Monday, June 29, 2009

European Eagle Owl

TheTamshee: can't resist the call of the Owl, this fine specimen is one of the star attractions at Blair Drummond safari park Bird Of Prey Centre the European Eagle Owl being a little bit belligerent and acting up for the assembled crowd.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

South Africa versus Lions

TheTamshee says: the Lions came out roaring, the first half display showed real committment and passion with Rob Kearney at the heart of the attack. At half time the game was nicely posed with the Bok's liking their wounds, but under estimate this great rugby nation at your peril. The tide turned in the second half when forced substitutions on both sides change the run of play. The flying Bryan Habana burst through like a steam train to breech the lions defence and cross the line to score a decisive try.
This was the turning point for the springbok's who had the experience to close out this ferocious game with a jaw dropping goal kick from the Bulls flyhalf hero Morne Steyn. The lions can take heart in the fact that they gave it their all, but on the day it was one penalty too many. So the test series was sealed for the Springboks with their 28-25 victory after they had won the first of the three tests in Durban last weekend.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Star Wars & Chipmunks

Chris McVeigh, a Canadian illustrator, captured these images of wild chipmunks in hilarious situations with action figures from the Star Wars films.
Pictures: Chris McVeigh / Barcroft Media
Chris, 37, managed to shoot the images after he befriended one of the bushy-tailed creatures in his parents' back yard in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
He was able to convince the chipmunks to pose using a mixture of perseverance and almonds.
In 2005 Chris befriended a female he later named Buddy after she was accidentally trapped in his dad's garden shed. "It took a while until she totally trusted me," said Chris. "But patience and a lot of almond offerings eventually paid off.
Once I got close to them I realised I could pretty much do anything and they didn't bat an eye-lid," he explained
I'm not sure where the idea came from but I had plenty of Star Wars figures and I thought I could probably get one to sit on their backs without them caring.
It all started from there," he said. But the special element of the photos is often the comical expressions and poses performed by the chipmunks themselves. Over the past few years I have taken thousands upon thousands of shots to get them right," Chris said. TheTamshee: was impressed with series of pictures by Chris McVeigh, his dedication to the cause of creating something different is to be admired. The Indy kids will love this.

Barn Owl

TheTamshee says: The Sunday Telegraph has started a monthly photographic competition The first winning photograph was taken in a field behind Warnham Church in West Sussex. Bill Thornton, a local enthusiast, was told by dog walkers that a barn owl had been seen hunting behind the church, and on his fifth evening visit, Mr Thornton captured this wonderful moment. Click title link for other contenders.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Glastonbury 2009

TheTamshee: would like to be at the big music event of the year to see the The Boss in action but is this really necessary, I'am not sure the kids in the wheel barrow are really enjoying the experience of being at the biggest music event of the year. If this is a yearly pilgrimage for these young mites, they will surely be deaf before they are teenagers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chark Art "Pasadena"

TheTamshee: enjoys scrolling through these Telegraph picture galleries, they are always informative and interesting, with quality pictures. The latest collection in the title link are very colourful, just seems such a shame that at the end of the festival some fire pump comes along and washes all the artists fine work down the drain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

William Dyce 1806-1864

Pegwell Bay is a shallow inlet in the English Channel coast at the estuary of the River Stour between Ramsgate and Sandwich in Kent. Situated in the bay is a large nature reserve, known for its migrating waders and wildfowl, with a complete series of seashore habitats including extensive mudflats and saltmarsh. The public can access this nature reserve via Pegwell Bay Country Park, which is located off the A256 Ramsgate to Dover road. TheTamshee: enjoyed reading this Telegraph Article by Richard Dorment. Extract of Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, at the Fitzwilliam Museum.
William Dyce's Pegwell Bay, Kent – A Recollection of October 5th 1858. The picture shows the artist's family at the seashore late on a chilly autumn afternoon. Typical Victorians, they are hunting for fossilised bones or shells in an area of England, which, as the eroded chalk cliffs behind them testify, had been covered by the sea during the Cretaceous period. The painting is about time. Look closely and you see Donati's comet streaking across the soft evening sky, an astronomical event that would not recur for another 2,000 years. And there is a third timescale in the picture – the span of a human life, which is so terribly brief when, as here, it is measured against geological or astronomical time. Light fades, the day ends, a year passes, the little boy will grow up, the adults will die – and all this is but a drop in the ocean of time. I always think of Dyce's masterpiece as the most melancholy image in all of British art.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Offshore Denmark "Rig Art"

