Monday, 23 November 2009

Up, up and away

One of the many wonderful things about this place is the sky. When it is stormy the drama of the leaden sky and lightening against the silhouette of Mont St Cyr is pure spectacle. When it is clear, you can see forever. We have no street lights and no pollution and if the moon is less than half full the stars, planets and Milky Way come into their own. And last week, thanks to Roy one of our house guests, we were introduced to another nocturnal wonder – the international space station. Roy tracks this manned satelite (the size of a football pitch) that is clearly visible to the naked eye and thought that we may all enjoy sharing this wonder with him. What you have to do is follow this link enter the city nearest to where you are and then refer to a list telling you the time the station is due to appear and where in the sky to look. Simple. Last Thursday saw a crowd of us (word soon spreads here and space station spotting is something of an event) standing in the orchard, all eyes trained on 33 degrees to the north, north west. And lo, we saw a brilliant light moving steadily across the sky (no flashings) as we all stood slack jawed in awe. So, what else could we spot if we turned our attention skywards? Roy to the rescue once again but this time nearer to Earth. As I mentioned in an earlier blog Roy is a keen ornothologist and he has kindly provided a list of birds seen within a five mile radius of Les Cerisiers. So, in no particular order, I'd like to share Roys list with you (please bear in mind this is not a great time of year for birds so I think we've done pretty well with this lot): House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Robin; Jay; Crow; Jackdaw; Magpie; Kestrel; Buzzard; Coot; Mallard; Great Crested Grebe; Feral Pigeon; Little Egret; Blue Tit; Starling; Long Tailed Tit; Cormorant; Mute Swan; Heron; Black-headed Gull; Black bird; Missel thrush; Sparrowhawk; Black Redstart; Moorhen; Great White Egret; Goldfinch; Black Woodpecker; Marsh/Willow Tit; Wren; Great Tit. Unfortunately I don't have photos of either the ISS or any of the birds mentioned so I scrambled around for a bit thinking what photo would be appropriate to accompany todays offering. And then it dawned on me that we did have one more sky bound activity that I failed to mention thus far - archery. Mark is a keen archer and we offer archery lessons to our guests. So, please enjoy the picture of a bunch of happy holiday makers receiving archery instruction from mark in the November sunshine (Roy third from left in cap!-thanks).

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