Posts Tagged ‘enjoyment’

Tower Grove Park with Allen and Lois Smith, 300914

October 1, 2014

I got a very affectionate email from

Allen Smith

(click on his name to go to his journal and photos)


and Lois, and we fixed up to meet in Tower Grove Park, which I have long wanted to visit as a birder. This time, armed with my trusty Metrolink monthly pass, I figured out a route (and Allen gave me a good alternative one), and we met up, as planned.

While waiting for them to drive in from Bridgeton, I was clicking a lot of interesting things that caught my eye. Some pavilions at the Park:


The Palm House:


The Kyrle Boldt memorial fountain:


A tiny rainbow that was as beautiful as its big cousin in the sky:


A baby



Some late-blooming Irises:


The beauty of Foxtail Grass against the stone:


This artistic arrangment of mushrooms and leaves (done by Nature):


A tiny grasshopper:


A tinier fly:


Sometimes berries hide a common friend, such as this



Even dead leaves are grist to my mill:



Al and Lois introduced me to some of the hotspots in Tower Grove Park. We started with the

Gaddy Garden



We entered the wooded area to quite a cacaphony of bird calls, and I could not help remembering how Bob Bailey, Mitch Leachman and others who regularly come to guide newbies on the first Saturday bird walks at Forest Park, identified so many birds just by ear. There were a lot of warblers and thrushes; but looking right up the trees into the sky was not a great way to id them, and I must say, I couldn’t tell them apart at all. Al told me about the occasion when they sighted a rare Connecticut Warbler there, and showed some lovely pictures and a video of its behaviour, too.

As we entered the path, I found that the berries on this plant seem to be bird-magnets:


I got a beautiully-plumaged


in the berries:


This Robin seems to be a juvenile who hasn’t grown his feathers yet (or else the salon visit didn’t go too well):


We waited for a while at the Bubbler, which, according to Al, was very low on water this time. We saw quite a few birds, but they were high up in the foliage, making for Pain-in-the-Neck birding! And they were so elusive that they were all Binocular Birds, not Camera Birds. It was lovely to see a bench provided there, where Al and Lois posed for me:


It had this memorial plaque:


I only managed to click this bird, which Devin Peipert id’s as a Nashville Warbler:


The warbler made the CBPDMP (Classic Bird Pose for Deepa Mohan ):


At the pool, I spotted this


lifting its head up to the light:



The turtle and the


made a nice sight together at the Bubbler:


However, on our second round into the path, I did manage to get this beautiful little




As a great finale, a


flwe in and settled down on a tall tree, and later soared in majestic circles, looking for food.


A passerby with colourful fall leaves in his hat shared our sighting of the beautiful Hawk.


As we walked near the Cypress Circle on Main Drive, Lois spotted this



The Woodland Pool in memory of Jack Van Benthuysen on the north side of Main Drive at the east end gave me this


on a Victoria Lily leaf:


Lois says she’s “not a birder”, but her spotting skills seemed pretty remarkable to me, especially when many of the birds I thought I was spotting turned out to be “fall”ing leaves!

It was very helpful, indeed, of both of them, to take the time and trouble to show me some of the birding spots in the Park; I hope to go there again soon!

I make this post with “everything including the birds” as Al seems to be a nature-lover after my own heart…he loves seeing anything and everything that Nature can provide, and enjoys it all.

I’ve put up photos on my FB album


Al and Lois….thank you “berry” much for a very enjoyable time!


Meanwhile, I find wheels….230614

June 24, 2014

Yes, I know I have plenty of Linkoping posts to catch up on, but a couple of days ago, PC and I had been to “Biltema”, where he buys a lot of cycle stuff. I’d looked at a folding bike (with longing) and at the price tag (with revulsion…at 2190 SEK, the revulsion was strong!)

Yesterday evening, PC came back and said, “We are going to Marvin’s place to buy his folding bike for you!”

It appears that Marvin, a colleague and friend of PC’s, is no longer able to cycle due to health issues. He is a dimunitive Indonesian, and so we went off to his place, hoping that the price tag would not be too high.

I fell in love with the cycle (I really don’t cycle long distances, so I don’t need a geared bike; with my fear of falling, often justified, I need a cycle where the saddle is low to the ground.) and PC pumped up the tyres for me, and I did a few rounds with a very gleeful expression on my face, thinking to myself, “Now don’t grin like an ape, the price will go UP!” but quite, quite unable to stop doing so.

And my grin nearly met at the back of my head when PC told me that Marvin was quite keen to LEND me the bike, instead of selling it to me. I very nearly hugged and kissed the poor guy, and only stopped myself from doing so at the thought of the heart attack he might have.

