grainy due to poor indoor lighting in the evenings.

 

Having a gameplan was also really important. Some of the cooler images were ones that just came spontaneously. But all of the worst were ones for which I had no intentions.

 

Sharing the project (both on Flickr and with friends) worked well because I could work for more than just myself. Not that I ever felt I needed others' approval to validate my work, but it definitely made me want to work harder. I always made the images I wanted to make, but I also had the additional desire to have it appreciated by others as well.

 

Oh, and finally, the one thing that helped me keep my sanity was posting on delay. Having some extra time to finish processing was an unintended benefit of having a crazy schedule this summer and thus falling behind on posting.

 

What would you do differently?

 

If I had to do it again, I would try to do more pure photography. I definitely went overboard on the Photoshop toward the end. This is only because I had so many concepts written down that I wanted to include in the year. I didn't have any additional time to just take normal pictures. I don't want to use Photoshop as a crutch, so I wish I'd cultivated photography a bit more.

 

I also wish I'd participated in the Flickr community more. I followed (and continue to follow) all of my contacts' streams, but I wish I'd also done weekly challenges or tried to work on different Flickr themes. As I stated above, as fun as my ideas were, it was the ideas of others that helped me get better.

 

Favorite part of the project?

 

My favorite part of the project was adding final touches to the .psd's and then exporting the file to .jpg from Lightroom. So basically the end. That sounds kinda dorky, but it's kind of like printing out and stapling a term paper. They're the easy final details of a long process.

 

I also liked setting up all my equipment outdoors in public spaces. Jumping, running, or generally acting crazy in front of curious bystanders never gets old.

 

Least favorite part of the project?

 

My least favorite part was definitely coming home after work to sit on the computer for 2 hours. I also hated that first 5 minutes when I pull an unedited picture into Photoshop. So much to do, so much I'd rather do.

 

Will you do it again?

 

Maybe one day. Definitely not immediately. I toyed with the idea of doing a 52 week project. I don't know. I'm a little burned out on the deadlines. I want to be able to take and process a picture on my on schedule, however motivational that pressure is. I did find that I would improve for a few weeks and then hit this wall where I hated everything related to the project. I felt like I didn't have the time necessary to truly improve or put enough detail-oriented work into a given image. It was all quantity over quality. But then I would somehow break through and get better before again feeling like I was bogged down in too many images and not enough time. I really like the sense of accomplishment though, so if I start another project, I'll definitely take my own advice and try to do less off-camera and more in-camera.

 

Where do you go from here?

 

I'm going to take some time off to recharge, and then I'm going to try to rejustify my purchase by learning all the functions of my camera. I think I've got most of it covered, but I really should be confident that I'm getting the most out of my DSLR and strobes. I also want to learn Photoshop more in depth. There's a lot in there I can still dig in to. I want to take some classes and learn from other photographers in my area and on Flickr. I also want to do some portraits of my friends and family (I'm sick of photographing myself :p). Really, I feel like this whole year has just been an introduction. There's so much more I can do. What a great hobby!

 

Thanks

 

I'm really paranoid about forgetting to acknowledge certain people that deserve it, so forgive me if I'm vague on some specifics.

 

I want to thank EVERYONE who has ever left a comment or faved any of my images. That might seem overly broad, but I really appreciate each and every extension by you to show your appreciation. You've totally made me a Flickrholic.

 

I also want to thank my family and friends who put up with me taking my camera everywhere, setting up in their living room, or otherwise using them as guinea pigs (I'm talking to you, Scott).

 

I want to thank Stephen Poff and Aaron Nace who probably are the two single biggest influences on my project as a whole. But there are also so many (too many actually) other photographers among my Contacts who have inspired me day to day with their incredible work. Again, for fear of forgetting anyone, I'll just say thank you to everyone for being there all year and being consistently awesome.

 

Ok, this has gone on long enough (both this post and the year). Happy 2010!!!!

 

December 31, 2009

This is where I sit and have sat for the last 5 years. Every day, in early (normally) and away at 5 on the dot whenever I can. Read the notes to find out more. To get a better view without the notes, view LARGE . Don't forget to roll your mouse over the pic to see the notes.

 

No.1 in the set My Life as a Fish.

 

I've recently taken delivery of this amazing little lens; Nikkor 10.5mm F/2.8G Fisheye . I got it so that I can work seriously on spherical panoramas or "Little Planets"...but to do that I need a Nodal Ninja;....so while I wait for that to come from Italy I've started a little project to tell you about my life through this lovely lens.

Ive been putting off using textures, even though I see so many used on Flickr that work beautifully. Well, here it is..... my first attempt! Now I know its not anywhere near as good as some of yours out there, but it can only get better! And it didnt take very long ..... I should have done it months ago. Off to trawl through my files to see what else I can texturise!

 

Definitely needs to be seen in lightbox though :)

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

How many different ways can you photograph the same spiral staircase? I have no idea...but I'll let you know when I think I'm getting close to the limit. ;-)

 

Another view of the magnificent new spiral staircase in the extension to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. I stumbled across this while photographing a concert in February and fell in love with it photographically.

 

As with most of my previous shots, this has indeed been a labour of love...combining the same RAW file processed at several different exposures...combined via layer masking...painful...but worth it I think? :-)

 

You can see my other shots of this amazing piece of architecture in my Usher Hall Spiral Staircase set.

 

My thanks are due to Emma Patterson and Victoria Fuller from the Usher Hall, for giving me permission to photograph.

  

The bundle includes RecordForAll, FeedForAll and a subscription to the

RSS Scripts Directory.

Take the RSS quiz to test your knowledge of RSS. The iPod tutorial

includes screenshots to assist users in setting up the basics, from the

date and time to their contacts.

OctoberNew RSS2HTML Pro Script - The RSS2HTML Pro script dynamically

generates a separate web page for each item contained in the RSS feed.

Built in Feed Validation - Warns you instantly of any feed issues.

Question: Are there any size limitations to podcasts?

In the short time RSS has been around, many misconceptions have been

formed for a surprisingly simple concept. How much do you know about

podcasting? RecordForAll, by NotePage, Inc.

Celebrate valentines day in style with your feeds conveying the spirit!

An evaluation download is available from the RecordForAll website.

AugustFeedForAll Beta Release - A new beta release of FeedForAll that

supports extensions and unified publishing.

I give it my highest recommendation.

Enhanced Feed Preview - Define separate FTP information for different

feeds. RSS Namespace Directory - Collection of popular RSS extensions

along with the details of each. It is easiest if you use the same

location each time, that way the equipment can remain in place and will

not require moving or setup each time you produce a show.

This allows not only the feed file itself to be uploaded, but it also

adds the ability to have the feed's image and the feed's enclosures to

be automatically uploaded too.

Users opt to subscribe the information in an RSS feed.

c1910 postcard view of the interurban station at the Wabash Valley Sanitarium near Lafayette, Indiana

 

The sign on the pole identified this as STOP NO. 7. The Wabash River was visible behind the station in this scene. Two nurses and others were on the station platform next to a stopped car. That car belonged to the Lafayette Street Railway Company, one of several small service companies that became part of the new Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Company. The latter company had been incorporated in 1903. The name was changed in 1904 and the consolidation of several smaller service companies into the new corporation happened quickly thereafter.² Then, in 1911, the newly incorporated Fort Wayne & Northern Indiana Traction Company absorbed the former Fort Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Company.

 

According to an 1898 publication,¹ the Lafayette Street Railway Company had changed from horse power to electric power in 1887-1888 and began expanding service. “The most recent extension to the line was completed in 1897 and is a line along the river bluff and through a picturesque valley known as Happy Hollow to the Soldiers’ Home and Tecumseh Trail, some five miles north of the city.” “[The company’s] lines center at the Court House Square, from which cars leave on the quarter, half and even hours on each line except that to the Soldiers’ Home. Other cars leave the outer ends of the lines on the return trip at the same time, the two cars giving the required fifteen-minute service. On the Soldiers’ Home line the service depends largely on the demand, varying from an hour in the winter to 15 minutes in the summer.” That route ran along North River Road and the sanitarium was on the west side of the road between Happy Hollow and the Soldiers’ Home.

 

A 1909 medical directory said the sanitarium opened in 1906 and had 30 beds. A 1909-1910 city directory³ listed William W. Worster, M. D. as the medical superintendent and H. E. Sanders as the business manager. An advertisement in that directory proclaimed the sanitarium to be, “[a] well-equipped medical surgical institution, open all the year, and utilizing all the methods which have given world-wide fame to the Battle Creek Sanitarium…. Why go elsewhere when you can get the same treatments, if not better, at home?” That city directory listed one physician, one matron and four nurses who were employed at the sanitarium.

 

1. The Street Railway Review, Volume 8 (Chicago, IL: Windsor & Kenfield Publishing Co., 1898), page 328. Available online at books.google.com/books?id=l0E_AQAAMAAJ&printsec=front....

 

2. Electric Railway Journal, America Street Railway Investments, 12th Annual Number (New York, NY: McGraw Publishing Co., 1905). Available online at archive.org/details/mcgrawelectricr00jourgoog.

 

3. R. L. Polk & Co., Lafayette Directory 1909-10, part 2 (Indianapolis, IN: R. L. Polk & Co., 1909). Available online at archive.org/details/lafayetteindiana190919102polk.

 

From a private collection.

 

Copyright 2003-2017 Hoosier Recollections. All rights reserved. This creative JPG file package is an original compilation of materials and data. The package is unique, consisting of a wide variety of related and integrated components. Neither this package in its entirety nor any of the individual components may be downloaded, transmitted or reproduced without the prior written permission of Hoosier Recollections.

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

 

www.spurnpoint.com/Spurn_Point.htm

  

Spurn is a very unique place in the British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in places.

Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.

Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.

One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.

There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.

The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.

The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Around_and_about_at_Spurn.htm

  

Around and about there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from the north of Spurn at Kilnsea there is the Riverside hotel offering good quality food drink and accommodation. Coming south towards Spurn and still in Kilnsea there is the Crown and Anchor pub. A welcoming place serving bar meals fine beers and offering bed and breakfast at very reasonable rates. At the crossroads before you turn towards Spurn there is the Spurn heritage coast visitors centre. Where there is a small cafe and exhibition. At the entrance Spurn point nature reserve is an information centre and bird observatory selling books pamphlets, etc., and the last toilet on Spurn.

Past the lighthouse is the last car park. Two hundred metres further on you find the Humber Lifeboat and Pilot stations. Near the houses is a Small caravan selling tea, coffee, cold cans, hot and cold food, crisps and sweets.

All are open all year round apart from the heritage centre which is open thought the season.

 

BIRD WATCHING.

Is a very popular pastime as Spurn is internationally famous for birds. There are up to two hundred species recorded at spurn every year. Some of which are extremely rare. The Marmora's Warbler seen at Spurn In June 1992 was only the third recorded in Britain.

 

SEA FISHING.

The beaches of Spurn provide some of the best sea fishing in the area, with Cod and Whiting and Flats being caught through the winter and Skate, Flats and Bass through the summer. There is sport to be had all the year.

At the very end of Spurn is deep water ideal for Cod but this only fishes best two hours either side of low water, the tide is to strong at other times. All along the seaward side of Spurn is good for all species of fish at all times though over high water being the better. The riverside of Spurn is very shallow and only produces Flats and the bass over high water.

 

THE BEACH.

 

The beaches at Spurn are of soft sand and shingle. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. There are fossils and all manners of things to find beach combing. Swimming is not safe any were near the point end as there are very strong tides at up to six knots at times. But in side Spurn around the point car park is perfect at high water. The beach does not shelf to fast and very little tide. You can have the place to your self at times, as Spurn is never really busy weekdays.#

A very popular pastime at Spurn is Fossil hunting. There is a good abundance of fossils to be found in amongst the pebbles and shingle.

The Shark Trust has a very interesting PDF file tell you all about Shark Skate and rays the mermaids purses you find on the beach are egg shells from sharks and Rays. Click the link to down load the Shark Trust Brochure.

 

WALKING.

Walking or strolling at spurn is very easy, as there are no hills. There are various sign posted paths up and down the point. For the fit a complete walk round the whole point is about 8 miles, taking in all the point round the point end and back to the "warren" information place at the start of Spurn. You will need good footwear, as much of the paths are sand. There is limited access for disabled, but not to the point end, as you have to go via the beach.

You can park your car at the point car park and walk round the point end and back to the car park about a mile, or just stroll around the point were you choose. The only place you are not allowed to go are down the pilot's jetty and the centre square of the Lifeboat houses.

In spring and early summer Spurn is covered with a large amount of wild flowers of all species.

There are common to the not so common; from Orchids to bluebells. I must remind you Spurn is a nature reserve and the picking of all flowers is prohibited. When visiting please enjoy Spurn, as it is a very beautiful place and leave only your footprints.

 

Horse Riding.

 

There is riding available nearby at the North Humberside Riding Centre. The stables are ideally located with rides along quiet country lanes, by-ways, plus miles of sandy beach and riverbanks. The cross-country course offers a variety of fences for both the novice and the more experienced rider.

 

www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/

 

A Brief History of Spurn Bird Observatory

 

Following visits to Spurn by several members of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union in the late 1930's, a communal log for ornithological observations was instituted in 1938. This included a roll-call of species, the beginnings of a recording system, which later became standard in bird observatories. Realising the potential of the Spurn peninsula for the regular observation of bird migration a group of enthusiasts, notably Ralph Chislett, George Ainsworth, John Lord and R.M. Garnett, had the idea of setting up a bird observatory, with the Warren Cottage at the northern end of the peninsula as an ideal headquarters. Unfortunately the outbreak of war forced them to put their plans on hold but shortly after hostilities ceased a lease for Warren Cottage was obtained from the War Department and the observatory was established shortly afterwards under the auspices of the Y.N.U. with the four members mentioned above forming the first committee. A preliminary meeting was held in September 1945 to decide on the site for a Heligoland trap, work on which was begun almost immediately and the first bird (a Blackbird) was ringed on November 17th. The first minuted committee meeting was held on March 9th 1946 and the observatory was opened to visitors at Whitsuntide that year.

Initially coverage was limited to the main migration seasons, being extended to winter weekends in the early 1950's to trap and ring some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings which used to occur at that time of year and gradually coverage was increased (whenever possible) to cover the late spring and summer. In 1959 there was an important development when the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust (now the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) became the owners of the peninsula and thus the observatory's landlord. In 1960 a full time warden was appointed by the Trust, and although having no official connection with the observatory the fact of having an observer on the peninsula year-round inevitably helped to improve the ornithological coverage. This was especially the case from 1964 when the current warden, Barry Spence, was appointed, in conjunction with the fact that an interest in birds and their migrations was steadily growing and more bird-watchers were staying at the observatory, often for longer periods.

When the observatory opened there was accommodation for seven visitors in Warren Cottage and facilities included two chemical toilets, the Warren Heligoland trap and an ex-army hut as a ringing hut. Over the next ten years a further five Heligoland traps were constructed along the peninsula, although today only three remain in existence. In 1959 the observatory gained the use of the Annexe, one of two ex W.D. bungalows built at the Warren during the early 1950's, thus increasing the accommodation capacity to seventeen and providing much improved toilet facilities. Over the years the accommodation and facilities have been gradually improved to try to make the visitor's stay at Spurn as comfortable as possible. Other improvements have also taken place, in 1968 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Point was converted into a ringing laboratory ready for the first B.T.O. Ringing Course, held in autumn of that year and in 1971 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Warren was also converted into a ringing laboratory. The other part of this building became a laboratory for the use of students of Leeds University but this also became available to the observatory in the mid 1980's when the University no longer had a use for it. Subsequently it was converted into a self-contained accommodation unit for two, complete with kitchen facilities, and although officially known by the somewhat unimaginative name of Room F (the rooms in the Annexe being known as Rooms A, C, D & E, - whatever happened to Room B?), it was somewhat irreverently christened "Dunbirdin" by regular visitors to Spurn.

In 1965 a sea-watching hut was erected east of the Warren beyond the line of the former railway track. Due to coastal erosion it became necessary to move this in late 1974, when it was hoped that it would last at least as long as it had in its first position. Alas this was not to be, as the rate of erosion increased dramatically in the mid 1970's, necessitating a further move in early December 1977. In that year a clay bank had been built across the field behind Warren Cottage (Clubley's field) to prevent the flooding of arable land by wind-blown sea water, but on January 11th 1978 Spurn suffered its worst flooding ever when a strong to gale-force north-westerly wind combined with a spring tide. In late 1981 due to extensive construction works at Easington a large quantity of boulder clay became available and this was used to build up and extend the bank across Clubley's field, south towards Black Hut and north beyond Big Hedge to join up with an existing bank (which had been built in 1974) behind the scrape. In 1982 the sea-watching hut was repositioned on top of this bank, where it remained until the bank itself was washed away in the early 1990's.

A number of other changes to the observatory recording area began to take place from the early 1970's, including extensive building operations at the Point, commencing in 1974, with the construction of a new jetty for the Humber Pilot boats, new housing for the Spurn Lifeboat crew and the conversion and renovation of various existing buildings for use by the Coastguard and the Pilots. In 1978 following damage to the existing road south of the Warren area a new tarmac road was laid to the west of the original one, this lasted until 1988 when a second "new road" loop had to be laid, followed in 1991 by the construction of the existing loop road running along the Humber shore from just south of the Warren to just beyond Black Hut. The construction of this road resulted in the destruction of the actual Black Hut, although the area still bears the name. In 1981 the lines of wartime concrete anti-tank blocks running from the seashore to the Canal Zone were removed to fill in a breach at the Narrow Neck. This resulted in the southward extension of the Scrape field by the farmer up to Big Hedge and the start of a gradual decline in the condition of this hedge and its attractiveness to birds. In 1982 a local resident excavated a pond for shooting purposes in the wet area adjoining the Canal Zone. This never really proved successful and the land was later purchased by the Y.W.T. and the pond enlarged to become what is now known as Canal Scrape. In 1984 a famous Spurn landmark, the Narrows "Hut", a wooden migration watch shelter which had stood at the Narrow Neck for twenty-three years, was set fire to by person or persons unknown and completely destroyed, it was replaced the following year by a more solid construction made from breeze-blocks.

A period of considerable change began in 1988 when the Spurn peninsula was designated as part of the Spurn Heritage Coast. Projects undertaken include the enlargement of the Canal Scrape mentioned above and the erection of a hide overlooking it, a hide overlooking the Humber wader roost at Chalk Bank, a public sea-watching hide alongside the observatory one, provision of additional car-parking space, the restoration of the short-turf habitat in the Chalk Bank area, provision of footpaths, etc. A major project was the renovation of the Blue Bell in Kilnsea for use as offices, an information centre and a small cafe, which became fully operational in 1995. Another fairly recent project has been the creation of another scrape/pond on Clubley's field.

In 1996 the observatory celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and for the first time in its history SBO employed a full time seasonal warden. This position has since been expanded and the observatory now enjoys the services of a year- round warden. In 1998, with a view to the future, a small bungalow in Kilnsea was purchased with money bequeathed by the late John Weston, a long time committee member, who regrettably died in 1996. This was followed in 1999 by the purchase of a strip of land adjacent to the property and is now known as the ‘Church Field’, this is planted with a sacrificial crop every year, and has also had several groups of trees planted and a feeding station placed in the north-east corner. Access to this field is available by becoming a member of ‘Friends of Spurn Bird Observatory’, a venture set up in 2003 to eventually help with the building of a new observatory when the old one falls way to the sea.

 

This is a scanned print from a collection of photographs taken by the late Jim Taylor A number of years ago I was offered a large number of photographs taken by Jim Taylor, a transport photographer based in Huddersfield. The collection, 30,000 prints,20,000 negatives – and copyright! – had been offered to me and one of the national transport magazines previously by a friend of Jims, on behalf of Jims wife. I initially turned them down, already having over 30,000 of my owns prints filed away and taking space up. Several months later the prints were still for sale – at what was, apparently, the going rate . It was a lot of money and I deliberated for quite a while before deciding to buy them. I did however buy them directly from Jims wife and she delivered them personally – just to quash the occasional rumour from people who can’t mind their own business. Although some prints were sold elsewhere, particularly the popular big fleet stuff, I should have the negatives, unfortunately they came to me in a random mix, 1200 to a box, without any sort of indexing and as such it would be impossible to match negatives to prints, or, to even find a print of any particular vehicle. I have only ever looked at a handful myself unless I am scanning them. The prints are generally in excellent condition and I initially stored them in a bedroom without ever looking at any of them. In 2006 I built an extension and they had to be well protected from dust and moved a few times. Ultimately my former 6x7 box room office has become their (and my own work’s) permanent home.

  

It was the development of our second generation website with its photo gallery located quite cleverly on Flickr, rather than making our own site unwieldy, that led me to start uploading photos to Flickr. It was initially for my own and historic company photos but with unlimited storage and reasonable upload speeds I soon started uploading other stuff. Scanning one of Jims photos was a random choice one winters evening, initially very slow and time consuming I nevertheless stuck with it and things just snowballed. It was obvious that there are a lot of people interested in this type of thing. I can now scan and edit in Photoshop in a minute or so per print. Out of over 30,000 images on Flickr I have around 3500 of Jims photos. I don’t promote myself on Flickr – at all! So my viewing figures grow organically, without using the mutual favourite awarding etc. that is endemic on Flickr. The statistics tell me that travel (I don’t do porn) is the most popular genre. My travel photos, particularly later stuff receive far more views than transport. The transport stuff will hit a ceiling and then build very slowly over time, with lots of people coming back to them again and again. Travel of course is far more inclusive but there is an unbelievable amount out there, far more than the 1980’s UK transport stuff. The travel and landscape photos have pushed the views past 12 million, with a current average of around 40,000 views a day, peaking with an upload from a new destination at around 90,000 views. I recall being excited with a 100 views.

 

My reasons for buying the collection were mixed. On the one hand it was a unique snapshot of the transport industry, predominantly in the north of England, from around 1980 onwards. This was my patch and my era. I passed my Class One a few days after my 21st birthday in 1980 and spent the next 17 years being a Jack the Lad on the road, waving at and crossing paths with many of the wagons that Jim photographed, in fact my owns wagons are in the mix. Jim did travel to Scotland extensively and into the Southern Hemisphere a number of times hence there is a broad range of material in his collection. I knew I wouldn’t get a chance like it again. On the other hand the reason I gave up hauling scrap around the North of England in a Foden eight wheeler was the diagnosis of an incurable form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 38, although a low grade cancer I was already a widower with four young children and I was looking at an uncertain future and it terrified me. I wasn’t remotely ill but was treated with Chemotherapy, again, I wasn’t ill and didn’t need time off work. The shock however brought me to my senses and I came off the road, I joined the normal world, up at 6.30 not 4.30am. I didn’t realise it at the time but I had closed the door on my wagon driving days. I was worried that, at some point, I wouldn’t be able to work physically hard, bearing in mind the family business is a scrap yard – a physical sort of environment. I had it in my mind that there was a possibility that I could use my own and Jims photos to supplement my income, I had four kids to feed and I knew there wouldn’t be any family financial support – it’s not that sort of family. I still have the NHL although thankfully you wouldn’t know it. This type of thing is now considered treatable – not curable- after around forty endoscopies, a 100 stomach biopsies, bone marrow samples and endless scans of different types, I may well get to die of old age, not cancer. It was discovered almost by accident at the time, not illness on my part, and long may it stay that way! The lack of illness made the shock all the greater though.

