Saturday, December 31, 2022

On the Last Day of the Year

This year we'd hoped to travel further afield again after two years of keeping close to home. It wasn't to be as I've had a bad year health wise and am still struggling with various things.  But we are lucky to have our garden and some lovely and interesting places locally or not too far away.  Over the last three years nature and being out in it has been a constant to cling to when things have seemed out of kilter.

 Anyway,  I've selected a photo from each month of the past year as a reminder of just what we have been able to achieve this year.


A Chaffinch flies towards the bird feeders during the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch which I enjoy taking part in each year.

Symbols of hope for Spring.  Snowdrops at Hopton Hall, near Carsington in Derbyshire.


The first Comma butterfly of the year resting on the heather in the garden.  Not so many butterflies spotted this year as last year.  There seemed to be lots around on our walks last year, was it the summer heat wave that changed things?


 The Wood Anemones we planted last year appeared.  I'd wanted them in the garden for ages, so I was thrilled to see them.  I hope they come back next year.  Looking out today the garden looks quite forlorn.  I can't wait to see those first green shoots of Spring.


Bluebells in our local wood.  Always a wonderful sight every year.


A very short visit to Lincolnshire. Sand, sea and glowering skies at Sutton-on-Sea.  This was our first sight of the sea since September 2019 when we had a holiday on Anglesey.


Orchids at RSPB Consall Nature Reserve. 


First spotting of a Painted Lady butterfly at a garden centre in Uttoxeter.


Mum by Mr and Mrs Ferguson.  One of the exhibits in the   Radical Horizons exhibition at Chatsworth, Derbyshire.

Gaia by Luke Jerram on display in Derby Cathedral. 

It was a great year for fungi we saw so many different varieties on our walks. I seem to have taken more photos of them than anything else.

The weekend before Christmas we went to Little Moreton Hall to listen the early music musicians Piva.  Last seen in December 2019.  It was so cold both inside and out, but the music warmed us for a while.
I'll be back next year.  I hope you all have a peaceful and healthy new year.  Take care.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Season's Greetings


 Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Just a little Walk

We took a short walk at Trentham on Monday morning.  It was a gloomy day and damp in the air.  After coffee at the lakeside cafe we strolled along enjoying the quiet and the views across the still icy lake.  

There were some wonderful reflections.

I do wonder why people have to throw logs and bricks on to the ice.  We saw it again at Westport Lake today.  There the council had a boat out to scoop things from the water and the ice.

 We watched a Coot struggling to skate on the ice, it eventually sorted itself out, thank goodness, and returned to the water.  I did take a photo but unfortunately it was quite blurred.   I did manage to capture a photo of this pair of Mallards close by.

As we walked the wind picked up and it became quite breezy.  We made a circuit and turned to go back to the cafe as we'd parked our car at the South entrance near the Monkey Forest.  As we approached a couple ahead were chatting to a member of staff at the cafe.  We noticed the chairs being put on the tables and wondered what was happening.  Apparently the gardens and lakeside were being closed as high wind had been forecast, people were being asked to leave.  We were near to our car but the other couple had to walk all the way back to the North entrance.

I did mange to take a few photos of birds on the way round.

Crow on a bench.  There are lots of them about at the moment.  They always seem more noticeable at this time of year and their call is evocative of cold, wintry days.

There were even more Robins, they were everywhere.  We saw lots of them today, posing in leafless bushes and flitting across the path as we walked.  We have a pair in the garden at home too.

Not sure what this duck is. There were two or three of them amongst the Mallards.  This one just wanted to snooze for a while in the warmer air.

My favourite goose the Greylag.  There is just something special about them.

There was a huge gaggle of them on the pathway up above the lakeside.

All for now.  Take care.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Lichfield Christmas Tree Festival

 On 1st December we went to Lichfield to visit the Cathedral where they were holding their Christmas Tree Festival.  I took quite a few photographs.  It was a cold Thursday morning and there weren't many people inside so we were able to take time to look at all the different trees.  They had been decorated by local schools, charities and businesses all very different but all equally pleasing.

 Beautiful Advent Candles

 The Cathedral is so beautiful inside. Sorry just a few words today as I'm not feeling too well at the moment.   I hope you enjoy the photos.


All for now. Take care.

Friday, December 09, 2022

A Friday Five

It's Friday already, the second one in December, how quickly time passes. 

Anyway, here are five for Friday.

1. Yesterday was so cold, we walked in Hanley park. The Caldon canal was frozen over but everything looked so beautiful.

2.  After the walk a visit to Bridgewater pottery and factory shop, also at the side of the canal,

for a warming coffee and a mince pie.

Both shop and cafe are always so festive at this time of year.

3.   In the garden the frost was making the plants and shrubs look quite attractive.

 4. Christmas Cards - I have written them and will post them tomorrow in the hope they will eventually get to their destinations.  We've received two by post so far and one hand delivered.
5.  Garden Birds.  Lots of them seemed to disappear for a while but they are back in this cold weather.  Blackbirds, sparrows, goldfinches, magpies and collard doves being the most regular and frequent visitors to the garden.  They have been joined over the last couple of days by chaffinch and bullfinch as well as blue tits and coal tits.  
This morning we had a very infrequent visitor to the garden.  So lovely to see the woodpecker back on the tree just outside the conservatory window.  Paul took the photo as my camera was charging its battery.
All for now. I hope you all have a good weekend.


Wednesday, December 07, 2022

A Cold and Sunny Walk

 We woke up to both mist and frost this morning.   

Photos taken through glass as it was too cold to even think about stepping outside.

It took a while to clear but by the time we left the house the sun was peeping through.

We walked around Westport Lake.  After a few days staying at home with a cold I felt like some fresh air.

Westport Lake Visitor Centre.  The centre is owned and run by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.  The lakes and surrounding areas are maintained by the City Council.

The winter sun was dazzling in its brightness.

Shoveler duck

Black headed gull in its winter plumage


It was cold and there were very few people about. The smaller lake was icy in places.

It really does feel like winter is here.

All for now.  Take care.