28th – 31st December

Generally trying to plan and think about 2021, though there feels like a certain futility to it thanks to the ongoing Covid pandemic. I will live in hope and optimism.

19th December

A ride down to Devon to see my old mate Fuzzy (Simon). The route took me via the Somerset Levels to Taunton, then past the Quantocks towards Minehead, but turning due south west at Dunster to skirt along Exmoor to Tiverton, then the edge of Exeter, back up to Cullompton and across to Payhembury. We had a good chat before I headed off into the gloom to Honiton and back up the A303 to home.

29th November

Outdoors again, but this time local to the house. Our walk included the area beneath Battlesbury Hill (where we sighted the first Greenfinch I’ve seen in the area for several years) and the Smallbrook Meadows Nature Reserve.

28th November

A morning visit to the Bolderwood and Blashford Lakes areas of the New Forest armed with binoculars, on a quest for the elusive and rare Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. No luck, but other avian sightings included Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Long Tailed Tit.

27th November

A day out to Devizes, then Avebury for a walk around the stone circles, then Marlborough and home.

21st November

A decent “circular ride” starting out via Westbury to Erlestoke, Market Lavington, Urchfont, Upavon, Ludgershall, Andover, Whitchurch, Overton, Basingstoke and Alton.

After a short stop, on to Selborne, Petersfield, South Harting, Emsworth, Southsea, Portsmouth, Portchester, Gosport, Stokes Bay, Lee On Solent, Hill Head, Titchwell, Warsash, Lower Swanswick, Hamble, Netley, Woolston, Southampton, Romsey, Salisbury.

Filled in a gap on coast that I hadn’t done.

20th November

A ride around the southern and eastern fringes of Salisbury Plain, through Tilshead, Larkhill, Cholderton, Shipton Bellinger, Tidworth and up to Marlborough.

After a tea stop, a ride back via Avebury, Devizes and Trowbridge.

14th November

A visit to Bahnstormer at Alton to get the pannier fixed in heavy rain and gusting winds. The outward route was by the quickest way possible, to get there on time. The return journey took in Winchester and Stockbridge.

13th November

A day off. Not sure if we were allowed to do it (lockdown rules unclear), but we had a (socially distanced) visit to Sandbanks for a walk along the sea front. It was a nice sunny day, unlike many days during the period of time.

10th November

Catching up on some “admin type” tasks, including updating my motorcycle travel notes, and also putting a few things (in pencil) into my new 2021 diary.

6th – 7th November

Feeling “a bit cranky” with the second lockdown, I took a ride down to Weymouth to stay at Globe Cottage. I enjoyed the ride down, took my time, but didn’t know what to do when I got there!

I got a takeaway (all that was open), had a bath and then discovered that there was no bedding. I slept on the sofa underneath my coat. I rode home in the morning, taking a couple of minor detours. Seemed a bit pointless really, but I enjoyed the ride.

30th – 31st October

A trip down to Essex, staying at Harlow. Zac was racing in the Club 100 karting series at Rye House, near Hoddesdon.

30th October

A ride (in the wet) across to Alton, get the sat nav looked at, and also one of the pannier locks. A lunch stop in Stockbridge afterwards.

23rd – 25th October

A weekend of doing nothing much in Portsmouth (well, Southsea actually). The plan was to “not have to do anything, be anywhere” – that kind of thing. A chill out break. We were supposed to be in Bali/Wakatobi, but Covid saw to that.

En route home we went to Hayling Island, then up into the South Downs stopping at Petersfield.

16th – 18th October

A visit to Globe Cottage in Weymouth by motorcycle. Nice to have a longer ride, and also a change of scene in the Covid-restricted times. Used the time to do a bit of thinking, planning and sorting.

Rode home via the Giant’s Head, above Cerne Abbas.

16th October

Our new 2021 Diving Dreams Calendars arrive. They look good, we think!

11h October

Catching up on various admin, writing the “Diving Dreams Calendars” press releases, motorcycling notes and website news.

4th October

Catching up on various admin, motorcycle notes and website news.

