Well, we've had another odd week (is there any other kind these days?) It started well enough, with the arrival of a parcel from Vix containing "Slammerkin"- a recommended read, accompanied by a postcard featuring one of my favourite photos by Steve McCurry.
On the same day, Gareth discovered that the pond level had dropped dramatically. He decided to monitor the situation for a couple of days, but upon further investigation, it was clear all was not well.
Meanwhile, I was having my own problems, as my editing software was at best, exceptionally slow and at worst, unresponsive. I was forced to seek help via an online chat. When this failed to fully resolve matters, I agreed to allow the technical assistant to share my screen. I still find this concept quite bizarre. The issue was identified within the hour, but somehow, 3 hours later, Sandar, my virtual companion, was still in my screen, randomly asking me questions about the format I shoot in and my storage system, his cursor hovering over certain experimental photos of mine which perhaps would have benefitted from an explanation....(what's with the ear?)...
...and occasionally issuing me with instructions.
I confess I reached a point where I thought that we would be trapped together in a virtual world forevermore. He was oblivious when I did break off to make some tea and seemed happy beavering away in cyberspace. But eventually my technical trauma came to an end. But before I could fully relax, Gareth decided to tap on the patio doors and, under torch light (it was now dark), showed me a rather large toad, which seemed to be resting contentedly on his hand. On closer inspection, there was something very wrong about the toad's prone position and milky gaze. Plus it wasn't just large, it was bloated and the stuff of nightmares. No surprise that I needed an Advocaat to calm my nerves (well, it's nearly Christmas).
The pond, it transpired, had been punctured by an unknown party. The chief suspects are:-
1. Next door's dog.
Evidence: Our neighbours had recently been working on their fencing and there was a stray tennis ball next to the pond.
Evidence: None needed. Mr H is always in the suspect line up in these circumstances.
Evidence: We have periodically been plagued by moles. We always elect to ignore them and they usually move on, but there are currently three mole hills triangulating one corner of the pond. Could it be the result of over zealous digging?
The frogs and remaining toads were temporarily relocated while Gareth put down a new pond liner and re-filled the pond. The plants and pondlife are now back in position. Luckily we're not particularly overlooked in our garden. If we were, I'm not sure what the neighbours would have made of a man, seemingly covered in mud, standing in and swearing at a hole in the ground at 1 am.
In other news, I was finally able to watch The Colour Room, a film directed by Claire McCarthy, whose credits include the mesmerising TV adaptation of The Luminaries.
The Colour Room, starring Phoebe Dynevor, Matthew Goode and David Morrissey, charts the meteoric rise of ceramicist Clarice Cliff from factory floor girl to owner/artist.
I was fortunate enough to do a stint as a filming assistant on this earlier in the year when the Black Country Living Museum was used as a location. The film didn't disappoint.
If anyone has any spare Bizarre range items lying around (now commanding prices upwards of £200 on Ebay), I'd be more than happy to take them off your hands.
The vibrant colours beloved by Cliff are evident all around us right now. I'm estimating that we have perhaps one more week of falling leaves and Autumn colours before winter's shades of grey colour palette takes over.
The oak tree leaves - always the last to fall - are rapidly turning now. They won't be long.
The ferns and bracken are enjoying a final flourish.
The trees golden tips are scorched orange and red now and the slightest whisper of wind will take them.
Seed heads are adopting their final poses.
But there are still pops of colour evident in the yellow lit gorse bushes.
All aboard the Autumn Express! Here's a timely shot of a yellow diesel engine on the Severn Valley Railway passing through the autumn landscape captured on our walk yesterday.
This distant shot of a sailing yacht on Trimpley Reservoir taken through the trees from a nearby hillside was barely edited - just look at the colours in that landscape!
The journey home made for some challenging photography conditions. These photos taken with my Nikon from the passenger seat of a moving car through a dirty windscreen, are my attempts to capture the fiery glow from last night's sunset, lighting up the trees.
This year's colour display has been late to arrive and all too fleeting, but so inspiring.