Saturday, 26 September 2009


The A4174, Bristol Ring Road. This evening, it [the sky, contrasted by the traffic and lamp-posts] looked amazing. It's a shame I don't have Photoshop on my laptop to touch it up to make it look more like what I actually saw - you know how it is with cameras vs. naked eye!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Last bit of Wales

I've just finished up in Swansea for now, and it's back out to Bristol for me now. Soon the assignments and dissertation will roll in. These pictures are from my last day there.

This pair of butterflies were flying around in the garden, they are red admirals (vanessa atalanta). Here is one pictured eating the nectar.

I decided to take the slow route back and went along the A48 (the Welsh equivalent of the A4) which is the old road before they built the M4. There's a number of these dotted around, but they are most notable between Port Talbot and Cowbridge, where a number can be seen. I've brushed aside the bushes for a better picture. It's amazing that these things have been around for so long and in my opinion, still in good nick. This one can be found roughly half way between Bridgend (3 miles) and Cowbridge (4 miles)... London is 174 miles away!

Of the A48 which I know well enough (Swansea in the west and Tutshill on the English side in the east), my favourite section easily has to be the part between Port Talbot to Cardiff. Between these two towns, the road is at it's most fascinating part. (This is much like the A4, I enjoy almost all of it, but especially the part between Reading and Bath.) What makes this section (and the A4 as well) interesting, is the fact it is countryside and you pass (and sometimes by-pass) many picturesque towns and villages along the way, but also little small things in the countryside such as the above milestones. The last two pictures are of thatched houses in Bonvilston and St. Nicholas in the Vale of Glamorgan, just west of Cardiff.

I hope to cover the "Long way to London" via the A4 sometime soon, as it is a thoroughly enjoyable ride on it. Although the A48 can't compare to it, I know there are some really nice roads, towns and villages in Wales worth visiting (The A466 from Chepstow up to Monmouth for example)

Monday, 7 September 2009

My new pets!

It's now been a few weeks since I took in my feral xenopus from Lincolnshire (see previous blog post). I'm really happy with them, and it is really nice to have some pets of my own, I've wanted something to look after for some time now, and these guys are pretty low maintenance.

As mentioned in my previous post, xenopus can be kept as pets. Having looked after Sherry's (and now Sabah's and Albert's), sorting out the setup for these guys was a doddle. I got the tank and some other bits courtesy of Saki, the gravel from Sherry, the de-chlorinating liquid from Wilkinsons and Sherry has the same log which is from Pets at Home.

This is a picture when I first got them, and I'd just put some stuff in the tank - unfortunately theres still not that much in there right now, but it looks better when I first put them in there, and they were really scared and were darting about all over the place. You can see two of the xenopus floating about just there, and another one sticking it's head through the hole in the log (kinda cute!).

This is a picture of everyone. The two big ones are easiest to identify - the pale one is Morris - I got her from Albert since we'd arranged to take home one extra male to swap with one of Albert's females (they wanted females for the labs/universities). When they are small, you can't tell what sex they are, so all three females that Albert kept were mistakenly given male names. Patchy is the big guy on the right. He is so named because of his patchy patterns on his skin. The small ones are called Buttercup and Sauerkraut, but I can't remember who is who.

This is them in their log:

Morris has learnt the art of squeezing herself between the log and the tank walls... something Sherry's and Sabah's do a lot of. I'll get round to putting some big stones in there at some point.

I went into the garage and found a new bit of drainpipe, cleaned it out and sanded down the ends to make it safe - you can see Patchy poking out of one end. There's also a bit more pondweed in there in this picture, which they like. Providing shade for them is good... they like it.

These guys have been trouble free and it's nice to waste time watching them. They've become much more tamer since I took them in, although they're still scared sometimes, Patchy no longer has a bruised nose that he first had when I brought him home in a large tupperware container.

Come round and see my frogs if you have time guys, they are awesome.