We donned waterproofs and all trooped off to Cow Common near Wherwell on Monday so I could look for water voles (which I have yet to see, and am still waiting....). I found signs of them, which was pleasing, because unless you know what you're looking for they are very hard to spot....
|Latrines, used by the females to mark the extent of their territories|
|A Larder, or Food Store. Water Voles cut small lengths of grass and reeds at 45 degree angles and leave them in a pile for later|
I'm still on the look out for actual voles, but it was nice to know they are there. Whilst on the meadow we also saw....
|Early Marsh Orchid|
|A Stately Heron|
|A meadow full of Yellow Iris|
Yesterday, we took the kids to the Isle Of Wight for the day. It's not far from here- half an hour to Southampton and then an hour on the ferry (it would be less, but it takes ages to get up Southampton Water), but it somehow feels like you've crossed over into another world. Something to do with crossing water I suspect. The island was born when the last Ice Age ended and the Solent Valley which connects it to England flooded. A high ridge of chalk running through it lends it some beautiful scenery and there are lots of lovely beaches rich with fossils, including dinosaur footprints on one.
We followed this ENORMOUS container ship up Southampton Water. It was loaded high with goods being taken around the world...
J was desperate to go to the Model Village at Godshill.....
|Tiny weeny cakes in the cake shop|
|Streaker on the pitch :-0|
|Providing a Sense Of Scale...|
|Thatched cottages clustered around the Old Church|
He is a unique feature of the mosaics and is thought to lampoon the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire Gallus (from 251-253CE), whose name means "cockerel" in Latin. There is a belief that the mosaic was designed by a man named Palladius, who was magister of Antioch before being banished to Britain. Gallus was his persecutor.
The island was conquered by Rome in 44 AD and the first villa was already on the site by the middle of the first century. There are twelve rooms in the ground floor and a really beautiful mosaic which I'll show you in a second. The villa suffered a terrible fire during the third century, after which it continued in use for farming purposes for another couple of hundred years. It finally collapsed in the fifth century and remained hidden for a further thirteen hundred years until a local farmer rediscovered it whilst making sheep pens in 1879.
|Mosaic in the main room|
|Vectis Pottery, made on the Isle Of Wight 1-3rd century|
|Hairpins made of pig's trotters|
|Roman Hand Print in a tile|
After that we all went outside and had a handstand and roly-poly competition near the amphitheatre, which is a Perfectly Normal thing to do if you have been born into our family... I expect the Romans would have approved anyway.
And then it was time to come home. We got back and I found a New Moth waiting for me on the window. He is a Common Swift, and he was Rather Lively, so I had to put him in the fridge to calm him down for a few minutes before I could take a picture (this doesn't hurt them at all, it just takes the edge off the whizzy ones)...
This inspired me to put the Moth Box out, which I duly did, only the temp dropped in the night and the rain came in, so there weren't hoards of moths in the box this morning and only a couple of new species. It is due to improve towards the weekend, so we'll try again later in the week...
|Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet|
|Mrs Sparrow with one of her chicks|
Hope you're all having a Good Week? Half term here, so it's all systems go at the moment....