A Dose of Crabs

Hello Crabbies

Hello Crabbies

Is that the correct name for more than one or am I trying out for a headline writing job at News International?

C'mon I can take the lot of you

C’mon I can take the lot of you

We saw these wee critters just over the sea wall at Playa Blanca in Lanzarote.

Sex rears it's ugly head

Sex rears its ugly head

They want to be careful, they are but yards away from the very tasty seafood restaurant Bodegon Las Tapas

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Return to Terra(pin) Island

All five of Epping Forest’s Terra(pin) Island residents have survived into another year

Terrapins Epping Forest

Terrapins Epping Forest

Five is the most I have seen in one go, there may of course be more lurking in the depths, One lady I have spoken says she has counted eight.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Woodpecker and Son

One of our most welcome garden visitors is a green woodpecker who enjoys probing the lawn for ants. The other weekend he or she turned up with a recently fledged youngster.

Woodpecker and son

Woodpecker and Son

The juvenile is on the left. As you can see unlike the adult it has a speckled breast, a bit like a thrush. I did manage to get a slightly better shot of the youngster a bit later. Unfortunately they are quite easy to spook so the pictures were taken at the extreme range of the camera’s zoom and through a window.

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane Review

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from amazon.com

Image sourced from amazon.com

A middle aged man returns to the Sussex country village where he grew up for a funeral. On his way to the wake he stops of at the house of his childhood friend Lettie Hempstock. Lettie is no longer there, but staring at the duck pond that Lettie swore was an ocean, he recalls what happened to them when he was seven years old.

With his family falling on hard times, our unnamed hero has to give up his bedroom to a lodger, an opal miner from South Africa. He first gets to meet Lettie and her family when the lodger gasses himself in the family car and a train of supernatural events is set rolling. You see Lettie’s family are not exactly what they seem. The Hempstock house may be as old as the Domesday Book, but the three women are far older and possess…

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Halloween Pumpkins

Last year I attempted to grow some pumpkins for carving at Halloween. All went well until next door’s bastard cat decided to sleep in the trough and wrecked the plants. Undaunted I thought I’d have another go and on Monday I discovered one of the plants had flowered.

Pumpkin flower

Pumpkin flower

How pretty I thought, then yesterday I found this

baby pumpkin

baby pumpkin

So maybe Cinderella will go to the ball this year.

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Dinner at the OXO Tower, Sneaking up the Shard and Drinks on the Upper Deck

The OXO Tower

The OXO Tower

It used to be the fancy face of the Liebig Extract of Meat Company’s cold store, but like many of the buildings on London’s South Bank the Oxo Tower, named after the manufacturer’s stock cubes, had a bit of makeover and is now home to a bunch of trendy shops and galleries. The Art Deco tower dates to 1929 and was designed by Albert Moore. On the 8th floor of the building there is a rather swish and expensive restaurant, the Oxo Tower Brasserie. Normally its a bit out of our price range, but we got one of those Booktable deals with three courses and a cocktail, that they use to fill the joint in the early evening and at £30 each we thought let’s treat ourselves.

The thames from the Oxo Tower

The Thames from the Oxo Tower

Sadly we could not get an outside table to enjoy the great outdoors, but you can still enjoy the full panorama of London’s riverside through the fully glazed wall. Our table was situated next to the open plan kitchen so we got tantalising glimpses of every tempting  morsel that was passed over to the waiting staff. Our seasonal cocktail, the Sherry Collins arrived as we perused the ‘deal menu’. A blend of lemon vodka, elderflower syrup with a dash of fino sherry and garnished with a sprig of herbs it was very refreshing. I started with the Stilton salad which was a jolly nice confection of cheese, chervil and sultanas, while Mab had the battered Thai chicken. I tried a bit of her ‘posh chicken nugget’, the batter was really crisp and crunchy. For our main we had the comfit of duck, which was served with green lentils and a really nice onion jam. It was very good although it could have been a touch crisper. To finish we both plumped for the Eton Mess with strawberry, meringue and real fruit jam in cream lovely. To drink we had a bottle of the painfully overpriced house white a real rip at £25, but then you are paying for the view.

The Shard

The Shard

Speaking of paying for the view we decided to try the Shangri La Hotel’s cocktail bar in the Shard on the way home. Having sized up the cost of going to the observation deck at  the top for £25 and thought better of it, the Shangri La initially looked better value until we were told that there was a £35 minimum spend. To be honest for £35 I ‘d expect to get totally sloshed,  so we declined, however I did get a picture from the 32nd floor lobby area, so mission accomplished I say, take that forces of international capitalism.

view from the 32nd floor of the Shard

View from the 32nd floor of the Shard

Still fancying a drink on our way back to Tower Gateway Station we popped into the Upper Deck at HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

Just so that you are nice and confused the Upper Deck isn’t on the old battleship itself, but on a platform above the ticket office on the riverbank.

Tower Bridghe from the Upper Deck

Tower Bridge from the Upper Deck

Drinks are a bit pricey, but not unreasonable given that it’s a rather cool place to watch the sunset over London.

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Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse