Is this a worm or a fungus – in Sydney, Australia

The TC (my Travelling Companion) spotted this weird and wonderful creature on the Wild Flower Walk at Manly Dam Reserve near Sydney, Australia. We’re intrigued. Is it a worm, or some type of fungus, or something else entirely?

It’s quite long, perhaps 10 to 12 centimetres – compare it with the gum tree leaves also visible in the photo. It’s red with pale cream extrusions at the edges. It’s attached to the vertical face of a step. It didn’t move, even when the TC prodded it gently with a stick.

At first the TC thought it was a fungus. But looking more closely at the photos, we’re leaning towards some kind of worm.

Worm or fungus?

Here is is again, from a slightly different angle. You can probably enlarge the image by clicking it, or by right-clicking and opening the image in the browser.

Worm or fungus?

If you have any ideas about what it may be, please add a comment to this post!

 

Published in: on 30 June 2014 at 5:11 pm  Comments (2)  
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Las Vegas glam, dollars and celebs

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Sin City, otherwise known as Las Vegas. It’s a place of parties, winners, and losers, all a-glimmer and a-shimmer under the desert sun of Nevada, USA. The TC tried her hand in Caesar’s Palace Casino and made the grand winning of $93.40. She declared herself well satisfied and left it at that.

My impressions? In the desert did we a pleasure strip decree.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. Yes, still the same book. Travelling is a time-consuming occupation.

Recommended restaurant

La Salsa Cantina, in the Forum Shops mall on the Las Vegas Strip. Good, simple food served with experience and a smile.

Travel tip

Las Vegas is hot during the day, even in spring time.

The photos

Me on the Las Vegas Strip:

Winning in Las Vegas

“Caverns measureless to man” inside the Forum Shops mall:

Winning in Las Vegas

The grand edifice of Caesar’s Palace, just one of many casinos on the Strip:

Winning in Las Vegas

Inside, pleasure domes…

Winning in Las Vegas

… and miracles of rare device:

Winning in Las Vegas

The gambling halls, where serious money changes hands:

Winning in Las Vegas

Back outside, we encountered stretch limos, palm trees and high fashion:

Winning in Las Vegas

Where else in the world will you find Venice and ancient Rome on the same street?

Winning in Las Vegas

Not everything glitters and gleams in Las Vegas. The view from our hotel window was a bit dreary by day:

Winning in Las Vegas

Add a touch of shadow and some razzle dazzle and it’s pretty by night:

Winning in Las Vegas

Drop in on the Eiffel Tower amidst the palm trees:

Winning in Las Vegas

With a bow to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and courtesy of the Bellagio Hotel:

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced

A few people heard that yours truly (Mark Wordsworm, Travelling Worm) was in town, and so I was in high demand for photo ops. Johnny was slightly nervous but delighted when I found the time for this shot:

Winning in Las Vegas

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 26 May 2014 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Route 66, Arizona, USA

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Yesterday me and the TC rode part of the historic Route 66 in Arizona, USA. En route from Flagstaff to Las Vegas, we took exit 121 from Interstate 40 and followed Route 66 all the way to Kingman.

My impressions? Tumble weed, tricycles, wide open skies.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. I haven’t moved much (in the book, that is) since yesterday. Too busy keeping the TC company on her travels.

Travel tip

Take the time to visit the bits of nostalgia positioned along the road for your enjoyment.

The photos

Me on Route 66:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Our vehicle of choice is a Mustang convertible. A fitting ride for this route. Here it is, with a train passing behind:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

“Kickin it on 66 at Mikes outpost saloon”:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Sharing the road with tricycles:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

A back yard with a view:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

Me enjoying the ride:

Route 66, Arizona, USA

See y’all later!

Route 66, Arizona, USA

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 26 May 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are spending a few days in Arizona, USA. We started in the capital, Phoenix, then drove to the Grand Canyon via Sedona and Flagstaff. The roads are good, the views are grand. Names like “Dead Horse Ranch Road” and “Bloody Basin Road” reminded us that travel wasn’t always as easy as it is now.

My impressions? Open skies, friendly people.

The book I’m in

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. Fast action, intrigue, suspense.

Recommended accommodation

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff. Space and comfort.

Recommended restaurant

Diablo Burger in Flagstaff. Good food, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Travel tip

Pack layers of clothing for travel in Arizona. The temperature in Phoenix was 40° Centrigrade (over 100° F). In Flagstaff, just two hours’ drive away, it was 18° C (64° F) and dropped to 9° C (48° F) at night.