TheTamshee says: safety is the big issue in the drilling business, while clearing some old lockers I came across some rig art skill-fully scribed by resident caricature artist Keith Brown a number of years ago. The general theme was "distractions can lead to injuries" on this occassion TheTamshee, Driller at that time was telling golfing tales. These posters were a good way of getting the serious issue's across in a amusing manner. Click on title link to check out some great artists with the sea and oil industry as their field of expertise. Enjoy

Monday, June 22, 2009

RIJKS Museum Amsterdam

TheTamshee: had some time to spare at Amsterdam airport today so I visited the RIJKS museum to check out the fine work of Melchior d' Hondecoeter (1636-1695) "Bird Painter"
Seven paintings were on display by the most renowned Dutch painter of the 17th century. Hondecoeter seems to capture the birds in a snapshot, as if they could seemingly fly away at any moment. He painted still lifes of game bags with dead birds, poultry yards with chickens as the main focus and park landscapes with exotic birds. The paintings featured geese (Brent, Egyptian and Red-Breasted), partridges, doves, sparrows, Golden Orioles, peacocks, but also African Black-Crowned Cranes, Australian Yellow-Crested Cockatoos, Asian Sarus Cranes and even an Indonesian Purple-Naped Lory and two Grey-Headed Lovebirds from Madagascar. The paintings show the animals interacting with one another, engaging in exciting confrontations.
"Hondecoeter’s fame reached a pinnacle with several paintings commissioned by Stadholder-King William III during the last quarter of the 17th century with the most famous being a pelican and other birds near a pool, known as "The Floating Feather" (1680)
but this is not "my favourite, his dipiction of the menace of Eagles attacking poultry (1673) on display at the Musee du Louvre, in Paris is more to my liking. Poultry is not the usual prey for white-tailed eagles, which mainly hunt for fish, waterfowl and mammals by the water's edge, or steal food from other birds of prey. As a result, eagles only appear a few times in his oeuvre.

Ghost Rider "Jonny Blaze"

TheTamshee says: endless hours on flights and hanging around in airports mean you have to find something to occupy the mind. Logging onto Marvel Universe and escaping into the wonderful world of comic strip characters is just brilliant, helps keep the mind young.
Long ago, the demon Zarathos began building a tremendous power base for himself. His penchant for human souls led him into conflicts with foes such as the Blood cult and the vile Mephisto, who saw Zarathos as a rival. Mephisto ultimately tricked and enslaved Zarathos, rendering the demon amnesiac and trapping him in various mortal forms over many years. This torture eventually dovetailed with another pastime of Mephisto's - the search for the Medallion of Power, a mystical artifact crafted by the Blood that housed the essence of the original Spirits of Vengeance. The medallion had been broken into shards and embedded into the spiritual bloodline of two families. One of these bloodlines, the Kales, attracted Mephisto's attention in the 18th century when Noble Kale's shard of the Medallion transformed him into a Spirit of Vengeance, the Ghost Rider. Mephisto failed to corrupt Noble at this time, but he kept track of the Kale clan from then on, watching as Noble manifested in the firstborn of every generation. Click Here to follow the exploits of Jonny Blaze with 57 connections to other wonders. Enjoy

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Indy Boy "Age 6"

TheTamshee says: it's birthday party time for Indy boy aged 6. What a great day, some friends around for fun and games with a star pressy of a new bike with gears, "the wee man said he'll be able to cycle up the drive now"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

South Africa versus Lions

Opening score: South Africa made the ideal start with a try from John Smit Picture: GETTY IMAGES
TheTamshee says: the British and Irish lions were given a lesson in how international rugby should be played. The marauding SA pack demonstrated awesome strength to snub out the Lions game strategy. Some pride was restored late in the game when the Lions rallied,
"another one that got away: Ugo Monye was tackled within touching distance of the try line late in the second half as the Lions built momentum and threatened a glorious comeback" albeit after the South Africans had substituted a number of key players. 26-21 does not reflect the SA dominance, hopefully the Lions coaches can get the scrummaging concerns ironed out before the second test next Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the nation's capital.

