Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Hard as Iron

Setting out this morning, it was even colder than yesterday. The thermometer was still well below freezing as we stepped out, but we had lost the stiff breeze of yesterday and the sun was shining, so it felt much better, despite the cold.
We thought we would head around Mapperley Reservoir this morning. In Winter, it is usually too soggy to get round the reservoir but with plunging temperatures, the earth was 'hard as iron'. The reservoir too, was frozen over leaving several confused ducks and coots.
Frost adorned the leafless branches and twigs and there was no sign if the Kingfishers which were in residence the last time we visited this end of the reservoir.
Sparkling sunshine made things much better and gave us a beautiful view across the water.
Time to head home again, back along Slack Lane - careful not to slip!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Colder Still

With a little snow on the ground and a very chilly wind blowing, we set out this morning wrapped up against the cold. Hats and scarves adorned our frosty heads and thick gloves to keep Malcolm's fingers from dropping off.
Where the snow had thawed and re-frozen over night, the going was treacherous and few slips were inevitable as we picked our way along.
Down towards 'Vole Bridge' the mud was only just frozen, so we had to step carefully.
Then it was onward towards the farm and the Oaks which stand guard over Slack Lane whatever the weather.
When we first set out, it looked as if things might brighten up a bit, but there was still no sign of it. The sun was up there somewhere, but it was struggling to make it's presence felt this morning.
Along the old mine workings and Silver Birch tree trunks added another element of white.
On the home stretch and a little digital 'bloom' brightens the snowy scene...
Time for a warming coffee and a sustaining tot of Brandy - purely medicinal of course!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Seasonal

Just look what's happened this morning..!
 It's all very seasonal, although the shivering birds were looking a little put out as they sat in the trees.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

York

Malcolm and I have returned from a (very) short break in York. Having been before to have a look around their Christmas market, we thought we'd repeat the experience. Last time we went, the city was suffering from severe flooding...
This time, things were much more normal and the sunshine first thing in the morning, was glinting on the surface of the Ouse.
The evening before, we set out for a wander about the city centre to soak up a bit of Christmas atmos'.
Trying to avoid the more congested parts - which turned out to be those stalls which were giving away samples of alcoholic beverages - we squeezed our way through the crowds.
Thankfully, things were a little quieter than the last time we visited, so we were able to appreciate the decorations.
It was all very seasonal - including the chilly wind which cut you to pieces.
Back to the Travelodge for Mulled wine and a mince pie and to warm up a bit.
Next morning, we had time for a quick stroll round the city in the sunshine. Clifford's Tower was looking particularly fine against a clear blue sky and even the moon was putting in an appearance.
Very festive - Christmas starts here!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Birthday Boy

St. Andrew's Day is a day for celebration - not because of some bearded chap supposedly born in 6 B.C. in Galilee, but because of someone very real and much closer to home. It's Malcolm's birthday and today he has reached the ripe young age of 55.
Happy birthday Malcolm and many, many happy returns.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bright and Chilly

Things have taken a rather chilly turn for the time of year. But as is often the case, the chilly feel was accompanied this morning, by a glitteringly clear blue sky. So we set out over Shipley Hill feeling cold, but basking in the sunshine.
We were heading for Osborne's Pond, down the hill...
The trees are now almost completely bare, with just a few brown leaves clinging to the twigs, but the views from the other side of the hill the other day, the colours were still pretty good.
The chilly conditions have meant that the Sparrows are even more hungry than usual and every day, we are treated to feeding frenzy in the tree in front of the house. This cheeky little chap seemed to be unimpressed by me pointing the camera at him while he was busy with lunch!
The influx of winter visitors goes on at a pace. Among the most numerous at the moment are the Redwings which have arrived from Northern Europe. This one was photographed in our garden a few years ago - actually, I've just checked and it was almost six years ago! Where does the time go?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Winter Visitors

It was rather blustery this morning and it looked like it might rain on us at any moment. So with that in mind, we set out for a short walk around Straw's Bridge. On 'Swan Lake', we were pleased to see a small group of Pochards.
Pochards (Aythya ferina) are a resident of the British Isles but their numbers are boosted in Winter, by incoming migrants. Numbers reaching around 48,000 individuals.
As usual with Wildfowl, the males are much more colourful than the females and display a wonderful chestnut coloured head and the brightest red eyes you can imagine. Unfortunately, they are on the RSPB red list meaning that their numbers have fallen drastically in the last 25 years.
The wind today, was doing its best to relieve the trees of the last of their autumn colour but thankfully, there is still some to be found.