The Serapeum of Saqqara — MKW Explores Ancient Places

This is an in-depth look at the extraordinary Serapeum in Saqqara in Egypt. Situated close to the step pyramid in Saqqara and discovered by the french egyptologist Auguste Mariette in 1850. After using dynamite to access the underground labyrinth of tunnels, twenty five precision cut huge granite boxes were discovered. Apparently only one of these […]

via The Serapeum of Saqqara — MKW Explores Ancient Places

Rat Skeleton

I used to collect dead things. I had a small clear cassette box and kept things in there. Its not as bad as it sounds, there was a butterfly that had unfortunately not made it out of the house. Part of a snake skin, a dead bug, and strangely a piece a broken glass – but only because it was quite artistic I remember. That collection has now long since gone, but if I pass something these days, I stop for a moment. To look and think.

This picture was taken in Spain, while out on a walk. This was in a wall, in a gap in the bricks. Of course I had to take it out and photograph it, I have never seen a rat skeleton before and found it fascinating. I left it in a small grassy area with some flowers hiding it, having only taken a few photos. 

Rat Skelton#1

I could see my husband wasn’t entirely comfortable with me doing this type of photo shoot with holiday makers walking around. But it always feels a bit special to be able to see what has once been, but in the next stage. I guess this is why I like archaeology so much, especially when they find graves. Because without adding any fantasy or make believe to who, how or why – you are looking at someone who once lived. That bit of evidence is undeniable.

(c) K Wicks photographer

Orchids

A flower I adore, detailed, elegant and loads of different varieties. It’s no surprise to me, my Grandmother had them around her house, but it wasn’t until I took up photography that they became a firm favourite. Turns out though, I am the kiss of death for them when trying to care for them. I am not a natural gardener but enjoy it thoroughly, house plants have a slim chance of overall survival. So I now have a spider plant and one small ficus tree. I remember we had them in my house growing up and they seemed to do well. We had a yukka too, couldn’t get one of those though as my dog has a knack for digging up plants when I am not looking!

But as well as having orchids here and there I also got to see lots in an Orchid house in Florida years ago (the first two pics).

Orchid House, Florida
Orchid House, Florida

Since the garden centers closed and lockdown made everything weird, I don’t purchase things like this anymore as I like to see and make a choice on the spot. So will just enjoy previous pictures I have of them for now.

Home orchid
Home orchid

They are such wonderfully structures plants, I can’t help but be in awe of nature when I look at them.

Home orchid

I also found some wild orchids out walking in Spain which I will do a separate post for as they are quite different to the ornamental ones. I have seen wild orchids in the UK as well but don’t think I have any photos of them.

Home Orchid

(c) K Wicks

Banyan Tree – Fort Myers

This rather strange tree is called a Banyan. A type of fig tree, the seeds invade an established tree and take over the host leading to its demise. Also giving it its other name of the strangler fig. A tree for a horror story if ever there was one! Originally found in the Indian Subcontinent, this one (planted in 1920’s) is at Edison Park, Fort Myers, Florida.

Banyan Tree 1

I was there with my grandparents back in 2006 who had taken to spending six months of the year there when the winter weather moved in here. And this one was of the excursions they had planned. The botanical gardens were great, and I think we went into the winter lab but to be honest, the tree was the most impressive part.

Banyan Tree 2

It’s all one tree, that just keeps dropping more roots and creating more seeds to spread elsewhere if it can. Seems very parasitic for a tree. But then that’s nature for you.

Banyan Tree 3

It definitely goes down as one of the impressive bits of nature I have seen. Not the best – that still stands with the giant redwoods in Yosemite Park, California that I saw back in 1991. That really was something special.

Me with Thomas Edison

(c) K Wicks

There is something…(poetry)

This is something

I cannot stress

Enough to you

And must impress

The seriousness

Of where we are

It’s happening

Gone way too far

But now it’s in motion

The wheels are set

What they want

Is a growing threat

In people’s minds

And what they say

Fear and compliance

It seems their way

Which brings a sadness

And is such a shame

But you must understand

This isn’t a game

This is your life

Rhyme and Reason

(c) K Wicks

Salisbury Cathedral

There is something about the architecture of cathedrals and churches that I love. And even though they can look incredibly gothic as they are, when I take photos of them, sometimes it just isn’t gothic enough. So I tinker with it…

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Spanish Bee-eater

One of the most colourful birds I have seen in the wild is this one, the Spanish bee-eater. Only managed to get a few shots and didn’t want to try and get too much closer in case I scared him away before I got any. I have a knack of disturbing the wildlife I am trying to capture!

He only hung around for a few minutes then was off on his travels again but a real treat to have drop into the garden!

(c) K Wicks

Never before… (poetry)

Never before

Did I see

That all of us

Collectively

Have been held down

Our lives disrupted

By the powers that be

Who are corrupted

It’s not for our safety

Or our health

But just to add

A little more wealth

To their growing

Money pot

Stripping the rest

They want the lot

By taking down

The average folk

I guess to them

We’re just a joke

For wanting a life

And security

To them we’re just

Opportunity

To offer us more debt…

Rhyme and Reason

(c) K Wicks

Kalanchoe yellow and Mother Holle

I love this photo I took of a yellow Kalanchoe. Because strangely it reminds me of an old fairytale I read as a child. The tale of Mother Holle, of the Brothers Grimm (story below). The moral of this tale being that hard work and a good attitude will be rewarded. Doesn’t always work out like that, but I tried to think it might be the case when I was young.