Sack Boy Adventures

TheTamshee says: the Indy kids dug out the model bin to construct a car for Sack Boy. It turns out that PS3 Little Big Planet inspires the creative mind. Not all computer games are bad for the kids.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gary McKinnon "UFO Tracker"

TheTamshee says: the yanks need to take a long hard look in the mirror of reality, it is quite unbeliveable that they think Gary McKinnon is some mastermind criminal, to be hounded for years because he had the expertise to hack into some of the most powerful computer systems the US had at their disposal. "The US government says Mr McKinnon was responsible for the "biggest military hack of all time", involving 97 government computers belonging to organisations including the US Navy and Nasa." Mr McKinnon has admitted hacking into the system in 2001-2, but claims he was looking for evidence of extra-terrestrial life. The US government alleges his conduct was intentional and calculated to influence and affect it by "intimidation and coercion". It says the cost of repair totalled more than 700,000 US dollars (£436,000) At the High Court in London, Mr McKinnon's lawyer discribed Gary as "an eccentric person who has passionate views about UFOs". He began writing his own software programmes at 14, and was diagnosed with Asperger's last August. Mr McKinnon was caught as he tried to download a grainy black and white photograph which he believed was an alien spacecraft from a Nasa computer housed in the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. He was easily traced by the authorities because he used his own email address. He has always said he had no malicious intent but was looking for classified documents on UFOs which he believed the US authorities had suppressed. He has signed a statement accepting his hacking constituted an offence under the UK's Computer Misuse Act 1990. The court heard that Mr McKinnon, 43, could expect a sentence of 8-10 years if he is extradited and convicted. TheTamshee continues: so the "Fix" costs were high but Gary proved that their system was seriously flawed. Mr McKinnon should have been rewarded for highlighting this fact. It is also clear that Gary did not atempt to conseal his E-mail address, which is strong evidence that he acted without malice. If the UK goverment has any balls, they should veto the extradition to the US. Gary was on UK soveriegn soil when the crime was committed and if there is charges to be answered, then this should be done in the UK courts, straight and simple. If a US sponsored bank is robbed in London of say $500,000 the criminals are not extradited to the US for trial.

Knock Castle "Ballater Royal Deeside"

Knock Castle near Ballater in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland dates back to the 16th Century. The Castle was the Tower House home of the Gordons family. They fought with the neighbouring Forbes clan and at times it was a bloody feud which saw Henry Gordon killed in a raid by the Forbes and Clan Chattan. Knock Castle was then inherited by Alexander Gordon. Things came to a head when one of the Gordons sons secretly married a Forbes girl. The father of the bride had him killed and to prevent any repercussions he had his seven brothers killed as well whilst they were digging peat. They were then beheaded and their heads were spiked to their spades.
The Ghost of Knock Castle
Their father, Alexander Gordon, fell to his death down the Knock Castle stairs
when he heard of the murder of all his eight sons. It is said that he is the Knock Castle ghost that still haunts the ruins of the castle. Gordon of Abergeldie who was a deputy for the Earl of Huntly convicted Forbes of Strathgirnock for murder and he was executed and his lands given to Abergeldie. The Hall of Knock Castle was situated in the first floor and there was an enclosed courtyard and vaulted basement. It was built at the top of a hill close by Glen Muick giving the Gordons a strategic outlook. The castle, owned by Balmoral Estate is now a ruin standing without a roof. but it is hoped that it can be restored. Prince Charles the Duke of Edinburgh has shown interest in restoring it to it's former glory. Situated near Ballater, the castle is close to the Birkhill retreat that is used by Prince Charles. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has been approached with a restoration project under its scheme that restores redundant buildings that are of architectural or historical importance. TheTamshee says: There are several Knock Castles in the UK and this includes the ruinous Knock Castle Near Teangue on the Isle of Skye which is said to have a green lady ghost. Knock Castle Isle of Skye but do not let temptation get the better of you! be warned, Do Not click on "Whack the Haggis" or you might be tempted to flea our glorious land for the sanctuary of Morris dancing country