3rd October

A visit with Amanda to Weston Super Mare, stopping at Cheddar en-route. We went for a walk, had lunch and planned for some photography but the torrential rain meant the camera stayed safely in the waterproof rucksack.

2nd October

A visit to Darren at Impact Design – collected some items related to the new 2021 Diving Dreams Calendar.

1st October

Approved the print ready proof of the new 2021 Diving Dreams Calendar from Gavin at Doveton Press.

21st September

The new 2021 Diving Dreams Calendar is approved and sent to print by Darren at Impact Design.

18th – 19th September

A stay in the historic town of Rye (on the edge of Romney Marsh), with a visit to the Lydd karting circuit for Zac’s Club 100 racing. A good day, and a chance of a few pictures.

14th September

Great weather and a chance to have a walk up Battlesbury Hill – a few butterflies on the wing, but not many. The highlight was two Small Coppers – should have brought the camera.

6th September

A visit to the Landford Bog Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserve, and then a drive through the New Forest to Fordingbridge.

1st – 30th September

Various “lockdown potterings” on the R1200 GS Adventure. Hit 21,000 miles late in the month – that’s 7,000 a year, so happy with that.

30th August

A visit to Wareham Forest. A few Grayling on the wing, and spotted a couple of lizards.

28th – 29th August

A stay in Harlow (Essex) and a kart race for Zac at the Rye House circuit. A good event for Zac, and a few photographs shot.

20th – 23rd August

A website content writing retreat, to a tucked away place in North Dorset called Woolland, staying in a self catering unit at Ellwood Cottages – basically, a converted set of former farm outbuildings – perfect for what I needed to do. I travelled there on the R1200 GS.

On the Saturday evening, I took a ride to Blandford and explored some of the back roads of the area, near Hod Hill, Hambledon Hill, Child Okeford and Sturminster Newton.

13th – 16th August

Various “potterings” on the R1200GS including visits to the gym, making some plans going forwards and a ride out to Alton and back to fix a lock buckle on a pannier – returned home via Winchester, Romsey and Salisbury.

9th August

A ride down to Weymouth to meet Fuzz, including the A350 from Shaftesbury to Blandford.

From Weymouth, we headed over to Portland to visit the Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Conservation Reserve and later, a ride up to Sturminster Newton before an afternoon visit to the Alner’s Gorse Butterfly Conservation Reserve.

We “might” have seen the Brown Hairstreak, but couldn’t be certain. The Clouded Yellow, Small Coppers, Silver Washed Fritillaries and Purple Hairstreaks were good though.

7th – 8th August

A trip with Zac up to Chatham in Kent, for his Club100 kart race at Buckmore Park. A chance to shoot a few “action shots”.

2nd August

A ride to Shaftesbury to meet Fuzz, then a visit to nearby Fontmell Down to seek out Dorset’s only population of Silver Spotted Skipper. After much searching, we found a single newly emerged specimen. I captured some images.

1st August

An impromptu walk to Salisbury from home along the Wylye Valley “back roads”. It was more than 20 miles, and I was very aware of that fact for 2 or 3 days afterwards.

31st July

A ride up to Alton on the R1200GS for a service and first MOT (3 Years already!).

Went up via Stockbridge, and returned via the Ashford Hangers National Nature Reserve, Petersfield and onto the A272 for a stop at Loomies Moto Café, then Winchester, Andover and a detour via Fyfield, Perham Down, Tidworth and Larkhill to home.

25th July

A rainy visit to the Clay Pigeon Kart Track for Zac to race in the Club100 Kartying Series. Shot a few images of him competing.

13th July – 11th Agust

Various “potterings” on the R1200 GS Adventure in the local area, bits and bobs of website work and insect rearing.

10th – 11th July

Our first overnighter away since lockdown, staying at Banbury. The reason was Zac racing at Shenington in Club100 Karting the following day. A chance for some photos.

10th July

A great visit on the motorcycles with Fuzzy to the West Wood and Pitt Down sections of the Farley Mount Country Park complex. Our aim was to see a Purple Emperor (ideally several), and we weren’t the only ones trying.

