Issue 34

October 2009

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Naturalists

In July we had a day out in Ribbledale to visit the limestone pavements of Sulber Nick and Moughton Scar. The weather was kind to us being sunny with a slight breeze that was ideal for walking. From the valley we walked up through various geological strata starting in the Silurian and working through to the Carboniferous limestone areas. The flora of the clints and grykes was studied and revealed a hidden woodland flora, a relic of the time when the area was wooded. Brittle Bladder Fern was found with herb paris, milkwort, mossy saxifrage, juniper and cowberry plus a whole range of the more common plants. Wheatears, pipits, oyster catchers and curlews were some of the birds seen or heard. After stretching our legs over the scars we returned to Horton for a welcome cup of tea and refreshment.

August saw us visiting Farnham and Staveley Nature Reserves. The Blue Fleabane was out at Farnham with Yellow-wort, Centaurea and many of the later flowering plants. We also looked at the affect of invasive alien species that are threatening our wet habitats, New Zealand Pigmyweed being the culprit at Farnham.  Common Terns, Gulls (mainly black headed) and Canada Geese, Grebes (small and greater crested) Coots and Moorhen were some of the birds seen on the water. The day was divided by lunch at the Royal Oak in Staveley.

In September we visited Bastow and Grasswood at Grassington. From the village we walked across the fields to the limestone edge near the old medieval village. Here we came across an archaeological excavation of a cave system in the scar and had a brief talk on the work being done by  Bradford University in conjunction with the Bradford Caving Society. There was a range of limestone flowering plants as well as mosses and lichens. In Bastow wood we entered an area of woodland on limestone pavement which was very different from the treeless pavements seen in July in Ribblesdale. Birdlife was scarce probably due to a large group making more noise than tolerable by the birds.

In Grasswood we saw more archaeology at St Gregory Fort and the Iron Age Fort and the later workings of medieval woodland management to produce dry timber for charcoal making. Woodland trees and associated flora were identified and their various uses to man were discussed as today we forget that trees were a source of raw material for constructions as well as fuel especially in the local industry of lead smelting.

 

Ian Wallace

Painting

The Painting group is one Harrogate U3A group which meets weekly throughout the year and so our activities have continued throughout the summer, probably because Peter doesn’t like to think of us idling our time away.

Parts of June and July were devoted to a short course to sharpen up, or perhaps reawaken, our drawing skills. It is surprising how challenging an old pair of shoes can be when you try to commit them to paper!

This was followed by a subject which everyone enjoyed entitled “Daisies – A Riot of Colour”.  This gave us a chance to use all those colours which do not often see the light of day, and you might have thought that daisies were white!

We enjoyed two outside visits during the summer months – to Whitby in June and to Fountains Abbey in August and Peter chose Fountains as the theme for our presentation on AGM Day. Our views of the beautiful ruins ranged from the realistic, through the imaginative and towards the abstract.

A party of our members, headed by Peter will be taking a trip to Barcelona in October and hoping to bring back some of the sunshine to brighten our winter.

And so we gear up for the start of a new year. We are now organised into 2 sub-groups on Tuesday mornings and afternoons and it may be possible to take in a few new members from our waiting list. If you want more information ring Peter Kearney on 864358.

 

Bill Mallinson

 

Taxi Driver

A passenger in a taxi tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him something. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over a kerb. and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few moments everything was quiet in the cab, then the driver said: " Look mate, don't ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me "

 

The passenger, who was also frightened, apologised and said he didn't realise that a tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.

 

The driver replied:  " I'm very sorry, it's really not your fault at all. This is my first day driving a cab.  I've been driving a hearse for the last 25 years "

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