PC got this picture of me on the cycle:


We came home, and PC has lent me one of his three helmets, and excuse me, I am off to Roxen Lake now! I’ll get another pic of me with the helmet, all right and proper, this evening, when PC gets back from work.

Sweden is a DREAM for cyclists, with its dedicated cycle paths, perfect weather at this time of year, and wonderful green areas to cycle through. OOOOOH, how did I get so lucky! Thank you, Prashanth !

Update: now you can see me APH…All Properly Helmeted!


Alas, this morning, the vertigo that I suffer from (and which has attacked after a long gap) resulted in a fall, and cycling is off for at least a day or two….

Dancing in the park, 200314

April 4, 2014

There is a park close to KM’s apartment where children are charged Rs.5 each for entry (adults get in free)..this goes, I think, towards maintenance of the playground equipment. At one edge of the small park is a stage, and children can dance to the music. Both the Boodi and the Booda had a great time there, in spite of recurrent fever and fretfulness.

Trust is a matter of learning to fall into one’s grandfather’s arms.


Here are The Boods, enjoying themselves….







Though the visit was full of fever,work, and was not relaxed, we still had some wonderful moments…and I miss them so!

Brother’s bucket bath!

February 19, 2014

I’d posted


about KTB’s (and other creatures’) baths….here’s KTB’s brother, The Booda, having HIS bath!

aboodabktbth 080214

Children and water are always affinities…

What do you do if you’re four years old, and go to the Seal/Sea Lion show at the St.Louis Zoo?

October 12, 2013

It’s not given to everyone to watch the Sea Lion show sitting on their 91-year-old great grandmother’s lap!


You admire the whiskers:


You also take a little time to explore the railings:


You wonder when the show will start:


You watch the trainers take the stage:


You watch the seal sliding down the chute:


You wonder at its ability to balance that ball so perfectly:


You watch Mark, who’s volunteered, as he interacts with the pinniped:


You love the smile on his face:


You wonder if you would like fish as much as these creatures do…


You are stunned to silence when the Sea Lion arrives:


You watch a little more:

You go down to the water’s edge with your Amma and Nana, to get up close and personal with these creatures of the sea:



You go out to enjoy the rest of the Zoo, talking excitedly about the Sea Lion show!

Dil hoom hoom karey, from Rudaali

September 11, 2013

This youtube video has the words and a good translation, too. What lovely music…and true to his name, Bhupen (Hazarika) has set the song to Bhup (or Bhupali) raag…

The Wabash Railroad, Wildwood, Mo, 040813

August 5, 2013

We heard about the


Wabash Railroad

and decided that we’d go for the ride on Sunday.


We found that it was a tiny railroad, with engines built to scale:

DSC05361 train 040813 wabash


Here’s a video of a t rain leaving:

DS cycled up and back, a matter of about 60 miles! This left a seat free in the car for our friend Karthik O.

Here’s the family:


Here’s the yard:


This notice on the water tower was hilarious…”not for human consumption”…but apparently, the trainmaster is not considered human!


We went chugging past the limestone bluffs of the area:


The tracks crisscrossed many walking and cycling trails. I loved this tandem bike with a provision for a young child!


Here’s another locomotive, built to scale:


There were lots of volunteers to man the railroad, here’s one being the guardsman:


We were thrilled that the train ran through Mohan, Missouri!


A filming crew was at work, and our train ride took a long time as we were held up.


Mother and daughter whiled away the time:


Here’s the video!

It’s not a loop, so the train had to go to the end point, have the engine de-coupled and reconnected, and then we were brought back:


Here’s a ticket:


Here’s a ticket-holder:

DSC05434 2 040813 wabash


The woodland was lovely:


At the departure point, engines use the turntable:

DSC05376 wabash rly 040813

DSC05371 eng trntble  wabash rly 040813

Here are the rules:

DSC05375 rules  wabash rly 040813

FB album

click here

Views of Alton and Grafton, Illinois, 270713

August 1, 2013

After we were done at the Lewis and Clark State Historical Site, looking at the old boat and the settler’s houses, we went to Alton:

DSC04454 alton sign  alton 270713


Clark Bridge

with its distinctive, floating-in-the-air look, is one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve seen:

DSC04564 light brdg  270713

We also cross the Missouri river, over another, more conventional bridge:

DSC04571 brdg over mspi 270713

The road to Alton, along the right bank of the Mississippi river, has limestone cliffs:

DSC04465 road to  alton 270713

As one enters Alton, this beautiful mural greets one:

DSC04457 mural  alton 270713

The distinctive quarry is another landmark:

DSC04462 quarry  alton 270713

An old-style paddleboat, which now houses a casino, looks colourful:

DSC04461 argosy  alton 270713

The lighthouse in Grafton is very pretty…

DSC04499 2 lighths and wdn bt  alton 270713

This wooden boat takes visitors for rides:

DSC04498 wdn bt  alton 270713

The windows and wall of this house caught my attention:

DSC04500 windows  alton 270713

There’s no doubt about the food served here:

DSC04509 fish bldg  alton 270713

We went down to the Grafton Ferry:

DSC04507 grafton fry  alton 270713

The buildings on the riverbank are very pretty:

DSC04494 bldgs  alton 270713

DSC04463 street  alton 270713

Sailboats on the river enjoy the beautiful weather:

DSC04560 misspi alton 270713

However, a surprising number stay moored in the marina:

DSC04526 marina  alton 270713

Light aircraft take up people for joyrides:

DSC04541 plane  270713

There are kayaks for hire…

DSC04538 kayaks  alton 270713

They go past interesting-looking clouds like these…

DSC04844 clouds 280713 Rckwds reservation

Hope you enjoyed the visit down to Alton and Grafton!

Names, knowledge, and elitism

June 5, 2013

I tend to notice an elitism about Knowing Names. I start out by looking at a beautiful bird, or a pretty butterfly, or a lovely tree. I then look up to the person who confidently identifies it for me. A Bulbul! I am thrilled that I have this knowledge.

red-whiskered bulbul vs 100710 photo IMG_6372.jpg

Then, of course, I go on the next birding trip, and realize that “Bulbul” is not enough. Another expert informs me that it is the Red-whiskered Bulbul. I file this name away in my (admittedly leaky) memory.

After this, over several birding outings, I see many other kinds of Bulbul. The White-browed, the Red-vented, the Yellow-throated, the Ruby-throated…and so the list goes. I now go all scientific. I no longer refer to a Bulbul. I say, with hauteur, to the person next to me, who’s come his or her first birding trip: “Oh, yes, that’s a very common bird!”(It’s always important to beat the newbie down from the joy of enjoying the beauty of a bird by emphasizing that it’s a Very Common Bird.)”It’s the…Pycnonotus jocosus,” I add (if I remember the name…the experts do remember, of course, and add it, cutting my ego down to size every time.) For some reason, just saying “Pycnonotus jocosus” impresses the bejeesus out of the newbies. I am now an Experienced Birder (no matter that I may not know the name, let alone the scientific one, of the next bird we spot!). Should I not have added to the joy of the birder’s thrill by agreeing that it’s a beautiful bird, and letting him find out, later, that it is a “common” bird? Oh, no…I have to rain on his parade with my “knowledge”!

I now always go on about how the scientific names are the only correct way of identifying the bird. “Scientific names are full of knowledge,” I say glibly, and take the example of another bird, where the Latin name is easily translatable…and apt. I never refer to the “Pycnonotus jocosus” which I myself have trouble remembering. Nor do I take the example of scientific names which are downright esoteric, or unfathomable. My eager listeners hang on my every (learned) word.

This kind of “I know more than you” games are not restricted to birding…indeed, every form of human endeavour and knowlege has the Gods of the Id, who can Recite The Names and Spout The Jargon better than others, and are, therefore, reckoned to be The Experts. The person in the seat next to me in the Carnatic music concert is, in utterly blissful ignorance, enjoying the melody of what he is hearing. But I won’t let him in peace. To his happy question, “Isn’t it beautiful?” I don’t merely nod….I respond, “Oh, yes, Podalangapriya is such a rare but beautiful ragam! I remember, in 1905, Mahakrishnapuram Rama Iyengar sang an RTP (such is the erudite way of referring to Ragam, Thaanam, Pallavi) in this ragam, set to khanda triputa taalam!” The poor neighbour retires in abashed awe.

I don’t dispute that scientific names, and precise id’s are required. But they are not required by everyone. My “ignorant” neighbour in the concert is enjoying the music as much as I fact, probably more than I am, as I try to resolve in my own mind whether the ragam is, indeed, Podalangapriya, or its relative in the same Melakarta, Kathrikeswari. If I want to make a study of the science underlying what I enjoy, that’s fine. But let it not be touted as a superior achievement, to be aspired to by one and all.


is a photograph, with Adesh’s view of scientific names, and my response to him.

Going by train….

December 12, 2012

I am still young-at-heart enough (or foolish enough) to love a train journey.


I love going over river bridges (this one is on the Godavari)

281112 godavar

I love stopping at stations…


I enjoy looking at old stuff that’s still in use…


The design of new stuff:

design of seat 281112

I like speculating on the lives around the tracks…

281112 woman on trcks

I still am thrilled when the train curves on the track, and look backwards and forwards at the other coaches:


281112 train

I like passing by temples lit up in the evening


And the twilight…

dusk 281112

From October 23, when I became 58 years old, I have got a 50% off on tickets…and that’s a great boon for me!

Coming on a train journey with me? I’ll be only too happy to take you along!