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Clones Wars

TheTamshee says: the Indy kids hone their flying skills in preparation of the final assault on the battleship, Malevolence. " Padme Amidala and C-3PO are taken hostage by General Grievous, leaving Anakin and Obi-Wan to save the Senator and complete the destruction of the
flagship, and strongest vessel in the Separatist fleet.
Indy boy gets some action in the revenge of the Sith, Battle Over Coruscant.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alnwick Castle

TheTamshee: and family visited Alnwick Castle to check out the "Hogwarts" location for the Harry Potter films. We were not disappointed, this medieval castle has been the home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309, making this year the 700 year anniversary. The earliest mention of Alnwick Castle in the history books appears soon after 1096 when Yves de Vescy became baron of Alnwick and erected the earliest parts of the Castle. The Castle was first restored, primarily as a fortress, by the 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 1300's and portions of this restoration remain today, including the Abbot's Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable's Tower. click here for more Castle & Percy family history.

On our visit the crowds were minimal, this allowed the Indy kids to explore all the nooks and crannies. The Dragons Quest can be rather scary for the youngsters if skulls give them the jitters, but no such concerns with the Indy adventurers. The jesters court area is great for kids picnic's, they can dress up in the various period costumes supplied on site, with lots of different activities to occupy their inquisitive minds.
On exit we visited the archers tent, 11 years old and upwards ( health & safety gone OTT once again ) can pay a token gesture £2 and test their skill. On this occassion the Indy kids cast their "Arrows" spell and hey presto. Magic happens, many thanks to the gentleman concerned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bird Watch @ Inchgarth

TheTamshee says: the Indy kids have been extremely creative regarding the stage two design of the bird watch station, first attempt resulted in attracting the crows and jackdaws which decimated the various nuts and seeds on offer. This was not the intention, we endeavour to attract the Robins, Coal and Blue tits. So DIY man set about constructing an outer mesh frame with access points for the smaller birds to pass freely while thwarting the efforts of the dreaded crows.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bamburgh Castle

To be continued

Waterloo Monument Abseil

TheTamshee says: the big Abseil challenge day finally arrived, so we set off for Harestanes visitor centre to get the show on the road. Fortunately for us, Margaret and Dick Sweetnam tagged along to give support and look after the Indy kids while the irresponsible parents dangled on some harness and 12mm rope arrangement, put together by a complete stranger. The quest was straight forward, enter tower, without disturbing the nesting sparrow hawks, climb 224 step spiral staircase to climb over balcony some 150 feet above Terra Firma. Descend at one's own pace and enjoy.
The combined sponsorship effort from the Bell participants was £350 in aid of The Antony Nolan Trust. Thanks to MagZ for the picnic and Big Dick for classic video footage with commentary that raised a few smiles on this damp afternoon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Selkirk Common Riding

TheTamshee says: yet again the sun gods blessed the bonny border toon 0 Selkirk on the second friday after the first monday. Burgh Standard Bearer James Cheyne received the Flag un-sullied ad un-tarnished from provest Jim Henderson.
The cavalcade assembled with burgh bands leading the way doon the green towards the river crossing. Safe oot & Safe in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clash of the Eagles

