Somerset Levels

I had driven over to Wells to meet the Spotlight Kid with a plan to go on to the Somerset Levels after a spot of lunch. It was pouring with rain when we met outside Wells Cathedral and the projected photographic walk had to be put on hold while we found somewhere for coffee followed by lunch. Strangers With Coffee had been recommended but was closed as the owners had flown to Ontario for a christening, but André's Café provided a fine all-day breakfast with refills of filter coffee. We did venture into the entrance to the Bishop's Palace and around the moat surrounding it that had swans and cygnets on it, but rain precluded going in to the Palace gardens or taking many pictures. I saw enough to know that I would like to return in finer weather.

The forecast for the afternoon was brighter so we followed our plan of heading for Meare on the Avalon Marshes. On the way we passed within sight of Glastonbury Tor, its top half completely shrouded in Arthurian mists, but the weather had brightened by the time we reached Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, managed by English Nature, and almost at once as well as a close by grey heron I spotted a great white egret camouflaged among a distant group of mute swans on the first lake, below Meare Heath. There were more swans on South Drain which runs along the path which used to carry the Glastonbury to Highbridge Railway.

We called in at Meare Heath Hide and saw some monster dragonflies but nothing out of the ordinary on the lake, but were luckier at Noah's Lake, pictured above. There may not be much in evidence in the picture but one of the dead trees had an osprey in it, my first ever sighting, and I had a good view of it using my brother's telescope. We also saw a great crested grebe family, a family of yellow-legged gulls, a distant hobby in a tree (another first for me), another great white egret, some little egrets and a speck in the sky that I was told was a marsh harrier, and a multitude of less rare birdlife. This was also definitely a place ripe for a return visit.

The sat-nav went a bit mad when I programmed an Eco-route for my return home and led me on a massive detour to the M5. I escaped at Clevedon and continued via Tyntesfield and the Bristol ring road. Next time I will take more control over the route and head more rationally for Shepton Mallet and Westbury instead.

23.9.2014 (1959 hr)

Blip #1377
Consecutive Blip #000
Day #1621

Wells Cathedral From Bishop's Palace In The Rain
Autumn Leaves Above The Moat

Lenses: Sigma 70-300mm, Pentax 17-70 mm (Blip)

Landscape series

Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Johnny Burnette and the Rock'n'Roll Trio - Train Kept A Rollin' (recorded 2nd July 1956)
Continuing my brief series of the music of the Rockers, this was a revival of the 1952 jump blues hit by the Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra.
The Rock'n'Roll Trio comprised Johnny's brother Dorsey 0n bass, Buddy Harman (drums) and the brilliant Paul Burlison on amplified lead guitar. This is the version that the Yardbirds, a group with a largely Mod audience, modelled their arrangement on, showing that there weren't perhaps such huge musical disparities between the two factions. The Yardbirds featured it extensively in their sets and recorded a poorly-disguised version with a new lyric for the film Blow Up (as Stroll On).

One year ago: Bowood 2013 #25: George

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