 

I hope to avoid posting images that Jim had not taken his self, however should I inadvertently infringe another photographers copyright, please inform me by email and I will resolve the issue immediately. There are copyright issues with some of the photographs that were sold to me. A Flickr member from Scotland drew my attention to some of his own work amongst the first uploads of Jims work. I had a quick look through some of the 30 boxes of prints and decided that for the time being the safest thing for me to do was withdraw the majority of the earlier uploaded scans and deal with the problem – which I did. whilst the vast majority of the prints are Jims, there is a problem defining copyright of some of them, this is something that the seller did not make clear at the time. I am reasonably confident that I have since been successful in identifying Jims own work. His early work consists of many thousands of lustre 6x4 prints which are difficult to scan well, later work is almost entirely 7x5 glossy, much easier to scan. Not all of the prints are pin sharp but I can generally print successfully to A4 from a scan.

 

You may notice photographs being duplicated in this Album, unfortunately there are multiple copies of many prints (for swapping) and as I have to have a system of archiving and backing up I can only guess - using memory - if I have scanned a print before. The bigger fleets have so many similar vehicles and registration numbers that it is impossible to get it right all of the time. It is easier to scan and process a print than check my files - on three different PC's - for duplicates. There has not been, nor will there ever be, any intention to knowingly breach anyone else's copyright. I have presented the Jim Taylor collection as exactly that-The Jim Taylor Collection- his work not mine, my own work is quite obviously mine.

 

Unfortunately many truck spotters have swapped and traded their work without copyright marking it as theirs. These people never anticipated the ease with which images would be shared online in the future. I would guess that having swapped and traded photos for many years that it is almost impossible to control their future use. Anyone wanting to control the future use of their work would have been well advised to copyright mark their work (as many did) and would be well advised not to post them on photo sharing sites without a watermark as the whole point of these sites is to share the image, it is very easy for those that wish, to lift any image, despite security settings, indeed, Flickr itself, warns you that this is the case. It was this abuse and theft of my material that led me to watermark all of my later uploads. I may yet withdraw non watermarked photos, I haven’t decided yet.

 

To anyone reading the above it will be quite obvious that I can’t provide information regarding specific photos or potential future uploads – I didn’t take them! There are many vehicles that were well known to me as Jim only lived down the road from me (although I didn’t know him), however scanning, titling, tagging and uploading is laborious and time consuming enough, I do however provide a fair amount of information with my own transport (and other) photos. I am aware that there are requests from other Flickr users that are unanswered, I stumble across them months or years after they were posted, this isn’t deliberate. Some weekends one or two “enthusiasts” can add many hundreds of photos as favourites, this pushes requests that are in the comments section ten or twenty pages out of sight and I miss them. I also have notifications switched off, I receive around 50 emails a day through work and I don’t want even more from Flickr. Other requests, like many other things, I just plain forget – no excuses! Uploads of Jims photos will be infrequent as it is a boring pastime and I would much rather work on my own output. I am happy to reply to comments and don't have a problem with people adding tags or adding supplementary information regarding vehicles or companies that they were familiar with.

 

None of my photographs are free to use – without my permission - only free to view! If you breach my copyright you are stealing what is mine and if I find out, I will pursue the case until you rectify the situation. Arguments that attempt to justify copyright theft are just excuses for theft from people with little or no understanding of copyright law – or more frequently- deliberate, selective, misinterpretation of the law – to suit their own ends. I have never knowingly refused a reasonable request, I don’t join groups but am quite happy for people to add photos to groups. I dislike exchanging long and time consuming emails – I prefer to talk on the phone, being the opposite of anti-social in person, you can’t shut me up. I am generally speaking an anti-social, social networker, I just don’t have the time for it, in fact, I joke that I am going to start a social network for internet anti-social people, you’ll just register your name and that’s it – no networking and endless mindless twaddle. Face-less Book? The antidote to Facebook. I like to get out and chat to people face to face and welcome customers with an interest in photography in to my office to chat on a regular basis. I also print – and give- A4 prints to many of the drivers that visit our yard. I photograph wagons and plant that I come into contact with in a day’s work I don’t go looking to photograph them in my free time. Wagons are a necessary evil in my life these days and they cost me money – every day! For the extensive story and history of JB Schofield &sons Ltd look here; www.jbschofieldandsons.co.uk/

 

So far photography remains a hobby, and I refuse any offers to turn it into a business, the regulations surrounding scrap and transport and the running of the yard keep me occupied most of the time. In my free time I cycle hard for fitness, walk hard for pleasure, fitness, and the challenge, take photos for pleasure and the challenge, edit them because I have to, and lastly, drink wine because I want to. There isn't time for another business. The kids are now adults and all of them work for me, and with me, another challenge.

 

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

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www.spurnpoint.com/Spurn_Point.htm

  

Spurn is a very unique place in the British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in places.

Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.

Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.

One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.

There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.

The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.

The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Around_and_about_at_Spurn.htm

  

Around and about there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from the north of Spurn at Kilnsea there is the Riverside hotel offering good quality food drink and accommodation. Coming south towards Spurn and still in Kilnsea there is the Crown and Anchor pub. A welcoming place serving bar meals fine beers and offering bed and breakfast at very reasonable rates. At the crossroads before you turn towards Spurn there is the Spurn heritage coast visitors centre. Where there is a small cafe and exhibition. At the entrance Spurn point nature reserve is an information centre and bird observatory selling books pamphlets, etc., and the last toilet on Spurn.

Past the lighthouse is the last car park. Two hundred metres further on you find the Humber Lifeboat and Pilot stations. Near the houses is a Small caravan selling tea, coffee, cold cans, hot and cold food, crisps and sweets.

All are open all year round apart from the heritage centre which is open thought the season.

 

BIRD WATCHING.

Is a very popular pastime as Spurn is internationally famous for birds. There are up to two hundred species recorded at spurn every year. Some of which are extremely rare. The Marmora's Warbler seen at Spurn In June 1992 was only the third recorded in Britain.

 

SEA FISHING.

The beaches of Spurn provide some of the best sea fishing in the area, with Cod and Whiting and Flats being caught through the winter and Skate, Flats and Bass through the summer. There is sport to be had all the year.

At the very end of Spurn is deep water ideal for Cod but this only fishes best two hours either side of low water, the tide is to strong at other times. All along the seaward side of Spurn is good for all species of fish at all times though over high water being the better. The riverside of Spurn is very shallow and only produces Flats and the bass over high water.

 

THE BEACH.

 

The beaches at Spurn are of soft sand and shingle. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. There are fossils and all manners of things to find beach combing. Swimming is not safe any were near the point end as there are very strong tides at up to six knots at times. But in side Spurn around the point car park is perfect at high water. The beach does not shelf to fast and very little tide. You can have the place to your self at times, as Spurn is never really busy weekdays.#

A very popular pastime at Spurn is Fossil hunting. There is a good abundance of fossils to be found in amongst the pebbles and shingle.

The Shark Trust has a very interesting PDF file tell you all about Shark Skate and rays the mermaids purses you find on the beach are egg shells from sharks and Rays. Click the link to down load the Shark Trust Brochure.

 

WALKING.

Walking or strolling at spurn is very easy, as there are no hills. There are various sign posted paths up and down the point. For the fit a complete walk round the whole point is about 8 miles, taking in all the point round the point end and back to the "warren" information place at the start of Spurn. You will need good footwear, as much of the paths are sand. There is limited access for disabled, but not to the point end, as you have to go via the beach.

You can park your car at the point car park and walk round the point end and back to the car park about a mile, or just stroll around the point were you choose. The only place you are not allowed to go are down the pilot's jetty and the centre square of the Lifeboat houses.

In spring and early summer Spurn is covered with a large amount of wild flowers of all species.

There are common to the not so common; from Orchids to bluebells. I must remind you Spurn is a nature reserve and the picking of all flowers is prohibited. When visiting please enjoy Spurn, as it is a very beautiful place and leave only your footprints.

 

Horse Riding.

 

There is riding available nearby at the North Humberside Riding Centre. The stables are ideally located with rides along quiet country lanes, by-ways, plus miles of sandy beach and riverbanks. The cross-country course offers a variety of fences for both the novice and the more experienced rider.

 

www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/

 

A Brief History of Spurn Bird Observatory

 

Following visits to Spurn by several members of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union in the late 1930's, a communal log for ornithological observations was instituted in 1938. This included a roll-call of species, the beginnings of a recording system, which later became standard in bird observatories. Realising the potential of the Spurn peninsula for the regular observation of bird migration a group of enthusiasts, notably Ralph Chislett, George Ainsworth, John Lord and R.M. Garnett, had the idea of setting up a bird observatory, with the Warren Cottage at the northern end of the peninsula as an ideal headquarters. Unfortunately the outbreak of war forced them to put their plans on hold but shortly after hostilities ceased a lease for Warren Cottage was obtained from the War Department and the observatory was established shortly afterwards under the auspices of the Y.N.U. with the four members mentioned above forming the first committee. A preliminary meeting was held in September 1945 to decide on the site for a Heligoland trap, work on which was begun almost immediately and the first bird (a Blackbird) was ringed on November 17th. The first minuted committee meeting was held on March 9th 1946 and the observatory was opened to visitors at Whitsuntide that year.

Initially coverage was limited to the main migration seasons, being extended to winter weekends in the early 1950's to trap and ring some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings which used to occur at that time of year and gradually coverage was increased (whenever possible) to cover the late spring and summer. In 1959 there was an important development when the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust (now the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) became the owners of the peninsula and thus the observatory's landlord. In 1960 a full time warden was appointed by the Trust, and although having no official connection with the observatory the fact of having an observer on the peninsula year-round inevitably helped to improve the ornithological coverage. This was especially the case from 1964 when the current warden, Barry Spence, was appointed, in conjunction with the fact that an interest in birds and their migrations was steadily growing and more bird-watchers were staying at the observatory, often for longer periods.

When the observatory opened there was accommodation for seven visitors in Warren Cottage and facilities included two chemical toilets, the Warren Heligoland trap and an ex-army hut as a ringing hut. Over the next ten years a further five Heligoland traps were constructed along the peninsula, although today only three remain in existence. In 1959 the observatory gained the use of the Annexe, one of two ex W.D. bungalows built at the Warren during the early 1950's, thus increasing the accommodation capacity to seventeen and providing much improved toilet facilities. Over the years the accommodation and facilities have been gradually improved to try to make the visitor's stay at Spurn as comfortable as possible. Other improvements have also taken place, in 1968 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Point was converted into a ringing laboratory ready for the first B.T.O. Ringing Course, held in autumn of that year and in 1971 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Warren was also converted into a ringing laboratory. The other part of this building became a laboratory for the use of students of Leeds University but this also became available to the observatory in the mid 1980's when the University no longer had a use for it. Subsequently it was converted into a self-contained accommodation unit for two, complete with kitchen facilities, and although officially known by the somewhat unimaginative name of Room F (the rooms in the Annexe being known as Rooms A, C, D & E, - whatever happened to Room B?), it was somewhat irreverently christened "Dunbirdin" by regular visitors to Spurn.

In 1965 a sea-watching hut was erected east of the Warren beyond the line of the former railway track. Due to coastal erosion it became necessary to move this in late 1974, when it was hoped that it would last at least as long as it had in its first position. Alas this was not to be, as the rate of erosion increased dramatically in the mid 1970's, necessitating a further move in early December 1977. In that year a clay bank had been built across the field behind Warren Cottage (Clubley's field) to prevent the flooding of arable land by wind-blown sea water, but on January 11th 1978 Spurn suffered its worst flooding ever when a strong to gale-force north-westerly wind combined with a spring tide. In late 1981 due to extensive construction works at Easington a large quantity of boulder clay became available and this was used to build up and extend the bank across Clubley's field, south towards Black Hut and north beyond Big Hedge to join up with an existing bank (which had been built in 1974) behind the scrape. In 1982 the sea-watching hut was repositioned on top of this bank, where it remained until the bank itself was washed away in the early 1990's.

A number of other changes to the observatory recording area began to take place from the early 1970's, including extensive building operations at the Point, commencing in 1974, with the construction of a new jetty for the Humber Pilot boats, new housing for the Spurn Lifeboat crew and the conversion and renovation of various existing buildings for use by the Coastguard and the Pilots. In 1978 following damage to the existing road south of the Warren area a new tarmac road was laid to the west of the original one, this lasted until 1988 when a second "new road" loop had to be laid, followed in 1991 by the construction of the existing loop road running along the Humber shore from just south of the Warren to just beyond Black Hut. The construction of this road resulted in the destruction of the actual Black Hut, although the area still bears the name. In 1981 the lines of wartime concrete anti-tank blocks running from the seashore to the Canal Zone were removed to fill in a breach at the Narrow Neck. This resulted in the southward extension of the Scrape field by the farmer up to Big Hedge and the start of a gradual decline in the condition of this hedge and its attractiveness to birds. In 1982 a local resident excavated a pond for shooting purposes in the wet area adjoining the Canal Zone. This never really proved successful and the land was later purchased by the Y.W.T. and the pond enlarged to become what is now known as Canal Scrape. In 1984 a famous Spurn landmark, the Narrows "Hut", a wooden migration watch shelter which had stood at the Narrow Neck for twenty-three years, was set fire to by person or persons unknown and completely destroyed, it was replaced the following year by a more solid construction made from breeze-blocks.

A period of considerable change began in 1988 when the Spurn peninsula was designated as part of the Spurn Heritage Coast. Projects undertaken include the enlargement of the Canal Scrape mentioned above and the erection of a hide overlooking it, a hide overlooking the Humber wader roost at Chalk Bank, a public sea-watching hide alongside the observatory one, provision of additional car-parking space, the restoration of the short-turf habitat in the Chalk Bank area, provision of footpaths, etc. A major project was the renovation of the Blue Bell in Kilnsea for use as offices, an information centre and a small cafe, which became fully operational in 1995. Another fairly recent project has been the creation of another scrape/pond on Clubley's field.

In 1996 the observatory celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and for the first time in its history SBO employed a full time seasonal warden. This position has since been expanded and the observatory now enjoys the services of a year- round warden. In 1998, with a view to the future, a small bungalow in Kilnsea was purchased with money bequeathed by the late John Weston, a long time committee member, who regrettably died in 1996. This was followed in 1999 by the purchase of a strip of land adjacent to the property and is now known as the ‘Church Field’, this is planted with a sacrificial crop every year, and has also had several groups of trees planted and a feeding station placed in the north-east corner. Access to this field is available by becoming a member of ‘Friends of Spurn Bird Observatory’, a venture set up in 2003 to eventually help with the building of a new observatory when the old one falls way to the sea.

 

[Minolta 500si Super, Tamron 28-300 w/Promaster mcUV filter, Fuji Superia ISO200 @ ~+1eV 40mm F5.6 1/45s handheld > CVS > V300 > Gimp with moderate USM mask, GND, contrast & brightness-adjustment]

 

...this one I processed on the 17' laptop, so let's see if there's a big boost in viewing it on my 15" :)

 

It's still hopelessly red, too warm in the foreground but ok in the sky, at least when viewed on my 17 laptop (running Ubuntu 11.2, and probably with some residual color-management files on it) but if I played around with it too much the colors just got too fake altogether.

 

But the GND helped a lot when it came to increasing the contrast and overall exposure without blowing out the sky (so yes the exposure has been "optimized" so don't make too much out of the brightness of this shot). I still think the sky is kind of "watery" and the foreground is too red. But this is somewhat-better than the previous version.

 

Just goes to show that it isn't *overall* DR that really matters so much as how well what is captured is compressed down into the 2 to 3 stops of DR that really interests the viewer. I would guess the DR between the bright sky above the far back corner of the lake and the dark trees directly below that patch of sky is no more than 5 stops. Though of course there are patches of white and black that might hit a 10-15 stop differential. Sure. The art of the whole idea here is to get the whole scene down within 2 stops. Maybe 3 at the most. Without having a sky that's too bright and a foreground that's too dark. So some kind of "blend" somewhere is called-for here. Another tradeoff when shooting film instead of digital: unless you use a GND filter, the dark part is going to be dark and the bright part is going to be bright. And you can't scan it differently to fix that. With digital gear you can shoot multiple exposures off a tripod and blend and overlay them, or really push around a single exposure if it will capture the whole scene DR without noise or clipping. It's still going to look "digital" though. With film you avoid the "digital" look but when it comes to HDR your options are really limited to multiple-exposures and blending. And remember you still have to get the film exposed in the first place. Too low of an eV and the sky just will not expose the film properly.

 

...it's not that it can't be done.

 

It's just a lot harder.

 

And that's fine, as long as you're only working-up one or two shots a week, or so.

 

Which is why again I don't know how it really makes sense for an amateur to go around shooting expensive digital gear. No more than it makes sense for the average driver to drive a $150k car on average roads. I'm not even sure that it makes sense for an amateur driver to drive a $50k car, any more than it makes sense for an amateur photographer to spend $1K on a DSLR. That's just a lot of money to take some pics of the kids, or landscapes that you can see on your computer especially when you can take pics that are almost as good for far-less money.

 

But on the other hand it's only $1k. $2k maybe. Whatever.

 

But there's no way around the fact that film and digital are just going to give you very-different looks and cost very-different amounts of money. One big difference is that this shot ISO100-200 with a DSLR, you don't have to worry about a *mask*, really, when doing a USM...and the borders are going to be much cleaner. You could use a GND mask just for that. With film one really has to use a mask for the GND pass because the detail just won't be sharp-enough at the sharpening levels that aren't going to fill the sky with noise. And so you're going to get a fringe at the mask-border and that will show up in large-format. This would give a great 600dpi print at say 8x12 to 20x30 but I would be very cautious about printing it larger and viewing it closely. A digital shot would be much cleaner and show more fine-detail...the only question is really would the colors be realistic enough to bear close scrutiny. Or would it just look like a "plasticky" mess. Who knows.

 

You'd have to try it both ways and see what works best...and for that you'd have to have a decent digital camera. Which is why I'm happy to get something that's halfway-decent with film, that looks halfway-decent at 1080p at 17-21" diagonal. If it's "good enough" I don't have to agonize over what digital camera to shoot. Instead I get to agonize over what shots will look ok with film. Since I can almost always get a decent exposure or blend shooting digital there are many more scenes in many different lighting-conditions that are candidates for shooting. With film especially with a non-IS lens, when it gets too dark I just say "fuck it". It is exponentially harder to get a good exposure with film in low light than it is shooting digital...even a $100 digital p&s will beat film in such conditions.

 

But again that is one less reason to buy that $1500 monster DSLR that you've been wantin' for years. The thing, though, is if it's really worth the money, and if the time comes that you need the money back, someone will buy it off you for almost the same price that you've paid for it. Of course your luck will only hold for so long in that regard as well as eventually there will be some 1/3" diagonal sensored 16MP cellphone with 1080p-24 video that people will say takes shots almost as good as a D4. Eventually you're going to get screwed on the price of high-end equipment, it's just a matter of time. So you have so many years to work-off the cost, that's the problem...and all that time you will have to agonize over the question of shooting digital or shooting film.

 

That is why cheap gear that can do the job is better than expensive gear that takes better shots. You're always struggling to justify the extra money. With cheap gear that can do the job acceptably-well you have emotional and financial incentives to accept minor IQ-flaws; with expensive gear you have both emotional and logical incentives to rationalize the higher price. And short of carrying around a 20lb tripod, a couple of $1500 MF Leica primes and a $50k 80MP MF back, there are going to be flaws in your gear that produce IQ-flaws in your shots. It all comes down to which ones you can live with and which ones you can't. And to me, shitty color is the hardest IQ-flaw to live with, right after overt chroma-noise and lens-blur. I can even live with a little lens-distortion and certainly with some grain. I can't live with the hyper-saturated too-bright too-white washed-out color that comes out of many digital cameras which is what *most* digital cameras produce in bright light. And you'll note that in this shot, all of the upper-half and a significant part of the lower-half is relatively bright. Though at this point in the day the sun was well below the treeline off to the right, overall it was sunset light, and this would probably look ok with most digital cameras, certainly if shot raw at ISO100-200 handheld with an IS lens...darker than this I wouldn't be eager to shoot film. Brighter than this I wouldn't be eager to shoot digital. and I wouldn't want to spend $1500 for an A850 to take shots like this...except if I could easily afford one and the results were at least this good.

 

Now, could a NEX-7, a GH-1 or similar mirrorless-camera take a shot that is this good or better, and if so, would I want to buy one and shoot it instead of film? Not if I had to pay $500 for a 28-300 equivalent lens on top of $700 for the body. No. I have been saying for years now that if you really care about IQ for a carry-round camera, it would make a lot more sense to put an APS-C sensor behind a fixed midzoom lens without a mirror like the one on the G9 or G10. And Canon has finally done that.

 

It's still a Canon, though but probably for a shot like this, it would be ideal. I'm sorry but given that, the GH1, NX-7 etc only make sense if you're talking about a very fast and bright lens for available-light video or bokeh or a long lens for macro or longrange shooting...and for the latter case you have the whole bridge-camera market to contend with. So it only makes sense above ISO100, maybe ISO200. Canon's new "hyper-G12" may not be the perfect all-rounder or nearly as flexible as a lot of other MCs, but it takes all the air out of the middle of the market. The only problem I have with it is a $700 list. But at least that's for the body *AND* the lens, sealed together, not just for the body. Most photographers, even *pro* photographers, would be happy with it, even without an EVF. For most people, for most shots, it's just fine. Heck for most people, for most shots, the G12 is just fine. And so your problems become either the lens is too long or too short or not fast enough or the body itself is too big, all of which is not usually the case and if that body is too big you're down into micro-p&s range (Canon A410) even in cellphone range. And there's going to be a 24-150 F2.8-F5.6 IS version of it soon enough. Heck now you're doing some serious hair-splitting...Canon is all over the p&s market. And all these new lenses and all these new bodies with all these new lens-mounts are going to look pretty stupid. Because they are. They are nothing more than attempts by the fringe-players (Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung, Sony, Fuji) to break into the major markets (Canon, Nikon). The major markets are always going to be there. And they always *have* been there. And as long as you can slap an 18-55 F2.8 IS or a 70-200 F2.8 IS on a Rebel and shoot movies, Canon has that base covered. They have no need to bring out a mirrorless camera with a detachable lens. *Panasonic* did. Not Canon. I have no idea what Nikon is doing with the J-1.

 

I really have no idea what Sony thinks is going to happen with the NEX. It's too little too late to beat micro 4/3rds, and it's not *that* good that someone would want to stop using a fullframe to shoot it. Seriously if it was then both Nikon and Canon might as well stop making fullframes right now, and I'd be seriously worried if I was a MF manufacturer. Because purely on a "spec" basis, how the hell are you going to beat a mirrorless 24MP 14-bit camera that can shoot 1080p-60 video, 20fps stills and uses lenses the size of a Coke-can?

 

One of those two formats makes no sense.

And the other makes a lot of sense. It's that simple.

And I just don't see APS-C and 20fps appealing to someone who really cares about 24MP vs 18, 16, 12 or even 10MP. Fuck that, even 8 or 6MP, 5, 3 or even 2MP.