2008's 'Behaviour: Birds' category winner, by Antoni Kasprzak from Poland
Birds are among the most popular subjects for photographers entering the competition. But the challenge is to take a picture with aesthetic appeal that also shows active or interesting behaviour. The winter in Poland had been particularly cold and snowy, making it difficult for the eagles to find prey. So when Antoni found a dead moose hit by a train, he knew it would be the ideal bait. Setting up his hide by the bait, he waited. Five hours later, an adult and an immature white-tailed eagle arrived together, and a struggle broke out. A snowstorm provided the perfect backdrop for the scene. Not surprisingly, the older, more experienced bird won, forcing the immature eagle to wait its turn for more than an hour, along with the queue of magpies and other scavengers.
TheTamshee says: click title link for more fascinating photography, including a cat-eyed tree-snake, coiled around a branch, locked in an embrace with a Morelet’s treefrog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Indy "Sprinters"

TheTamshee says: the Indy kids did us proud at the weekend, when they took part in the sports picnic at the pringle park Selkirk. First up was, Indy boy (5) who showed the opposition a clean pair of heals in the 40 yard dash, to stand on the top step of the podium.
Winners ribbon pinned on chest by 2009 Royal Burgh Standard Bearer James Cheyne.
Next up was the Pol-Meister (7) less than confident prior to race, who demonstrated flawless technique to stormed to victory in 60 yard sprint. It seems that the coaching lessons on the rugby field have paid dividends. The sun shone, a great day had by all.

Dr Who's "SideKick"

TheTamshee: approves! new kid on the block Karen Gillan has been chosen to star alongside Matt Smith as the doctors glamourous companion when the new series kicks off in the spring of 2010. Karen has appeared previously in Doctor Who, playing the Soothsayer in the Tenth Doctor adventure, The Fires of Pompeii. In that episode the Doctor admits, 'I sometimes need someone' and the scots lass who grew up in Inverness, and developed a love for acting very early on, attending several youth theatre groups at her school, Charleston Academy. A year later she secured a place at the prestigious Italia Conti academy in London. During that year she landed a role in Rebus and programmes including Channel 4's Stacked and The Kevin Bishop Show. Karen also stars in the forthcoming film Outcast starring James Nesbitt. Life in the TARDIS, never fails to entertain, I am sure the red head will bring a new dimention to this long established show enjoyed by young and old.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nature's Way "Dragonflies"

