This is getting beyond a joke, I've spent most of an afternoon working in getting the Bearorbust youtube page into some sort of working order and failing at most steps. God damn omniaccount my arse this is seriously shite I didn't want a google plus account and I certainly don't one foisted me just because Google can't give them away.
Anyway what I wanted to talk about this week is the end of Eltham branch, our cactus society. I've posted before about our Christmas party (one of our first posts fact fans) when we still had the late Chris Moore as our treasurer shortly before he passed away. It all started from a few things such as the terrible snows at the beginning of the year and a switch over of treasurers, meaning that our numbers dropped to an unsustainable level and continued to remain that way for the rest of the year, so much so that this christmas party is more like a wake than a celebration. The only silver lining is that we will be joining Bromley branch in the new year over at Keston not that it is any easier to get to.
So for our last ever slide show we were treated to a trip to Madagascar the massive island off of the coast of South Africa, home to lemurs, Chamaeleons but mainly succulents. The guy doing the talk was a pretty awesome photographer and he was running a small slide show off of some of his spare images as the talk was done via laptop. Madagascar itself was a revelation, a mix of crashing poverty and habitat destruciton combined with some startling endemic species. He had a few shots of the aforementioned Lemurs and Chamaeleons creatures along with Baobab and Giraffe Weevils the beetle equivalent of a construction crane. What we came for were the succulents, and Madagascar doesn't disappoint. They have a few species of Baobab, thick of trunk like some redwood sized bottle replete with stick nest branches and cannonball fruit, Alluaudia with its spiny trunk and its graftable onto various species of cacti as its a distant relative. There were also various euphorbias and Pachypodiums as the countryside changed from the (depleted) rainforests of the north to the dry arid areas of the south, via the mountain lands in the middle. Most odd of all there is a solitary species of cactus, a Rhipsalis that is the only endemic cactus to be outside the new world. Its unknown how it reached there but Phil Maxwell thinks it could be a hold out from Cretaceous times from when Madagascar was part of the super continent Gondwana.
Its a fitting end to Eltham in that we held out so long but are now (soon to be) extinct.