Sunday, 28 March 2010

London International Dive Show

Today’s blog is mainly for divers. I caught the 7:13am train from Arundel yesterday to visit the London International Dive Show at the ExCel exhibition centre in London's docklands. My main interest was the presentations.

Mark Powell kicked off with “Myths about Decompression”, a subject he has written about (he runs a company teaching technical diving). He is a brilliant teacher, putting across difficult concepts (M-values for instance) in a way that I could understand.

I learnt about one excellent bit of research which I would pass on to Open Water students if I was still teaching scuba classes:

The safest dive is one that ends with two safety stops: 6 meters for one minute followed by 3 meters for 4 minutes. This results is zero micro bubbles (no nitrogen coming out) after a surface interval of 45 minutes. Compare that to a dive ending in one safety stop at 3 meters for 2 minutes when after a 2 hour surface interval you still have excess nitrogen in your system. In future I will be stopping for 1 at 6M and 4 at 3M.
Mark has written a well reviewed book on the subject:

Paul Rose then told us about his planned next BBC 2 series about UK waters in which he plans to excite us about the waters that surround us. This starts filming next month and should be on screen from the Autumn.

Monty Halls of the Great Ocean Adventures TV series gave us an account of his new programme set in the Outer Hebrides with his dog Reuben. I bought his book and read much of it in on the train home, very enjoyable:

Finally Teresa Telus and Leigh Bishop gave us Deeper under Truk. They have been travelling to Truk yearly to photograph the deeper, less dived wreck of Truk Lagoon, which is the top rated destination for divers worldwide. They use rebreathers so can spend an hour at depths at which us mortals can manage only a few minutes. Great photos and stories. I advised them that I would like to join them in June 2011 which will be their last Truk expedition. They take open circuit scuba divers who will dive the shallower wrecks using nitrox

I wasn’t interested in buying equipment, but had a comment from one diver I sat next to on the bus: “I won’t attend any more shows, I have been to the past five and this year you can get better deals from websites than from retailers at the show”. Having said that I was at the Canon stand and one diver was signing up for a deal that he said was better than from the website. I looked for one item only and couldn’t find it (a giant emergency sausage that can be inflated from your low pressure hose).

I enjoyed looking at artist Nick Oneill’s stand. If we had wall space I would have been tempted by his Leafy Sea Dragon.

Friday, 26 March 2010

East Preston beach, boats & daffs

It was a sunny, breezy morning so we made our way to East Preston beach for an hours walk.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Swanbourne Lake on a bright afternoon

The day brightened up after lunch so I grabbed the camera and headed for Swanbourne Lake, Arundel. I was drawn to green buds, ferns, fungi & moss, moorhens and coots.
I put Jackie’s photos and the November 2009 Maldives trip on DVDs. I used MS Photo Story 3 and purchased a plugin (Sonic DVD for Photo Story 3). I also downloaded VLC media player which plays most things.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Mill Hill violets

Headed off to Mill Hill yesterday afternoon. Sweet Violets abound on the lower slopes, a solitary display of daffs brightened up the top slope. 
 Some Carline Thistles lower down and beautiful lichens covered a tree.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Buttons, butterflies & the death of an Emperors's habitat

The club had a dig north of Worthing yesterday. Not much found, crotal bell, worn and unidentifiable Roman and hammered, clasp of Roman broach. My finds were two buttons, one a 4-hole shirt button.
Watched the butterfly DVD we won at the raffle Saturday, it is an excellent identification aid to butterflies and wild flowers: The Best of Butterfly Days plus’

I received a disturbing report from UK Butterflies about the Forestry Commission wilfully ruining the habitat of the Purple Emperor (image above) at Alice Host Forest in Hampshire. You’d think after all the devastation wreaked on the country’s habitat by the FC in the post war period that they would now be sensitive to the needs of our fauna and flora. They received expert advice on this particular habitat for 35 years, but it appears that following a change of local management they chose to go their own selfish way.
Click here for full details and how you can express your concern to the FC.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Butterfly Conservation in Sussex

