Archive for April, 2018

Lesnes Abbey

Posted: April 30, 2018 in History, London, Medieval History, UK


Lesnes Abbey was founded in 1178 by Richard De Luci, Justicular of England as penance for his part in the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett at Canterbury.It is close to the pilgrim way from London to the tomb of Beckett in Canterbury. De Luci, retired to the Abbey and died there.


An artists impression of Lesnes Abbey in 12th-13th century

It experienced a decline in the 14th century and despite a revival in the early 16th century, it was targeted by the government of Henry VIII, who had obtained permission from the pope to close all small monasteries (under 8 residents) in England. Lesnes closed in 1524 and was immediately pulled down. This dissolution of the monasteries was a full 12 years before the start of Henry’s major attack on the monasteries, which ran between 1536 and 1541 during which time he closed all the remaining monastic houses in the country.

The ruins and the surrounding land passed into private ownership until it was purchased by the London County Council in 1930 and opened as a public park. Ownership passed to Bexley Council in 1986.

Eltham Palace (9): Dining Room

Posted: April 27, 2018 in History, London, UK


On the opposite side of the entrance hall from the drawing room is the Dining Room. It is the most strikingly art deco room in the whole house.



Posted: April 26, 2018 in Natural History

What a fantastic looking Orchid and a great photograph

Photography Art Plus


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I have been to Twickenham a number of times to watch England play rugby, but never been to the museum. One of those things to go on the list I think.

Romulus and Remus with the wolf (Sienna, Italy). Photo by Eric Parker (

21st April is celebrated in Rome as the city’s founding day. According to legend, this was the day in 753BCE when the abandoned twins, Romulus and Remus, who had been brought up by a wolf, returned to the banks of the Tiber to found a city. Romulus chose what would become known as the Palatine Hill and dug a ditch around it as the foundations for his wall. Remus, mocking his brother, jumped over the ditch. We can imagine that he said something along the lines ‘ so much for your wall!’ Romulus was so angered that he struck his brother down with the reply ‘ So perish anyone who leaps over my walls!’. He went on to build his city and become its first King.

Royal Indian Peafowl

Posted: April 24, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
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This fascinating post reminds us that a bird which in the UK was just a decorative addition to country houses of the rich lives another existence elsewhere in the world.

This time, lets meet the royals, the national bird of India. Some of you would be familiar with this bird but what I am writing about is truly wild. Not only does the handsome prince wear glossy royal blue, he comes wearing his own unique crown. They even wear regal shimmery green embellishment. The train…

via Royal Indian Peafowl — Aditya’s Bird Blog

Nessie Lives!

Posted: April 23, 2018 in Life's little mysteries

The 21st April is an important date in the history of Nessie ‘the Loch Ness Monster’. It was the date that the Daily Mail published a photograph claiming to prove the existence of the monster.


The photo published in the Daily Mail copy taken from (23/4/18)


Although a legend of a monster dates back to as early as the Dark ages, the real story does not begin until the years between the first and second world wars. In 1933, a big game hunter, Marmaduke Wetherell, had claimed to find footprints on the shore, although a later examination by an expert from the Natural History Museum said that they were probably created by the Hippopotamus foot (possible part of an umbrella stand or an ashtray). It appears Wetherell had been conned and the Daily Mail, which had headlined the story, was embarrassed and sought pubically to ridicule Wetherell. He quietly planned his revenge. He had a model made from plastic wood over the conning tower of a toy submarine he’d purchased. The neck, estimated by some from the photograph to be over three feet high, actually measured between 8 and 12 inches! Wetherell and his son, Ian, took it to Loch Ness and photographed it. Then so as not to arouse the suspicion of the Daily Mail, the photos were offered to them by an intermediary. The story caused a sensation, although some questioned it at the time.

It was not until 60 years later that Ian Wetherell admitted that it was a fake and how it had been done. Even so, some still believe that it is a true picture and that for some reason he was persuaded to confess to a hoax that never happened.


The Italian themed drawing room is entered directly from the entrance hall.

It is a lovely spacious room and was probably a guests first impression of the house when they arrived.


A beautiful day to be out and about. I travelled a few miles to Lesnes Abbey in south-east London to attend a field studies council teaching day on the identification of Spiders. Now, as regular readers know I do recording for Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bumblebees on my local patch but I have to confess that I know next to nothing about spiders. Unlike the others, they don’t tend to make themselves obvious, quite the opposite in effect so I thought this course, part of the FSC’s Biolinks project was an excellent opportunity to at least start to remedy that.

The morning was taken up by an introductory talk on common spiders and how to recognise them. Species-level identification can be very difficult in the field so it is often about just identifying the family they come from – in some case there are only one species in a family which helps. In the afternoon we spent the time in and around Lesnes Abbey. We started with a wall in the ruins and soon had examples of 5 or 6 species to look at – who would have guessed that so much lived in an old wall. The highlight was a large but very agile example of the Lace web Spiders (Amaurobius ferox) along with a Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus)and the more common lace web spider (Amaurobious similis).

Amaurobious Ferrox

Zebra Spider (left) and House Spider spp (right)

Next, we examined a bush and found another group of species. My favourite was the Cucumber Spider (Araniella cucurbitinia).


Cucumber Spider. Photo by Mary Shattock (

Our final stop was some grassland where we found some Large Jawed Spider (Pachygnatha spp) along with Wolf Spider. My favorite here was the Cricket-bat Spider (Mangora acalphya).


Cricket Bat Spider. Photo by Christophe Quintan (

This was a very worthwhile and productive day. Thanks to Lawrence and Keiron who led it. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve their invertebrate identification to check out the Biolinks page at

Spider spp seen

Buzzing Spider (Anyphaena accentuata); Crab Spider spp; Running Crab spider spp; Cucumber Spider (Araniella curcurbitinia); Nursery Web Spider spp; Lace web Spider ( Amaurobius similis and Amaurobius Ferrox); Zebra Spider ( Salticus scenicus); Money Spider spp; House Spider spp; Wolf Spider spp; Large Jawed Spider spp; Cricket-bat Spider (Mangora acalphya).

Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

Amazing poto of a Sparrowhawk visiting a garden in Wales.

Via Sue Lewis….this female sparrow hawk has been marauding around Sue’s garden… helping herself to the feeding birds much to sue’s annoyance ..but still a very likeable visitor.

via Sparrow hawk .Llandegley — Radnor Bird Blog

Have only had the same experience once and it was amazing. (See )