About Andy Finnegan

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Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

An easily recognised fungus that gives a flash of colour on the woodland floor. It should not be eaten.

People experimenting with drugs have dried fly agaric fruiting bodies in order to evoke hallucinations. Visual and auditory hallucinations. I have also read urine of Reindeer which have eaten fly agaric has been drunk by people in Lapland as a hallucinogenic – but how you get urine out of a Reindeer may be difficult!

Panthercap.

Panthercap -Amanita pantherina.

Quite a rare to find in Britain, the Panthercap They are more common in southern Europe. Its close resemblance to the edible blusher mushroom has caused many a forager to accidentally ingest a panther cap. It causes hallucinations and sickness, and in some cases may be fatal. location New Forest.

I am not a fungi expert and fungi it is particularly challenging when it comes to identifying fungi as they come in a huge variety of species and sub-species. In the UK, we have about 4500 species of fungi. About 200 are edible, 50 poisonous and the rest are inedible or tasteless.

L.B.B.

I went to watch Sanderling’s on the shore but sadly people walking on the beach wandering along put them up just as I got out of the van. I was just in time to see a flock of about 30 flying off down the coast.

I did spot a little brown bird – a LBB in bird watcher speak. In the seaweed catching sand hoppers was a Meadow Pippit.

A few days away.

We had a few days away in the campervan this week. About 130 miles away from home near Burnham on Sea on the Somerset coast.

The tide goes out a long way on the North Somerset coast into the Bristol Channel – but mud is a big sticky danger with over a couple of miles on mud to the waters edge at low time some places having a 35 foot drop in water at low tide. Several of the coastal towns have RNLI Hovercraft rescue craft as well as lifeboats.

These pictures show the tide going out at Weston-super-Mare The Island in the background is Steep holm. A place of nature and old coastal gun batteries.

Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier. Opened in 1904. The pier was gutted by fire in July 2008. but was rebuilt and open again on 23 October 2010. £3 for Donkey rides but closed for the winter.

If anyone remembers the 1967 British TV series The Prisoner you will recall the beach ball stopping people from leaving the village I had “I am a person not a number moment “while on the beach when I was passed by a giant beach ball bouncing along the beach!

There is a gem of a pier at Weston-super-Mare Birnbeck Pier which is sadly in a poor state  It is the only pier in the country which links the mainland to an island, linking to Birnbeck Island.In the past the pier was popular with locals and tourists as a boarding point for steamers in the Bristol Channel. During WW2 the pier was commissioned as HMS Birnbeck by the Admiralty as part of miscellaneous weapons development site. After the war the steamer trade declined and by the 1970’s the pier started to fall into its current unsafe state. Today it is in a largely derelict state. Part of the pier collapsed during storms on 30 December 2015.

Heading up the coast to Clevedon is a pier that has been restored and well worth a visit and this shows you what a great attraction Birnbeck could be.

A modern lighthouse at Battery Point,

There is a good view across to Wales from the point.

A warning sign at Battery point and a memorial.

Black Nore Lighthouse which is also known as Blacknore Point Lighthouse) at Portishead. it was judged to be no longer needed for navigational purposes, and the light was decommissioned in September 2010. It is a listed building and now owned by a trust.

 

Calshot Spit.

In 1539, King Henry VIII ordered the construction of a castle at the end of Calshot Spit to defend the port of Southampton.Its strategic importance continued through both world wars. In 1913 the RFC established a flying boat station on the spit known as RNAS Calshot and later RAF Calshot.

Schneider Trophy.

Jacques Schneider was a french industrial manager, and licensed  pilot, After giving up flying due to a serious accident, he supported various competitions and aero clubs financially.


On December 5th, 1912, at the Aéro-Club de France, he offered a trophy for a seaplane race and proposed a course of at least 150 nautical miles.This competition became known as the Schneider Trophy. Each club would be permitted to enter up to three competitors with an equal number of alternates. In 1921 the course was increased to 212 nautical miles,

Any team winning 3 races in 5 years would retain the cup and the winning pilot would receive 75,000 francs. Each edition of the race was to be hosted by the previous winning country.

In 1923 The Supermarine S.5 won the Schneider Trophy Race so the British became the host for the 1929 race. Calshot was the base for the race.

The Supermarine S.6 won the 1929 race so again.

Further refinements led to an improved Supermarine S6b and the 1931 race became the 3rd race win for Britain and that kept the Schneider Trophy in England for good.

Sopwith Hanger although the hanger has been reclad in modern materials the 1913 wooden structure of the hanger roof is clearly visible inside.

General views of Calshot Spit.