Old man keithlard's Cornish nature notebook

This was high on the moor near Minions on Caradon Hill as the storm closed in, bringing a fantastic inky light and incidentally getting me completely wet. We photographers make a lot of sacrifices though to take pictures which are fun to look at and cheer you up (see Storm on Caradon).

You do not have to be a top bird noticing expert like keithlard to know this is a robin. Unless you are American, which is in no way your fault, and you have a different robin (due to politics). I was at the Eden Project with my Dad in the Temperate Biome when this cheeky fellow landed on a little wall right next to me! There are several robins, obviously they like the place as much as I do.

No it is not some kind of amazing Graeco-Tudor mansion, it is Trago Mills, Cornwall’s top woodland retail megaplex, full of discount carpets and nylon leisurewear, and surrounded by insultingly caricatured statues of the local councillors who opposed its construction. It is worth a visit for the remaindered book department alone (“Dr” Gillian McKeith’s Harsh Criticism for the Slightly Unhealthy and a book called So You Want to Collect Portraits of Conservative Prime Ministers).

This slightly psychedelic flower is due to the very low light in the biome at Eden when I took this, and I did not have a tripod so it is a little fuzzy. I like the way it is coming at you out of an electric green darkness though.

The Moon is one of my favourite things as most people that know me know, perhaps it is a little egocentric to have a favourite world, but then I like to think big. I was born five months before the last men walked on the Moon, so I sort of missed out on most of the excitemint there. I keep taking photographs of it though in case it encourages people to think it is worth going again.


Well as I have given my bike its Spring Cleaning I thought I should probably get it dirty again. If there is one thing that engenders deep suspicion in the cycling fraternity it is a nice clean shiny bike. It is a bit like those people that have a really expensive bike hanging on the wall of their immaculate designer flat, and you know in your heart that they never take it down, or indeed dream of soiling their crisp, dazzlingly white yachting trousers.

I went on a big adventure down the Dollis Brook where there is all sorts of birds, trees, and especially MUD. This is Hendon Lane Weir where the Dollis flows underneath the Great North Way and you can bikle through a sinister dark passage into a mystical land of wonder, populated by unicorns. (I did not see any of these in fact, so the guide book may be out of date.)

Some super Canada geese that I saw. It is grainy cameraphone photos sorry, as I did not bring the real camera and I do not have magic computer eyes like the Terminator. This is a shame in several respects.

This is a pond near Bell Lane with wizzo coots and moorhens ekcetera, the brilliant thing about this is that you can enjoy the peaceful idyll of the lake ruffled only by gentle zephyrs (good writing) while a few feet away, hundreds of cars and lorries thunder past along the North Circular completely unaware that any of this is here. In a way I suppose that is why it has not been built all over.

The most curious things end up stuck in a weir! This is a shopping trolley if you cannot tell. Obviously someone was walking home with their weekly shop and was just overcome with fatalistic or existential thoughts and realised, what is the point of it all basically? So they chucked the trolley in the river and went home. I feel like that some days.

I do not know what this is, but have decided it is a sinister witch’s cottage. There are a few clues which give it away to a trained eye, eg traces of gingerbread, but the main one is probably the sinister witch (not pictured).

The river path goes down about as far as where the A502 Brent St crosses over the North Circular, and from there you can bikle along the pavement as far as the dystopian concrete lacework of the Brent Cross Flyover. There our journey must end as it is the gateway to Brent Cross itself where only horror, madness, and surprising winter bargains await.

High above the North Circular itself at the Brent St junction. I was on the pedestrian footbridge in fact although it would be great if I had a magical flying bicycle like E.T. For one thing it would represent a considerable saving on tyre wear, and possibly get me closer to Drew Barrymore.

Your intrepid correspondent. On the way back I took an intresting detour via the River Brent up to Henleys Corner and the muddiest path I have ever found! It was flooded out in some places and the surrounding grass was heavily waterlogged; at several points I was pedalling super slowly in bottom gear and the back wheel was still sliding and sliding. It is a good job I was wearing my nice new Caterpillar boots (do not laugh it is obvious they are not made out of caterpillars; that would create more problems than it solved) as I had to get off and push the bike through lakes of mud occasionally. When I got back there was no question of even bringing the bike indoors; I had to get a bucket of soapy water and wash it down outside for fear of basically redecorating my flat in mud.

I had a super day out though!

Archibald the mischievous squirrel

This is a few grainy cameraphone pictures which is surveillance footage of my wizzo day out in Richmond, investergating various shops restaurants and a special coffee shop for old folks, with a squirrel!

This is a bridge which I do not know what it is, the main bridge in Richmond or such. But I got quite excited because of there being a swan.


Finally some restful flowers. This is near Archibald’s lair which is a secret cafe accessible only by a normal pathway. They have coffee and samosas and books, which seems to me to be the three things you ought to have.

Cornish wildlife

Some pictures of Cornish wildlife! These are deer which live in the park near my house. They are shy creatures, unlike the brash and confident deer of Richmond Park who are used to people; even with the 200mm zoom it was difficult to get close enough to get a good picture.

Importint bird information

Wizzo fluffy mallard ducks messing about, under Mum’s watchful eye

I went bikling into the woods by the cool shady pond as it was another super hot day, and thought I would take some photos of various of my bird friends. I have to apologise for the quality as low light and a long lens are not the best combination, but I thought you would like to see them anyway. I spent quite a while just sitting in the undergrowth being quiet and watching the birds. Their behaviour is fascinating really. I would love to spend more time there getting to know each individual and their relationship to the others, like Konrad Lorenz, or Jane Goodall for that matter. Only unlike dangerous mountain gorillas, waterbirds are generally fairly harmless, except a Canada goose might peck at you, or Henrietta the duck might try and eat your shoe.

I have been bikling nearly every day, and I’ve had so much excersise I’ve lost two kilos! It is the biggest dip in my weight graph since records began (January), so I am pleased. Later I went round to Jane’s for lemonade and cakes! It is a wizzo world really where it is full of lemonade and coots and sunshine and good friends, and cakes.

The new family of Canada geese!

A coot gliding around happily. The pond is awful scummy but it does not seem to bother them.

I found the secret nest of the Canada geese, and it was a bit like in Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, where they find the T. Rex nest, except that a Canada goose could not disembowel you with a single swipe of its terrible claws, or chomp off your head in one go. I am glad I do not live in the Jurassic period really (I am aware that actually T. Rex was a Cretaceous animal, so please do not write in; instead contact your local cinema).

Coots and geese mingling politely, perhaps they are chatting about the pond property market and the difficulty of finding a really good nest in a smart area and handy for the reeds.