The original plan for July’s holiday was to sail Blue Opal to the south of Ireland in a series of day-sails, do some exploration and relaxation, and then either leave her in a marina until I could find a crew to bring her back, or do a longish sail back up on the flood tide. Due to the cutless bearing issues, and the time it was taking for the yard to work on her, that plan got scuppered. In what might be described as a fit of desperation, I booked K and I into a B&B whole-cottage rental in Northumberland, and also arranged with my parents for a flying visit to go to some ISDS national trials (which K has never been to before).

K made a new friend at the trials, and a number of handlers retired due to recalcitrant sheep. A pretty cool and windy day, with a brief splash of rain. Found myself a new jacket, probably paid over the odds for it, given the vendor dropped the price £20 when I went “hmm, maybe”.

On Sunday, we all went to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. I had a shiny new (second hand) Nikon 105mm macro lens to try out, and the plants and insects made for a good set of subjects. I had thought to bring a SB800 and diffuser with me, though I forgot the batteries. Made it easier to control the light when trying to shoot at f/32 to get enough depth of field (2.5cm!) to fit a whole bee into the “in focus” part of the frame.

The cottage we stayed at was just south of Sycamore Gap, with a view out over the Vindolana excavations, and a wealth of Roman history scattered nearby. A few sheep were hanging around the cottage – according to the owner he needs to keep a sufficient number of them to maintain some kind of land rights. We only had to evict the cat from the cottage twice, while the owner had to evict a sheep once – they loved looking at themselves (I think) in the glass doors, but were pretty skittish otherwise.

I have a minor fascination with water (I own a boat, so perhaps it’s not so minor), which resulted in a number of walks along rivers, and photography of said rivers.

We went for a random drive in the country one afternoon, and managed to find our way to Falconry Days about an hour before they closed. We opted for the basic tour option, where they offer you a cup of tea/coffee, and introduce you to a few of the birds, while explaining why some of them are tethered and others are not (it’s about flying weight and molting weight basically).

After leaving Falconry Days, we came across a herd of cows in a field who got over their shyness and came to investigate the strange shapes standing on the other side of the fence.

A lilac bush proved to be quite an attraction for the local butterflies, so a number of hours were spent with macro lenses and muttering under our breath about how butterflies don’t keep still for long enough.

Holiday – July 2018
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