I don’t know about bees

I did tell you that there might be more today.

I was wandering around the garden with my daughter last night after a particularly energetic dodgeball practice session with both kids. Her shouts of excitement at seeing a “hover bee” alerted me to grab the camera and try to grab a few shots.

This task was made slightly more difficult by the fact that the camera was set up for vlogging and had a microphone and tripod attached, the Boy Wonder attempting to (re?)start his Youtube career.

This isn’t my SD card. Its volume is too small.

Still, I got something reasonable, considering how small and mobile the subject was:

…and then then came the dreadful moment when I was asked what sort of bee it was.

I don’t know about bees.

Thankfully, distraction – in the form of the beagle trying to dig up the herb garden – allowed me to temporarily evade the question, but the query will return and unless I do something about it, I’ll be stumped again.

Fortunately, the internet does know about bees.

And having chatted to the internet, it seems that this is a male carpenter bee (Xylocopa caffra). Apparently, “worldwide, there are about 500 species of carpenter bees representing 31 subgenera”. But I’m not sure how this “diverse, widely distributed group of solitary bees” has survived, given that this one flew around wasting copious amounts of energy, but notably, comprehensively failed to actually land on the flower in shot and eat anything.

Chairs

I’m feeling a little better again today, and with our neighbours’ building work now entering its fifth month, and promising to break new records for noise today, I’m going to get out and about and get some jobs done.

What does this mean for you? A quota photo of some chairs in a church.

The church in question was the cathedral in Auxerre and the chairs… well… they were those ones above.

I liked the light here and the orderly geometry of the chairs. And this was only a tiny percentage of the huge number of chairs in there. Empty this day, but I’ve heard that they get big crowds on Sundays.

Cleaning out my (digital) closet

What with one thing and another (but mainly one thing), I’ve spent less time on social media over the past few months.

That’s no bad thing: social media was becoming an increasingly unpleasant place to spend time (and continues to do so), and so I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything particularly worthwhile. What has also changed, however, is that I haven’t been tidying up my social media accounts as often as usual.

Some digital housekeeping is called for.

There’s an awful lot out there, but I’m happy to limit myself to just a few different apps, and each of those requires me to take a different approach with regard to keeping things in order.

Instagram: Find me at instagram.com/6000coza

It does seem that I’m rubbish at following people on The ‘Gram. I like many of the photos that I see from people I have already followed, but I never seem to get round to following new people. This must change, and following new followers is probably one of the best ways to start to do it. I’ll be playing catch up over the next week or so in this regard, and if your name is in there, I’ll be seeing you(r photos) real soon.

Twitter: Hi, I’m @6000

For me, the most useful and entertaining of all of the social media platforms. And also one of the most toxic. Again, I do follow new people on here, but I have rules. I need some connection, some relevance. Perhaps they live in SA, like Sheffield, enjoy playing with their drone (careful now), or suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in also owning a beagle. I can like to sympathise.
Good, interesting, decent, sane people are quite hard to find on Twitter, but I think I’ve done ok in my choices so far. I don’t find it difficult to drop people if they get on my tits, though. My rule is “Three Strikes And You’re Out – Or Just One If I’m Feeling Particularly Irritable”. Actually, I just made that up, but I might give it a go.

Facebook: The blog is here: https://www.facebook.com/6000coza/

Things I use Facebook for:
1. Sharing new blog posts.
2. Marvelling at the number of people who will have their Brand New Excess Stock Audi Q7 in “white, please”.
3. Looking at pics of snakes and birds, photos of Sheffield and drone videos.

Things I don’t use Facebook for:
1. Everything else.

My Facebook won’t need much updating because I haven’t done anything with it in years anyway. It just sits there and I wander in occasionally and then usually wish I hadn’t.
Still, every new blog post on here is shared on there, so hit me up and don’t miss out.

Flickr: I put my photos here.

Is Flickr “social media”? I think that they’d quite like it to be. I use it to share my photographs and look at other people’s photographs. I don’t communicate with anyone on there. There are other, better apps for that sort of thing (see above). Still, if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine. Stop sniggering at the back!
(Note to self: a blog about the new changes to Flickr is required.)

Youtube: It’s for videos.

Is Youtube “social media”? I think that they’d quite like it to be. I use it to look at other people’s videos. I mean, I do have some videos uploaded on there, but I don’t actually expect people to look at them. I do follow some trashy accounts on Youtube though, and so a spring clean is required.

That’s it for me. No Snapchat or Linkedin. No Tumblr or Tinder. No Periscope, Plurk or Twitch.
And certainly no MySpace or FriendsReunited. Those were the days…

So as I said, I’m going to make an effort to tidy things up a bit. In the meantime, please feel free to follow me on any of the links above and I’ll endeavour to be equally and reciprocally social. 🙂

Voyage of the Moons

Well, this is fairly amazing.

“Software engineer, planetary and climate data wrangler, and science data visualization artist”, Kevin Gill has – as far as I can make out – melded together images from the Cassini spacecraft you may remember it from this post) during its journey past Jupiter and Saturn, and made them into a mini video:

The silence makes this all the more powerful, for me.

First up are Io and Europa passing over Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot (has anyone suggested using an ointment containing either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide?), followed by Titan moving past Saturn’s rings, seen as a thin line, edge on.

It’s all rather mesmerising. The latter, especially, has a really otherworldly feel to it. I mean, I am aware that these are bother very clearly other worlds, but I’m sure you get what I mean.

Original link here (creative commons says help yourself – thanks, Kevin).
The rest of his photostream looks equally impressive.

Wildlife

It was an amazing weekend. Wild and windy, but full of spring sunshine, and Cape Agulhas really showed off.

Sure, there was the whale, but that was dead and anyway, we’d already seen snakes and tortoises and the infamous Pengueagle (or Eaguin?) (more on that another time) before we saw her.

And then a walk on the beach this morning yielded Plovers, Kingfishers, a Curlew, some Caspian Terns (Sterna caspia):

…some very dramatic waves, photobombed by a Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus):

…and the highlight of my weekend, a Cape Clawless Otter (Aonyx capenensis), showing off his catch of (I think) a Carpenter (Argyrozona argyrozona):

We disturbed him as we walked along the beach, but he was as interested in us (and the beagle) as we were in him. He floated a few metres out in the bay with his fish in his mouth before transferring it to his (clawless) paws so he could give us a proper grin.

It was a reminder how lucky we are to have the cottage and how much our kids can learn from visits there. If we’d been in Cape Town this weekend, it would have been all iPads and crap on TV (although less windy, admittedly). Instead it was fresh air (albeit moving rather fast) and some amazing experiences. All in just over 24 hours.

More photos to follow, but I feel like catching up on the footy now.