Dragonflies are one of nature’s miracles – beautiful, elegant and exceptionally skilled in flight, yet they emerge from aquatic larvae which are so ugly and scary-looking that they were once likened to dragons. During summer they can be found all over Britain, particularly around fresh water. Two types of insect are classified as ‘dragonflies’ – damselflies and true dragonflies. True dragonflies hold their wings perpendicular to their bodies, whereas damselflies hold their wings swept back alongside their abdomen.
Damselflies are generally more dainty – if the body of the insect is thinner than a matchstick, then it’s a damselfly. Damselflies belong to a sub-order known as zygoptera, a Greek word meaning ‘paired wings’, reflecting the fact that their wings are folded parallel to their bodies. The true dragonflies belong to the sub-order anisoptera, Greek for ‘different wings’. A true dragonfly’s wings are outstretched – in this position you can see that the fore wings are different from the hind ones. All dragonflies are carnivores at every stage of their lives, although their techniques for catching prey vary. Damselflies will attack small insects on vegetation – easy prey such as aphids are substantial enough to provide a satisfying meal. Dragonflies, on the other hand, look for something more substantial and will capture insects, including damselflies, in mid air. Different types of dragonflies have different strategies. One group, known as ‘the chasers’, will rest on a perch and wait for passing insects – if one comes close, it will chase it! Another group, known as ‘hawkers’, remain airborne and regularly patrol the edge of their territories, picking off insects that enter their ‘airspace’. Most species have claspers with which a pair join together when mating. In order for the female to receive the male’s sperm, a pair of dragonflies must form a ‘wheel’ in which the male takes hold of the back of the female’s neck and the female lifts her tail to meet the underside of the male. In some species the male keeps hold of the female while she dips her fertilised eggs beneath the surface of the water and attaches them to vegetation, often completely submerging her. You may be surprised to learn that dragonflies aren’t only found near water – they are only tied to waterways in their adult form while laying eggs. Newly emerged dragonflies tend to leave water to find shelter in thicker vegetation and larger species, such as ‘hawkers’, can spend much of their hunting time in woodland or heath. There are about 5300 different species of dragonfly around the world, and of these only about 38 regularly breed in Britain. We also get some migrant species, particularly in southern Britain. Some of these, including the red-veined darter, lesser emperor and migrant hawker, were once only found as migrants but now breed in the south of England. Others, such as the scarlet darter and yellow-winged darter, have found their way to Britain only very occasionally from Europe. Amazingly, a green darter made its way to England from America, assisted by Hurricane Earl, in September 1998. Dragonfly watching has grown in popularity in recent years. There’s been a growing tendency for birdwatchers to become interested in this area of our natural history, as during the summer there tends to be less happening in the bird world. Possibly because of this there is also a growing appetite for ‘rarity-seeking’, so we now have a national rarities committee, organised by the British Dragonfly Society, to assess the validity of rare dragonfly records. Just as in the birdwatching world, there are some observers whose only desire is to find rarities and others who would prefer to contribute to our knowledge of the subject by surveying dragonfly sites. When undertaking surveys, records of all stages of a dragonfly s life cycle can be recorded, but the most significant stages are the underwater larvae and the exuviae (the skins left by emerging insects) since these prove breeding at a location has taken place. If you’d like to learn more about these insects or become involved in recording them, then check out the British Dragonfly Society website ( TheTamshee says: if you are interested in these fine insects they get yourself on the Coire Loch - Dog Falls trail in Glen Affric, there is a a stunningly beautiful walk through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest. A pretty waterfall in a rocky gorge, rare wildlife, a lovely loch and a superb view up the glen. The area is also a breeding site for 14 different species of rare dragonflies, so get your hiking boots on and enjoy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Platinum Crowns

A new crown coin produced by the Royal Mint to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne. Article by Richard Alleyne. Photo: PA
The Royal Mint has issued 100 of the Crowns in platinum at £4,400 each to mark a reign which instigated the Golden Age in English History.
It is the first time in more than 450 years that the monarch's head has graced a coin and Royal Mint hope they will become treasured mementoes of his controversial reign. "Love him or hate him, Henry VIII is undoubtedly one of history's most influential monarchs.
"His reign changed the face of England forever and we felt it was essential that this remarkable period of history was commemorated with a lasting and treasured memento."
A further 1,509 (the year he came to power) coins in gold are also available for £1,195 each with 10,000 more in silver, priced at £44.95, and 100,000 in nickel for £9.99.
The Royal Mint's coin shows the great king standing before a frieze of roses in the 'antique' style much favoured in the carvings and tapestries of the period.
The edge of the coin features a Latin inscription "ROSA SINE SPINA", which was also used on Henry VIII's own coinage and translates as 'Rose without a Thorn'. TheTamshee says: click here
for informative web site, helping kids develope there Tudor knowledge.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Robinson Crusoe

Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk is believed to be the inspiration behind the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Selkirk was rescued in 1709 after being marooned on Mas a Tierra ( now Robinson Crusoe Island ) off the Chilean coast for four years and four months. All he had brought with him was a musket,

Waverly Rail Bridge

TheTamshee says: a view over the Forth from the sky above. I'am coming home

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


TheTamshee says: it's not long now, before the wife and myself launch ourselves from the top of The Waterloo moument in aid of the Antony Nolan Trust supporting bone marrow research. Come along on 14th June and see the action for yourself

Monday, June 1, 2009

DIY "Project Green House"

TheTamshee's: latest DIY project has moved along at a slow pace. Stage One involved the assistance of the good guys at Wellgate Garden Services who had the daunting task of digging out the foundation and installation of the post uprights in preparation for Stage Two.
The fitment of decking boards and construction of the handrail sections will be completed by myself.
Stage Three: To be continued