I don't see a $1200 rig with those specs making all that big of a difference in the larger scheme of things. It's too much for an amateur and a pro would never use it unless they are willing to drop down from a Rebel T*/5DMk2 or a D90/D7000/D700/D3/D3S/D3X down to a NEX-7. Going up say from a GH1 to a NEX-7 it makes no sense at all unless Sony can convince consumers to ignore the vast Panasonic/Leica/Olympus/Sigma micro4/3rds movie market to buy into their new platform. The people who need that level of stills performance aren't going to want to buy into a new APS-C platform with a brand-new proprietary mount to get it, and the people who need the movie performance already have it in other platforms.

 

Will it sell? Yes. Because anything good will sell.

Do we need it? No. Because the market is saturated with good technology already. The NEX-7 is like the 2012 R1: a great camera that virtually nobody needs, not even people that like great sportbikes, er, great stills & movie-cameras. And the NEX-7 will just make every lesser camera cheaper and therefore better. I celebrate the release of hardware like the NEX-7 and the Kawi ZX-14, the GT-500 and so forth, because I know with every great new camera, bike, whatever, the camera/bike/car that I really want to get and can really afford will get better and cheaper, too. But the only thing that would seriously make me change my mind about shooting film vs digital would be if I bought a decent digital camera, carried it around with me all the time like I do with my 500si, shot digital and film at the same time and consistently saw significantly-better results shooting digital than I did with film. And it would still have to be fairly cheap and shoot the same lenses, else now I have to buy new lenses. This is why I don't see people leaping into a new platform no matter how good it is because they are always going to worry about shooting their same lenses. Unless the new body and the new lenses are so much better that I'd be willing to make a major hit in trading up. That's just not going to happen with a 24MP coke-bottle APS-C format.

So the major factor becomes the size & weight, maybe the FPS. Again it might beat micro4/3rds in resolution and frame-rate but really you can't do 60fps 1080p with a Panasonic micro-4/3rds camera? I doubt it. Even so that's really splitting hairs: 24MP vs 10MP stills, and 60fps vs 30 or even 24fps 1080p? LOL sure, it's going to *scare* the market, but it won't get people out of their established formats because by now they know that they don't need that level of performance, numbers-wise.

 

Of course at that size, weight and cost, for 24MP 14-bit stills @ 20fps and 60fps 1080p, with 35dB SNR and 22bit CS at ISO100 (even if it's cooked-raw), the NEX-7 will still sell. No question. The irony is that most established photographers will not care enough to trade either up or down to get one. Who will it get? The guy who really doesn't need a 1DsMk2 or D3X or a 5DMk2 who doesn't really need 10fps, 1080p or 24MP and who is tired of lugging a fullframe around. The guy with the 12-40MP MF back who really doesn't need the dynamic-range or short DOF of a MF back. It'll get some of them, sure. Mostly the guys who 5 years ago just had to have the "latest & greatest" gear and who have figured out that that really just doesn't matter. And of course it'll get the guys who need 60fps 1080p who occasionally want to shoot 24MP stills, clearly, especially through one maybe two lenses. It will sell, definitely. The best always sells. And in the subframe market there's not much better than NEX-7 right now, if anything. If for no other reason than going down to 10MP is not clearly better than going up to 24MP. But really how the hell are you going to beat 10-20fps out of a 24MP camera the size of a p&s with an APS-C sensor with a fast & accurate focus, if you're shooting action-stills or news video for a living? What beats that, 30fps @ 24MP? 60fps @ 4MP, 8MP? 120fps @ 2MP? Who the hell knows. That's serious performance and therefore definitely will sell. But. That's abstract talking. The real thing is that I definitely don't need that. To me the NEX-7 matters about as much as the results of the South Carolina Republican primary, as long as I can get 36 shots like this out of $5 worth of film & development shooting with a $125 SLR rig.

 

The NEX-7 *might* matter more to me if I had to take 36 shots a *day* with my SLR rig (not even at a roll a week, because that would still only cost me $250/year in film & development plus maybe 3 hours/roll, per week, to scan it with a flatbed scanner). But even then it would still be 10x the cost and I'd be better-off getting a cheaper DSLR.

Video? I have no interest in making video, I barely have time to deal with stills. I'd rather spend more for the A850 or less for an A700 that shoot my same alpha-mount lenses. I'd even be willing to put up another $200 for a Nikon-mount Tamron 28-300 than buy a NEX-7, and just shoot it and the Tokina 19-35 that I already have with my old D70. And I could have taken this same shot with that D70 and Tokina 19-35, and quite arguably have gotten at least slightly-better results than this. I don't care if I can buy an F-22 affordably if all I need is a Cessna 185. I've been shooting film and scanning it to 30MP for a year now and I've yet to make a single print out of one of my film shots. The final versions are still half to 2/3rds the size of a 24MP raw file. Who really wants to deal with 24MP raw files?

 

This is the problem that *Sony* has, and by extension, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Leaf, Hasselblad, et al. No matter how good you are, there's always a way to do the same thing for less money, and eventually it gets easy to do the same thing for less money. The market always moves down and to keep your high-margin business you have to keep pushing at least part of the market up. But at some point the 90-10 rule takes over: it is just disproportionately-expensive to keep moving up-market and it gets worse the farther up-market you go and the longer you keep going up-market. Combine that with the fact that the market continues to follow you upwards if there's any real value up where you're going, and you're going to get screwed sooner or later. You can only make so much money off of so many fools for so long. Eventually some of the fools run out of money, and some of the people with money are no longer fools...some become wise enough to buy your high-priced shit when they wouldn't before, and some become wise enough to not need it. But ultimately price and wisdom go in opposite directions. People get more experienced and want a better value. The only thing pushing them to a *lower* value in exchange for higher performance is fear. And in this day and age, where large swaths of society are looking at crappy videos with crappy IQ due to crappy sensors, lenses, resolution and compression on crappy handheld devices with crappy bandwidth and frame-rates, when -seriously- 8-bit VGA at 24fps looks good, when every dumbfuck knows how to make a pano and an HDR image, when every camera, every computer and every photo-sharing website comes with a photo-editor and every photo-editor comes with an "auto" button, who seriously is afraid of their images not looking good enough from a technical point of view?

 

Though now I'll have to take this shot with my D70 just to see how much different it is. If nothing else.

Well, to be precise, there are three Ios in the three Jupiter images as well as three Io shadows but the third Io in the top image is harder to spot as it was away from the edge of Jupiter by then. If you look closely at the same angle to the shadow as the two lower images you can just make out the brown spot that is Io.

 

All three images were part of an experiment on a reasonably good night of seeing. They are all taken in 8bit format. The lower left image was taken with a Celestron Skyris USB3 colour CCD camera with a 618 chip. The other two images were taken with a Basler Ace USB3 mono CCD also with a 618 chip. The lower two images were both take through my 5inch/130mm refractor with a 5x PowerMate and ADC. The top image was taken through my 12inch SCT with a 2.5x PowerMate and no ADC. Remarkably by using the component chain for the Skyris in the order back from the refractor focuser of extension tube, 5x Powermate, ADC and finally the Skyris or Basler, the image size recorded is almost identical to that of using the 2.5x Powermate through the 12inch SCT with 2.5x Powermate attached to the focuser and then just a filter wheel in front of the Basler.

 

The Basler Ace was used with RGB filters. The Skyris was fitted with an IR blocker, the Basler Ace wasn't. The Skyris image was taken at around 30fps, the Basler Ace image on the lower right at 40fps and top at around 75fps.

 

Both the lower images are derotated stacks, for the Skyris 7x60secs, for the Basler Ace 4x Red, 4x Green and 4x Blue each colour at 45-50 seconds. The top image with Europa to the right and Io and shadow crossing is a single stack of 1x R, 1xG and 1xB at 55 seconds per colour.

 

At first glance there is little between the images but a close inspection shows the Basler RGB image through the refractor is fractionally more detailed than the Skyris colour image. The top Basler image, which is a far shorter sequence, holds up well in comparison. While it is a little smoother as it was taken through a SCT, it also has more depth to the colours even if it doesn't have the sharpness of the refractor. It also reveals slightly more detail although the refractor images may look more detailed at frst glance.

 

What the little experiment above does show is that there is really little to choose in end image quality between them although I had a better chance with the greater light gathering ability of the 12inch SCT to run the camera faster and capture more detail in the best seeing. The only drawback with the Skyris is that because it is capturing in RGB32 mode, it eats up the transmission even with USB3, meaning that if I operate at above 40fps it starts to drop frames at an alarming rate. No such problem with the raw files captured with the Basler Ace, which can happly run at full speed without dropping frames.

 

It is possible to capture direct RAW images with the Skyris, which is much faster and enables faster speeds above 40fps, but I have tried and failed to find a way to get the raw captures to debayer, so can only conclude there is something else that I need to do to ensure a RAW capture can be processed as colour. If anyone out there knows what, please let me know!

 

Peter

 

www.spurnpoint.com/Spurn_Point.htm

  

Spurn is a very unique place in the British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in places.

Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.

Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.

One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.

There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.

The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.

The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Around_and_about_at_Spurn.htm

  

Around and about there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from the north of Spurn at Kilnsea there is the Riverside hotel offering good quality food drink and accommodation. Coming south towards Spurn and still in Kilnsea there is the Crown and Anchor pub. A welcoming place serving bar meals fine beers and offering bed and breakfast at very reasonable rates. At the crossroads before you turn towards Spurn there is the Spurn heritage coast visitors centre. Where there is a small cafe and exhibition. At the entrance Spurn point nature reserve is an information centre and bird observatory selling books pamphlets, etc., and the last toilet on Spurn.

Past the lighthouse is the last car park. Two hundred metres further on you find the Humber Lifeboat and Pilot stations. Near the houses is a Small caravan selling tea, coffee, cold cans, hot and cold food, crisps and sweets.

All are open all year round apart from the heritage centre which is open thought the season.

 

BIRD WATCHING.

Is a very popular pastime as Spurn is internationally famous for birds. There are up to two hundred species recorded at spurn every year. Some of which are extremely rare. The Marmora's Warbler seen at Spurn In June 1992 was only the third recorded in Britain.

 

SEA FISHING.

The beaches of Spurn provide some of the best sea fishing in the area, with Cod and Whiting and Flats being caught through the winter and Skate, Flats and Bass through the summer. There is sport to be had all the year.

At the very end of Spurn is deep water ideal for Cod but this only fishes best two hours either side of low water, the tide is to strong at other times. All along the seaward side of Spurn is good for all species of fish at all times though over high water being the better. The riverside of Spurn is very shallow and only produces Flats and the bass over high water.

 

THE BEACH.

 

The beaches at Spurn are of soft sand and shingle. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. There are fossils and all manners of things to find beach combing. Swimming is not safe any were near the point end as there are very strong tides at up to six knots at times. But in side Spurn around the point car park is perfect at high water. The beach does not shelf to fast and very little tide. You can have the place to your self at times, as Spurn is never really busy weekdays.#

A very popular pastime at Spurn is Fossil hunting. There is a good abundance of fossils to be found in amongst the pebbles and shingle.

The Shark Trust has a very interesting PDF file tell you all about Shark Skate and rays the mermaids purses you find on the beach are egg shells from sharks and Rays. Click the link to down load the Shark Trust Brochure.

 

WALKING.

Walking or strolling at spurn is very easy, as there are no hills. There are various sign posted paths up and down the point. For the fit a complete walk round the whole point is about 8 miles, taking in all the point round the point end and back to the "warren" information place at the start of Spurn. You will need good footwear, as much of the paths are sand. There is limited access for disabled, but not to the point end, as you have to go via the beach.

You can park your car at the point car park and walk round the point end and back to the car park about a mile, or just stroll around the point were you choose. The only place you are not allowed to go are down the pilot's jetty and the centre square of the Lifeboat houses.

In spring and early summer Spurn is covered with a large amount of wild flowers of all species.

There are common to the not so common; from Orchids to bluebells. I must remind you Spurn is a nature reserve and the picking of all flowers is prohibited. When visiting please enjoy Spurn, as it is a very beautiful place and leave only your footprints.

 

Horse Riding.

 

There is riding available nearby at the North Humberside Riding Centre. The stables are ideally located with rides along quiet country lanes, by-ways, plus miles of sandy beach and riverbanks. The cross-country course offers a variety of fences for both the novice and the more experienced rider.

 

www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/

 

A Brief History of Spurn Bird Observatory

 

Following visits to Spurn by several members of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union in the late 1930's, a communal log for ornithological observations was instituted in 1938. This included a roll-call of species, the beginnings of a recording system, which later became standard in bird observatories. Realising the potential of the Spurn peninsula for the regular observation of bird migration a group of enthusiasts, notably Ralph Chislett, George Ainsworth, John Lord and R.M. Garnett, had the idea of setting up a bird observatory, with the Warren Cottage at the northern end of the peninsula as an ideal headquarters. Unfortunately the outbreak of war forced them to put their plans on hold but shortly after hostilities ceased a lease for Warren Cottage was obtained from the War Department and the observatory was established shortly afterwards under the auspices of the Y.N.U. with the four members mentioned above forming the first committee. A preliminary meeting was held in September 1945 to decide on the site for a Heligoland trap, work on which was begun almost immediately and the first bird (a Blackbird) was ringed on November 17th. The first minuted committee meeting was held on March 9th 1946 and the observatory was opened to visitors at Whitsuntide that year.

Initially coverage was limited to the main migration seasons, being extended to winter weekends in the early 1950's to trap and ring some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings which used to occur at that time of year and gradually coverage was increased (whenever possible) to cover the late spring and summer. In 1959 there was an important development when the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust (now the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) became the owners of the peninsula and thus the observatory's landlord. In 1960 a full time warden was appointed by the Trust, and although having no official connection with the observatory the fact of having an observer on the peninsula year-round inevitably helped to improve the ornithological coverage. This was especially the case from 1964 when the current warden, Barry Spence, was appointed, in conjunction with the fact that an interest in birds and their migrations was steadily growing and more bird-watchers were staying at the observatory, often for longer periods.

When the observatory opened there was accommodation for seven visitors in Warren Cottage and facilities included two chemical toilets, the Warren Heligoland trap and an ex-army hut as a ringing hut. Over the next ten years a further five Heligoland traps were constructed along the peninsula, although today only three remain in existence. In 1959 the observatory gained the use of the Annexe, one of two ex W.D. bungalows built at the Warren during the early 1950's, thus increasing the accommodation capacity to seventeen and providing much improved toilet facilities. Over the years the accommodation and facilities have been gradually improved to try to make the visitor's stay at Spurn as comfortable as possible. Other improvements have also taken place, in 1968 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Point was converted into a ringing laboratory ready for the first B.T.O. Ringing Course, held in autumn of that year and in 1971 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Warren was also converted into a ringing laboratory. The other part of this building became a laboratory for the use of students of Leeds University but this also became available to the observatory in the mid 1980's when the University no longer had a use for it. Subsequently it was converted into a self-contained accommodation unit for two, complete with kitchen facilities, and although officially known by the somewhat unimaginative name of Room F (the rooms in the Annexe being known as Rooms A, C, D & E, - whatever happened to Room B?), it was somewhat irreverently christened "Dunbirdin" by regular visitors to Spurn.

In 1965 a sea-watching hut was erected east of the Warren beyond the line of the former railway track. Due to coastal erosion it became necessary to move this in late 1974, when it was hoped that it would last at least as long as it had in its first position. Alas this was not to be, as the rate of erosion increased dramatically in the mid 1970's, necessitating a further move in early December 1977. In that year a clay bank had been built across the field behind Warren Cottage (Clubley's field) to prevent the flooding of arable land by wind-blown sea water, but on January 11th 1978 Spurn suffered its worst flooding ever when a strong to gale-force north-westerly wind combined with a spring tide. In late 1981 due to extensive construction works at Easington a large quantity of boulder clay became available and this was used to build up and extend the bank across Clubley's field, south towards Black Hut and north beyond Big Hedge to join up with an existing bank (which had been built in 1974) behind the scrape. In 1982 the sea-watching hut was repositioned on top of this bank, where it remained until the bank itself was washed away in the early 1990's.

A number of other changes to the observatory recording area began to take place from the early 1970's, including extensive building operations at the Point, commencing in 1974, with the construction of a new jetty for the Humber Pilot boats, new housing for the Spurn Lifeboat crew and the conversion and renovation of various existing buildings for use by the Coastguard and the Pilots. In 1978 following damage to the existing road south of the Warren area a new tarmac road was laid to the west of the original one, this lasted until 1988 when a second "new road" loop had to be laid, followed in 1991 by the construction of the existing loop road running along the Humber shore from just south of the Warren to just beyond Black Hut. The construction of this road resulted in the destruction of the actual Black Hut, although the area still bears the name. In 1981 the lines of wartime concrete anti-tank blocks running from the seashore to the Canal Zone were removed to fill in a breach at the Narrow Neck. This resulted in the southward extension of the Scrape field by the farmer up to Big Hedge and the start of a gradual decline in the condition of this hedge and its attractiveness to birds. In 1982 a local resident excavated a pond for shooting purposes in the wet area adjoining the Canal Zone. This never really proved successful and the land was later purchased by the Y.W.T. and the pond enlarged to become what is now known as Canal Scrape. In 1984 a famous Spurn landmark, the Narrows "Hut", a wooden migration watch shelter which had stood at the Narrow Neck for twenty-three years, was set fire to by person or persons unknown and completely destroyed, it was replaced the following year by a more solid construction made from breeze-blocks.

A period of considerable change began in 1988 when the Spurn peninsula was designated as part of the Spurn Heritage Coast. Projects undertaken include the enlargement of the Canal Scrape mentioned above and the erection of a hide overlooking it, a hide overlooking the Humber wader roost at Chalk Bank, a public sea-watching hide alongside the observatory one, provision of additional car-parking space, the restoration of the short-turf habitat in the Chalk Bank area, provision of footpaths, etc. A major project was the renovation of the Blue Bell in Kilnsea for use as offices, an information centre and a small cafe, which became fully operational in 1995. Another fairly recent project has been the creation of another scrape/pond on Clubley's field.

In 1996 the observatory celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and for the first time in its history SBO employed a full time seasonal warden. This position has since been expanded and the observatory now enjoys the services of a year- round warden. In 1998, with a view to the future, a small bungalow in Kilnsea was purchased with money bequeathed by the late John Weston, a long time committee member, who regrettably died in 1996. This was followed in 1999 by the purchase of a strip of land adjacent to the property and is now known as the ‘Church Field’, this is planted with a sacrificial crop every year, and has also had several groups of trees planted and a feeding station placed in the north-east corner. Access to this field is available by becoming a member of ‘Friends of Spurn Bird Observatory’, a venture set up in 2003 to eventually help with the building of a new observatory when the old one falls way to the sea.

 

From the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

"Jackson Square - Origin of the Name"

By Richard Heath

 

STONY BROOK divided Roxbury into east and west for over 250 years. During that time the principle highway between the business and civic district of Dudley Square and the village center of Jamaica Plain was Centre Street. Since at least 1662 Centre St crossed Stony Brook over a wooden plank bridge near Heath Lane (a cart path to the Heath Farm; in 1825 it became Heath Street). That junction was called Central Bridge but most people until the turn of the 20th century called it Hog’s Bridge.[i]

 

That intersection is today known as Jackson Square, a familiar crossroads at Columbus Ave. and Centre Street, but no public record has been found to determine who the Square was named after. Hog’s Bridge was used up to end of the 19th century so it is a 20th century appellation.

 

It may be that the Square was named for General Henry Jackson, one of the three Revolutionary War military leaders from Boston[ii]. General William Heath defended Roxbury during the Siege of Boston and afterwards was ordered to the strategic Hudson River command after Benedict Arnold defected to guard that crucial waterway from 1777 to 1783. Heath Square at the nearby junction of Heath St and Parker Street is named after the general on land he once owned. General Joseph Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. A statue of him stood at Warren and Regent Streets for 62 years[iii]. So it would seem appropriate that when Columbus Avenue was extended to Franklin Park in 1895 that the new crossroad would be named after General Henry Jackson.

 

II.

  

Henry Jackson. Courtesy of New England Historic Genealogical Society. Engraved from a pastel drawing done in 1777. Appeared in the April 1892 edition of New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

HENRY JACKSON was born a British subject and died an American citizen.[iv] His life was in two parts: soldier and civic leader who participated in the rebuilding of Boston after the war. Jackson was born on Oct 19. 1747. His father Joseph was a distiller and his home was more than likely on Essex Street. The center of the distillery business in 18th century Boston was at Essex and South Streets. In 1794 there were thirty distilleries on Essex and South Streets. Ships tied up at the South Street wharf to unload grain and barrels of West Indian molasses.[v] Henry Knox’s father William mastered one of those ships. Henry Knox was Jackson’s lifelong friend. Knox was born 1750; his house was on Sea Street (today Atlantic Avenue) at the foot of Essex directly overlooking the South Bay[vi].

 

Jackson’s father was a life- long military man. In 1738 Joseph joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in which he served until the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. (He was on duty with William Heath of Roxbury who joined the Ancients at the age of 17 in 1754). Joseph died at the age of 84 in 1790. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company gave him a military funeral; he was buried at Kings Chapel burial ground.

 

Henry Jackson was an officer in the First Corp Cadets. The First Corps of Cadets was formed in 1741 as bodyguards for the Royal Governor (the first was Gov William Shirley). After the tumult and in the vacuum of the British evacuation, Jackson reorganized the remaining members and recruited other soldiers to form the 16th Massachusetts Regiment called the Boston Regiment in May of 1777. He was appointed colonel of the regiment and ordered by General Washington to join his army outside Philadelphia. The Boston Regiment fought in the battle of Monmouth (1778), Quaker Hill, RI (1778) and Springfield NJ in 1780. The Regiment was at Yorktown and then joined General Henry Knox in recovering New York City from British occupation after the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Jackson retired from active duty when the Continental Army was dissolved on June 29, 1784.

 

In June of 1783 at Newburgh New York he was among the group of army officers including Major General Heath to form the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati; he was treasurer of it until his death. Criticized by some in the young nation as a new aristocracy in America, the Society was largely fraternal and benevolent in helping veterans and their families.

 

In the summer of 1784 Jackson, a lifelong bachelor, returned to Boston to stay at Mrs. Hatch’s fashionable boarding house at Common (Tremont) and Winter Streets, then a fairly rural part of the city opposite the Boston Common. He was called back into active duty in 1786 to suppress Shays Rebellion, a revolt by farmers, mechanics and small landowners hard hit by post war financial difficulties who sought state assistance for their debts. Jackson found the task unpleasant, had difficulty raising troops but considered the rebellion a noisy mob. After the revolt was quelled, came home and hung up his uniform. Jackson seemed to have played no active or ceremonial role in the celebrations of George Washington’s triumphant Boston visit from October 24 through October 28, 1789.[vii] He and Generals Knox and Heath were certainly at the great banquet held at Faneuil Hall on the Washington’s last night in the city. Washington stayed at Mrs. Ingersol’s boarding house at Common and Court Street a few short blocks from Jackson’s rooms; it could very well have been that he and his friend Henry Knox paid a quiet visit with their former commanding officer.

 

After the war Jackson managed the business and financial affairs of his close friend Henry Knox[viii] whom President Washington appointed as the first Secretary of War in 1785. This included lumber and shipping businesses but mainly the construction of Montpelier Knox’s’ grand hilltop mansion at Thomaston, Maine. In 1794 Congress authorized construction of six new frigates and Secretary of War Knox directed that Henry Jackson be appointed the government’s agent for the construction of the Constitution at Hartt’s Shipyard in Charlestown. Working with Edmund Hartt Jackson approved and signed off on all payments that totaled $302,000. The oak for the famed iron side hull came from Georgia and the masts from Windsor, Maine just east of Augusta. The ship was launched on Oct 27, 1797.

 

III.

 

Henry Jackson’s closest personal and professional relationship after the war until the end of his life was with the fascinating family of James and Hepzibah Swan.[ix]

 

Born Hepzibah Clarke in 1757 her father was a prosperous merchant. In spring of 1776 during the siege of Boston when many families fled the city[x], Henry Jackson and Henry Knox lived at her home on Rawson’s Lane (Bromfield Street) before both went off to the front lines: Knox directed construction of battlements and breastworks at Roxbury defended by General Heath’s troops before going on to become artillery commander of the Continental Army. Jackson raised a regiment that he commanded for the duration of the war.

 

In 1775 Hepzibah Clarke married James Swan one of the most colorful rogues of wartime and postwar Boston. Swan was born in Scotland and arrived in Boston in 1765 at the age of 34 and became friends with Henry Knox. Active with the Sons of Liberty he participated in the Boson Tea Party and served in the artillery with Knox when the British were driven out of Boston. During the war he took over government positions vacated by the British; he was secretary of the board of war for Massachusetts, adjutant general and legislator. With his wife’s wealth he bought the confiscated house and grounds of Stephen Greenleaf the last Royal High Sheriff on Common Street between West and Winter Streets. (On April 30, 1779 The General court passed the Conspiracy and Confiscation Act in which all property of “certain notorious conspirators” was seized and sold to benefit the Commonwealth. The Act listed each one by name.) Three daughters were born to the Swans between 1777 and 1782 and in 1783 a son was born. Swan was allegedly a privateer during the war; ship owners and masters authorized by Congress to harass, seize and profit from the captured cargo of British supply ships on the high seas.

 

Swan squandered his wife’s wealth from gambling and poor land investments and in 1788 he went to France to rebuild his fortune. Hepzibah and James Swan were both pro French; Mrs. Swan in particular was a devout Francophile all her life. During the war and they entertained French naval officers stationed at Newport who brought their ships to Boston for repair, refitting and supplies. It was these French officers, often noblemen, whom James Swan asked for assistance and political access in Paris. A remarkable financier, he reorganized French debt after the collapse of the monarchy and set up a lucrative trading company to purchase food, munitions and merchandise in America. His trusted American agent in Boston was Henry Jackson. Swan made a huge fortune and returned triumphantly to America in 1795. He landed at Philadelphia and was joined by Hepzibah who arranged to have his portrait painted by her new protégé Gilbert Stuart.

 

On his return to Boston James Swan sought to impress the merchant oligarchy by building a grand countryseat on Dudley Street in Dorchester not far from Royal Governor Shirley’s mansion. Swan had purchased the land in 1781 when he was adjutant general of the Commonwealth. It was a 60-acre estate with a house near the road that the State of Massachusetts had confiscated from Loyalist Nathaniel Hatch. Hatch and 1000 other Tories had fled with the British army to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1776. The house and land was confiscated under the enabling legislation of 1779 and Swan bought the property for 18,000 pounds. Planned in large part in the French style by Mrs. Swan, she consulted with another protégé the architect Charles Bullfinch who is given attribution for the design of the most remarkable house of its time in the region. The mansion was set on a high earth berm facing east across Dorchester Bay. Completed in 1796, its signature architectural feature was a two story circular drawing room 32 feet in circumference with a domed ceiling. The bow was pulled out from two traditional Federal style wings and surrounded by a colonnade. Everyone called it the Round House and Mrs. Swan filled it with French furnishings; much of it appropriated by the republican French government from royal palaces and sold to Swan’s import company.[xi]

 

James Swan didn’t live in his great house long. His marriage was deteriorating (even the cosmopolitan Hepzibah Swan was tired of his infidelities), his fortune reduced and his merchant company was in trouble; in he returned to France in 1798 to rebuild his company and restore his finances. He never returned. Arrested in 1808 for non-payment of debts to his principle investor, he spent the remainder of his life in a very comfortable Paris prison. Almost under house arrest, James Swan was in no hurry to return home to the aristocratic Hepzibah and prison kept him away from creditors. He lived well, ate well and entertained the ladies in style for the next 22 years. The Marquis de Lafayette, however, refused to visit him. One wonders about the conversation he had with Mrs. Swan when he called on her at Dorchester in 1825. James Swan was freed in 1830 after a change in government but he was disoriented and apparently unable to adjust. He died in a Paris street a year later.

 

Henry Jackson was Mrs. Swan’s closest friend and confidant after 1798. His boarding house was a block away from Mrs. Swan’s house but he was one of the family there and at the Dorchester mansion. After 1798 Mrs. Swan settled into a luxurious and cosmopolitan life of the Boston merchant and political elite in which she played a prominent role for the rest of her life; leaving her city address for her country home in Dorchester on May 1st. Even before James Swan returned to Paris, Jackson was handling her business and financial affairs, something she could not depend on her husband to do.

 

Acting on behalf of the Swan family, in 1795, Jackson bought the town granary at Park St and Common Street from the town of Boston for $8366. Mrs. Swan deeded the land to her daughters who sold the corner lot to the Trustees of the Park St. Church in 1809.[xii]

 

Mrs. Swan bought out two of the original investors in the largest and most far reaching real estate venture in postwar Boston when she became the only female member of the four person Mt Vernon Proprietors that acquired the John Singleton Copley pasture in 1796. It was subdivided into townhouse lots that became very valuable when the State House opened in 1798. Mrs. Swan built three houses on the land for her daughters at 13, 15 + 17 Chestnut Street (built in 1805 and 1807) and her own townhouse at 16 Chestnut Street in 1817. Jackson assessed the property and handled all financial transactions on all four homes each designed by Charles Bullfinch, who seemed now to be among the members of her salon.

 

Jackson managed the household affairs as well. He was very close to the daughters. He organized and managed the marriage of oldest daughter Hepzibah to Dr. John Howard in 1800 and in 1802 the wedding of Sarah Swan to William Sullivan. Mrs. Swan disapproved of her middle daughters fiancé John Turner Sargent (of the Roxbury Sargents; Lucious Manlius Sargent was his brother). Yet despite that Christiana –obviously as strong willed as her mother- married him anyway in 1806 and Mrs. Swan built them a townhouse on Chestnut Street. (John and Christiana named their second son Henry Jackson Sargent,)

 

Her son James Keadie Swan married Caroline Knox, the daughter of Henry Knox, in 1808. At the time of the wedding Mrs. Swan commissioned Gilbert Stuart to paint a portrait of her son and also of herself. [xiii]

 

Henry Jackson was also involved in three major post war civic improvement projects. Jackson was one of six members of the West Boston Bridge Proprietors incorporated by Governor Hancock in 1792 and authorized to collect tolls for 40 years. It was completed in 1793 (replaced by the Longfellow Bridge).

 

In 1791 no doubt at the urging of Mrs. Swan, Jackson and others helped pass legislation which repealed the 1750 law against theater performances. Roxbury state senator William Heath was probably helpful. Jackson was trustee of the Boston Theatre – Boston’s first - designed by Charles Bullfinch at the corner Federal and Franklin Street that opened in 1793.

 

The third was the huge India Wharf project begun in 1803 Jackson. Henry Knox and other investors organized to replace the ramshackle jumble of wooden wharf buildings built on the old dock. Planned by the incorporators to make Boston a competitive international port, the long granite warehouse was designed by Charles Bullfinch with tall gable front entrance facing the city. The wharf was built in 1804 and the brick warehouse with 32 stores opened in 1808.[xiv]

 

Henry Knox traveled frequently to Boston with his wife Lucy and their daughter Caroline (Swan) Knox to visit Mrs., Swan. March 1805 marked the 30th anniversary of the British surrender of Boston made possible by the artillery brought down from Fort Ticonderoga by General Knox’s troops that he strategically placed on hilltops facing the city. There were certainly festivities and dinners at which Knox and his old friend Henry Jackson participated. In 1805, probably at this time, Mrs. Swan commissioned two portraits from Gilbert Stuart of Henry Knox and Henry Jackson. Two portraits could not be more different.[xv]Knox is in full uniform (which suggests he was at the Evacuation Day program) his right hand resting on the barrel of a canon with the smoke of battle behind him. He looks confident but not smug. Jackson is painted more intimately in business suit and ruffled collar. He is painted closer to the frame and his head is cocked back with a slight smile. It’s the face of a kind man.[xvi] Completed in 1806 they joined the earlier Stuart paintings of James and Hepzibah in her drawing room[xvii].

 

This was probably the last time the two old friends saw each other. Knox died the next year and Henry Jackson died suddenly on January 7, 1809. A notice went out that day from the Society of the Cincinnati which notified members of the death of their

 

“brother and friend”. Unlike his father, he was not given a military funeral[xviii]; a service was held at his boarding house. Mrs. Swan was in shock. He loyal friend was gone. The one who never fawned over her but treated her like anyone else. The imperious grande dame of wealth, fine tastes and love of French culture respected the old bachelor because he provided the stability and companionship that James Swan forfeited.

 

Hepzibah Swan had General Jackson interred in a tomb she built in her back garden. The tomb was raised on an earth berm surrounded by a hedge of lilacs and surmounted by an obelisk of blue marble probably quarried and made in Italy. On it was carved “Henry Jackson. Soldier, Patriot, Friend’. [xix] A lane of lilacs led from the house to the tomb that Mrs. Swan often visited and pointed out to guests. One of them was the Marquis de Lafayette in June of 1825 on his triumphal visit to Boston, for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. He visited Mrs. Swan on his way to Quincy to see John Adams. The Marquis and Mrs. Swan talked in French for over an hour and no doubt Mrs. Swan walked him out to look at the tomb of Revolutionary War General Henry Jackson.

  

Henry Jackson’s obelisk at the Swan lot Forest Hills Cemetery. Photo by Richard Heath

 

Hepzibah Swan died two months later probably of cholera on August 14, 1825. She was buried in General Jackson’s tomb. [xx] The house and grounds were left to Christiana Sargent who lived there until her death in 1867 at the age of 89.

 

The neighborhood then was changing. Howard Avenue was built through the property in 1869 and in 1872 the owners subdivided it again and Harlow Street was built through the garden. It was at that time that the Swan-Sargent family -probably John T. Sargent- had the grave removed to Forest Hills Cemetery. On Oct 21, 1872 the remains of General Henry Jackson, Hepzibah Swan, John T Sargent, Christiana Sargent and Mary Cochran were transferred to a lot on Lilac Path at Forest Hills Cemetery. In the center of the lot on the edge of the earth terrace was placed the blue marble obelisk dedicated to General Jackson.[xxi]

 

The great country house was torn down in 1891 and the two-acre site sat vacant for almost fifty years until the Boston Parks Dept built the Mary Hannon Playground on the land in 1945.

  

Hog’s Bridge in 1873. Atlas of the County of Suffolk Vol 2. G, M, Hopkins, Philadelphia 1873

 

At the time of General Jackson’s death, Hog’s Bridge was the site of Samuel Heath’s tannery established about 1760 adjacent o the farm of his bother William Heath. The Heath tannery was an extension of industry in the Stony brook Valley centered at Pierpont’s Village (Roxbury crossing). Heath’s Tannery was bought and expanded to become the Guild & White Tannery that opened in 1847. It specialized in calfskin gloves and tanned about 10,000 skins annually. Guild and White was located on the right of way of the Boston + Providence Railroad, a 40 mile passenger train route that opened on June 11, 1834 from Park Square through Pierpont’s Village and Hog’s Bridge to the seacoast city of Providence. Rhode Island. The railroad extended straight across the mudflats and marshes of the Back Bay on an earth and wood causeway; in 1850 a stop was added at Pierpont’s Village. The biggest change came in 1866 when freight service was added on additional track. Heath Street Station was added about this time. Also a second bridge was built to carry Centre Street over the railroad. An incline was graded and a wooden bridge carried wagons and carriages to and from Jamaica Plain.

 

In 1872 Hog’s Bridge was a busy crossroads in which was nestled a business district of wood frame and occasional brick buildings of shopkeepers, blacksmiths and mechanics servicing the tan yard, breweries and the railroad; meandering through was Stony Brook – by then contained in a stone channel- crossed by a wooden bridge at Centre and Heath Streets.

 

The New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad announced in 1893 its plan to eliminate the many unsafe grade crossings in the Stony Brook Valley. Beginning at Cumberland Street in the South End and extending four miles to Forest Hills a massive stone viaduct would carry passenger and freights trains over busy cross-town roads. Hundreds of wooden bridges over Stony Brook (many through factories) would be taken down and the entire length of Stony Brook placed in a brick culvert. The $3 million project was the largest public works project ever seen in Roxbury; it coincided with the control of both Stony Brook and Muddy River in the just completed new park called the Back Bay Fens. The project included eight new bridges and the construction of new passenger stations designed by Samuel Shaw chief engineer of the Old Colony Railroad the owner of that portion of the NYNH &H[xxii].

 

Work began in May of 1895.[xxiii] A gravel berm was laid across the old right of way supported by granite walls twenty feet high built to create a multi track viaduct that rose gently at Cumberland Street adjacent to the baseball grounds (near present-day Carter Playground) to Forest Hills. Centre Street was widened to eighty feet and depressed nineteen feet in grade to run under an iron plate bridge about one hundred feet long including abutments. New electric car tracks were also built on a reconfigured Centre Street as it dropped down the Fort Hill slope. A fifty-foot iron plate bridge was over Heath Street that included in- bound and outbound passenger waiting rooms. By the end of 1897 a solid wall of masonry twenty feet high carrying passenger and freight trains extended across the Stony Brook Valley floor[xxiv].

  

Hog’s Bridge in 1890. Atlas of the City Of Boston Proper and Roxbury GW Bromley, Philadelphia 1890.

 

This was not the only change for Hog’s Bridge. In 1894 the State legislature established the Boston Board of Street Commissioners and also passed the Special Legislation Act for Great Avenues designed to extend roads out to the new districts of Boston. That bill authorized the extension of Columbus Avenue from Northampton Street to Franklin Park. Three hundred men were put to work to take down existing structures and build the Avenue that included electric streetcar tracks. Completed at the end of 1895, the new Columbus Avenue created a great X street pattern as old Centre Street crossed at an angle with the new boulevard. Columbus Avenue was built concurrently with the railroad viaduct. Centre Street was straightened and traffic went in a direct line to the underpass. It was now possible to drive – or take an electric car - from the old Park Square railroad station on a straight and smooth avenue to Egleston Square and Franklin Park.

 

Great improvements were also taking place at the other end of Columbus Avenue in the 1890’s. On October 19, 1891 Lt Col. Thomas Edmunds, commanding officer of the First Corps of Cadets laid the cornerstone for their great new armory at Columbus Ave. and Ferdinand St (later extended and named Arlington Street)[xxv]. It was the 150th anniversary of the fabled First Corp of Cadets that moved into its new armory in February and March 1897.

 

Josiah Quincy was mayor of the city, the third Josiah Quincy to hold that office in the 19th century. His grandfather had built Quincy Market in 1826 and his father opened the city to Cochituate water with a groundbreaking in 1846. He himself would cut the ribbon for the great South Station from which trains rolled over the Roxbury viaduct across Centre Street on its way to New York City.

 

It may have been that Lt Col Edmunds had a word with Mayor Quincy as the cadets hung up the pastel drawing of General Jackson done in 1777 in their new head house library. General Jackson was the man who reorganized the First Corp of Cadets in the turmoil of the British Evacuation and he commanded it as an effective fighting force for the duration of the conflict. Mayor Quincy would have been interested. His grandfather, the first Mayor Quincy (born in 1772), was an attorney and state legislator before becoming a Congressman in 1805, so he knew General Jackson.

 

Lt Col Edmunds may have gone on to note that 1897 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of General Jackson. The intersection created by the new Columbus Avenue might be named Jackson Square in his honor; after all the great investment it certainly deserved a better name than Hog’s Bridge. It was also near General Heath Square. Mayor Quincy may have agreed.

  

Richard Heath October 10, 2011

   

Jackson Square in 1978.

  

Jackson Square Centre St. bridge circa 1960. Courtesy of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation

 

Notes:

[i] It got its name from an incident that occurred about 1750. A farm girl found her way blocked at the bridge by a drove of pigs. When the herdsman refused to let her pass, she picked up and tossed one of the pigs into Stony Brook and threatened to heave in another unless she was allowed to pass. Drake, Francis A. The Town of Roxbury. Page 386.

 

[ii] General Henry Knox was born in Boston, but he and his wife were far more invested in his huge land holdings and great mansion in Maine, which was part of Massachusetts until 1820

 

[iii] Paul Barrett sculptor. Dedicated June 17, 1904. Temporarily removed for street widening in 1966, it was taken by the Roxbury Latin School, of which Warren was an alumnus, in 1969.

 

[iv] For Jackson’s biography see.

 

1.“ The Swan Commissions” by Eleanor Pearson DeLorme, Winterthur Portfolio Vol 14, No 4, Winter 1979. Pg 389.

 

2. Drake, Francis A., Memorials of the Society of the Cincinnati of Massachusetts, Boston, 1873. page 360. (General William Heath biography page 329.)/

 

3. New England Historic and Genealogical Register, “Henry Jackson”. April 1892 page 111.

 

[v] Is it just a coincidence that Hogs Bridge was the center of the Boston brewery business?

 

[vi] Drake, Memorials of the Cincinnati, page 91.

 

[vii] Two sources consulted each with detailed descriptions of the four-day event make no reference to General Jackson or Major General Heath. Both veteran officers apparently passed on the honors to younger active duty officers: The Massachusetts Centinel. October 28, 1789. “Some recollections of George Washington’s Visit to Boston” by General William H. Sumner. New England Historic + Genealogical Register, April 1860.

 

[viii] Knox named his son born in 1780 Henry Jackson Knox and all his life Jackson was close to the boy.

 

[ix] “The Swan Commissions” By Eleanor Pearson DeLorme, Winterthur Portfolio, Vol 14, No 4. Winter 1979. The Downcast Dilettante blog. “Obelisks, Regrets, Debts, Swans, Bullfinch…” June 4, 2011.

 

[x] The father and mother in law of Henry Knox were among the Loyalists who took British ships to Halifax that month and then to England. Knox acquired for a nominal sum huge tracts of land owned by the Fluckers in coastal Maine that had been confiscated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Not for nothing was the Revolutionary War called the first American Civil War. “The fact is that, as far as the Americans were in it, the war of the revolution was a civil war.” The Loyalists of Massachusetts, James H Stark, Boston, 1910. Pg 61. + Pg 403.

 

[xi] For details on the furnishings, many of which are in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, see de Lorme. Page 374. For the house, the definitive source is Kirker, Harold. The Architecture of Charles Bullfinch, Harvard University Press. 1969. Pages 128-131. Bullfinch had just completed plans for Montpelier the great house for Henry Knox at Thomaston, Maine

 

[xii] Lawrence, Robert M, Old Park Street and Its vicinity, HMCo, Boston, 1922. page 115.

 

[xiii] For Hepzibahs portrait with detailed commentary see de Lorme page 370. James Keadie’s portrait is on page 378. Both Hepzibah’s portrait and James Swan’s were given to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts by her great granddaughter in 1927. The Henry Knox House, Thomaston, Maine, owns James Keadie Swan’s portrait.

 

[xiv] Henry Knox did not live to see it completed. He died in 1806. Half of the wharf was destroyed for the widening of Atlantic Avenue in 1869 and the remainder was razed in 1962. The Aquarium was built on the 1804 wharf in 1969

 

[xv]The famous Henry Knox portrait is illustrated in deLorme page 38. It is at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Henry Jackson portrait is shown on page 388. It is privately owned.

 

[xvi] Writing in 1876 Francis S Drake described Jackson as “a large man full of wit and gallantry. a gentleman.”

 

[xvii] Did she hang them at her Chestnut Street home and then take them with her to Dorchester? More than likely. The Henry Knox painting was given to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts by the City of Boston in 1876.

 

[xviii] The answer might lie in the Stuart painting: Henry Jackson had hung up his uniform with the epaulets, gold braid and stripes over 20 earlier. He died as Mr. Jackson and as Mr. Jackson he was paid respects.

 

[xix] It may have looked somewhat like the John Codman tomb at the Dorchester Second Church Cemetery at Codman Square. It’s a brick vault crowned with earth from the excavation with a dressed stone front and an arch door to the interior crypt. This was built about 1847,

 

[xx] She joined her son in law John Turner Sargent. When he died in 1813, she had him buried in the Jackson tomb.

 

[xxi] Files of Forest Hills Cemetery. Thank you to Elise Ciregna for her help and the site visit. There are five graves on the lot today. The first one has General Jackson, Hepzibah Swan and Mary Cochran. Mary Cochran – who was perhaps a house servant to Mrs. Swan -died at the age of 91 in 1830. The engraved inscriptions on the obelisk are eroded away and difficult to read.

 

-Orcutt, Dana. Good Old Dorchester, Cambridge, 1894. Page 398, Also pg 397. For a photo of the house taken just before demolition see page 25.

 

-See also Find a Grave .Com; Forest Hills Cemetery: Henry Jackson. Created by Jen Smoots. The biography is by Bill McKern. Included is an engraving of the 1777 pastel drawing of Colonel Jackson when he commanded the Boston Regiment reproduced in the April 1892 NEHGR biography.

 

Also see de Lorme page 390 for the illustration of the original pastel drawing held at the first Corp Cadets Museum.

 

All three Boston Revolutionary War leaders were removed to Forest Hills Cemetery General Warren was removed from a crypt at St Paul’s Church to the family tomb in 1855. General Heath was taken from the family tomb at the Heath farm a placed beneath a splendid pink granite monument at Eliot Hill in 1860.

 

[xxii] A considerable amount of property was taken for this project including the Heath Street freight yard that was given up for the new Heath Street Station and bridge. To satisfy the brewers who had long received grain shipments there, a new one was regraded at Lamartine and Centre Street.

 

[xxiii] For stories on construction see:

Boston Globe July 7, 1893.

 

Boston Globe July 10, 1895.

Boston Herald, March 22, 1896.

The Herald noted that the work was done largely by Italian laborers but had to be replaced in the cold winter months by French Canadians.

 

[xxiv] Train service was never discontinued for the three years of construction. A two track right of way was laid parallel to the construction site for passenger service

 

[xxv] Boston Globe Oct 10, 1891. The Armory was designed by William G. Preston.

 

Spring flower...aside from the pollen, this is one of the two most beautiful times of the year. Blooming flowers, growing grass, rejuvenation...spring at it's best!!

 

Technical Information:

Camera - Nikon D5200 (handheld)

Lens – Nikkor 35mm fixed, f/1.8 with a 16mm extension tube

ISO – 100

Aperture – f/4

Exposure – 1/200 second

Focal Length – 35mm

 

The original RAW file was processed with Adobe Camera Raw and final adjustments were made with Photoshop CS6.

