Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Thing in the Woods... cont'd

I went back in broad daylight curious to find out more about the thing in the woods. It was clear that someone had visited the site, as the twigs I'd carefully laid down were trodden and broken. The camouflaged log thing had been stood upright against a tree trunk. Eager to know more, I once again lifted the hatch, this time from the other side. After a bit of firking about I felt something further down in the hole, I pulled it up. It was a laminated label. "ECO-VIEWER MK3 RECEIVER AND DIGITAL RECORDER"
So it is a covert camera system.
On studying the now upright camo' log, the lens was obvious. Last time I visited it was slumped up against the tree, the lens hidden by the trunk. It must have fallen out of position and the operator has been back to rectify it. Not wanting to appear on CCTV I had to bend over backwards in a comical ballet position in order to take the somewhat blurry photo. Lets hope that there is only one hidden camera or else there is some great footage of me making a pleb out of myself!

It seems likely that this is a covert camera system left by the council in order to catch fly-tippers. I'm no fan of CCTV, and to find out that even in the countryside where I thought I was safe from prying eyes, I am still been spied upon, frankly pisses me off. People (if you can call them that) that dump crap in the countryside (or anywhere) piss me off even more, so I will tolerate this little intrusion.
From the looks of the case etc, I reckon this system is similar to the one below.

I don't suppose that these systems come cheap, and apparently the council have had a few of these stolen (Hint... hide it better, and/or lock it to a tree?) ... Not by me of course, what possible use or adventures would I find for one of these?!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Thing in the Woods...

It is a wood I know well, out in the countryside, not particularly near anywhere. Something was different. A branch out of place. Foliage that did not belong. A footprint where there shouldn't be. A tweak in the wire of the fence.
I looked closer and saw this. At first I thought it was a homeless persons stash.

A closer inspection revealed a wire, disguised with camouflaged tape. The wire led down into the leaf cover.

I followed the wire through the leaf litter along the floor of the woods...

It disappeared into what looked like a hatch.

I cleared away a little of the debris, and tentatively peeked under the edge.

Carefully I lifted up the lid. Beneath was a Peli case and two large camouflaged battereis.

I didn't attempt to open the case. I don't know what this equipment does. Maybe it's some sort of E.T. contraption 'phoning home'... (I didn't see any BMX tracks). Someone has gone to a lot of effort to conceal it. I reckon that it's got to be some sort of surveillance apparatus. The local council use spy tactics to catch people illegally dumping, and there was that incident where a postal van was set on fire here after a raid with the driver still tied up inside (he got out luckily), so it could be the police. I couldn't find any sort of a camera attached. I suppose there could be a remote camera. It's mystery, and that's why I'm going back tonight. I'll be sure to take a scanner to try and find a signal of any kind, as well as a video camera to pick up any infra red from a low light camera...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Don't bee silly...

One of the little guys has been a bit silly. It's a steep learning curve when you're young, trying to figure out what's good to eat and what's not. This weeks lesson... don't eat bees!
Although he's got a bit of a lump, it certainly doesn't stop him from enjoying a more palatable meal. I know that the rabbit is in a Sainsburys bag, but sorry to disappoint you, they haven't extended their 'Taste the Difference' range. For those of you that like to store their rabbits under a wiper blade for safe transportation, it is always prudent to remember not to operate said wiper. You may be surprised at just how high you can throw a rabbit simply by switching on your wipers at 60mph...

Monday, 10 August 2009

How to eat Snails...

Like unruly youths, the fox cubs are hanging out in the street looking for mischief.

Ears tipped forward like radar dishes, anything that crosses their path is scrutinised for food potential.

Doesn't matter what it is... moths, beetles, worms, spiders. They even eye up the Tawny Owl that sits on the top of the telegraph pole. There is a strange combination of rivalry and mutual curiosity.

Occasionally there is a treat, but mostly we go off foraging.

Snails taste nice, and are easy to catch but getting them out of their shells is proving a difficult skill to teach.... "OK, I'll show you how to do it ONE more time. Crunch it lightly with your teeth, roll it around with your paw like this to take off the sharp bits and voila! Yummy snail meat."

"No, no,no. Don't just bring me another one. YOU'VE got to do them!..."

Although they know that cars on the road are dangerous, and run away and hide when they approach, they've decided that my car while parked is really interesting.

There's chewy bits...

... and that funny 'mouse hole' thing at the back. It smells odd, and you can stick your paw down as far as you like, and you still can't reach the end...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The ups and downs of the caped crusader...

It wasn't sunny by a long shot, but at least it wasn't raining. It's been a crap summer AGAIN. You just don't know what to expect when you go out. You may start the day in a T-shirt, find yourself battling a storm by lunchtime, and then sweltering in tropical humidity all afternoon.
Anyway, the environment had stabilised sufficiently to risk going out for a walk. I headed off north west to the hill known as The Wrekin. I decided to give the easy path to the summit a miss and elected to take a more direct route straight up the steep section through the woods. The gravity was particularly strong that day (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it), and a 12kg rucksack packed to cope with every eventuality probably didn't help, but I found it hard going.
By the time I'd reached the top, I was completely knackered. I lay motionless on the rocks until I'd recovered, only to realise that the resident crows had gathered around me, hoping that I'd died and they were in for a mighty meal. Not wanting to disappoint them I shared some of my picnic. They repaid me with some ariel acrobatics, soaring and skiffling in the increasing wind.
A Peregrine Falcon put in a brief appearance, but not for long enough for me to grab a photo. I've never seen a bird move so fast, pull such G's, or dive in such a death defying way... incredible.

Much recovered, I donned my picnic blanket as a cape (capes are making a comeback) and strode off against the now gale force winds.

The path of choice was steep and direct, and I soon found myself at the bottom. I stood up and made my way back to the car.

Exploring some twisting country lanes, I came across the towns of Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge. This area is known as the birthplace of the 'Industrial Revolution'.

The whole area is bathed in history. Everywhere you look there is some legacy of invention. The famous bridge built over the River Severn (completed in 1781) was designed by Abraham Darby III. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron, a material which was previously far too expensive to use for large structures. The Darby family developed advances in smelting that allowed cheaper and higher quality casting as demonstrated by the amazing way this bridge is slotted together using mortise and tenon, and dovetail joints.

These new smelting and casting processes allowed almost anything to be produced and led the way for machines to move forward, and outwards across the world.
You realise how dedicated the town was to this newly invented industry when you see that even the kerb stones were made of metal.
I clambered into my new fangled metal perambulation engine, and headed for home...