It proved to be an excellent place to visit and we saw pretty much everything we could have hoped to have seen except the Purple Emperor. It seems it had been a very poor season sadly. Despite that, it would be a worth a return visit at some point in the future. En-route back, we stopped off in Stockbridge for a socially distanced tea and coffee.

5th July

An impromptu evening ride-out on the R1200GS – Warminster, Corsley, East Woodlands, Shepton Mallet, Croscombe, Wells (had a ride around the centre), Glastonbury, Street, Somerton, Castle Cary, Bruton, Zeals, Mere and back to Warminster over Mere Down.

4th July

Going out for breakfast together and then a coffee afterwards shouldn’t be news, but post lockdown, it is “news”.

27th June

A visit to Rye House (near Harlow in Essex), for Zac to have a Club100 test day/practice day. He drove well and I took of images of him in action.

25th June

A successful visit to Picket & Clanger Wood, and nearby Green Lane Wood on the motorcycles with Fuzzy. A successful day with plenty of White Admiral sightings, Silver Washed Fritillary and some Purple Hairstreaks among the highlights. We later went to Battlesbury Hill, seeing a few Dark Green Fritillary and abundant Marbled Whites.

22nd June – 4th July

More “mixed bags” of activity – actually writing this in Warminster’s Coffee One – the first time since lockdown.

More bits of website content, zipping around locally on the R1200 GS Adventure, continuing to rear the Comma and Eyed Hawkmoth larvae, a bit of moth trapping and a trip to Picket & Clanger Wood and Green Lane Wood with Fuzzy on the 25th.

21st June

A first visit to Clanger & Picket Wood, between Westbury and Trowbridge. I must have driven past it a thousand or more times.

15th – 21st June

Various activities – commuting locally on the R1200GS Adventure, ordered some more “livestock” to rear for the “semi-lockdown” phase – Comma, Eyed Hawkmoth, Privet Hawkmoth and Death’s Head Hawkmoth. A successful bit of moth trapping with two consecutive nights with a Privet Moth specimen, and the last of the previous batch of Comma was set free. Other than that, a bit of web content collation and updating “motorcycling notes”.

8th – 14th June

In “semi-lockdown” now. Various “bits and pieces” of moth trapping, pottering around locally on the R1200 GS Adventure, adding items of content for the website and so on.

7th June

Another motorcycle trip down the “303” to Devon, again to Honiton to collect Fuzzy. From there, a visit to Ashclyst Forest and Haldon Forest Park – a pleasant day, but none of the target species of butterfly were seen (White Admiral & Purple Hairstreak).

We at least had “staked out” these areas for future visits.

1st – 5th June

A few small-scale meanderings on the R1200 GS Adventure. At home, some butterfly releasing and moth trapping.

31st May

A trip on the bike to Honiton (to collect Fuzzy). From there, we both rode to the southern flank of Dartmoor, to the High Brown Fritillary hotspot of Aish Tor.

Great sightings of this species (perhaps 30 or 40 specimens) and a chance to see them up close. A “bucket list” species for me and a chance to capture a few photographs. Plenty of other “lepidoptera” on the wing – Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary being the other highlight. Afterwards, a ride to nearby Hembury Wood (just above Buckfastleigh), but that proved less productive. Then a ride back to Honiton, and then home.

26th – 30th May

A tangle of more bits & pieces; reading, website content, moth trapping and releasing the caged reared Small Tortoiseshells. The Peacocks and Commas are not far behind.

Also, a bit of “pottering about” on the bike, mostly into the business, but sometimes with convoluted routes home in the local area including a few “memory lane” places.

17th – 25th May

More “mixed bags” of lockdown activities.

A “survey walks” at Battlesbury Hill and also Middle Hill resulting in more submission of data to Butterfly Conservation.

Carried on rearing Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma and began releasing the Small Tortoiseshells as they hatched.

More work on image sorting and website content.