But the gold look of the flowers made me think…

Yellow Kalanchoe

(c) K Wicks

Here is the fairytale if you are unfamiliar with it.

Mother Holle by the Brothers Grimm

“There was once a widow who had two daughters—one of whom was pretty and industrious, while the other was ugly and idle. But she was much fonder of the ugly and idle one, because she was her own daughter; and the other, who was a step-daughter, was obliged to do all the work, and be the Cinderella of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a well, in the highway, and spin and spin till her fingers bled.

Now it happened that one day the shuttle was marked with her blood, so she dipped it in the well, to wash the mark off; but it dropped out of her hand and fell to the bottom. She began to weep, and ran to her step-mother and told of the mishap. But she scolded her sharply, and was so merciless as to say, “Since you have let the shuttle fall in, you must fetch it out again.”

So the girl went back to the well, and did not know what to do; and in the sorrow of her heart she jumped into the well to get the shuttle. She lost her senses; and when she awoke and came to herself again, she was in a lovely meadow where the sun was shining and many thousands of flowers were growing. Along this meadow she went, and at last came to a baker’s oven full of bread, and the bread cried out, “Oh, take me out! take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long time!” So she went up to it, and took out all the loaves one after another with the bread-shovel. After that she went on till she came to a tree covered with apples, which called out to her, “Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples are all ripe!” So she shook the tree till the apples fell like rain, and went on shaking till they were all down, and when she had gathered them into a heap, she went on her way.

At last she came to a little house, out of which an old woman peeped; but she had such large teeth that the girl was frightened, and was about to run away.

But the old woman called out to her, “What are you afraid of, dear child? Stay with me; if you will do all the work in the house properly, you shall be the better for it. Only you must take care to make my bed well, and to shake it thoroughly till the feathers fly—for then there is snow on the earth. I am Mother Holle.”

As the old woman spoke so kindly to her, the girl took courage and agreed to enter her service. She attended to everything to the satisfaction of her mistress, and always shook her bed so vigorously that the feathers flew about like snow-flakes. So she had a pleasant life with her; never an angry word; and boiled or roast meat every day.

She stayed some time with Mother Holle, and then she became sad. At first she did not know what was the matter with her, but found at length that it was homesickness; although she was many times better off here than at home, still she had a longing to be there. At last she said to the old woman, “I have a longing for home; and however well off I am down here, I cannot stay any longer; I must go up again to my own people.” Mother Holle said, “I am pleased that you long for your home again, and as you have served me so truly, I myself will take you up again.” Thereupon she took her by the hand, and led her to a large door. The door was opened, and just as the maiden was standing beneath the doorway, a heavy shower of golden rain fell, and all the gold remained sticking to her, so that she was completely covered with it.

“You shall have that because you are so industrious,” said Mother Holle; and at the same time she gave her back the shuttle which she had let fall into the well. Thereupon the door closed, and the maiden found herself up above upon the earth, not far from her mother’s house.

And as she went into the yard the cock cried: “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your golden girl’s come back to you!”

So she went in to her mother, and as she arrived thus covered with gold, she was well received, both by her and her sister.

The girl told all that had happened to her; and as soon as the mother heard how she had come by so much wealth, she was very anxious to obtain the same good luck for the ugly and lazy daughter. She had to seat herself by the well and spin; and in order that her shuttle might be stained with blood, she stuck her hand into a thorn-bush and pricked her finger. Then she threw her shuttle into the well, and jumped in after it.

She came, like the other, to the beautiful meadow and walked along the very same path. When she got to the oven the bread again cried, “Oh, take me out! take me out! or I shall burn; I have been baked a long time!” But the lazy thing answered, “As if I had any wish to make myself dirty!” and on she went. Soon she came to the apple-tree, which cried, “Oh, shake me! shake me! we apples are all ripe!” But she answered, “I like that! one of you might fall on my head,” and so went on.

When she came to Mother Holle’s house she was not afraid, for she had already heard of her big teeth, and she hired herself to her immediately.

The first day she forced herself to work diligently, and obeyed Mother Holle when she told her to do anything, for she was thinking of all the gold that she would give her. But on the second day she began to be lazy, and on the third day still more so, and then she would not get up in the morning at all. Neither did she make Mother Holle’s bed as she ought, and did not shake it so as to make the feathers fly up. Mother Holle was soon tired of this, and gave her notice to leave. The lazy girl was willing enough to go, and thought that now the golden rain would come. Mother Holle led her, too, to the great door; but while she was standing beneath it, instead of the gold a big kettleful of pitch was emptied over her. “That is the reward of your service,” said Mother Holle, and shut the door.

So the lazy girl went home; but she was quite covered with pitch, and the cock by the well-side, as soon as he saw her, cried: “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Your pitchy girl’s come back to you.” But the pitch stuck fast to her, and could not be got off as long as she lived.”