Citizen science – can you help?


via Zooniverse Advent: Day 2 – Treeversity

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Turkish eggs – cilbir

Having tasted this at Providores in London I had to find out how to make this ultimate comfort food! I’ve adapted it to as low-fat a version as possible in the past; today was not quite ‘go-for-broke’ but the rationing came off the chilli butter/oil for once! I was reminded of the dish when it popped up in Nigella’s latest TV series so we treated ourselves to a hearty comfort-food brunch today.

You will find proper recipes for this,  but just experiment and vary with what you have to hand. Don’t be too put off by the concept – it sounds a bit unappealing, I know; trust me, it works! It almost takes longer to explain than do, too.

I use 0% fat Greek yoghurt, an individual pot per person or a big pot for 2-3 for a very generous brunch (it would do 4 at a pinch). The following assumes a large pot. (I reckon 0% makes up for a bit of chilli oil!)

Put the yoghurt in a bowl and add a crushed or grated large clove of garlic or a good squeeze of tube garlic, though fresh is tastier. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth) and a generous sprinkle of dried herbs if you haven’t any fresh for garnishing. I like a good dash of fines herbes witb that aniseedy tarragon tang. A good few grinds of salt are essential.

Whip together with a fork or a whisk until smooth and creamy and decant into 2-3 dishes, mounding it up in the centre and making a couple of dips for the eggs to nestle in. Put on a pan of water and bring to the boil while preparing the butter.

In a small pan, melt an ounce or two of butter and heat until lightly browned. (I like a salty butter.) Switch off the heat and throw in a good shake of smoked sweet paprika (add a dash of chilli or hot smoked if you like more oomph) or a teaspoon of chilli flakes, or fresh if available, swirling the pan. Add about the same amount (3-5 tbsp) of olive oil and swirl together. Finally chuck in a tablespoon or two of fresh chopped herbs if you have them – dill, parsley, tarragon or chives all work well. Save a few for the final garnish.

Poach 4-6 eggs in the pan of barely simmering water while you toast a slice or two of sourdough bread per person. Drain the eggs well and pop them onto the yoghurt.

Pour the chilli butter over the eggs and around the yoghurt – a colourful moat! Sprinkle any remaining fresh herbs over  and serve immediately with the toast for dipping and a spoon!

The contrast of hot and cold works well though I have seen recipes that tell you to warm the yoghurt – for me, that would make it less unctuously creamy and too runny but try it if you will…

I also omit the top layer of yoghurt which some recipes add in order to keep the eggs hotter.

Tuck in – and have fun working out your ideal version of cilbir!

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Cuteness overload

We went with a group from our camera club to the British Wildlife Centre near Lingfield, which was a very pleasant day. We had in-enclosure access to the red squirrels, otters, wild cats and foxes, plus the chance to photograph badgers, a direly cute harvest mouse, a not-too-cooperative hedgehog and a selection of mustelids.

Here are the first few shots I’ve managed to process from the day. You have been warned…


All photos copyright R Bourne: please ask if interested in using.


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Small Pleasures and Nemesis

I passed a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours again today playing piano (albeit rather badly) to accompany a friend  who is taking up his clarinet again after quite a break.

He is much more determined than I and practises beforehand (Flanders and Swann fans will be muttering “which ruins the fun,” at this point). Ironically, a camera club member who came for a bit of a tutorial this morning had to go straight back home, as her husband had gone out without his key, so I did grab the chance for an hour’s practice, but then played this piece worse than I did when sightreading it last time! It’s not even difficult, but the Nemesis that is syncopation addled my brain.


Take two or three

It’s a pleasure making music, however haltingly, and doubly so to play with others; ensemble playing is very satisfying and my friend plays in a couple of bands.

Our duets will have to suffice for me, plus I’m resolving to go back to playing every day if possible, even if only briefly; not necessarily serious practice but just playing for enjoyment. Onward and upward!


Musical miscellany

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Selected mail art in two venues during October

Droitwich Mail Art

Droitwich Spa is a small town with not a single one art gallery. It is difficult to find a venue when you wish to show the art. But some of the local businesses are very keen to help and promote arts in the town throughout the year.We have been offered to show a small section of this year’s project in two different venues. As for the limited space, the number of chosen artworks is very small and we are hopeful that there will be new opportunities in the future to show more.

Park’s Cafein the centre of the town is a popular cafe/bar/restaurant and the meeting point to many town’s groups. They hold monthly exhibitions of local artists and wished to display a small selection of mail art.


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Stolen flowers…

I found one of my photographs used commercially without permission, not that unusual an occurrence, sadly – this popped up in quite a long list. I am not overly precious about my pictures (if I were, I would be more cautious about putting them out there) but I do get irked when people make commercial capital from others’ work.

It’s a shame in a way, though, as I rather like what’s happened to it – it appears to have been turned into a cross-stitch kit…

The clunky copyright watermark on my original below is definitely a case of a stable door shut belatedly! I will be interested to see what response I get from the company.

8 aquilegia reflection-0004 watermarked

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Sweet pea blues

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A Window on Zambia

Source: Zambia

Gill Staden is a mine of information if you are considering going to Zambia: her new website brings together masses of helpful info and tips.


Gill’s photos of Zambia are also waaaay better than my 12-year-old collection; I’m desperate to revisit some time! Thanks to Gill and her depth of knowledge we had the trip of a lifetime both in Zambia and forays into Botswana and Namibia (Caprivi).

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Ruth Bourne (UK)

My first mail art…

Droitwich Mail Art

Ruth Bourne is a Droitwich Spa photographer and a member of f.Action group of photographers. Ruth has an interest in all aspects of photography – portraits, nature, architecture, landscape, macro… She sent us her black & white photograph “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. 

Ruth Bourne

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Michael Wagner (Germany)

Three Mail Art entries for the Droitwich exhibition from Germany – artist Michael Wagner.

Droitwich Mail Art

Michael Wagner from Heidelberg in Germany, has sent us 3 postcards – “Sound of the Street”, “I Robot” and “Lichtweg”. 

Michael Wagner

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