Also, a bit of riding the R1200 GS Adventure due to the slight easing of lockdown – didn’t go far but nice to get out on it.

1st – 17th May

A mixed bag of “lockdown” activities.

Some “survey walks” at Battlesbury Hill and also Middle Hill, where I discovered an (unknown to me) colony of Marsh Fritillary, the results of which I submitted to Butterfly Conservation.

Still in terms of “walks”, I’ve continued to discover new areas to visit in the immediate vicinity of home. Goes to show that there’s always something new to see, even on your own doorstep.

Carried on rearing Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma – a good “lockdown” activity. The plan is to release them, to mix with the local populations.

More work on image sorting and website content. Also, completed and submitted a feature on our pre-lockdown Cuba trip, written speculatively for Scuba Diver Magazine.

1st May

A quick “survey walk” at Battlesbury Hill, a few Duke of Burgundy on the wing, plus Marsh Fritillary. I then submitted sightings to Butterfly Conservation.

30th April

Ordered 10 Comma larvae from Worldwide Butterflies, to rear until adults alongside the Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. The aim is to release them to compliment local populations.

28th April

Peacock larvae arrived from Worldwide Butterflies, now settled on potted nettle.

27th April – 3rd May

Working on and completing the Cuba feature for Scuba Diver Magazine.

17th – 26th April

The “lockdown” continues, but finding things to do.

Started assisting Butterfly Conservation with some recording/surveying on Battlesbury Hill – especially the Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries which first emerged around the 20th April – been shooting images of them also. The Marsh Fritillary have also emerged very early.

Small Tortoiseshell “livestock” arrived from Worldwide Butterflies, so the larvae are now happily feeding on potted nettle.

Continued work sorting the “image pc” – and steady progress on website content.

Plenty of walking around the local environs, especially to Battlesbury Hill, Smallbrook and Middle Hill.

13h – 17th April

More “lockdown”. Continued work sorting the terrible mess of the “image pc” – getting there slowly, and also progress on website content including a couple of new ideas.

Plenty of walking around the local environs, especially to Battlesbury Hill where I was able to photograph freshly emerged Green Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper. Hopefully Butterfly Conservation and Wiltshire Butterflies may use them. Other walks included the Smallbrook Meadows and the nearby area known locally as “the marsh”.

13th April

Working speculatively on a Cuba “Gardens of the Queens” feature for Scuba Diver magazine.

12th April

A bit of note writing in the “motorcycling” section, catching up on some thoughts really.

6h – 13th April

Lockdown continues, but we’re lucky to have the “outdoorsy” space around us for regular walks. A couple of “exploratory walks” locally on some footpaths that are new to us such as Southleigh and Eastleigh Woods.

Having that extra time in the local area has been interesting; watching the spring come to life in much more detail than usual – Peacocks butterflies, Small Tortoiseshells, Brimstones, Orange Tips, Holly Blues and the chance to photograph the early emergences of Green Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper with the 60mm lens.

A bit of moth trapping in the evening with my new “Moonlander” and Gooden Gemlight.

Other time spent “getting on top of stuff” such as website content and the dreaded “image pc sorting” which was in a terrible mess – how did it ever get that bad?

5th April

A walk up Battlesbury Hill; early butterflies are on the wing (Peacock, Brimstone, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell), and heard the first Cuckoo of the year.

A few images taken of a Peacock butterfly and our “mini re-wilding” project.

4th April

An early morning walk onto the edge of Salisbury Plain, birding highlights included Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Skylark and Lapwing.

24th March – 3rd April

Various “catch up work” such as sorting the “image pc” (a terrible mess!), website content and other things that never seem to happen in normal circumstances. Also, purchased a moth trap, some insect breeding cages and some “livestock” (Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell larvae) from Worldwide Butterflies, to rear and supplement the local populations. The livestock is expected to arrive in April; I’ve potted some stinging nettles to help the young larvae.

24th March

Following a statement from the UK Prime Minister, the UK (along with many other countries) entered a “lockdown” due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus. It would change the dynamic of many things going forward. Basically, everything is cancelled until further notice. We’d have to find other things to do.

