Jupiter and the Galilean moons

I’m really amazed by this picture. In the early hours of this morning I went out into the back garden to see if I could see the Perseids meteor shower at its peak. I took my camera in case I spotted any of my froggy friends out hunting.

I didn’t have much luck with the Perseids as there was a full moon and some high level haze, but Jupiter was majestic just above the roofline of my house. I’d had some success with photographing the moon with my new camera, a Lumix DC-TZ90, and wondered if it would be able to focus on Jupiter.

I rested my head against the side of the shed for extra stability and zoomed in on Jupiter. The camera struggled to get focus for a second or so, and then claimed success. I squeezed the shutter button.

It was only when I looked at the captured image that I spotted the four dots around the planet. Were they the Galilean Moons? A quick check with Sky and Telescope’s Tools showed that indeed they were! From left to right Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io.

That a relatively cheap camera, can capture a shot like this, hand-held and set to automatic, is truly stunning.

DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal in Memory of Dad

A big thank-you to everyone who contributed to the JustGiving fundraiser in Dad’s name for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

On Thursday the funeral directors deposited Β£170 collected at the church on the day of the funeral to the fundraiser. The total has now reached Β£455 (including Gift Aid), and has all been transferred to the Humanitarian Appeal. I’m sure that Dad would have been very pleased.

The fundraiser page is still live at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Littlewood.

(Photo courtesy of Maureen Littlewood.)


Opuntia Flower

Sometime in the mid-1970s a fellow member of the National Cactus and Succulent Society passed away and his widow gave his collection of cacti to the local group. His greenhouse had a two metre tall Opuntia taking up the whole of one end. I took home a single leaf and it was soon putting out roots.

Fast forward 45 years…

For many years the Opuntia lived in our carport and steadily grew. When the carport was pulled down it was moved into the porch, and when it grew too large it wandered out to sit, unprotected, on the wall of the pond.

Today it flowered for the first time. It is perhaps a sign of the times that it has happily survived six winters unprotected in a London garden.

Papaver somniferum 'Flemish Antique'

Another poppy from our new poppy bed in the front garden. We’ve always had poppies in the back garden and they are a favourite with the bees. One of the priorities when we redesigned the front garden was to make the beds pollinator-friendly.

The peace and quiet of the cemetery...

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIb NOT a Spitfire!

Visited my father-in-law’s grave in Brentwood, Essex this afternoon and heard a very distinctive sound. A Spitfire was doing aerobatics around a helicopter which was presumably filming its antics. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get back to the car and grab a camera.

While I hate the peace and quiet of the cemetery being broken by external noise, if there has to be a disturbance, there are few better sounding ones…

(And yes, I know, that the photo is of a Hawker Hurricane Mk IIb! I took this a few years ago, but unfortunately can’t find any Spitfires in my photo archive.)

Yesterday's Poppy

This is the Opium Poppy that opened yesterday - the beautiful red and black petals not having been able to hold out against the gusty wind. The stigma has had a remarkable change of colour and I’m hoping that means it has been fertilized.

Papaver somniferum

This poppy is rather special to us. Its seeds were harvested from the car park of my mother-in-law’s care home a little before she passed away. It stands beside the garden path and triggers fond memories each time we pass it.

Micro.blog May Photoblogging Challenge

The micro.blog May Photoblogging Challenge has been over for just a few days now, and I’m already missing it. Finding suitable photographs to match each day’s prompt word was a great excuse to delve into the archives and remind myself of long forgotten images. I greatly enjoyed the quality and variety of images everyone uploaded each day, and marvelled at some of the inventive interpretations of the prompt words used.

By the end of the month I found that I’d doubled the number of fellow micro.bloggers I was following, had enjoyed some fantastic photography, and realised how chaotic my own image archive was.

Big thanks is due to the Micro.blog community manager @jean who organised the challenge. It was great fun.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Endurance πŸ“· Teams frantically prepare for the “24 Hours of Le Mans”, one of the most demanding endurance races of the year.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Fish πŸ“· A couple of the cold-blooded inhabitants of our pond share a favourite sun-bathing spot.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Stripes πŸ“· The Red Arrows at the RAF100 Parade & Flypast, London, 10-Jul-2018

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Fair πŸ“· Motobike stunt rider at our local summer fair.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Written πŸ“· “Lets Adore and Endure Each Other” - Stephen Powers, Great Eastern Street, London

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Schedule πŸ“· Ever since the heady days of the Psion LZ64 I’ve relied on portable computing to get as much information out of my struggling brain into more reliable storage. The MC400 and S5 were game changers but, for me, the S3a was the pinnacle.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Mountain πŸ“· So, I’m in the process of mounting the heat sinks on this Raspberry Pi and… What? Sorry? Mountain? Oh, I thought you said β€œmounting”… (Yes, I have no mountain photos.)

Raspberry PI 4 with awaiting the mounting of heat sinks

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Intricate πŸ“· Lego Technic 42082 Rough Terrain Crane was a most satisfying build. At 4,057 pieces and with tons of fun features, it is one of my favourite sets so far.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Plain πŸ“· Some of the footpaths through it like to regularly remind us that RAF Hornchurch was built on a flood plain.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Textile πŸ“· I loved this piece by The Material Girls, a local group of textile artists. If I remember correctly this was made using Batik, a wax-resist dyeing technique from Java.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Symmetry πŸ“· Not quite symmetry in another view of Ravensbourne University, London. It is great to experience modern architecture that engenders such a sense of awe.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Beverage πŸ“· Home-made Christmas crackers have the best gifts.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Indulgence πŸ“· Mmmm! Dawn has been cooking fairy cakes again… But wait! Photo courtesy of Dawn Littlewood.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Random πŸ“· The architecture caught my eye when visiting my daughter’s graphic design exhibition.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Hold πŸ“· I used to be lucky enough to work in an office that had this just outside - a narrow boat with a hold full of interesting books. (Look I was desperate, OK!)

Micro.blog Photo Challenge - Time πŸ“· Croydon’s five-faced clock - I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two faces agree though at least one is supposed to show the correct time. Incidently this photo was taken at 13:29…