Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spring colour...

This weekend has been one for doing things on a whim. A change of plans found me home alone so on Friday evening I took myself off to the theatre to see the musical about the Kinks, Sunny Afternoon. Worth a look if you ever get a chance to see it - surprising just how many of the songs are an integral part of my memories, even though I would not have put myself down as a particular fan as such. And then today I thought I'd take advantage of the bright morning to take a quiet walk at Blickling, forgetting that it was Easter Egg hunt day and the place was heaving! From the lake it was peaceful...


Something about water, reflections and skies that appeals to me every time...


There is a fair sprinkling of fresh green in the trees but in the woods by the lakeside there is still a feel of early season with the sun casting shadows through bare branches...


It was blowy and these grasses were trying hard to escape out of shot but I loved the sun shining through the feathery seedbeds...


There are lovely bluebell woods at Blickling but just a little bit early today - they are just opening but in a week or two of sunny weather they will be beautiful...



The spring blossom is so pretty...



There are still some late daffodils but the bluebells will soon steal the show...


I can't help thinking the sheer variety of shapes and colours employed by nature to ensure plants survive is quite overwhelming. Even those we might consider to be weeds like the humble dandelion (which my mum was viciously removing from her garden with an ancient gardening tool that looked like an instrument of torture!) have such a beautiful structure and design, its fragility just waiting for the breeze to carry those seeds away...




Back in the main garden I avoided the main areas crowded with families hunting purple wrapped treats and headed for the tulip beds. I always love this area with its gradation of colours from the yet to open darkest purples through pinks, reds, oranges and yellow with white in the very distance...


I love tulips. On the whole I'm not much of a one for big blousy blooms but I do love these, with their velvety petals and upright habit. En masse like this they are stunning. And infinitely more impressive than the odd ones I have dotted around my courtyard garden at home.




I'm pretty sure I took similar photos of these definitely unsubtle blooms on a similar walk another year...




Even though there was a nip in the air today, its difficult not to really feel Spring is properly here with  so much colour in the flowerbeds. 

Whilst not wanting to wish the time away, I am very ready for some warmer days.

S x


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

London in Springtime...

Last week I took a trip to London to meet a friend. The skies were grey but Regents Park was in early Spring colours...



Lovely to see such a splash of colour and delightful to have a few hours with a much missed friend. 

And somewhat sobering that whilst I was wandering lazily under a huge umbrella, not so far away events were unfolding in Westminster that gave the world another shake.

There is something very reassuring about the resilience and reliability of nature as it rolls through the seasons - whatever chaos is happening elsewhere - the tress blossom, the bulbs and spring flowers shout brassily and the first grass mowings of the season fill the air with that distinctive scent...

I am reminded to be thankful for small things and to try to appreciate every day.

S x

Sunday, 5 March 2017

February...blinked and missed it!

I don't know whether to be glad we are rapidly heading out of winter or slightly freaked that the months race past so fast. Seems to me the older you get the more rapid the passing of time! But on the whole, I'd go with the former emotion - whilst I love crisp, bright winter days I do struggle with the sense of hibernation that pervades with days and nights that, when you work full time and long hours, seem barely discernible. So, I'm not sorry February is out of the way and the evenings are brightening. I feel as though it passed without anything much to enjoy or appreciate but looking back through the few photos I took I realise that's not entirely true.

I was lucky enough to be given National Trust membership by kind friends last year and unknown to me, they renewed it for me again this year. So at the end of January, on a beautiful cold Sunday I went to Felbrigg Hall, one of my favourite NT houses as a child - I always felt it had the feel of a family home, albeit a very grand one! The house doesn't open to visitors until March but the gardens and park are open so I put by boots on and walked...


It was lovely to see some blue sky...


and the beautiful thing about winter sunshine is the long shadows it throws...


Ok, so this is not your average family home...


but, to me it felt much more 'friendly' than the other grand halls in the area. It was bitterly cold, even in the bright sunshine, with frost on the estate churchyard...


A couple of weeks later, on a bit of a whim, I decided to drive to Bristol to see my youngest son where he is at University of West England. Not such a bright weekend but the city of Bristol, which I hadn't been to before, was a lovely place to spend a couple of days. Sadly, I was not in this rather lovely hotel...!


We walked up to Cabot Tower... 


for the views across the city. I imagine on a brighter day, you must be able to see for miles from here...



Lovely to see patches of snowdrops...