5th – 20th March

An excellent return to Cuba. We originally travelled there back in 1994, not long after the country began to open up for visitors – on that occasion, we stayed at Varadero and took day trips to Havana, Pinar Del Rio and the Vinales Valley, Trinidad, the Bay of Pigs and Santiago De Cuba. It was also the trip that first inspired us to scuba dive after seeing divers whilst on a snorkelling trip from Varadero.

This time, we stayed in Havana for a couple of nights at the Hotel Inglaterra, slap-bang in the centre followed by a bus journey down through the central spine of the country before turning off to the tiny port of Jucaro, from where we would join the excellent Avalon III liveaboard for a week’s diving in the Jardines De La Reina (Gardens of the Queens) Marine Reserve – an excellent trip, pristine reefs, lots of shark action.

Following the diving, we returned to Havana for another two days before heading off for some birdwatching/wildlife in the Cienaga De Zapata National Park, on a quest to see the Bee Hummingbird (the world’s smallest bird) and other endemics. We would be based at Playa Larga in the Bay of Pigs.

We enjoyed some really interesting “birding” visiting two private gardens to see the Bee Hummingbird, the Las Salinas area for wetland birds, an area of dry forest for species such as the Fernandina’s Flicker, Cuban Tody and Nightjar, and also an area of forest around Bermejas and further east. There was also a chance to visit the Museum De La Intervencion at Playa Giron. An excellent and rewarding trip all round.

2nd March

“Winter work” at Globe Cottage in Weymouth is completed including a new bath, shower and tiling, ready for the new season.

27th February

An interesting gig at the Trinity centre in Bristol, A Winged Victory For The Sullen.

23rd February

Building our new Compost Box and scattering a few wildflower seed mixes for our small re-wilding project. The aim is to photographically document it (if time).

22nd – 23rd February

From Buckmore Park to Coventry – overnight near the Ricoh Arena and then a presentation by Jeremy at the “Go Diving” dive show covering Niihau, Montserrat and Ustica.

21st – 22nd February

A visit to Chatham, for Zac’s first Club100 kart meeting of the year. I’d re-set the camera for back button focus which was good.

20th February

A first ride on the R1200 GS, to Bristol and back.

16th February

Completing my “Go Diving” presentation.

15th – 16th February

An overnighter in London, this time to see Garland Locke and Simcock at Pizza Express Jazz in Soho.

11th February

A visit to the Bristol Underwater Photography Group in Bristol.

9th February

A few things; tidying up a few trips and plans, plus website items and purchasing some seed mixes for our new “set aside/back to nature” areas of the garden.

8th February

Organising the “back to nature” re-wilding sections of our garden.

7th – 8th February

An overnight stay for a conference at The Grove on the outskirts of Watford, with an evening visit to the Warner Brothers studios close by.

6th February

An excellent gig at Bristol’s Trinity Centre by the composer Anna Meredith. Grave Lightman was a good support.

31st January – 1st February

A London visit to catch Aubrey Logan at Ronnie Scott’s.

6th February

An evening visit to Bristol to see the excellent and original Anna Meredith, supported by the very good Grace Lightman.

31st January – 1st February

A London visit to catch Aubrey Logan at Ronnie Scott’s.

24th – 26th January

A second visit to Globe Cottage in Weymouth. Some more time at the RSPB Radipole Lake reserve. This time the weather was dull and windy. Despite that, a single Bearded Tit was visible close to the visitor centre. I chatted with an interesting Bristol based photographer and learned some useful tips from him for bird and wildlife photography.

17th – 19th January

A weekend at Globe Cottage in Weymouth. The visit included some time at the RSPB Radipole Lake reserve. Good views of the Bearded Tits in bright sunshine, and a bit of use of the camera. Chatted with some fellow wildlife enthusiasts.

14th January

An overnighter in London to see the excellent Elephant9 at Ronnie Scotts.

1st – 4th January

Enjoying the tail end of our Christmas and new Year visit to Bandos in the Maldives.