 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

www.spurnpoint.com/Spurn_Point.htm

  

Spurn is a very unique place in the British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in places.

Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.

Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.

One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.

There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.

The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.

The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Around_and_about_at_Spurn.htm

  

Around and about there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from the north of Spurn at Kilnsea there is the Riverside hotel offering good quality food drink and accommodation. Coming south towards Spurn and still in Kilnsea there is the Crown and Anchor pub. A welcoming place serving bar meals fine beers and offering bed and breakfast at very reasonable rates. At the crossroads before you turn towards Spurn there is the Spurn heritage coast visitors centre. Where there is a small cafe and exhibition. At the entrance Spurn point nature reserve is an information centre and bird observatory selling books pamphlets, etc., and the last toilet on Spurn.

Past the lighthouse is the last car park. Two hundred metres further on you find the Humber Lifeboat and Pilot stations. Near the houses is a Small caravan selling tea, coffee, cold cans, hot and cold food, crisps and sweets.

All are open all year round apart from the heritage centre which is open thought the season.

 

BIRD WATCHING.

Is a very popular pastime as Spurn is internationally famous for birds. There are up to two hundred species recorded at spurn every year. Some of which are extremely rare. The Marmora's Warbler seen at Spurn In June 1992 was only the third recorded in Britain.

 

SEA FISHING.

The beaches of Spurn provide some of the best sea fishing in the area, with Cod and Whiting and Flats being caught through the winter and Skate, Flats and Bass through the summer. There is sport to be had all the year.

At the very end of Spurn is deep water ideal for Cod but this only fishes best two hours either side of low water, the tide is to strong at other times. All along the seaward side of Spurn is good for all species of fish at all times though over high water being the better. The riverside of Spurn is very shallow and only produces Flats and the bass over high water.

 

THE BEACH.

 

The beaches at Spurn are of soft sand and shingle. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. There are fossils and all manners of things to find beach combing. Swimming is not safe any were near the point end as there are very strong tides at up to six knots at times. But in side Spurn around the point car park is perfect at high water. The beach does not shelf to fast and very little tide. You can have the place to your self at times, as Spurn is never really busy weekdays.#

A very popular pastime at Spurn is Fossil hunting. There is a good abundance of fossils to be found in amongst the pebbles and shingle.

The Shark Trust has a very interesting PDF file tell you all about Shark Skate and rays the mermaids purses you find on the beach are egg shells from sharks and Rays. Click the link to down load the Shark Trust Brochure.

 

WALKING.

Walking or strolling at spurn is very easy, as there are no hills. There are various sign posted paths up and down the point. For the fit a complete walk round the whole point is about 8 miles, taking in all the point round the point end and back to the "warren" information place at the start of Spurn. You will need good footwear, as much of the paths are sand. There is limited access for disabled, but not to the point end, as you have to go via the beach.

You can park your car at the point car park and walk round the point end and back to the car park about a mile, or just stroll around the point were you choose. The only place you are not allowed to go are down the pilot's jetty and the centre square of the Lifeboat houses.

In spring and early summer Spurn is covered with a large amount of wild flowers of all species.

There are common to the not so common; from Orchids to bluebells. I must remind you Spurn is a nature reserve and the picking of all flowers is prohibited. When visiting please enjoy Spurn, as it is a very beautiful place and leave only your footprints.

 

Horse Riding.

 

There is riding available nearby at the North Humberside Riding Centre. The stables are ideally located with rides along quiet country lanes, by-ways, plus miles of sandy beach and riverbanks. The cross-country course offers a variety of fences for both the novice and the more experienced rider.

 

www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/

 

A Brief History of Spurn Bird Observatory

 

Following visits to Spurn by several members of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union in the late 1930's, a communal log for ornithological observations was instituted in 1938. This included a roll-call of species, the beginnings of a recording system, which later became standard in bird observatories. Realising the potential of the Spurn peninsula for the regular observation of bird migration a group of enthusiasts, notably Ralph Chislett, George Ainsworth, John Lord and R.M. Garnett, had the idea of setting up a bird observatory, with the Warren Cottage at the northern end of the peninsula as an ideal headquarters. Unfortunately the outbreak of war forced them to put their plans on hold but shortly after hostilities ceased a lease for Warren Cottage was obtained from the War Department and the observatory was established shortly afterwards under the auspices of the Y.N.U. with the four members mentioned above forming the first committee. A preliminary meeting was held in September 1945 to decide on the site for a Heligoland trap, work on which was begun almost immediately and the first bird (a Blackbird) was ringed on November 17th. The first minuted committee meeting was held on March 9th 1946 and the observatory was opened to visitors at Whitsuntide that year.

Initially coverage was limited to the main migration seasons, being extended to winter weekends in the early 1950's to trap and ring some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings which used to occur at that time of year and gradually coverage was increased (whenever possible) to cover the late spring and summer. In 1959 there was an important development when the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust (now the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) became the owners of the peninsula and thus the observatory's landlord. In 1960 a full time warden was appointed by the Trust, and although having no official connection with the observatory the fact of having an observer on the peninsula year-round inevitably helped to improve the ornithological coverage. This was especially the case from 1964 when the current warden, Barry Spence, was appointed, in conjunction with the fact that an interest in birds and their migrations was steadily growing and more bird-watchers were staying at the observatory, often for longer periods.

When the observatory opened there was accommodation for seven visitors in Warren Cottage and facilities included two chemical toilets, the Warren Heligoland trap and an ex-army hut as a ringing hut. Over the next ten years a further five Heligoland traps were constructed along the peninsula, although today only three remain in existence. In 1959 the observatory gained the use of the Annexe, one of two ex W.D. bungalows built at the Warren during the early 1950's, thus increasing the accommodation capacity to seventeen and providing much improved toilet facilities. Over the years the accommodation and facilities have been gradually improved to try to make the visitor's stay at Spurn as comfortable as possible. Other improvements have also taken place, in 1968 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Point was converted into a ringing laboratory ready for the first B.T.O. Ringing Course, held in autumn of that year and in 1971 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Warren was also converted into a ringing laboratory. The other part of this building became a laboratory for the use of students of Leeds University but this also became available to the observatory in the mid 1980's when the University no longer had a use for it. Subsequently it was converted into a self-contained accommodation unit for two, complete with kitchen facilities, and although officially known by the somewhat unimaginative name of Room F (the rooms in the Annexe being known as Rooms A, C, D & E, - whatever happened to Room B?), it was somewhat irreverently christened "Dunbirdin" by regular visitors to Spurn.

In 1965 a sea-watching hut was erected east of the Warren beyond the line of the former railway track. Due to coastal erosion it became necessary to move this in late 1974, when it was hoped that it would last at least as long as it had in its first position. Alas this was not to be, as the rate of erosion increased dramatically in the mid 1970's, necessitating a further move in early December 1977. In that year a clay bank had been built across the field behind Warren Cottage (Clubley's field) to prevent the flooding of arable land by wind-blown sea water, but on January 11th 1978 Spurn suffered its worst flooding ever when a strong to gale-force north-westerly wind combined with a spring tide. In late 1981 due to extensive construction works at Easington a large quantity of boulder clay became available and this was used to build up and extend the bank across Clubley's field, south towards Black Hut and north beyond Big Hedge to join up with an existing bank (which had been built in 1974) behind the scrape. In 1982 the sea-watching hut was repositioned on top of this bank, where it remained until the bank itself was washed away in the early 1990's.

A number of other changes to the observatory recording area began to take place from the early 1970's, including extensive building operations at the Point, commencing in 1974, with the construction of a new jetty for the Humber Pilot boats, new housing for the Spurn Lifeboat crew and the conversion and renovation of various existing buildings for use by the Coastguard and the Pilots. In 1978 following damage to the existing road south of the Warren area a new tarmac road was laid to the west of the original one, this lasted until 1988 when a second "new road" loop had to be laid, followed in 1991 by the construction of the existing loop road running along the Humber shore from just south of the Warren to just beyond Black Hut. The construction of this road resulted in the destruction of the actual Black Hut, although the area still bears the name. In 1981 the lines of wartime concrete anti-tank blocks running from the seashore to the Canal Zone were removed to fill in a breach at the Narrow Neck. This resulted in the southward extension of the Scrape field by the farmer up to Big Hedge and the start of a gradual decline in the condition of this hedge and its attractiveness to birds. In 1982 a local resident excavated a pond for shooting purposes in the wet area adjoining the Canal Zone. This never really proved successful and the land was later purchased by the Y.W.T. and the pond enlarged to become what is now known as Canal Scrape. In 1984 a famous Spurn landmark, the Narrows "Hut", a wooden migration watch shelter which had stood at the Narrow Neck for twenty-three years, was set fire to by person or persons unknown and completely destroyed, it was replaced the following year by a more solid construction made from breeze-blocks.

A period of considerable change began in 1988 when the Spurn peninsula was designated as part of the Spurn Heritage Coast. Projects undertaken include the enlargement of the Canal Scrape mentioned above and the erection of a hide overlooking it, a hide overlooking the Humber wader roost at Chalk Bank, a public sea-watching hide alongside the observatory one, provision of additional car-parking space, the restoration of the short-turf habitat in the Chalk Bank area, provision of footpaths, etc. A major project was the renovation of the Blue Bell in Kilnsea for use as offices, an information centre and a small cafe, which became fully operational in 1995. Another fairly recent project has been the creation of another scrape/pond on Clubley's field.

In 1996 the observatory celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and for the first time in its history SBO employed a full time seasonal warden. This position has since been expanded and the observatory now enjoys the services of a year- round warden. In 1998, with a view to the future, a small bungalow in Kilnsea was purchased with money bequeathed by the late John Weston, a long time committee member, who regrettably died in 1996. This was followed in 1999 by the purchase of a strip of land adjacent to the property and is now known as the ‘Church Field’, this is planted with a sacrificial crop every year, and has also had several groups of trees planted and a feeding station placed in the north-east corner. Access to this field is available by becoming a member of ‘Friends of Spurn Bird Observatory’, a venture set up in 2003 to eventually help with the building of a new observatory when the old one falls way to the sea.

 

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

You just never know what I am going to upload next, do you? My story and picture are copyright 2010, all rights reserved. If you would like to Blog it, ask me first. There is a *SPEW WARNING* in effect. That means you are advised not to have any liquids (like coffee or Pepsi) near your mouth, keyboard or monitor when viewing the picture or story. Between the rows of asterisks is my tiny true story.

 

BTW, there are NOTES! They really add a LOT to this image, and they are finally back from Flickr, June 2016. Move your mouse over the image to see the notes.

 

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My mouse was acting sluggish; so I wanted to remove some hair and dust and lint. I've done that before and have succeeded in obtaining better performance. I took the cover off the mouse ball's hatch with my fingers. At that point, my fingers did not yet need resting (see notes). I had my tweezers and magnifying glass ready, because once one removes and cleans one's mouse ball, access to the inner workings of the mouse can be obtained. I could spot various debris that didn't belong there. I cleaned the ball, and wanted to set it down while I worked, but it started to roll away. I got it very clean, and set it on a cloth, thinking that would hold it while I worked. It dawned on me that the cloth also had some lint and dust. I decided it would be best to keep my ball clamped in a nice clean clamp until I was ready to use it again. I thought my very large and strong, but plastic, clamp would keep it from rolling anywhere and picking up more grime while I worked. It fit into the little jaw part of the clamp, but not well enough to grasp it tightly; so I moved it closer into the area with the spring. That seemed as if it were a perfect grip.

 

I began to pick away at little parts of the mouse that had various forms of junk in it. In trying to unwind some hair from a tiny spring (not the one under the magnifying glass in my photo, but like it) I accidentally moved an important little spring off of a tiny post, and it went flying. Simultaneously my mouse ball clamp gave way to the pressure and the clamp exploded, leaving the ball free to roll on the floor, and leaving the pieces in all directions. A word of advice. When clamping one's ball, one should be certain the clamp is stronger than the ball. I wasn't sure where the little spring for the mouse was supposed to be. I decided to take the whole cover off the mouse, not just the ball hatch, as I had previously done. I wasn't sure if there was enough electricity in it to harm me, so I unplugged it for safety. Unplugging the mouse is not usually difficult. I just follow the cord with my fingers; but seeing where it goes when replacing it can be very difficult. Moving the computer tower and extra computer and monitor to access the ports and plugs can be very cumbersome. That is when I decided to go downstairs to my tool box and get my mechanic's extension mirror. I can hold it behind the computer and see the rear cords and plugs without necessitating a lot of rearranging heavy things. I trusted the mirror to show me which empty port needed the green mouse plug. It worked splendidly well. It is a great tool for things of that nature, and when the time came, I was able to easily plug the mouse back in.

 

It is one thing to take the little ball hatch off and on. I can usually do that with my fingers, or the help of a screwdriver, but accessing the entire mouse cover, one usually needs the proper size screwdriver for the extra screw or two that hold it in place. I found the screwdriver in the picture, and my hand and fingers could not hold it firmly enough to get it to work. I am fairly convinced that the little screws they use in China are not intended to actually ever be unscrewed. The screw head was getting chewed up, and was not coming out. I got my Vise Grips (a terrific concept and product, by the way) and used them to really get a firm grip on the tiny screwdriver without ripping up my hand. It still took dexterity and patience and strength to remove the screw. I left the driver in the Vise Grips, anticipating that I would need them when I replaced the screw. I was glad I did. Along about then I got the idea for the scan of all the various pieces and tools, and I continued to leave the Vise Grips firmly gripping the tiny screwdriver until I had taken my shot. I was really laughing at the amount of tools and trouble I was going to in order to fix my mouse. He didn't even need his ball at that point, but I had to get it out of my way to do the real job.

 

I figured out where the little tiny spring was supposed to be, and cleaned the mouse's insides, replaced everything and got it all back together. I plugged green plug to green outlet, and voila, a working mouse, and some really great laughs at myself. Anticipating that others might have a great time laughing too, I started my scans and picture taking, and writing this.

 

~ THE END ~

 

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(scan120610almostallneededformouserepairmostuffblkcoversavsofar5) <---- this is just my file name for my own reference.

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Tenuous Link: instruments

 

"T" is for Tools

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Spurn_Point.htm

  

Spurn is a very unique place in the British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in places.

Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.

Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.

One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.

There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.

The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.

The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.

  

www.spurnpoint.com/Around_and_about_at_Spurn.htm

  

Around and about there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from the north of Spurn at Kilnsea there is the Riverside hotel offering good quality food drink and accommodation. Coming south towards Spurn and still in Kilnsea there is the Crown and Anchor pub. A welcoming place serving bar meals fine beers and offering bed and breakfast at very reasonable rates. At the crossroads before you turn towards Spurn there is the Spurn heritage coast visitors centre. Where there is a small cafe and exhibition. At the entrance Spurn point nature reserve is an information centre and bird observatory selling books pamphlets, etc., and the last toilet on Spurn.

Past the lighthouse is the last car park. Two hundred metres further on you find the Humber Lifeboat and Pilot stations. Near the houses is a Small caravan selling tea, coffee, cold cans, hot and cold food, crisps and sweets.

All are open all year round apart from the heritage centre which is open thought the season.

 

BIRD WATCHING.

Is a very popular pastime as Spurn is internationally famous for birds. There are up to two hundred species recorded at spurn every year. Some of which are extremely rare. The Marmora's Warbler seen at Spurn In June 1992 was only the third recorded in Britain.

 

SEA FISHING.

The beaches of Spurn provide some of the best sea fishing in the area, with Cod and Whiting and Flats being caught through the winter and Skate, Flats and Bass through the summer. There is sport to be had all the year.

At the very end of Spurn is deep water ideal for Cod but this only fishes best two hours either side of low water, the tide is to strong at other times. All along the seaward side of Spurn is good for all species of fish at all times though over high water being the better. The riverside of Spurn is very shallow and only produces Flats and the bass over high water.

 

THE BEACH.

 

The beaches at Spurn are of soft sand and shingle. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. There are fossils and all manners of things to find beach combing. Swimming is not safe any were near the point end as there are very strong tides at up to six knots at times. But in side Spurn around the point car park is perfect at high water. The beach does not shelf to fast and very little tide. You can have the place to your self at times, as Spurn is never really busy weekdays.#

A very popular pastime at Spurn is Fossil hunting. There is a good abundance of fossils to be found in amongst the pebbles and shingle.

The Shark Trust has a very interesting PDF file tell you all about Shark Skate and rays the mermaids purses you find on the beach are egg shells from sharks and Rays. Click the link to down load the Shark Trust Brochure.

 

WALKING.

Walking or strolling at spurn is very easy, as there are no hills. There are various sign posted paths up and down the point. For the fit a complete walk round the whole point is about 8 miles, taking in all the point round the point end and back to the "warren" information place at the start of Spurn. You will need good footwear, as much of the paths are sand. There is limited access for disabled, but not to the point end, as you have to go via the beach.

You can park your car at the point car park and walk round the point end and back to the car park about a mile, or just stroll around the point were you choose. The only place you are not allowed to go are down the pilot's jetty and the centre square of the Lifeboat houses.

In spring and early summer Spurn is covered with a large amount of wild flowers of all species.

There are common to the not so common; from Orchids to bluebells. I must remind you Spurn is a nature reserve and the picking of all flowers is prohibited. When visiting please enjoy Spurn, as it is a very beautiful place and leave only your footprints.

 

Horse Riding.

 

There is riding available nearby at the North Humberside Riding Centre. The stables are ideally located with rides along quiet country lanes, by-ways, plus miles of sandy beach and riverbanks. The cross-country course offers a variety of fences for both the novice and the more experienced rider.

 

www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/

 

A Brief History of Spurn Bird Observatory

 

Following visits to Spurn by several members of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union in the late 1930's, a communal log for ornithological observations was instituted in 1938. This included a roll-call of species, the beginnings of a recording system, which later became standard in bird observatories. Realising the potential of the Spurn peninsula for the regular observation of bird migration a group of enthusiasts, notably Ralph Chislett, George Ainsworth, John Lord and R.M. Garnett, had the idea of setting up a bird observatory, with the Warren Cottage at the northern end of the peninsula as an ideal headquarters. Unfortunately the outbreak of war forced them to put their plans on hold but shortly after hostilities ceased a lease for Warren Cottage was obtained from the War Department and the observatory was established shortly afterwards under the auspices of the Y.N.U. with the four members mentioned above forming the first committee. A preliminary meeting was held in September 1945 to decide on the site for a Heligoland trap, work on which was begun almost immediately and the first bird (a Blackbird) was ringed on November 17th. The first minuted committee meeting was held on March 9th 1946 and the observatory was opened to visitors at Whitsuntide that year.

Initially coverage was limited to the main migration seasons, being extended to winter weekends in the early 1950's to trap and ring some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings which used to occur at that time of year and gradually coverage was increased (whenever possible) to cover the late spring and summer. In 1959 there was an important development when the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust (now the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) became the owners of the peninsula and thus the observatory's landlord. In 1960 a full time warden was appointed by the Trust, and although having no official connection with the observatory the fact of having an observer on the peninsula year-round inevitably helped to improve the ornithological coverage. This was especially the case from 1964 when the current warden, Barry Spence, was appointed, in conjunction with the fact that an interest in birds and their migrations was steadily growing and more bird-watchers were staying at the observatory, often for longer periods.

When the observatory opened there was accommodation for seven visitors in Warren Cottage and facilities included two chemical toilets, the Warren Heligoland trap and an ex-army hut as a ringing hut. Over the next ten years a further five Heligoland traps were constructed along the peninsula, although today only three remain in existence. In 1959 the observatory gained the use of the Annexe, one of two ex W.D. bungalows built at the Warren during the early 1950's, thus increasing the accommodation capacity to seventeen and providing much improved toilet facilities. Over the years the accommodation and facilities have been gradually improved to try to make the visitor's stay at Spurn as comfortable as possible. Other improvements have also taken place, in 1968 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Point was converted into a ringing laboratory ready for the first B.T.O. Ringing Course, held in autumn of that year and in 1971 part of one of the derelict buildings at the Warren was also converted into a ringing laboratory. The other part of this building became a laboratory for the use of students of Leeds University but this also became available to the observatory in the mid 1980's when the University no longer had a use for it. Subsequently it was converted into a self-contained accommodation unit for two, complete with kitchen facilities, and although officially known by the somewhat unimaginative name of Room F (the rooms in the Annexe being known as Rooms A, C, D & E, - whatever happened to Room B?), it was somewhat irreverently christened "Dunbirdin" by regular visitors to Spurn.

In 1965 a sea-watching hut was erected east of the Warren beyond the line of the former railway track. Due to coastal erosion it became necessary to move this in late 1974, when it was hoped that it would last at least as long as it had in its first position. Alas this was not to be, as the rate of erosion increased dramatically in the mid 1970's, necessitating a further move in early December 1977. In that year a clay bank had been built across the field behind Warren Cottage (Clubley's field) to prevent the flooding of arable land by wind-blown sea water, but on January 11th 1978 Spurn suffered its worst flooding ever when a strong to gale-force north-westerly wind combined with a spring tide. In late 1981 due to extensive construction works at Easington a large quantity of boulder clay became available and this was used to build up and extend the bank across Clubley's field, south towards Black Hut and north beyond Big Hedge to join up with an existing bank (which had been built in 1974) behind the scrape. In 1982 the sea-watching hut was repositioned on top of this bank, where it remained until the bank itself was washed away in the early 1990's.

A number of other changes to the observatory recording area began to take place from the early 1970's, including extensive building operations at the Point, commencing in 1974, with the construction of a new jetty for the Humber Pilot boats, new housing for the Spurn Lifeboat crew and the conversion and renovation of various existing buildings for use by the Coastguard and the Pilots. In 1978 following damage to the existing road south of the Warren area a new tarmac road was laid to the west of the original one, this lasted until 1988 when a second "new road" loop had to be laid, followed in 1991 by the construction of the existing loop road running along the Humber shore from just south of the Warren to just beyond Black Hut. The construction of this road resulted in the destruction of the actual Black Hut, although the area still bears the name. In 1981 the lines of wartime concrete anti-tank blocks running from the seashore to the Canal Zone were removed to fill in a breach at the Narrow Neck. This resulted in the southward extension of the Scrape field by the farmer up to Big Hedge and the start of a gradual decline in the condition of this hedge and its attractiveness to birds. In 1982 a local resident excavated a pond for shooting purposes in the wet area adjoining the Canal Zone. This never really proved successful and the land was later purchased by the Y.W.T. and the pond enlarged to become what is now known as Canal Scrape. In 1984 a famous Spurn landmark, the Narrows "Hut", a wooden migration watch shelter which had stood at the Narrow Neck for twenty-three years, was set fire to by person or persons unknown and completely destroyed, it was replaced the following year by a more solid construction made from breeze-blocks.

A period of considerable change began in 1988 when the Spurn peninsula was designated as part of the Spurn Heritage Coast. Projects undertaken include the enlargement of the Canal Scrape mentioned above and the erection of a hide overlooking it, a hide overlooking the Humber wader roost at Chalk Bank, a public sea-watching hide alongside the observatory one, provision of additional car-parking space, the restoration of the short-turf habitat in the Chalk Bank area, provision of footpaths, etc. A major project was the renovation of the Blue Bell in Kilnsea for use as offices, an information centre and a small cafe, which became fully operational in 1995. Another fairly recent project has been the creation of another scrape/pond on Clubley's field.