The photos

Me at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

This worm does confess to a bit of nervousness when my Travelling Companion, the redoubtable TC, propped me in position for the above shot. There was a bit of a drop behind me. The wind was a trifle gusty, and I not so gutsy.

This storm cloud moved in a few minutes later:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Two more intrepid souls:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Is it possible that this streamlet dug the mighty canyon?

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

This little lady was squirreling around the edges of the canyon, storing food for the babes in her tum:

Arizona skies:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Drifting rain:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

Delicate cactus hues:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

All shapes and sizes:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

A tiny ground squirrel living under a cactus:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

When positioning me in this pose, the TC discovered that prickly pears are aptly named:

Grand Canyon, cactus, and Arizona skies

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 25 May 2014 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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A line of Processionary Caterpillars in Sydney, Australia

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

A line of caterpillars, following each other nose to tail – have you ever seen the like? These Processionary Caterpillars were on their way to find food one morning when the TC spotted them. She seemed especially delighted that they numbered 42. We worms are wondrous folk.

The caterpillars are the larvae of the Bag-Shelter Moth, so called because they build themselves a little bag of silk to hide in. Their scientific name is Ochrogaster lunifer. The little hairs on the caterpillars can cause skin irritation, so be wary of getting too close.

A line of Processionary Caterpillars seen from afar:

Caterpillars-in-Line-ManlyDam-20April2014 020_trun

Getting closer:

Caterpillars-in-Line-ManlyDam-20April2014 017_reduced

And closer:

Caterpillars-in-Line-ManlyDam-20April2014 012_reduced

Published in: on 20 April 2014 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bay Bridge in the wet

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

The TC, bless her cotton socks, paid a flying visit to San Francisco yesterday. It was a trifle wet. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge faded poetically into the drizzle.

Jonathan was there too, of course. Here he is, coming in to land with his usual flair:

Seagull coming in to land, with Bay Bridge in the background

Even a seagull looks bedraggled in the wet:

Bay Bridge in the wet

The posh end of London

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Last time this worm wrote to you, me and the TC were in Japan, stopping over on our way to the UK. Now we’re in London, and at the posh end of it too. Our apartment is just round the corner from Buckingham Palace. So we popped out to see if the queen was in residence.

Take my hand, let me lead you on the thirty-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, down The Mall and The Strand, to Covent Garden. If you stop less often than the TC did for photos and ooh-ing and aah-ing, the walk will take you less than half an hour.

My impressions? Wintry grandeur.

The book I’m in

Never Somewhere Else, by Alex Gray. A short, engaging whodunit.

Recommended dining

There’s something for everyone at Covent Garden.

Travel tip

The Heathrow Express offers an efficient way to get from the airport to central London. There’s a train every fifteen minutes, and it gets you to Paddington Station in about twenty minutes.

The photos

Who, me? Yes, and my very own TARDIS, a London telephone booth:

The posh end of London

Me perched on a lamp post on The Mall, with Buckingham Palace behind me, while I consider dropping in on Her Majesty for tea:

The posh end of London

A puff of smoke from the chimneys of Buckingham Palace. Is the queen toasting muffins? The flag is flying, so I guess she’s in residence:

The posh end of London

The Queen Victoria Memorial statue, with Buckingham Palace behind it:

The posh end of London

The Mall, a long and grand street leading up to the palace:

The posh end of London

Mounted soldiers, on a side road approaching The Mall:

The posh end of London

A wintry view of the gate into St James’s Park, on The Mall:

The posh end of London

St James’s Park, long shadows, winter sparse:

The posh end of London

A lone tree in blossom in St James’s Park

The posh end of London

Imposing gates leading into Trafalgar Square from The Mall:

The posh end of London

Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column:

The posh end of London

Charing Cross Station, on The Strand:

The posh end of London

Outside Covent Garden:

The posh end of London

Inside Covent Garden:

The posh end of London

That’s all for today, dudes.

Stopover in Narita, Japan

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are on our way to London. It’s a long, long trip from Sydney to London, so the TC decided to stop over in Japan. It so happens that the Tokyo airport is sixty kilometres outside Tokyo. If your stopover is just part of a day, it’s probably not worth travelling all the way to the big smoke and back. The town of Narita is close to the aiport, and the townsfolk have cottoned on to the fact that many travellers will think the same as the TC did: “Let’s pop into Narita and see what’s happnin there”.