We attended an excellent BC social event at Westmeston Parish Hall. Dr Dan Danahar, Sussex Branch Biodiversity Officer, gave a presentation on 'Butterflies and Biodiversity'. This was followed by Michael Blencowe giving us a slideshow tour of the recently acquired Rowland Wood Reserve and a summary of the dozens of events Sussex BC branch has planned for members this year. After tea and cake we won a DVD in the raffle: “The Best of Butterfly Days” covering 58 species. David Bradford finished the afternoon with a great slide show of Sussex creatures and landscapes. I especially liked his adder shots. He admires the work of Eric & James Ravilious and Paul & John Nash and it showed in his wonderful landscapes photos. He is another photographer that mourns the loss of kodachrome, K64 being my favourite film for underwater photography in the 80’s

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Eastbourne, plates & au revoir

Dorothy treated us to an excellent Thai takeaway last night and Jackie joined us. We journeyed to Eastbourne this morning where Bea gave us a lovely ham & chicken salad followed by trifle, delicious. We took the scenic route via Newhaven, passing the old Tidal Mills where I photographed Clouded Yellows last year. I asked Bea and Dorothy to pose in Bea's new front garden which looks great and easy to maintain.

After lunch we dropped Dorothy off at the station in time for her train to Ramsgate where she is visiting Natasha and David before heading back to New Zealand on Monday. It has been an enjoyable week with Dorothy and we are very pleased she decided to visit us following her skiing trip in Denver. It was also an opportunity to return hospitality shown to us in New Zealand in previous years.

Bea has some plates she would like to identify if anyone has any ideas.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Arun, Staffordshire Hoard & Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Afternoon stroll along the Arun yesterday to show Dorothy the river walk which ended up at the Arun View for a couple of pints! Some impressive yachts were moored up. This morning we headed up to London where Dorothy shopped in Oxford Street and I visited the British Museum to see the very small display on show from the Staffordshire Hoard and then the Natural History Museum for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year show. As usual some impressive photos but this year was marred by the disqualification of the winning wolf shot which in my opinion should have been queried on content before being declared the winner.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

John Tunnard at the Pallant Gallery

Took Dorothy to Chichester this morning to browse the shops and visit the Pallant Gallery and Cathedral. The exhibition of John Tunnard’s paintings blew me away. In the Cathedral we saw the amazing window designed by Marc Chagall and an epitaph to superwoman.

Cissbury Ring

I took Dorothy to Cissbury Ring for a breath of fresh air. A few dog walkers around and a school party left as we started out. Good views of  Beachy Head to the east and the Isle of Wight to the west. We saw my first butterfly of the year as we approached in the car, I think it was a Small Tortoiseshell. A kestrel hovered overhead at the start of the walk.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Visitors from faraway lands

On Friday I met Dorothy off her Denver flight at Heathrow. She has been skiing for 16 days having travelled from New Zealand. Now she is on a side trip to visit us, then Thursday we will put her on the train to Ramsgate to visit Natasha, Danielle and Nathan before heading back to New Zealand via Denver on day 3 of the BA strike. Hopefully her flight will run as normal. On Saturday Roger arrived on his way from the U.S. to South Africa to spend a day with us which. It was an Aramco reunion. Roger is planning to be back in June for a few days so we can do some more catching up then. We took them to Swanbourne Lake Saturday afternoon to stretch our legs.
On Sunday we were up early and Dorothy accompanied me to Broughton Down, Hampshire for a Weekend Wanderers dig. There was a blue sky and a cold wind. Loads of shell cases and bullets found, plus a couple of Roman and a minim. I found one 1918 penny. A beautiful bumble bee joined us for lunch. We passed a lovely bank of snowdrops in a country lane and stopped on the return journey for photos.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Ancient porcupine & 17th century token

A club dig yesterday was very productive for some members, but not me! Medieval hammereds, an Anglo-Saxon porcupine sceata, a couple of roman, and a 1657 token were among the finds.

Friday, 5 March 2010

False money and buttons

Wednesday afternoon we headed for Tower Hill tube for the book launch of Penny’s first crime novel ‘Like False Money’. This was held at the headquarters of ALCS , the writer’s copyright society of which she is currently chair. It was an excellent launch held in the wood-beamed roof space of the listed building, a fitting venue for this literary occasion. Penny’s speech was informative and witty and well received by an eclectic mix of attendees. Wine and nibbles warmed us for the trek home. We bought signed copies for Jackie, Bea and ourselves.

Yesterday I headed off early again for another dig at Crawley. This time my finds were limited to two buttons, a small tombac one the size of a sixpence and a coppery one, flat with four centre holes slightly smaller and quite corroded. At the end of the dig I met someone who found part of an early fibula or broach. I also heard that a couple of hammered coins were found.