In 1996 the observatory celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and for the first time in its history SBO employed a full time seasonal warden. This position has since been expanded and the observatory now enjoys the services of a year- round warden. In 1998, with a view to the future, a small bungalow in Kilnsea was purchased with money bequeathed by the late John Weston, a long time committee member, who regrettably died in 1996. This was followed in 1999 by the purchase of a strip of land adjacent to the property and is now known as the ‘Church Field’, this is planted with a sacrificial crop every year, and has also had several groups of trees planted and a feeding station placed in the north-east corner. Access to this field is available by becoming a member of ‘Friends of Spurn Bird Observatory’, a venture set up in 2003 to eventually help with the building of a new observatory when the old one falls way to the sea.

 

~Jon Hammond

 

It's Food For Thought Week! And you know what I'm thinking? I'm hungry. All the time.

 

Grated Romano Cheese: When you marry into a family straight from Northern Italy, you get to know your pastas, sauces, cheeses and breads really well. And your personal trainer, too. :P

 

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube

Aperture: f/4.5

Focal Length: 50mm

ISO Speed: 100

Flash: Off

Polarizer/Filter: None

Exposure: 1/50

RAW File Processing: Lightroom 3

Joby Gorillapod w/ Manfrotto 496RC2 Ballhead

 

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© Steven Brisson. Do not use without permission.

twitter | facebook | tumblr | stevenbrisson.com

Vacant shells in water. Colour variation from reddish-brown to purple brown depends partly on lighting and colour of substrate and whether shell is vacant or occupied, and in water or air.

1: whorls distinctly convex, but in profile shell is a depressed dome.

2 : debris lodged in suture.

 

Illustrated pdf of this account available at www.facebook.com/groups/british.marine.mollusca/files/

and

www.researchgate.net/profile/Ian_Smith19/contributions

 

Otina ovata (Brown, 1827)

Full SPECIES DESCRIPTION BELOW

Sets of OTHER SPECIES at: www.flickr.com/photos/56388191@N08/collections/.

 

Synonyms: Helix otis Turton, 1819; Otina otis (Turton, 1819); Gallericulum ovatum Brown, 1827.

Vernacular: Little ear-shell.

 

GLOSSARY BELOW

 

Shell Description

Usually up to 2.5mm long, maximum 3mm. Thin, semi-translucent. Very large body-whorl and single tiny bulbous spire-whorl forming lateral, inwardly-twisted apex; resembles tiny limpet or Haliotis shell 1Oo flic.kr/p/qfV1Vb . Whorls distinctly convex, but in profile shell is a depressed dome 2Oo flic.kr/p/qi2ddH . Aperture ear-shape, very extensive but does not expose interior of spire. Interior glossy. Inner and outer lips together form uninterrupted rim. Outer (palatal) lip smoothly-curved and thin; paler band within rim is area outside of foot-muscle attachment. Inner (columellar & parietal) lip forms almost transparent whitish shelf; no umbilicus 3Oo flic.kr/p/q1Dh3A . Exterior of shell superficially smooth, but magnification reveals sculpture of distinct growth lines and fine, regularly-spaced, parallel spiral striae forming lattice of oblongs 1Oo flic.kr/p/qfV1Vb ; growth lines sometimes emphasized by debris lodged against them 4Oo flic.kr/p/q1MiYR . Colour various shades of brown 2Oo flic.kr/p/qi2ddH , often darkened to dark chestnut-brown or purple-brown by closely adhering periostracum; groups of white specimens sometimes found (Killeen & Light, 1990), and newly hatched young are transparent showing yellow yolk in viscera. No operculum.

 

Body Description

Flesh white, slightly translucent. Head has large oral veil of two oral lappets and no protruding snout 5Oo flic.kr/p/qi8MYs . Mouth a ventral slit between lappets 9Oo flic.kr/p/q1CBfJ . Internal black sclerotized jaw near mouth shows as grey mark near junction of head and veil. Other blackish internal organs show grey through translucent head and body 6Oo flic.kr/p/q1CBwf . Strong short wide radula covers entire free surface of odontophore; up to 100 lateral teeth plus marginal teeth per row. Rudimentary cephalic tentacles consist of mound bearing large black eye 7Oo flic.kr/p/q1Dgzb . Mantle white; thin and transparent over mantle cavity; reflected as white rim at edge of shell-aperture 7Oo flic.kr/p/q1Dgzb . Mantle cavity has no special respiratory capillaries (usually present in less primitive pulmonates). Pneumostome near posterior of right mantle_rim 8Oo flic.kr/p/q1Dgum . Anus adjacent and anterior to pneumostome. Female and male genital openings on right side under posterior of oral lappet; penis a simple introverted tube. Foot white; sole oval, divided transversely at a third of way from anterior edge 9Oo flic.kr/p/q1CBfJ .

 

Internal anatomy

Image 10Oo flic.kr/p/qi2cfF shows features visible in specimen extracted from shell; includes jaw, transparent mantle skirt over mantle cavity containing no ctenidium or special respiratory capillaries, horseshoe-shaped loop of intestine, digestive gland surrounding intestine, stomach, ovotestis and very small kidney.

 

Key identification features

·Otina ovata

·Minute (2mm long) limpet-form shell with tiny spire.

·Lives near HW mark in humid chasms and caves, and in crevices.

 

Similar species

Several species of small limpet in NW Europe might have juveniles around 2mm with small spire, but none lives at HW mark.

 

Habits and ecology

In humid shaded positions on clean rock from splash zone of MHWN down to EHWN, including moist walls of caves 11Oo flic.kr/p/pmrqyZ , north facing walls of chasms and outer parts of not-heavily-silted crevices on north faces of reefs of slate, shale, chalk etc. Favours fissured rock, but not unstable rapidly-eroding outcrops. Unlikely to occur where turbid water deposits film of mud over rock surfaces.

Obligatory hygrophile, unable to survive constant immersion of entire 12-hour tidal cycle so not below EHWN, but needs air humidity near 100%, becoming shrivelled and inert after twelve hours at 90%. Negatively geotactic when submerged, promptly moving up to escape total immersion when possible 6Oo flic.kr/p/q1CBwf . If exposed to non-humid air, moves promptly to humid shelter if possible, or clamps down onto substrate if none accessible.

Often associated in crevices with Melarhaphe neritoides, Littorina saxatilis, Cingula trifasciata, Auriculinella bidentata, Lasaea adansoni, Spirorbis borealis (tube worm), and Chthamalus spp. (barnacles). On open surfaces, active during periods of wave-splash, and at other times may venture out in very humid weather, especially if can shelter in dead barnacle shell, tuft of Lichina pygmaea or byssus of small Mytilus edulis. Positively thigmotactic, so often found in packed groups of about ten that conserve moisture.

Respiration is with atmospheric air admitted to the mantle cavity through a pneumostome 8Oo flic.kr/p/q1Dgum , but, unlike most pulmonates, O. ovata lacks special respiratory capillaries in the mantle cavity 10Oo flic.kr/p/qi2cfF . Broad lateral tracts of foot-surface 5Oo flic.kr/p/qi8MYs may have accessory respiratory function as blood comes here to body-surface under very thin epithelium through which respiratory interchange might easily be possible (Morton, 1955); probably sufficient respiration for slow-moving animal with small volume.

Feeds by scraping wave-lodged diatoms and filamentous algae from rock surface with radula while jaw grips on substrate. Food particles compacted at mouth with copious mucus from suprapedal gland on upper surface of anterior lobe of foot. Stomach with rotating protostyle of mucus and faeces, similar to that of bivalves, is most primitive yet described in a pulmonate (Morton, 1955) 10Oo flic.kr/p/qi2cfF . Faecal string never compressed into pellets, much more loosely compacted than in prosobranchs 9Oo flic.kr/p/q1CBfJ ; unlike them, has no ctenidium to be fouled and anus does not discharge into pallial cavity. Small kidney in front of looped intestine opens into pallial cavity with no water current to carry discharges out of cavity 10Oo flic.kr/p/qi2cfF ; probably assisted by accessory excretion from amoebocytes in broad lateral tracts of foot (Morton, 1955).

Travels by advancing anterior third of foot, fixing it to substrate and then bringing up the rest of the foot. Foot moved by muscles and disposition of blood in pedal sinus.

Breeding: protandrous hermaphrodite with no clear cut separation of male and female phases, each animal produces sperm in September – December, followed by an egg-producing phase December - June. Copulation with simple penis occurs before late March. Spawns in late May/ early June. Loose clusters of 20-30 eggs in tough, yellow/straw-coloured mucal secretion, 4-5mm across, loosely attached to substrate in humid conditions where adults live. Operculum, but no velum, present in embryos. Young hatch as crawlers with transparent shell revealing viscera yellow with egg-yolk in apical bulb. Uncertain if annual life cycle, but presence of all sizes simultaneously suggests biennial or longer.

 

Search techniqueif properly searched for it would doubtless be found in every suitable locality” (Jeffreys, 1869).

Take a torch and large hand lens to help detect the tiny white glistening blobs of flesh, or, in late May and early June, the larger (4 or 5mm across) yellowish egg masses. Choose a humid misty day, if possible, as O. ovata is then more likely to emerge from cover, and visit as soon after high tide as access is possible; wellingtons or waders may help early access to caves with entrances still awash. Seek, in fissured rock, a cave or chasm that is narrow, so likely to retain humid air and exclude direct sun 11Oo flic.kr/p/pmrqyZ . Search wet and damp rock faces around high water mark; sometimes different coloured algal films indicate differences of moisture. Shaded, north-facing faces of fissured reefs may have some within crevices, but splitting them open is destructive of the habitat and should be done very sparingly, if at all. If you take specimens for study, transport them in a wet air-tight box that preserves 100% humidity. At home keep box in a fridge between 6°C and 10°C. Examination and photography can be of animal in seawater to save from dehydration, but it will become inactive and drown if kept submerged for more than a few hours.

Also, see 12Oo flic.kr/p/q1CALh & 13Oo flic.kr/p/qicbXR .

 

Distribution and status

Sparse scattered records, but can be locally common. Probably overlooked because of its small size and specialized habitat requiring targeted searching, and unfamiliarity of recorders with it as often omitted from id guides of both terrestrial and marine molluscs. Known distribution: Britain, Ireland, Normandy and Brittany. Isolated records of beached dead shells from N.W. Spain, S. Portugal and Sardinia. GBIF map www.gbif.org/species/5189862 . NBN interactive distribution map at spatial.nbnatlas.org/?q=lsid:NBNSYS0000041447 has records on S. and W. coasts of Britain from Isle of Wight to Mull, but there were 19th Century east-coast finds in Northumberland and Yorkshire (Forbes & Hanley, 1853), and Jan Light found live specimens in N. Yorkshire in September 2014.

 

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to Dr Jan Light for providing specimens and sharing her expertise at the visit by the Conchological Society of G.B. & Ireland to N. Yorkshire in September 2014. I gratefully acknowledge Dr C.M. Cunha and Dr G. Rosenberg for help with sources and their interpretation.

 

Links and references

 

Eales, N.B. 1967. The Littoral fauna of the British Isles 4th ed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

Forbes, E. & Hanley S. 1849-53. A history of the British mollusca and their shells. vol. 3 (1853) London, van Voorst. (As Otina otis; Free pdf at archive.org/details/historyofbritish03forb Use slide at base of page to select pp.320-323.)

 

Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1995. Handbook of the marine fauna of north-west Europe. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

Jeffreys, J.G. 1862-69. British conchology. vol. 5 (1869). London, van Voorst. (As Otina otis; Free pdf at archive.org/stream/britishconcholog05jeffr#page/108/mode/2up . Use slide at base of page to select pp.109-111.)

  

Killeen, I. & Light, J.M. 1990. Observations on Otina ovata (Brown): a little known pulmonate. J. Conch., Lond 33: 317 – 318.

 

McMillan, N.F. 1968. British shells. London, Warne.

 

Marshall, J.C. 1913. Additions to British conchology. Part 7. J. Conch., Lond. 14: 65-77. 12Oo flic.kr/p/q1CALh

 

Melville, J.C. 1918. Otina otis Turton at St Mary’s, Scilly. J. Conch., Lond. 15: 261. 13Oo flic.kr/p/qicbXR

 

Morton, J.E. 1954. The crevice faunas of the upper intertidal zone at Wembury. J. Mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 33: 187 – 224. plymsea.ac.uk/view/year/1954.html#group_M

 

Morton, J.E. 1955. The functional morphology of Otina otis, a primitive marine pulmonate. J. Mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 34: 113 – 150.

(Free pdf at core.kmi.open.ac.uk/download/pdf/6185241.pdf . pp144 - 145 missing from pdf). Also plymsea.ac.uk/view/year/1955.html#group_M

 

Sosso, M. & Dell’Angelo, B. 2010. Prima segnalazione di Otina ovata (Brown, 1827) (Systellomatophora: Otinidae) in Mediterraneo Boll. Malacol. 46: 1-3.

 

Current taxonomy: World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=140661

 

Glossary

amoebocytes – mobile cells (moving by pseudopodia like amoeba) in invertebrate bodies that variously digest food, dispose of waste, fight infection etc.

aperture – mouth of gastropod shell; outlet for head and foot.

apical - at the apex.

cephalic – (adj.) of or on the head.

columella - solid or hollow axial “little column” around which gastropod shell spirals; hidden inside shell, except on final whorl next to lower part of inner lip of aperture where hollow ones may end in an umbilicus or siphonal canal.

 

columellar – (adj.) of or near central axis of spiral gastropod.

columellar lip - lower (abapical) part of inner lip of aperture.

coll. – in the collection of (named person or institution) (cf. legit).

ctenidium – comb-like molluscan gill; usually an axis with a row of filaments either side.

 

epithelium – tissue forming outer layer of body surface, “skin”.

EHWN – extreme high water neap tide (the weakest high tides of the year i.e. those that rise the least, usually near June and December solstices)

 

geotactic – (adj.) of species that moves towards pull of gravity (positively geotactic) or away from it (negatively geotactic). (Synonyms: gravitaxic, ? geotaxic.)

 

hygrophile – species that prefers moist conditions; often at water’s edge, but not permanently submerged. obligatory hygrophile – unable to survive out of moist conditions.

 

introverted – turned in on itself.

legit – (abbreviation; leg. or lgt.) collected/ found by (compare with coll.)

mantle – sheet of tissue that secretes the shell and forms a cavity for the gill in most marine molluscs (but not in adult nudibranchs), part or all of dorsal body surface when shell absent or internal.

MLWN – mean low water neap tide level (mean level reached by weakest low tides for a few days every fortnight. i.e. those that fall the least).

 

MHWN – mean high water neap tide level (mean level reached by weakest high tides for a few days every fortnight. i.e. those that rise the least).

 

odontophore – firm, approximately ellipsoid, structure of cartilage supporting radula. Protruded like a tongue to operate radula.

 

operculum – plate of horny conchiolin, rarely calcareous, used to close shell aperture.

 

oral lappets – flaps of flesh by mouth.

oral veil – flat anterior extension of head (may consist of lappets).

 

ovotestis – hermaphrodite organ serving as both ovary and testis.

palatal lip - outer lip of gastropod aperture.

pallial – (adj.) of the mantle.

parietal lip – (=parietal wall) part of inner lip of gastropod aperture, adapical of columellar lip.

 

pedal – (adj.) of the foot.

periostracum – thin horny layer of proteinaceous material often coating shells.

plankton – animals and plants that drift in pelagic zone (main body of water).

pneumostome - breathing pore in mantle of pulmonate molluscs.

protandrous hermaphrodite – each individual starts mature life as a functioning male, later changing to female function.

pulmonate – (adj.) of terrestrial and freshwater, air-breathing, slugs and snails.

 

radula – ribbon of chitinous teeth extruded on a tongue-like structure (odontophore) to rasp food.

 

rec. – recorded by (person who submitted record, may be different from leg. and coll. persons/institution).

 

sensu lato – (abbreviation s.l.) in the wide sense.

sensu stricto – (abbreviation s.s.) in the strict sense, excluding species that have been confused with it.

 

stria – very narrow spiral groove or ridge (plural: striae)

 

taxis – directional locomotary response to external stimuli such as light, gravity, temperature or chemicals.

 

thigmotactic – (adj.) of animal that moves towards (positively thigmotactic) or away (negatively thigmotactic) from physical contact with others.

  

umbilicus – cavity up axis of some gastropods, open as a hole or chink on base of shell, often sealed over.

 

velum – bilobed flap on veliger larva, with beating cilia for swimming.

 

Memories of Brambletye Boys Preparatory School 1967 – 1971.

 

When I went to Brambletye at the age of nine, in September 1967, it was my fifth school in the last four years. As my parents were routinely being posted within the Army, they felt a boarding school would give me a more stable education. I vaguely remember touring the school with them and Mr Blencowe, the Headmaster, one summer before term and being asked if I would be happy there for the next four years, to which I obediently replied, "Yes".

 

The school seemed to be based on many military methods. Each boy was allocated to one of four Houses named after great British military heroes: there were Nelson, Marlborough and Drake, and I was in Wellington. Many boy's fathers had been to Brambletye when they were young and it was not unusual for them to insist their son followed in the same House. Instead of prefects we had Officers. As just one part of the overall military discipline we had to march everywhere!

 

We had no first names even though all our parents may have thought long and hard about choosing a name that would either continue the family line, please a grandfather or uncle or be one of the "in" names in the 1960’s. Despite this being formalised by Christening we were only referred to by our surnames. The list of boarders showed a proliferation of double-barrelled surnames, and one poor boy was even blessed with a triple barrelled title. If you had the same surname as someone else, the older and more senior added "1" to his name, the junior adding "2". You had Smith 1 and 2 because they were common. They did get as far as Sommerfelt 3 but no other parents managed to produce four offspring within the four year scope of preparatory school life (fertility treatment had not been developed at this time!).

 

I remember the first night, going to bed later than it should have been at 6.30pm, and a few of the other sixteen or so boys in the dormitory sobbing into their pillows. They were comforted by the matrons in their starched white uniforms. I had the benefit of a few months on the majority of them as I was a Spring baby born in March, while there were still others born later in Autumn of the same year who were in the same intake. Whether this classified me as "retarded" because there were younger and cleverer boys in the same class, I shall never be sure, but I do know I didn't cry on the first night.

 

The dormitory was a long room with nine steel framed beds down one side, seven down the other. One side had deep windows stretching from the high ceiling down to near the floor, overlooking the shallow valley below. To the right you could see a lake or reservoir that glistened in the sun. It appeared only a few miles away. To me it symbolised "freedom" as on nice sunny days you could see yachts sailing on it. But between the shimmering water and me was a gulf that might as well have been a thousand miles wide. I never ever did reach its shores, and be able to look back across to the school.

 

Winter terms could be dark and huge curtains were drawn across those high dormitory windows. In summer time even they couldn't make it dark enough to sleep until late. But at least in summertime you could find the enamelled tin potties which were strategically located around the dormitory. These could get rather full and smelly over night and were a disgusting trap for little feet as boys sneaked around barefoot in their pyjamas after lights out. There was many a time when a toe stubbed a potty in the dark. There would be a stifled shriek either followed by the splashing of urine onto the wooden floor or the crashing of an empty tin potty skidding across the dormitory. If it crashed into the steel frame of a bed you had about 10 seconds to run back to the other end of the dormitory in pitch darkness, find your bed, leap under the blankets and "be asleep" before simultaneously the lights came on and a Master strode into the room. Anyone caught out of bed was in for a whacking!

 

Actually this only happened rarely. Dormitory raids were the exception rather than the rule. Mind you it was difficult from the juniors dormitory. The dormitory door led into a magnificent hall, very much the Headmaster's part of the school, with offices, and staff rooms to the right. A huge skinned tiger with his stuffed head, bared teeth and glass eyes, lay star shaped on the parquet floor, ready to rip into your ankles if you dared pass. To the left lay a wood panelled corridor leading to Mr Blencowe's room. Ahead, past the tiger, rose a magnificent wooden grand staircase. Above it a huge portrait of a very stern gentleman stared down forbiddingly towards the dormitory door. Access to the other dormitories could only be gained across this hall and up the staircase. With doors to left and right from which a master might appear at any moment, the staring, watching eyes of the portrait, and the risk of a master or matron appearing on the landing above, it was incredibly risky in a Colditz sort of way left to venture upstairs after lights out. If a number of you were caught, wielding pillows, tip toeing upstairs, there was only one outcome. A quick march down the panelled corridor to the left took you to Mr Blencowe's office. Normally being there was not good news, but it always gave me the chance to see the two black cast statues of Charles I and Henry VIII(?) that stood in his hallway. I was always impressed by these 3ft tall figures and thirty-five years later was quite upset to hear that they ended their lives thrown in a rubbish tip.

 

There were a number of strange procedures for First Years. One peculiar rule was that juniors had to line up outside the toilets every morning. A junior officer held a book – perhaps it should have been called a log book. According to the order of name in the book each boy would enter the toilet as a cubicle became available, do what he could and return to report to the officer with either a "1" or a "2" to confirm which bodily function had been completed. A twelve or thirteen year old officer then had the medical responsibility when noting a certain boy had not reported a "2" for several days, to tell him to go back in and try harder. Serious cases of constipation were referred to the school nurse.

 

After lunch we were required to rest. This meant returning to our dormitory to lie fully clothed in our uniforms on our beds and in silence. Of course at our age this was the last thing we wanted to do. Sleeping was difficult at this time of the day; after all lights out was at 6.30pm every night. You could take one book to read, but if you had made a poor choice you were stuck with it. Fidgeting was not allowed, even if you were bored!

 

Apart from the above two additions to the day's routine it didn't really matter which year you were in, the routine Monday to Friday was the same.

 

We got up on the alarm bell, dressed and washed. Then all 120 or so boys marched by dormitory into the Dining room to sit on wooden benches down the sides of long wooden tables topped by either a Master or Matron at each end. Grace was said in a silent room to immediately be followed by the din of scraping of chairs and benches, clattering of china and cutlery and 120 chattering boys. The food was always prepared and brought to the ends of the tables in large aluminium trays by some curious little Spanish couple called Angela and Manuel. I was never sure where they lived but it appeared to be in a large cupboard at the end of the dining hall!

 

The Master or Matron served the food, helped by the boy on the end of the row. We all moved round one place each day. As each plate was filled with food it was passed from boy to boy down the line to the end. Breakfast was always cornflakes in the summer term followed by bacon, egg and plum tomatoes. Sometimes the egg was scrambled in a watery pale yellow mush of nothing. For variety it was fried into flat discs of rubber. In winter it was porridge poured out of a massive jug - every day. Sometimes I ate a few spoonfuls, but despite a rule that you sit there until you eat it, there was always a hungry chum nearby that preferred to eat my porridge than have a dose of scrambled egg. Once I sat in the dining hall whilst the rest of school had morning inspection, chapel, prep and the first lesson, before Angela took pity on me, gave me a smile, and removed the solid, cold bowl of porridge from in front of me. I would have sat there all day, but I think she had been waiting to go shopping!