There’s a lot happening, especially in the area of the Naritasan temple and the street leading from the train station to the temple.

My impressions? Busy calm.

The book I’m in

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Written way back in 1985, this book nevertheless comes across as surprisingly modern. It’s about a lad who is co-opted into the military at the age of six. The date is some time in the future, after the first couple of invasions by an alien race of bugs. The Earth survived the early invasions, and is now gearing up to ensure it can survive the next one, whenever that may be.

(This is another of those ebooks, so to be fair I must confide that I’m not exactly in the book. I’m a real-life, three-dimensional creature, not one of those electronic bookmarks. Nevertheless, occupying a unique place in the TC’s consciousness as I do, I can reliably inform you about such books.)

Recommended accommodation

Crowne Plaza Ana Narita, 68 Horinouchi, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0107, Japan.

Travel tip

If you have an Apple Mac and are staying at the Crowne Plaza Ana Narita, you may need to ask the hotel for a wifi router. My room had only a network cable connection, which my Mac can’t use. After a bit of discussion, the hotel staff were very happy to find me a router, but I had the impression they’re in short supply.

The photos

Me in Narita. The TC has this slightly dangerous habit of photographing me near script that she can’t read. I do hope this stone says something nice, or at least interesting. It was outside what seemed to be a civic centre near the Narita train station:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Since you can never have enough of a good thing, here’s me again, this time in the gardens behind the Naritasan temple (and again, I’m trusting the sign behind me to be at least polite):

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The TC was impressed with the symmetry of this sign, which we encountered on our way into Narita by bus:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

When researching Narita before we left, the TC had difficulty finding any maps. So she snapped this one, which the Narita townsfolk have kindly posted on a signboard near the station. It shows the station on the left, and the Naritasan temple complex in the green patch on the right:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

This is the famous Omotesando Street (sometimes spelled Omote Sando) leading from the train station to the Naritasan temple:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Most of the buildings are made of wood, and some of them seem quite old and are definitely picturesque :

Stopover in Narita, Japan

A view down a side street:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Colourful shops line Omotesando street, selling food and tourist wares of all sorts:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The crowd gets quite dense at times, but everyone is happy and friendly:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The entrance to the Naritasan temple complex:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Inside the complex are a number of buildings, gates, towers, shrines, and places to relax and contemplate life:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

A magnificent statue of a lion, with a pigeon posing behind it:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

The temple grounds are on different levels, offering lovely views of rooftops and courtyards:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Another of the temple buildings:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Bronze statues of Buddhist disciples scattered across a rock face:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Another of the buildings in the temple complex:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Next is a look inside the Buddhist Scriptures Hall, erected in 1722. The centrepiece is a revolving bookcase, carved with colourful representations of the guardians of Buddhism. Underneath are eight demons, holding up the bookcase.

Stopover in Narita, Japan

Behind the temple complex is a park full of tall trees, winding paths, and interesting bits of art:

Stopover in Narita, Japan

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 8 January 2014 at 7:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sydney under smoky skies

New South Wales, Australia, is battling more than 90 bush fires. The last few days have been scenes of fierce horror and deep sadness for many people. Approximately 1500 fire fighters have been battling the blazes throughout New South Wales. Close to 100 homes have been destroyed. Our fire services and volunteers are hard-working, efficient, smart and heroic.

For those of us in the city of Sydney, the fires brought smoke-filled skies and showers of ash. The weird lighting yielded some beautiful effects. It was as if someone had thrown a sepia filter over the city.

These photos show the Sydney city skyline on Thursday this week, as seen from Pyrmont.

Sydney under smoky skies, seen from Pyrmont

Clear skies to the south

The lighting changes minute by minute

Pyrmont Bridge

Pyrmont Bridge (demolishment of monorail is in progress)

From the side of Pyrmont Bridge

A closer look at the crane on the water

Published in: on 19 October 2013 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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A quarrel of cockatoos

Ever wondered what the collective noun is for a group of cockatoos? I’m proposing a “quarrel of cockatoos”. Check out my video to see why!

Internet wisdom suggests a few group names for cockatoos, like a chattering, clattering, or crackle of cockatoos. Those are good. Quarrel is used for lawyers and sparrows. But let’s add a “quarrel of cockatoos” to the collective wisdom!

Cockatoos high in a tree at Manly Dam nature reserve, New South Wales, Australia.

Published in: on 25 August 2013 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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