Seems to me Bristol has quite distinct 'neighbourhoods' within the city - on the way to Brunel's famous suspension bridge we took time out in pretty Clifton with its streets of independent shops. Loved this flower shop display on the path...


And the sun kindly came out for us to sit and eat huge scotch eggs and salads from a deli/bakery - so good!


The bridge is an impressive structure spanning the Avon Gorge...


with beautiful skies...




 Bristol seems to have lots to offer and we barely began to explore in a short weekend. The Docks are worth a visit, with the fascinating museum of the recovered Steamship, SS Great Britain. So well done, to be able to walk under the glass water level...



and inside the ship a real sense of the history and the conditions in the reconstructed cabins. Lovely to spend a bit of time with my boy and let him share his 'new' city...


Last look back at the prettily coloured houses overlooking the water...


Even on a fairly dull couple of days, Bristol had a nice feel to it and it was good to see him settled and happy.

And that was it for days out in February! And already almost a week into March! This weekend I have largely hidden at home with a touch of the viral lurgy that seems to be prevailing but last week it was lovely to feel a bit of warmth in the air in Regent's Park, London...


and to realise that at 5.30pm the sun was only just beginning to set over the River Wensum in Norwich...


And yes, my prevailing feeling is roll on Spring and warmer, longer days...

S x




Monday, 16 January 2017

Reflecting...

Friday 13th January, Norwich

The view from my clinic room window on Friday morning...


We are really not very good at winter weather are we?! Norfolk is not known for a lot of the wet stuff (apart form the odd threat of lowland flooding of course!) but this bit of snowfall on Friday put lots of people into a blind spin. To the amusement of the lovely Polish girl in the back office who kept exclaiming 'Seriously! This is not snow!'. I guess if you are used to Polish winters it must seem funny that a dusting can cause so much consternation.

Saturday 14th January, River Yare & Whitlingham, Norwich

The next morning was a complete contrast. It doesn't feel as though we have had many of those bright crisp winters days, and I thought it wasn't going to last, but after a quick burst of sleet late morning the sun came out again and I felt a sudden urge to escape the house with the camera.

The pull of water and reflections is always strong for me and I am lucky enough to be a short distance from the river that runs through the city. I obviously didn't get the exposure right on this because I managed to bleach out the top of the photo, but it was the reflections of the branches that had my attention. I love the slight distortion in the ripples.


This stretch of riverside has seen a huge amount of development over recent years, with new buildings springing up next to what were once dilapidated old factories and warehouses. There is still a fair bit of building going on and, generally speaking, I think it has been done sympathetically and has turned what was a pretty dubious bit of the city into a much more pleasant area. Whether any of the homes in these 'regeneration' schemes are remotely affordable is another matter - I feel for those the age of my sons who are struggling to find a way into independent living, either rented or otherwise, and conscious of the fact that Norwich is still really not the most expensive place to live.


A little further on, more reflections...


...and a few early snowdrops on the riverbank...


...before coming out behind the cathedral with its distinctive spire against the blue sky...


The path continues along the river and I decided to keep walking as it was so beautiful, the sun already dropping in the sky and casting long rays through the trees...




On the way out of the city I love these buildings with their pretty windows and ornate brickwork, albeit in varying states of disrepair now...


Whitlingham Country Park, an outdoor activity park built on the site of an old gravel quarry provides a place for walking, cycling, water sports or just enjoying the woodlands and nature. A visitors centre provides a cake and coffee stop if needed too. I just opted to walk, squelching a bit here and there but enjoying the chance to stretch my legs and appreciate the surroundings. Believe it or not, these are fields - the recent high tides and snow making them look like an extension to the broads...


Looking through these twisted branches to where there is usually a path across the grass, frequented by dog walkers. Some of this was frozen and I did see one or two hardy 4 legged types skittering across the ice.


A dyke runs more or less parallel to the great broad, utilised by the rowing club who were out practicing (didn't envy them actually, the water must have been icy)...


They whizzed through my photo leaving a trail of ripples in their wake...


Sunlight through the grasses at this time of year gives a particular kind of glow to everything...



...and as it dipped lower...


...from the other side of the broad the contrast between the golden vegetation and the grey of the water was striking...


By the time I got home again I had been walking for best part of 3 hours and covered almost 9 miles, a bit chilled but counting one or two blessings and reminding myself I must keep this up!

S x