 

After the meal we returned to the dormitory to make our beds. This was a precise science recalling military traditions of the 45 degree hospital tuck and razor sharp folds. Points were attributed to the house for clean and tidy dormitories. We then had a short time to brush up our shoes and present ourselves for inspection in the main hall. This was to all intents and purposes a military parade with the Captain walking up and down each line to give a head to toe examination of brushed hair, tie knot, clean knees and polished and tied shoes. We always faced one side of the hall and your eyes naturally rose up to some huge ornate wooden boards listing the names of all the old School Captains who had gone on to better things. I was always struck by this board as it listed boys all the way back to the time of the Great War. I never thought my name would be on this board and I was proven right!

 

Next came chapel. A short march took us into a beautiful little chapel. I still remember there was so much wood in it and some lovely religious frescos. As a "non-singer" chapel during the week was quite straightforward. You stood up, sang, sat down, knelt, stood up, sang, knelt, sat up, listened to the lesson………..the routine was the same every day. I once was told to read the lesson. I was given a week to prepare for it, and fretted every day over it. Shaking in my shoes I read it in front of the whole school and apparently missed a whole verse out of it, but next to nobody noticed.

 

We had a short spell of "prep" until nine o'clock (time to do the home work you didn't do lastnight) before it was full steam into lessons.

 

Colonel Molesworth, was our French teacher. He was so regimented in everything he did, at lunchtime he would disect a rectangular tray of rice pudding with skin, into 24 precise portions using a knife to gauge the proportions. Then he would take the knife and try to cut a rectangular block of rice pudding! I tell you what, he had some knack! I detested rice pudding, porridge, semolina or tapioca, and still he always managed to give me the same sized portion as everyone else!

 

He was even more amazing at French. He taught us Franglais, a language quite unknown to the Gallic people of France, so that even after finishing at Brambletye, and continuing it at High school, I still could not speak French after nine years.

 

He would have left today's England's football team in tears with his rules. In the days of wingers on each side, inside left, centre forward, inside right, with right, centre and left halves and a left and right back you could not move out of your "box". As a right back, cross an imaginary line between the goal and the centre spot into the left half and the whistle would blow and you would be sent to run a quick circuit of the four pitches on the lower playing fields. Colonel Molesworth approved of the shoulder barge whereby a four stone weakling on the ball could be shoulder-barged with the force of a charging rhinoceros and no foul given. Similarly Henniker–Heaton's clod-hopper boots, which were built of half inch thick leather coming up to the middle of his shins, tipped on the sole with half inch steel studs and re-inforced toe caps, could quite legitimately be used to separate an opponents leg from his foot at the ankle without any thought about the need to take time off sports through injury, physiotherapy or scans.

 

Colonel Molesworth: clipped moustache, highly polished brown shoes: what did he do in the war? (Mmm; he was prisoner. That seems appropriate)

 

Mr Trevanion was hard. Oh yes!!! He taught Maths. You didn't say much to Mr Trevanion, you just answered his questions as directly as possible. You tried not to meet eye to eye with him either: his stare was deadly! Sometimes you would have to stand by the desk and wait whilst he marked your work. I noticed his hands then. They were hard!

 

Scripture was taught by Mr Jones, definitely a man to respect, and whilst he could be strict, I did seem to do well in his classes gaining a few "A-"s, "B+"s and "Satis" all over my work. He made me Form Captain. It was my job to let the class know what their Prep was for the next day so I must apologise to the whole class, now for the first time in thirty-four years, that one day I gave them the wrong details. This meant that the majority of them were in trouble with Mr Jones the next day for doing the wrong work. Protest as they did it was proven I couldn't have given the wrong information as there were a number of boys who had completed the same work as me. They naturally kept quiet because these were the ones who had copied off me!

 

Mr Ogle taught Geography which I liked. I was good at locating the Amazon mouth, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the Nile, etc, on a blank map of the world with pinpoint precision. Is this why I later qualified as a Navigation Officer in the Merchant Navy twelve years later? But Mr Ogle was an arty-farty type of teacher into music and art as well. He seemed to swan around in his black gown and couldn't be taken too seriously.

 

English and Latin were taught by Mr Glanfield (Glanners). I'm not sure why I don't remember much about him. I suited Latin as it was very regimented, but unfortunately being good in Latin at Brambletye proved completely useless for any application in the rest of my life. Mr Glanfield lived in a room at the end of the dormitory corridor, up a short flight of stairs. I only got whacked by Mr Glanfield once with a hair brush (and I deserved it for being an irritating little shit in the dormitory after lights out). It was he who also developed the "sitting in" form of punishment. For minor mis-demeanors you could get a 15 minute "sit in" for each offence up to a maximum of an hour's worth. When the rest of the school was free to play, anyone on a "sit in" was required to sit upright, in silence, facing forward, in a classroom for just you, a Master to watch over you and any other miscreants doing their "sit in". If you accrued more than an hour's worth of "sit in", you not only had to do your time, but were sent down to see the Headmaster for a bit of serious talking, and maybe a whacking too!

 

Learning the dates of births and deaths of every English King and Queen, major battle and historical event from 1066 until the 20th Century by heart, now doesn't seem such a waste of time when you bump into a foreign tourist who knows British Empire history better than you do. But I couldn't trust the History teacher (whose name I conveniently cannot recall) who showed slightly too much favouritism to certain boys.

 

Science was a mix of chemistry, physics and biology taken by Mr Blencowe, a very mild man, who as headmaster had to be all things to the school. Not only did he have to lead the school in prayer and hymn in chapel, but conduct daily inspections, administor the whole school and invariably fill in for any teacher who was "away" for whatever reason. Science was fun. Apart from the effects of burning sodium and magnesium we had everything from breeding locusts to hatching chicks and copulating Xenopus toads. I remember Mr Blencowe saying something about injecting the toads to make them breed. I know at the time I thought the whole matter strangely peculiar: why was the male, scrabbling franticly at the top of the tank and the female lying completely breathless at the bottom? There were eggs everywhere! This was not mating as I knew it. Normally it is the male that is exhausted! It's taken 34 years for Mr Blencowe to admit he was supposed to give the female a larger dose, but he gave it to the male by mistake!

 

Music lessons were the worry. Singing was not my strength but I learned, as a matter of self-preservation, to mime quite well. Mr Sharpe didn't just have a sharp tongue; his hand could to do some damage too. This didn't just happen in music lessons, but more memorably in chapel rehearsing for the main Sunday service. We would have to sing all the hymns and psalms selected for the next day's service. Mr Sharpe would sit in the organ pit, fingers and feet bouncing off the organ keys and pedals. With back to us, suddenly he wouldn't be happy with what he was hearing, leap out of the pit and race to the pew where he thought the wrong sound was coming from. Miming was no good at this point: you had to start singing quickly – and in tune too! Without the rhythm and backing of the organ it was doubly difficult and we had to continue to sing as he would come along our row, ear cocked to what we sang. If he heard the wrong note a hand would flash out so fast: "Whack!" right across the face!

 

I distinctly remember the row of five classrooms partitioned off from each other by wooden folding doors. At prep or when letter writing on Sunday the doors were folded back to allow one teacher to oversee everyone as they worked in silence. With the partitions closed during the day, we sat in cast iron framed desks with a flip up seat. There was an ink well filled regularly with a jug of the blue stuff. It was often spilt and some boys had significant indelible stains on various parts of their school uniform. Ink was used as an offensive weapon too, either flicked from the nibs of fountain pens or launched as a sodden ball of blotting paper into the front rows of the classroom. In one English lesson I remember a classmate taking several thick rubber bands, placing them over the tip of forefinger and thumb to form a catapault, and then placing a pellet of folded card into the "V", pulling it back, until the elastic would stretch no more before firing it into the bare neck of the boy immediately in front of him. Five minutes later he dared to do it again, but this time his aim was slightly out so that the hardened pellet richochetted off the back of the boy’s head, thudding into the wall of the classroom above Mr Glanfield's head, before falling to the floor near his feet! All hell broke loose then and I had to quickly withdraw both hands from under the desk lid where I had been constructing a Concorde shaped aeroplane out of a felt tip pen body, some paperclips and a folded exercise book cover.

 

There were regular intervals in the day to run off energy, shout and run about. These were often five or ten minute spells between chapel and lessons, tea and chapel, prep and bed along with morning breaktime and after lunch –unless you were a junior of course.

 

In the winter and spring term we changed into our sports gear after lunch. We only played football in the winter term, and rugby in the spring term. In summer, games were played after the afternoon break and we always played cricket.

 

Playing football and rugby in the colder, wetter months, every day was not particularly pleasant. Apart from being hacked to death by Hennicker-Heaton's boots, it was normally wet and cold. Being in the lower league playing fields and being refereed by Colonel Molesworth meant a long trudge from the playing fields up to the school. I hated how his military precision required us to play until the second hand of his watch hit the hour when some of the younger masters, watching the rain clouds gather, would blow the whistle early. Two hundred and forty hot, sweaty and wet boots were taken off and hung up in the small lean-to boot shed which stank like a giant mud wrestlers armpit, before the boys went up to shower. Colonel Molesworth's troop, coming from the furthest field, always arrived last to find the changing rooms awash with muddy water and clods of grass, the wooden duck boards barely allowing you to change into dry clothes only by hanging yourself on the clothes hooks, and reaching down to pull your socks on.

 

If it was too wet to play games, we had to don our macintoshs and "gum" boots and walk up and down the school drive. Normally after two laps from one end to other you were allowed back inside out of the rain! Colonel Molesworth would call out, "Left, right, left, right"………c'mon chaps!"

 

Afternoon tea comprised of filing past to pick up your Marmite sandwich (jam on Sundays) and third of a pint of milk bottle. These were consumed whilst each boy sat on his allocated locker surrounding the main hall. Every day we would pass the crates of milk on the way to breakfast. In summer they sat in the sun and were still there at 3.30pm. Sometimes you could barely press the bottle top to remove it because the pressure had built up so much, and when you could, you would find the top half of the milk completely solid, curdled and sour. Some would clamp a hand over the bottle, shake it vigorously and swallow the lot in one. Some would put it on the floor, and whilst sat on the locker, "knock it over by mistake". This normally resulted in them being given another one to drink!!!

 

After games it was back into the classroom for more lessons until teatime. Too often it was bland macaroni cheese - just macaroni cheese on a plate which was abhorred by every boy. Still were to come "Prep", our homework session of homework carried out in silence in the classroom another parade and chapel service before we normally had half an hour or so of play before bed. With juniors tucked up in bed by 6.30pm, the second years were despatched by 7.00pm, third years at 7.30pm. Even the oldest boys had to be in bed by 8.00pm!

 

Saturday was a "half-day". Lessons and chapel Sunday service rehearsal (watch out for Mr Sharpe) in the morning followed by freetime in the afternoon. Freetime could be spent in many ways. There was a boating pond. Electric boats were rare then, and there was certainly no radio control. Most boats were either free sailing yachts or clockwork powered. We could play rounders, fly model planes, roller skate, do woodwork or pottery, go in the monkey-climb or into the woods. There were marionettes and a steam engine Club too. There were great Chestnut trees so the school went conker mad in October. The school drives were lined with rhododendron bushes and you could in places climb through the bushes without touching the ground for up to 200 yards or so in places. Amongst these boys had dens as they did in the bracken filled bushes of the woods. We had khaki coloured jackets that made us quite camouflaged and apart from the dens there were caverns dug out of the sandstone. These could have been dangerous, but despite having fires in them, the odd roof collapse and "wars" between different groups I'm not aware that there were any casualties.

 

Sunday was different. Instead of lessons we had the full service in the chapel lasting 75 minutes. This sometimes seemed quite interminable, especially when the sun was shining outside, but you couldn't relax because the headmaster's wife, teachers and matrons filled the pews behind you.

 

And then it was to letter writing. We had to write one letter every week. I nearly always wrote to my parents in Germany. It tended to get a bit repetitive although the scores and names could normally be alternated on a regular basis. "I got A minus in Latin. The First Eleven played Ashdown House and we won 5 –2. The Second Eleven lost 2-0. Crompton and Wallis 2 have got German measles and have gone to the sick bay for three days. Only 62 days to go until the end of term and I am looking forward to seeing you (for the first time in 3 months)". Normally we had to bring writing pads to school with us at the start of each term. The trick was to get a small one with widely spaced lines so that Colonel Molesworth's demand for all letters to be two full pages didn't require too many words. Whether it was censorship or not, we had to take them to the front of the class for the teacher to read before we could "finish" which normally on a Sunday meant escape into the woods.

 

Young as we were, the confines of the school were exactly that. There were areas you would never go in. In the woods there was only a small fence that marked the limit of where we were allowed to go. It might only have been a two strand barbed wire fence but I never crossed it. It was as if there was a hidden Nazi watchtower ready to machine gun you if you touched the tripwire. The limits were marked by a two bar metal fence or the drives in other directions, easily enough crossed, but like the shimmering lake, in four years that I was there, what lay outside was not part of my world.

 

But apparently there were two escapes in my time at the school. All of a sudden there were rumours that someone had done a runner, but shortly afterwards the school propaganda system kicked in and the "hero" became someone taken out of school urgently to visit a dying grandmother.

 

I think we bathed twice a week. We lined up in the bathroom, with three tubs, where we would take turns to leap in. I don't think the water was changed, and matron would wash our hair. Every week we had a "sock" night or a "pants" night when everyone would throw that item in big baskets to be washed. Jumpers, shirts and trousers were washed less frequently. Only seniors, and only if they were over 5ft, could wear long trousers. At least once a term we were weighed and our height was recorded. Presumably the details helped our parents to recognise us when they next saw us! “Oh yes, darling, this one’s 4 ft 5 inches and about 5 stone, just like Timothy’s report says: this must be our son!”

 

I do remember a few "special" events. We occasionally were shown a film in the library. Apart from Treasure Island and The Robe these normally frightened me, especially the one of the headless horsemen attacking people in the dark! I only saw television a few times. There were some very basic " watch and learn" type physics programs in black and white but the only other thing I saw on TV was a fuzzy grey, live, image of the some men walking on the moon, for the first time.

 

We had some Spanish guy with long, horny nails come and play classical guitar, which seemed extremely tedious for us and him, and some cowboy who came and shot some balloons in the main hall.

 

Every year there was a school play. I was too young to be in Oliver. Just as well, as I was scared of the Bill Sykes character played by Jonathon Hughes De'Ath. Without girls in the school female parts had to be played by boys. It was whispered that one master reputedly quite fancied Cadicott-Bull who played Nancy. On the same basis I was quite glad I wasn't too attractive in my blonde pigtails, pink dress and Bo-Peep hood as a sailor's girl in the Pirates of Penzance. Playing a black cannibal in HMS Pinafore was much less dubious!

 

There were visitors to the school. Unfortunately one of these was the school dentist. Once a week we got sweets. A table was set up on the main hall stage and class by class we were taken to line up and chose our sweets. We each had a shilling with which you could get two handfuls of packets of sweets. Then decimalisation came in 1971 and we were robbed! Our shilling had become 5p. Straightaway we could only get about half as much. If we weren't robbed here, there were other chances to take advantage of us.

 

Every so often a long haired traveller we called the "Swindler" parked near the school. He had a Commer van. It was stacked with miniature chess sets, models, pen-knives and games. Since leaving the school I've never understood why he was given access as he must have obtained his name and reputation from somewhere. But the knives were the most frequently bought items either for activities in the woods or for playing "splits" where two opponents face each other, with two knives. Each in turn throws their knife into the ground, the opponent having to stretch one foot to the knife leading to them eventually doing the splits. Whilst everyone had a knife (and some might come close in this game) I was never aware of any knives being used as weapons. Anyhow, if in any sort of confrontation all you had to do was raise a hand and shout "Pax" (meaning "Peace" in Latin) and for some mysterious reason you were safe. Similarly if a prowling Master was spotted when boys were doing something they shouldn't, the warning word, "Cave" (pronounced "K.V" and meaning "warning" in Latin) was urgently passed from boy to boy.

 

There was also a barber who visited a school. Everyone got a cut and there was never any discussion over which style would suit. We all got the same. Strange that we sat in a small room having our hair cut next to a large glass case of British stuffed birds. I wondered if we would turn out the same.

 

There were tennis courts and a swimming pool at the school. I didn't take tennis, but one summer a keep fit regime was started. At about 7.00 am we were taken to the tennis courts where we did press-ups, star jumps, and lots of exercises in the dewy, cool morning air. I remembering it lasting a week or so, and then strangely we never did it again.

 

We had rehearsals for Sports Day, practising marching onto the fields, when we would line up in front of the parents in white shorts, T-shirts and rubber plimsolls. We had to compete in at least two events. Not a natural runner I actually surprised myself by getting into the heats of the 100 yard hurdles one year. I couldn't jump consistently high enough to ensure I could clear the hurdles, so I developed a technique to deliberately hit the hurdle but make sure I never tripped on it. I was glad when they introduced a new sport called, "Throwing the cricket ball". Requiring one to take a short run and throw the ball as far as you could in the general direction of "away from you", it was a shame they never introduced this at national level as this might have been something I could have done reasonably well at

 

I had a garden. Those that wanted one were given a six by six plot to till. That's six feet by six feet. Almost everyone who had one turned them to carrots, radishes, lettuces and nasturtiums, which we were persuaded we could eat. Some added these into their Marmite sandwiches and gave mixed reviews.

 

Swimming at Brambletye was definitely to be avoided unless you were a frog or a newt……..and despite the name I was not one of the latter. Fed by a stream, this "pit" was filthy for all but a week of the year. It might have been natural, for it was full of the flora and fauna of East Sussex, but it was icy cold even in the middle of summer. Forced to swim its length as a test I would willingly have covered the distance at the fastest possible speed if it hadn't been for the heart seizures and cramps I got when first entering the water. Fortunately I never showed enough promise to get in the swimming team. How some boys could enthusiastically take up diving I shall never know.

 

In quieter times I enjoyed playing billiards in the library. Also there was a reasonable selection of books but it was Hornblower and the World War Two escape stories I enjoyed most. This was partly lived out in the upper reaches of the school. Removing some of the wood panels in the bathroom, we found we could climb into the roof space and travel extensively throughout the length and breadth of the school at night, above the dormitories and master's bedrooms. If this had been Colditz we would have built a glider up here and escaped to freedom!

 

Some of the fixed steel ladder fire-escapes added to the Colditz feel. Forbidden to use them unless there was a fire practice or real emergency, they were actually so dangerous it was only very rarely we went down them even in a drill.

 

Some steep stairs led to the sick bay in the highest part of the school. Catching something highly contagious was quite desirable as long as it wasn't too life threatening. This meant you were isolated in the sick bay, totally exempt from the normal routine, far from the reach of masters and officers and safely tucked up in the motherly care of the matrons. This was the place to have a good time! An outbreak of measles and chicken-pox was of little use to me as I had reasonable resistance to most diseases and only fell to them when most of the school had already got it. This meant the sick bay was already full and I usually ended up confined to my dormitory back under the gaze of the masters and officers.

 

On the return to each term posted on the notice board there would be all the important dates: start and finish of term, half term, Easter holidays, etc. the holidays were so short, and the terms seemed so long. When I first started at school we were all boarders – day pupils didn't start until 1971. A half term or Easter seemed such luxury. You got a Saturday, Sunday AND Monday off, all together. Normally I went to my grandparents who lived nearby. Once there were about four of us who had nowhere to go. We got to watch television and have jam sandwiches in Mr Ogle's bungalow as compensation! I used to fly unaccompanied to my parents in Germany each holiday or to Wick when they moved to the north of Scotland. Once my brother and I were caught up in the effects of a strike at Edinburgh airport.

 

From time to time they added cut outs of certain articles from the daily newspapers and I remember regular features on the Vietnam War and Cassius Clay who would fight any man in the ring with his fists, but refused to fight in a war.

 

Mail used to arrive regularly and was handed out after breakfast. Seeing my parents only in between terms, I felt particularly lucky having such loving parents who ensured I was always well supplied with very regular, long letters every week. Other boys, some sons of diplomatic staff based in Embassies around the world, saw their parents very rarely, not even going home in the holidays sometimes. Some were lucky to even get a card on their birthday. But most received a parcel from home on their birthday. These were handed out on the matron's landing where they had to be opened in front of the staff. Food, sweets and money were immediately confiscated to be saved and supplied to the individual on a rationed basis.

 

The school changed quite a bit towards the end of my time there as Mr Fowler-Watt was phased in as Headmaster. He had an aggressive look to him and the style of the school became more progressive. Unlike Mr Blencowe who had more of a pained look on his face when a boy's behavior frustrated him, Mr Fowler-Watt could explode in rage. The Scots breeding in him meant the songs of Gilbert & Sullivan were out for the school play and in came the ghouls, witches and blood letting of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Extensions were built to the school, and new Portacabin classes positioned on the ground that was once my garden. And then another class of boy arrived; the day boys, namby pambies who went home to their Mummies every night, and arrived by car, freshly washed and dressed each morning. There was even talk of girls joining the school soon! What was the place coming to?!

 

Having laboured through the Common Entrance Exams to Public School, I left Brambletye to join my parents and brothers now living in the far north of Scotland near John O'Groats. The difference could not have been more extreme. I passed into the comprehensive school with girls (!), straight into the highest stream without need for examination. This was a lucky streak as they were all sons and daughters of nuclear physicists, doctors and engineers imported from the higher echelons of the fast breeder nuclear industry, the Royal Navy and Rolls Royce. Even though I was always towards the lower end of the class, as each year went by, I was dragged along by the very high standards so that on finishing some 30 of the 32 in the class went on to University. Each night I would endure a journey involving two buses taking an hour and a quarter, sometimes battling through blizzards in the dark to deposit my brother, the cattleman's son and I at the end of the mile and a half farm road. We had the freedom to drive our own cars from there to the house even at the age of thirteen.

 

Which type of school was best for me? Both were best. Brambletye undoubtedly taught me self-discipline and respect, kept me fit and healthy. But without life at the comprehensive school I could have been scared of the outside world, completely institutionalised by the limits of the school boundaries and routines. But perhaps I should thank Brambletye for making me want to explore more, starting me on a journey in life that has so far taken me to almost 60 countries. Married now for twenty-five years, with three fine children and director of a highly respected business at Manchester airport I look back on life so far with no regrets and fond memories of my years at Brambletye. I am what I am much because of Brambletye. It's not all good: my wife still has to tell me to change my socks and underwear more frequently!

 

My name never did get on those big boards in the main hall, but featuring in four separate photos in Peter Blencowe's history of the school makes me realise that even though I never made the First Eleven, Second Eleven or even Third Eleven in football, it was the mix of characters and abilities that made the school what it was and every boy can be very proud to have been part of its history.

 

I was surprised, in 2008, to discover Brambletye Preparatory School had risen to become the most expensive prep school in the country.

 

Part 1 “ The Menagerie”

 

Star Trek- The Menagerie , “Return to Talos IV”

youtu.be/v5XBfgPy43A?t=2s The full feature.

 

The Menagerie Review: February 8, 2014 by neoethereal

As the only two-part episode in The Original Series, “The Menagerie” also cleverly serves as a re-telling of the very first Star Trek story ever filmed, “The Cage.” This week on The Uncommon Geek, I examine all of these episodes in full detail, highlighting their connections to other aspects of the Trek mythos. As well, I take a look at the ground broken by Gene Roddenberry concerning the nature of reality, decades before movies like “The Matrix” challenged the perception of our everyday world.

