Octopus - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Tentacles

As a child I never understood why people said an octopus had tentacles. Surely they’re octacles? An octopus’s tentacles are multi-function. Just imagine having something you can eat, move, hunt, taste and mate with. No, perhaps best not to imagine it. The fish market in Venice has a fabulous array …

Trilobite - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Trilobite con pista

‘Trilobite con pista’, it says. No, it’s not an item on the Italian menu in the restaurant at lunch time, but the …

Peter Tatchell - tranimals

Gay Times introduces: Tranimals!

You may know Peter Tatchell best for his views on reducing the age of consent and on sexual relationships with children. He’s …

Scala Contarini del Bovolo - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Six floors, eighty steps, 28 metres and €9. That’s the spiral staircase named after snails, ‘del Bovolo’, in Venice. The Palazzo was …

Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The gondoliers

Gondoliers in Venice appear to earn a top salary of €100,000. For that I’d expect some adherence to uniform standards. We saw …

Fossil ferns and horsetails - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Fossil ferns and horsetails

I’m astonished every time I see detail in fossils. Their age, the heat and the pressure they have been subjected to, and …

Venice trophy room - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The trophy room

A visit to the natural history museum in Venice can be a bit of a shock for those unprepared for a full-on …

Venice Bridge of Sighs - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Bridge of Sightseers

A tale of two bridges. One is the Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, built in 1600. It’s the bridge between …

Venice gondolas - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pink lamps

It’s a foggy early morning in Venezia and the low cloud gives an eerie feel to the place as we wander around …

Venice Mermaid - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Chimera

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without at least two hours visiting the Museo de la historia naturale. As well as dinosaur …

Venice gondolas - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Asymmetric Gondolas

On a recent trip to Venezia (Venice) I was fascinated to see that gondolas lean. They all have one side much larger …

Paul Nash - Totes Meer

Totes Meer – by Paul Nash

Seeing an original Paul Nash painting is always a revelation. His Totes Meer is a wonderful moonlit seascape of ruined German planes. …

Marsh Harrier - the Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

A Marsh Harrier on the marsh

A trip in dull weather with Birds of Poole Harbour gave me the chance to see a very distant Marsh Harrier while …

Herring Gull - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The chase

Herring Gulls love a good chase. If there’s a chance of kleptoparasitism, they’ll take it. This one seems to have been just …

Kew Gardens - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Cycad

There’s a Cycad in Kew. I love them. Just like conifers and the Gingko tree, Cycads are gymnosperms, which means their unfertilised …

Siskin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Siskins in Alder

They’re noisy, tiny, green and yellow, and at the top of a tree. The Siskins, Carduelis spinus, are here. There’s a large …

Kew Gardens - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Tipitiwitchet

The Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is a fascinating plant. I’ve kept one as a pot plant in the past, but was excited to …

Marsh Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Marsh Harrier over the reeds

A highlight of my trips to RSPB Lodmoor is the sight of Marsh Harriers flying over the reeds. Their languid flight, interspersed …

Northern Shoveler - The Hall of Einar - (c) David Bailey (not the)

Three Shovels

I was attempting to get my ducks in a row at RSPB Ham Wall as these Northern Shovelers had an energetic flypast. …

Robin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Robert

The white spot in the centre of the Robin’s breast is so intense, it’s often blown-out in photographs. If it’s brightly lit, …

Goldfinch - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Tinkling in the trees

There’s a tinkling I recognise in the trees. I see it as it flies down to a barbed wire fence. It’s a …

Treecreeper - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Treecreeper

There’s a small brown object in the distance doing what Treecreepers do. It’s too far away for me to see any details, …

Siskin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Twittering Siskins

The trees surrounding us are full of noise. At first we can’t see what’s making the high-pitched sound, but we persist. High …

Mallard Duck - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Quackers

I spot a group of Mallard Ducks taking off from the water at RSPB Radipole. They’re a hundred metres away, but it’s …

Chiffchaff - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Chiffing and chaffing

A trip to RSPB Lodmoor in Weymouth revealed scrubby field edges, hedgerows and brambles full of Chiffchaffs. They were active in the …

Redwing - the Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Redwing

I love to see winter Thrushes in the UK. They seem so wild and unrestrained and when I see them I feel …

Sidmouth - the Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Deadwood

There’s a beautiful piece of driftwood on the beach at Sidmouth. It’s the sort of thing which would become an essential structural …