Friday, 5 June 2009

Needing a breath of fresh air!

On Wednesday my employer (RHS) informed all the staff that it has to cut costs and this could result in the loss of 100 permanent jobs throughout the Society. The proposed restructuring and advice of whose job is ‘at risk’ within The Plant Centre will not be communicated for another two weeks, at which time I will be travelling to Jersey (Channel Islands) for a family holiday!

In order to clear the brain of all negative thoughts I took a stroll before work on Thursday morning at Ripley. Leaving the car there was a Pied Wagtail perched on a rooftop; both Carrion Crows, Starlings and Jackdaws were calling as they flew overhead; Wren, Robin and Chaffinch singing from within the hedgerows. I headed towards Walsham Lock on the River Wey Navigation and the path took me past fields of yellow. Tranquil views around Walsham (lock) Gates. This is the last remaining 'turf sided' lock (built in 1653) on the Wey Navigation.
At the sluice walkway I spied a Grey Wagtail perched on a rope and captured his double in the water.
I heard the ‘kik’ ‘kik’ call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker as it emerged from a nearby tree and then disappeared downstream. The trees around the lock house were alive with young Blue and Great Tits actively feeding and talking to one another. A Common Whitethroat was very vocal on the other side of the water with its scratchy song but eluded my camera.
Further along the towpath was a male Blackcap heartily singing but flew further away as I approached his perch. A barge passed by and I acknowledged the occupants with a wave. Next up was mother Mallard with seven ducklings in tow. (Click to enlarge)On reaching my position she back paddled to maintain station and kept an eye on her charges and the “Early Birder” who was obviously no threat!
All along the towpath were lots of Banded Demoiselles, a single Speckled Wood butterfly
and this slightly tatty Painted Lady.
Back at Walsham Gates I had another view of a Grey Wagtail feeding and a distant view of a Mute Swan. A quiet and uninterrupted return walk to the car via the grassland area popular with dog walkers covered with masses yellow Spearwort.

My brain suitably refreshed again by the natural world I made my way into work for another 'fun' day!


  1. Such a wonderful series of photos! Your posts are so descriptive and just take me along on your walks (vicariously)! Thank you.

  2. A little stressful? Horrible for you and the others waiting. I hope all goes well for you and that your job stays secure. Will you be able to enjoy your vacation?

  3. Great photos!! Love the ducks!! Those babies are so cute! looks like you had a great day!

  4. What a lovely post.. and you captured such a variety of nature. You really have a great eye for spotting a good composition..
    Sorry to hear about your company down-sizing..I do hope it doesn't directly affect you!
    I enjoyed your walk..and wish you more quiet and serene walks..they really do help us find our smile!

  5. Frank, I can’t possibly begin to imagine how you’re feeling after getting news like that. We’ve recently gone through a couple of redundancy situations where I work, though thankfully it didn’t directly affect the department I work in, it did touch me as a shop steward, trying to help those that it did. Let’s hope that you are not amongst the unfortunate 100.

    The River Wey looks so tranquil in your pictures, and after our recent meeting at Wisley, I saw first hand the beauty of the area.

    All the best to you Frank.

  6. Hi Frank looks like a nice place to visit, great write up and supported with great Images.
    Your Damselfly is fantastic, hope to catch with you again before your Family Hols.

  7. Thanks Lynne for your supportive thoughts. Indications are that the cuts will be far ranging but we will endeavour to enjoy the holiday, come what may.

  8. Hi Frank,
    its an ill wind....... Ive been in your position, and my number came up. It was the best thing that happened to me (although I didn't think so at the time!) New doors opened, and i'm now happier than ever!

  9. It looks like a great way to help to take the stress out of the day. Very nice photos of the lock gates and the peaceful looking water. I wish you the best of luck for 2 weeks time!

  10. I do hope you get some good news on your return from the Channel Islands Frank.

  11. Hope everything works out ok - its an awful wait and have gone through the same recently - keep your chin up.


  12. I am sorry Frank, what a worrying time. Will the fact that you also do the conducted tours not save you? I would have thought they would want to hang on to someone with your knowledge.

    Aside from that, I enjoyed all your photos as usual, particularly the Mallard, BD and Wagtail.

  13. Sorry to hear about the job news Frank. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. I enjoyed your "breath of fresh air" walk - isn't it fantastic how good the presence of nature can make you feel, no matter what is going on. Cheers!

  14. Hi everyone. Thanks for all your support during this 'waiting period". As you can appreciate I may have other priorities over the coming weeks but I will endeavour to post whenever possible.
    Cheers Frank.

  15. Excellent post as usual Frank (just catching up after my hols). You do find some great places.

    Sorry to hear your news. I've been on both sides of that table and it's not at all pleasant. Finger's crossed it's not your post that's at risk; I know that waiting is not nice!


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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