 

Equipped with little more than a shoestring budget and massive constraints on time with which to work, Gene Roddenberry and his Star Trek production team had to get extremely creative in order to make the show work. Nowhere, in my opinion, is that more evident than here in “The Menagerie,” an entry that served the purpose of buying the production team time to properly finish subsequent episodes, and as well, afforded Gene Roddenberry a unique opportunity to re-tell the story he had wanted to get on the air all along, “The Cage.”

 

This episode begins with the Enterprise having been called out of its way, to Starbase 11. Confusion arises when the starbase’s commanding officer, Commodore Mendez, reveals to Captain Kirk that the base never sent any message to the Enterprise. Spock claims to have received that message, which puts Kirk into the difficult position of whether to trust the starbase computers, or the word of his first officer and friend.

 

It turns out that Captain Christopher Pike, the former commander of the Enterprise, who was recently crippled and disfigured in a terrible accident, is on Starbase 11, and suspicion arises that perhaps he relayed a message to Spock. When Kirk finally gets to see Pike, however, he realizes that it would have been impossible for Spock’s former commanding officer to have done this, for Pike is now wheelchair bound, and his communication with others is limited to electronic beeps that fill in for “yes” and “no.

 

While Kirk and Mendez wrestle over the truth, Spock executes a daring and clever plan to hijack the Enterprise, taking Captain Pike with him. It goes to show just how dangerous an opponent someone as smart and calculating as Spock can be when he puts his mind to it. Spock sets the Enterprise on a locked course for Talos IV, a planet which the ship visited on a past mission under Christopher Pike, and a planet that invites the death penalty upon any Starfleet officer who goes there

 

The secret file on Talos IV, and the article of General Order 7

I personally find the idea of a death penalty being associated with Talos IV to be somewhat dubious; although there is a very good reason why Starfleet wants the existence of the Talosians kept secret, I find it hard to believe that if the Federation is capable of having a death penalty, that it only applies to one law. It may just be a grand bluff, and indeed, there is some evidence to that effect later in the episode. Regardless, breaking General Order 7 is a serious offense, and Spock is if nothing else, putting his career and livelihood on the line.

 

Kirk, of course, isn’t going to sit by while his ship is abducted. He and Mendez make a daring attempt to chase the Enterprise in the Shuttlecraft Picasso, knowing full well that while they would never catch up, they would appear on the Enterprise sensors. Kirk gambles his life on the fact that his friend Spock would not leave him to die in the void of space, as the shuttle runs out of fuel. Kirk’s illogical gambit causes Spock’s plan to unravel, and he surrenders himself to custody, pleading guilty to every charge leveled against him. However, Spock has locked the Enterprise into a course for Talos IV that cannot be broken, which will potentially extend the death sentence that is on himself, to Kirk as well.

 

The court martial that proceeds against Spock is highly unusual; as mentioned, Spock pleads guilty without defense, but through some legal technicality, manages to arrange for the court to hear out his evidence as to why he went through with his illegal actions. Given that Kirk is presiding over the hearing, and that the crew has little else to do but wait until they reach Talos IV, I get the lenience, but I am not sure what real court would remain in session to examine evidence for someone who just admitted their guilt. Or admittedly, maybe I just don’t know enough about legal proceedings.

 

Spock’s evidence, as it turns out, is a transmission from Talos IV, beamed directly to the Enterprise, which details the vessel’s first trip there under the command of Captain Pike. Of course, this transmission is the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and from this point on, “The Menagerie” consists almost entirely of footage from that episode.

 

Aside from some really goofy tech dialogue, and incomplete characterizations, “The Cage” holds up surprisingly well. We get to see that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike is a darker, colder man than James Kirk; he is someone whose decisions and responsibilities as a commander are weighing on him heavily, and he is nearing the point of considering resignation. Pike’s first officer is only referred to as Number One (played by Majel Barrett), who is an amazing example of a strong female role for 1960’s television, but unfortunately her character had to be discarded by Roddenberry when the studio forced him to choose between keeping his strong, logical female, or his alien Spock. Roddenberry ended up giving Spock Number One’s cold, emotionless, logical persona, and thus the Spock we know and love was born.

 

It really is a shame that NBC put so much pressure on Roddenberry to alter his concept of women in the 23rd Century; aside from Number One, the other female crew members of the Cage-era Enterprise also seem to be on equal footing with the men, and there isn’t a mini-skirt in sight. Of course, this reviewer by no means, from an aesthetic point view, objects to how the women of the Enterprise look in said mini-skirts, but cheekiness and my own red-blooded male impulses aside, the female officers in Starfleet should have been offered the same, more professional uniform as the males. Unfortunately we would have to wait until The Motion Picture to see more fairness in the way men and women are presented in Star Trek.

 

When Enterprise finds evidence of human survivors on Talos IV, from a doomed expedition many years ago, Pike, Spock, and an away team beam down to investigate. What at first seems like a wonderful discovery of lost, homesick men, turns out to be just an elaborate, life like illusion created by the Talosians. Pike is abducted when he is lured in by the only true human survivor from the crash, Vina, whom he is extremely attracted to.

 

Pike is subjected to a variety of illusions crafted by the Talosians, in order to foster cooperation, as well as to strengthen his attraction toward Vina. Vina is presented to Pike in a variety of forms; as a damsel in distress on Rigel VII, as a wife in the countryside on Earth, and as a primal, animalistic Orion slave woman, all in an attempt to make him submit to his situation.

 

However, Pike is every bit as stubborn as Captain Kirk, and certainly has a darker, more furious edge to him. When he discovers that primitive, base human emotions such as hatred, and anger, block out the Talosian’s illusions and their telepathic abilities, he mines that weakness long enough to take one of them captive. Once the illusion is broken, the Enterprise crew find out that their attempts to break Pike out from his underground cage with phaser fire were actually working, but all along they weren’t able to see it.

 

The Talosians had, thousands of centuries ago, devastated their planet and their civilization with war. They retreated underground, where their telepathic abilities flourished, but their physical bodies and their technology atrophied. They had apparently been testing various species for many years, looking for a suitable slave race to use for rebuilding their world, but none had shown as much promise as humanity.

 

However, when the away team threatens to kill themselves with an overloaded phaser, and as well when the Talosians finish screening the Enterprise‘s records, they realize that humans would rather die than be enslaved, and would be too violent to keep in captivity. With of course, the sad exception of Vina, who in reality is too badly disfigured to live a normal life outside of Talos IV.

 

(I once heard a suggestion that Vina could be repaired using the transporter. I don’t think 23rd century transporters were sophisticated enough for that, plus, there wouldn’t be an original, unaltered version of her pattern to reference.)

 

The ending of “The Cage” leads us to the final moments of “The Menagerie,” where it is revealed that not only have the Talosians been transmitting a signal to the Enterprise, but even Commodore Mendez himself has been one of their illusions all along!

 

It is also revealed that Spock’s only intention was to take Captain Pike to Talos IV, so that the crippled starship commander could live out the rest of his life as a healthy, happy man with Vina. Even Kirk seems to relent that it is better to live with an illusion of health and happiness, than a reality of living as a useless vegetable. That Commodore Mendez was an illusion, and that Starfleet sends a signal to the Enterprise, apparently excusing their violation of Talos space, seems to let Spock off the hook. Perhaps too easily in fact; despite acting out of nothing but loyalty to his former Captain, and despite that the way he enacted his plan was done in such a manner as to put the blame only on himself, Spock seems to get out of his predicament with apparently no trouble at all. We can make a guess that perhaps this incident is why he doesn’t receive a promotion or command of his own until years later, but there is nothing spoken on-screen to that effect.

 

We are also left to ponder about how much of the incident was real at all. Since the Talosians can apparently project their powers through subspace, one wonders just how long they conspired with Spock, and also, how much we see of Mendez was real or an illusion. My guess is that the Mendez we see at the base was real, and what goes onto the shuttle with Kirk was the illusion, but unfortunately, again, there is little to back that up. What we do know for sure is that the Talosian’s powers are not to be trifled with, and it is truly for wise for Starfleet to give them a wide berth.

Despite some problems with logic and consistency, “The Menagerie” is an entertaining, fascinating episode that shows original series Trek at some of its most interestingly cerebral. Gene Roddenberry’s first pilot examines the nature of reality decades before The Matrix did, and asks the questions: What is real? How does one define their purpose, their reality? Is our reality just relative, defined only by experience? Is there a such thing as an absolute reality, or only what our senses perceive, or for that matter what they think they perceive? This is smart, ahead of its time writing for the 1960s.

 

Through the tragedies that befell both Vina and Pike, we must also question the quality of human life, and the value we place on it. Is it worth staying alive if you can’t function? If your brain is sound but your body is broken, can you still truly live? Speaking for myself, I certainly would despise the existence that Captain Pike is forced to endure in his wheelchair. I’d rather be dead than live that way. I’m not sure how I would react exactly to being forced to live in an illusion, but it is certainly preferable to a reality of uselessness and immobility. Besides, is our everyday life not just an elaborate series of deceptions spun before our very eyes; maybe not as powerful as a trick of telepathy played by an alien race, but an illusion nonetheless?

 

For even provoking these thoughts, and much more, “The Cage,” and by extension, “The Menagerie,” are what I consider among the best of Star Trek’s purely cerebral stories about human nature. It is imaginative, thoughtful, and quite engaging.

Name: Ravor Alecsin

ISB Operating Number: ISB-032

Age: 33

Race: Human, male

Class: Imperial Intelligence (ISB)

Bio: /Accessing ISB personnel file 032\ Alecsin, Ravor [ISB-032]. Born on Vardos, Agent Alecsin was left at an orphanage in a small district. Parents and family members unknown.

 

As Agent Alecsin grew older, he showed promising signs of strategy awareness and combat/operative abilities. At the age of 30, Agent Alecsin was given command of Republic forces during the Clone Wars. In that time, he became close to the Supreme Chancellor. It is unclear what made Agent Alecsin such a favorite of the Republic's Chancellor. Throughout the war, Agent Alecsin continued to gain support and demonstrated his promising attributes.

 

As the Clone Wars ended, and the Galactic Empire rose to power, Agent Alecsin was recruited into the Empire's ISB, with several instantaneous promotions directly issued by the Emperor. Some of Agent Alecsin's greatest achievements as a member of the Empire are --- /ISB personnel file 032 REDACTED under personal request of the Emperor\

  

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Agent Alecsin is a bit of a collector, like with the old clone helmet, ancient armor, and rebel helmet being part of his collection that he displays in his office.

 

My sigfig entry for the Dark Times Star Wars group. Why did I choose ISB? Because the ISB is awesome, and if you don't even know what that is, then you can't call yourself a true Star Wars fan! I'm looking forward to participating with this group of excellent builders more this semester.

 

Until then, may the Force of others be with you!

 

| Also on Facebook |

 

--NS

 

Through the creations that I build, I hope to inspire other young (or perhaps older) LEGO builders to unleash their inner creativity. We all need a positive way to express ourselves, so let's let LEGO be an extension of us. Your creativity belongs to you, and nobody can take that away. Build what you want to build, and how you want to build it."

Taken at Great dixter gardens in Sussex

 

One of the most familiar insects in the world is the Honeybee. This member of the insect order Hymenoptera plays a key role in the human and natural world. More has been written about honeybees than any other species of insect. The human fascination with this insect began thousands of years ago when people discovered what wonderfully tasty stuff honey is!

 

Honey is a thick liquid produced by certain types of bees from the nectar of flowers. While many species of insects consume nectar, honeybees refine and concentrate nectar to make honey. Indeed, they make lots of honey so they will have plenty of food for times when flower nectar is unavailable, such as winter. Unlike most insects, honeybees remain active through the winter, consuming and metabolizing honey in order to keep from freezing to death. Early humans probably watched bears and other mammals raid bee hives for honey and then tried it themselves. Once people found out what honey was, next they had to learn how to get it from the bees safely!

 

Honeybees have a bright color pattern to warn potential predators (or honey thieves!) that they have a weapon to defend themselves. Their weapon is a modified ovipositor (egg-laying tube). This is combined with a venom gland to create a stinger (formally known as an aculeus) located at the end of the abdomen. Because the stinger is modified from a structure found only in females, male bees cannot sting. When the hive is threatened, honeybees will swarm out and attack with their stingers to drive the enemy away.

 

Honeybees, like most insects, look at the world through compound eyes. These are made of hundreds of small simple eyes called ommatidia. The images received by all the ommatidia are put together in the insect's brain to give it a very different way of seeing the world. To see the world the way a bee does, check out Andrew Giger's B-Eye web site in the links section.

 

Honeybees are social insects. In the wild, they create elaborate nests called hives containing up to 20,000 individuals during the summer months. (Domestic hives may have over 80,000 bees.) They work together in a highly structured social order. Each bee belongs to one of three specialized groups called castes. The different castes are: queens, drones and workers.

 

There is only one queen in a hive and her main purpose in life is to make more bees. She can lay over 1,500 eggs per day and will usually live less than two years, although there are a few records of queens living longer than that. She is larger (up to 20mm) and has a longer abdomen than the workers or drones. She has chewing mouthparts. Her stinger is curved with no barbs on it and she can use it many times.

  

Drones, since they are males, have no stinger. They live about eight weeks. Only a few hundred - at most - are ever present in the hive. Their sole function is to mate with a new queen, if one is produced in a given year. A drone's eyes are noticeably bigger than those of the other castes. This helps them to spot the queens when they are on their nuptial flight. Any drones left at the end of the season are considered non-essential and will be driven out of the hive to die.

  

Worker bees do all the different tasks needed to maintain and operate the hive. They make up the vast majority of the hive's occupants and they are all sterile females. When young, they are called house bees and work in the hive doing comb construction, brood rearing, tending the queen and drones, cleaning, temperature regulation and defending the hive. Older workers are called field bees. They forage outside the hive to gather nectar, pollen, water and certain sticky plant resins used in hive construction. Workers born early in the season will live about 6 weeks while those born in the fall will live until the following spring. Workers are about 12 mm long and highly specialized for what they do, with a structure called a pollen basket (or corbiculum) on each hind leg, an extra stomach for storing and transporting nectar or honey and four pairs of special glands that secrete beeswax on the underside of their abdomen. They have a straight, barbed stinger which can only be used once. It rips out of their abdomen after use, which kills the bee.

  

If you want to see a 3-D model of a worker bee click on the picture. - NOTE: This is a 1.3 meg file! - (Save the animation to your hard drive [right click, save target as, etc.] to watch later. That way you can do other stuff while it is downloading.) Note the flattened area on the hind leg - this is where the pollen basket is located.

If you want to see more 3D insects, visit the

web site of Alexei Sharov.

The 3-D bee is best viewed with Quicktime Player.

Click here QT logo.jpg (2689 bytes) if you don't already have it.

 

3DB!

  

Close-up view of the honeycomb

Photo by P.O. Gustafson

(see links below)

 

The central feature of the bee hive is the honeycomb. This marvel of insect engineering consists of flat vertical panels of six-sided cells made of beeswax. Beeswax is produced from glands on the underside of the abdomens of worker bees when they are between 12 and 15 days old. House bees take the beeswax and form it with their mouths into the honeycomb. The cells within the comb are used to raise young and to store honey and pollen.

The comb is two-sided, with cells on both sides. As you can see, the cells are perfectly uniform in shape. Not only that, but the combs are built a precise distance apart depending on whether they are meant to contain food or young bees. The nursery area of the hive is called the brood comb, and that is where the queen lays her eggs.

 

Flower nectar is one of two food sources used by honeybees. The other is pollen. Both are gathered by the field bees as they fly about on their daily foraging flights.

   

Honeybees are important pollinators

 

As the field bees forage for nectar, pollen sticks to the fuzzy hairs which cover their bodies. Some of this pollen rubs off on the next flower they visit, fertilizing the flower and resulting in better fruit production. Some plants will not produce fruit at all without the help of honeybees. In the United States alone, it is estimated that honeybees accomplish 1/4 of the pollination needed for all fruit produced for human consumption - an estimated $10 billion worth of work each year!

The field bees stop periodically to groom themselves and collect the pollen onto their pollen baskets. They remove this load from their legs when they return to the hive and the house bees store it in a special part of the comb. The pollen provides protein and other essential nutrients for the bees.

 

Honeybee loaded with pollen

Photo by P.O Gustafson

(see links below)

  

There are four different species of honeybee in the world:

 

The Little Honeybee (Apis florea) - native to southeast Asia

The Eastern Honeybee (Apis cerana) - native to eastern Asia as far north as Korea & Japan

The Giant Honeybee (Apis dorsata) - native to southeast Asia

The Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera) - native to Europe, Africa and western Asia

Cave paintings in Europe indicate that early peoples were harvesting honey 8,000 years ago. The next step in human/honeybee relations came when people started keeping bees in man-made structures rather than just going out and searching for wild hives. The ancient Egyptians were beekeepers and their methods were copied throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. They used the Western Honeybee, and that is the most widely used species today. The Eastern Honeybee was also domesticated long ago in China. The other two species of honeybee do not nest in cavities and so were not suited to being put into hives. The subject of beekeeping is beyond the scope of this web page. For more information, see the links below.

  

Top of page

 

What are "Killer" Bees?

 

More properly called Africanized Honeybees, these come from a subspecies of honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata) released accidentally in Brazil in 1957. They were imported from South Africa by a researcher who was attempting to produce a variety of honeybee better adapted to the tropics than the European Honeybee.

 

Unfortunately, Africanized Honeybees not only produce honey better in hot climates, but they are also much more aggressive at defending the nest. Many people have been killed by mass stinging resulting from getting too close to a nest of Africanized honeybees. The escaped bees did well in the wild and began reproducing and expanding their range across South America into Central America and Mexico. They were recorded in Texas in October 1990, California in November 1994 and Oklahoma in 2004. Since they are adapted for tropical conditions, they may not expand their range beyond the southern part of the U.S., but that remains to be seen. They can tolerate up to 3 1/2 months of freezing weather.

 

Distribution of Africanized Honeybees in the U.S.

1990-2011.

 

Distribution of Africanized honeybees in the U.S.

 

Graphic from the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center.

Visit their web site to learn more about Africanized Bees!

 

WHAT IS COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER?

 

Colony collapse disorder (or CCD for short) refers to a mysterious malady affecting domestic honeybees that causes them to leave the hive and not return, leading ultimately to death of the colony.

 

First noticed in late 2006 in North America, CCD has been the focus of much research to try to determine what is causing it. Pathogens, parasites, environmental toxins and even cell phone transmissions have been the subject of investigation.

 

As of this writing (November 2007) the one factor that has been identified as being uniquely associated with CCD is a virus known as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV). It is not proven yet that IAPV is the sole cause of CCD, but it is found in nearly all hives affected by CCD. A possible scenario is that CCD is triggered by various stress factors in bees infected with IAPV. Research is currently underway to test this hypothesis.

 

For more information on CCD, see the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium website.

www.ento.psu.edu/MAAREC/ColonyCollapseDisorder.html

    

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BEES:

  

An excellent source of more information on honeybees and other bees is the:

Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona

  

Texas A&M University also has a lot of honeybee information.

Visit that web site

  

Albert Needham has a very comprehensive site on bees and beekeeping at:

Bees Online

  

P. O. Gustafson is a beekeeper in Sweden who took the honeybee photos used on this page.

Visit his web site

  

Dave Green has lots of information on beekeeping, bees and other pollinating insects at:

Pollinator.com

  

Visit the PBS web site for the NOVA television program on honeybees.

Tales From the Hive

  

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has a detailed reference on native North American bees available for purchase at the:

NCAT web site

 

Billy says this is a cool link! Take a Honeybee Trivia Quiz!

  

OTHER TYPES OF BEES

There are over 25,000 kinds of bees in the world.

About 3,500 different species are known from North America alone!

Some of the more noticeable types are listed below.

 

Bumble Bees!

 

Bumblebee on zinnia

Bumblebee visiting a Zinnia flower

 

There are about 50 different types of Bumblebees (Bombus sp.) in North America. Much larger than other bees, some species are over an inch long. They are densely covered with yellow and black

(and sometimes red) bands of hairs.

 

The long mouthparts of bumblebees allow them to gather nectar from flowers that have their nectaries buried deep within the petals, such as red clover.

 

They are social nesters, although their society is not as highly ordered as that of honeybees. In contrast to honeybees, nests are made anew each spring by solitary queens who hibernate through the winter.

 

The large bumblebees seen in the spring are queens looking for food and a place to start a new colony.

 

They will often take over an abandoned field mouse nest for their own. Laura Smith has posted a lot of information about bumblebees at her web site.

Another good site for bumblebee information is maintained by the Xerces Society.

  

Carpenter Bees!

Carpenter bees resemble Bumblebees, but they may be recognized by their dark, shiny (hairless) abdomen. The common North American species east of the Rocky Mountains is Xylocopa virginica.

 

They are solitary nesters and make their nest by chewing tunnels into wood. Often people will notice them burrowing into the rafters of barns or outbuildings.

 

On a quiet day you can hear the bee at work as she chews her way into the wood with her strong mandibles. The hole is 1/2 inch in diameter and goes straight in about 2 inches before branching at right angles into the brood chambers.

 

The males are sometimes encountered patrolling near a nest in a distinctive bobbing flight. This can lead to some anxious moments if you are suddenly confronted with a large hovering bee only a few feet in front of you!

 

The bee is looking for a mate, however, not a fight, and since it is a male it cannot sting you anyway! Male carpenter bees have a white face. Learn more about Carpenter Bees from University of Kentucky Entomology.

  

Sweat Bees!

This family of small, often metallic-colored bees has about 500 species in North America. They are primarily solitary nesters, but some show a degree of social behavior. Only a few species in the genus Lasioglossum are attracted to sweat.

They are just after water and do not want to sting, but they will if you purposely or accidentally squeeze them. Their food consists of the normal bee diet of pollen and nectar. They typically dig a vertical burrow in the ground with side chambers for the eggs.

  

Leaf-cutting Bees!

Leaf-cutter bees (Megachile sp.) are a type of bee which has the interesting trait of chewing little circles out of leaves or flower petals and using these to construct small, thimble-shaped nests in a dry, protected location.

 

They are typically dark in color with bands of whitish hairs running across the abdomen and range in size from 5 - 25 mm. There are 130 species in North America. Both leaf cutters and mason bees (see below) are superior pollinators compared to honeybees.

 

One leafcutter bee will do the same amount of pollination as 20 honey bees!

To learn more, read what the USDA Agricultural Research Service has to say about the Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee.

  

Mason Bees!

Mason bees (Osmia sp.) typically use the abandoned tunnels of wood-boring beetles for their nest. These small bees are not social. Mason bees mate immediately after hatching in the spring.

 

The female then searches for an appropriate hole or crevice to build her nest. After preparing a brood chamber, she gathers pollen and nectar until she has enough to feed a larva to adulthood.

 

Then she lays an egg and closes the chamber with mud. She repeats the process until the tunnel is completely filled and caps the tunnel with an extra-thick plug of mud. She will repeat this process until she dies in early summer.

 

The mature larvae pupate and overwinter in their nursery cells. Mason bees are closely related to the Leaf-cutting bees.

 

To gather pollen, they both use a brush of hairs on the underside of the abdomen (called a scopa) instead of pollen baskets on their legs.

 

There are 140 species in North America. You can find out more about Mason Bees from the North Carolina Extension service and the Wikipedia entry for the species..

 

Link-

 

www.gpnc.org/honeybee.htm