Female Orange-Winged Dropwing (trithemis kibyi)
click image for enlarged view.
We converted our large swimming pool to a pond when we first arrived at The Ark’s spot and it has become a haven for all sorts of garden wildlife, not least the dragon flies, which, come breeding time, swoop over the water, either to hunt for prey or lay eggs.
Here, an Orange-Winged Dropwing takes a few moments rest by perching on the tip of a dry strelizia plant on the fringes of the pond.
They raise themselves in an almost upright fashion, known as the ‘obelisk pose’, to reduce the surface area of their bodies from being directly exposed to the sun, while allowing the breeze to blow over their wings.
Sometimes they will remain in this position for almost a minute as they cool down, then they are off, quick as a flash, darting over the water or crisscrossing the garden.
During this time, dragonflies often return to the exactly same perch, I imagine because it has been chosen for its advantageous position, not only for the cooling properties but also to spy out potential prey and with the eyes the dragonfly possess they don’t miss much!
As an outsider, with no dog in the fight, but an avid interest all the same, it is fascinating to read the pitiful attempts by those in Camp Apologetics as they continue to defend the biblical narrative of the Exodus.
While genuine archaeology and its highly specialised exponents march inexorably toward the day when all but the most obtuse or mentally ill will officially and finally acknowledge the fiction of the biblical tale, the evangelically-minded Christian and their counterparts in Judaism and Islam cling to the notion that somewhere around two million plus former slaves upped and left Egypt under the leadership of a murderer with a speech impediment after a series of vile and cruel disasters perpetrated on the native Egyptians by the Canaanite deity, Yahweh.
Over several generations of painstaking archaeological work in Egypt, the Sinai and Palestine, solid evidence has been sought to show the world that the Biblical tale could be vindicated; that the Jews have rightful divinely ordained title to Palestine and that Yahweh, in all his glory, is not a make believe megalomaniacal, genocidal maniac but the one True God.
Yet, all efforts have proved utterly fruitless and those who apparently work tirelessly for members residing in Camp Apologtics have returned to their faithful minions empty-handed. Every argument refuted, every piece of supposed evidence presented, patiently explained.
And the worn out trope, ‘’Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’’ is still trotted out among the faithful.
And in Camp Apologetics , as one can see over at CS’s blog, adherents steadfastly refuse let go of the reins of delusion, even though some members are now tempering their argument, suggesting the Biblical tale must not be taken quite so literally regarding numbers etc and this is why no evidence has been found, the desert having simply swallowed it up along the sands of time.
Even if this watered-down version were to be true it still renders all other aspects of a complete genocidal campaign as nonsensical and takes no account of the fact the entire region at this time was under Egyptian rule.
Yet there is physical evidence of how the Israelites were once part of the general Canaanite population who split from coastal tribes and moved inland. The Israelite Settlement Pattern is now recognised as the most likely scenario.
No one in their right mind teaches a literal Biblical Exodus any more. No one. And no one in their right mind believes it either.
No, For Shame is not the title. For shame is my feeling leveled against the publishers, Doubleday, for releasing this book and a few others that preceded it, in the process sullying the name and reputation of one the most endearing and respected authors of the last thirty years. The author is Terry Pratchett and the book is The Shepherd’s Crown. This is not so much a review as a heartfelt ”Why?”, and perhaps a warning to boot.
For those who may be unaware, Pratchett was diagnosed in 2007 with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease. He died in 2015.
The Shepherd’s Crown is Sir Terry’s final novel, and along with Unseen Academicals, Snuff and Raising Steam should have been left on the man’s hard drive.
For those who are unfamiliar with Pratchett’s work, this ”review” will mean little. For those who are familiar with the Discworld series and Pratchett’s other novels then you will understand my utter disappointment in this book and the ones I have mentioned above.
The Shepherd’s Crown is not only Pratchett’s final novel but also the final chapter in the Tiffany Aching series.
The back cover blurb describes the book as ”….. a time of endings and beginnings, … ” when in reality, it is a mishmash of poorly conceived, half-cocked ideas that appear to have been cobbled together by Pratchett’s editorial team.
The characters are wooden and dialogue is so strained it comes across as constipated.
This is not Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett was clever, intelligent and often laugh out loud funny. Terry Pratchett had style and a rapier wit.
There were loads of highs and yes, a few lows among his published work, but even the lows were still instantly recognizable as a ”Pratchett”.
This book and the other three mentioned are a grey-shade of the man that delighted millions.
If you are an established fan, have read the other three mentioned and are still intent on reading this novel, then I will refrain from divulging any details about the storyline.
But be warned, this is no Nightwatch.
So, Doubleday and Co. hang your heads in shame. If Terry was not fully compos mentis his friends and colleagues should have done the right thing, the honourable thing, and advised their friend to put away his computer and enjoy what time remained mucking about with his tortoises and enjoying a few more brandies in his garden with his missus.
Me, I have removed the books in question from my shelf, done a mental reboot to rekindle fond memories and put a smile on my face by re-reading The Truth.
Well, not today and not likely tomorrow as it is blustery, bitterly cold and the air is full of rain. Although it has not rained proper – this is forecast for tomorrow. Hmmm, I wonder.
Here’s a few shots of our oldest dog, Kishka, who we were assured, was a Labrador when we bought her, but turned out to be a Bonsai version.
Kishka, when she was a pup, with our first boxer, Brunel.
This year she turns thirteen.
While Susan’s macro challenge focuses on the photographic aspects it also gives people an opportunity to show off some of the flowers from their home country. After all, we are a global community these days, not so?
So, here is another flower indigenous to South Africa: The Strelizia.
This species is the Strelizia Reginae, or more commonly known as the Bird of Paradise flower or Crane flower.
They can grow to a height of around 2 metres – that’s over 6 feet in ”old money’, and flower a couple of times a year.
There is a large bed of Strelizia outside my office, near the pond. They attract a variety of wildlife, including sunbirds.
The Arum Lily – Zantedeschia shares the general properties of the Araceae family in causing contact irritation. Zantedeschia species are also poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in the form of raphides. All parts of the plant are poisonous, typically producing local irritation or a burning sensation in the mouth and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea. However leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten.
Read the rest on Wiki.
Indigenous to Southern Africa and one of my favorite flowers.
One of the primary reasons Emily’s work is becoming more and more in demand is because of her attention to detail, as this Barcelona Cake, which left the studio this morning, aptly demonstrates.
No, the soccer boot is not real. But you would be forgiven for thinking it might be!
All hand-crafted from fondant over a chocolate chiffon with ganache filling and buttercream icing.
Not only is the artwork superb, but so is the taste!
One of the cacti from the ‘dry garden’ as we call it.
Don’t ask me about the baby mantis, I have no idea how it got in the shot.