line.gif - 1064 Bytes
Canada goose


Valentine's Day, 14th February 2003, West Yorkshire

sandstoneThis chunk of sandstone, one in a ring around the ashes (see 24th January) of a bonfire has been reddened at the side nearest the heat. You can see from my sketch that although the lower part of the rock is weathered, the top facets are freshly exposed; heat has shattered it.

rock shardsTwo small fragments lie just to the right of the ring of stones while another two larger shards lie 11 feet away on the grass. Were they flung there when the stone exploded?

I guess that it was moisture turning into steam in the pores between the sand grains the rock, or in planes of weakness running across the rock, that shattered it. There's a slight speckling on the freshly exposed facets that makes me wonder if micro-organisms such as single-celled algae or bacteria might have already colonised a microscopic fracture line within the rock.

Like the block they were chipped off from these fragments are reddened, where the heat has oxidised iron salts in the matrix of the rock.

culletSea-green Shards

In the debris by the campfire there's another sign of the intense heat; partially re-melted bottle-green glass. It sparkles in the sunlight which picks out bubbly, wavy facets in the shards, giving an impression of translucent bubbling sea water. The misshapen fragments have an ashy frosting on their streaked upper surfaces resembling birch bark.

bottleThe Greenhouse Effect

Debris from the chestnut and the excavations of rabbits are rapidly turning this discarded bottle into a piece of archaeology. In this setting you might take it for a Victorian patent medicine bottle; its fluted bulges give the look of a Russian church, or a Turkish turban but the modern label on the neck, 'CAMPERY', suggests that it's some kind of fizzy alcoholic drink (I can't find it on the internet, but Champéry is a Swiss ski resort).

The bottle now acts as a mini-greenhouse for a film of algae that has grown on the inside surface of the page

Richard Bell