Sunday, 22 January 2017

Watermead in Winter

Hello Lovelies,
thank you so much for the kind comments on my previous post.
This past week it did seem like I had jinxed myself by saying how much I liked winter in that post. With the day after day  greyness and payday seeming a long way off I began to start humming THIS tune and rather wishing January away somewhat.

There have been gloomy, muddy welly walks that were rather uninspiring. But then today we woke up to this ...a sunrise. How lovely.

I mustered all interested parties ( hubby and eldest) and we headed off somewhere new to us. Watermead Country Park.

By the time we arrived the cloud had gathered somewhat, but there were still beautiful reflections in the partly frozen lake. Eldest had come in a light jacket and after me made him add another layer ( hubbies waterproof) we set off at a brisk pace to ward off the cold.

We surprised a huge Heron, who took flight and glided gracefully over the misty lake.

I do love visiting somewhere new, oooh an interesting gate. Lets see what's on the other side.

A bird hide.

We went inside as there was nobody around :0)

It was a lovely view across the wetlands, though there did not seem to be much bird life today. Just a few Mallards.

Further along we found picnic areas and wooden sculptures.

and an even larger lake

With a strange shaped mound.

And some dinosaur bones

Of course these were just rather imaginative play structures.

This one representing a locally discovered species

At 16 eldest was not interested in climbing this frame, but he did get excited by the signs for a canoeing  trail we saw here.

Something to look forward to when the weather warms up.

Here we were walking beside the Grand Union Canal.

Were there was plenty of life on the narrow boats.

More wintry reflections.

We didn't have much idea where we were at this point but it didn't matter

Hello Mr Robin.

Eventually the path wound around so we were heading back in the direction of our start point. I loved the fresh green catkins and the red branches of the dogwood.

You are never far from water as the whole area used to be  a gravel quarry. It was converted into a park in the 1980's.
There were plenty of families out stretching their legs and exercising their dogs.

More catkins...such a bright red colour. I'm not sure I've ever seen any like this before. I think it could be Alder, but I'm not sure.

The park is just a few miles from the centre of Leicester, and there is a background hum of traffic, along with glimpses of homes and industry.

Happily it's not intrusive and  you can easily forget it's there when you came across lovely sights, like this beautiful wooden bridge.

we used it to cross the river.

And it led us back to the big lake.

The signs had said the lake is called "King Lear's Lake" so we guessed this was a scene from Shakespeare's  play of the same name.

I've since done a bit of internet research ( because I do like to understand the reason for such things) and  THIS site had the best explanation.

King Lear’s Lake has been named after the legend of King Lear, who ruled Britain in the 8th century. On his death he was buried in a chamber under the River Soar - possibly close to this lake! The statues, built on a platform in the lake, show the final scene from Shakespeare’s play of King Lear.

Hubby noticed the new shoots of the irises at the waters edge.

As the sun was shining again we took the opportunity for a rest on this bench.

We are still eating Christmas cake kindly given to us by sister in law. It's soooo good. I'll be sad when it's all gone.

I loved the way the sunlight was shimmering on the water as we sat looking back towards the "floating" statues.

Some hopeful ducks appeared but sadly I had forgotten birdseed today. I think I should leave some in my rucksack all the time in winter.

Oooh, some stepping stones.

Got to be done :0)

I'm often lagging behind taking pictures.

but the menfolk seen happy to wait.

Eldest amusing himself breaking the thin ice.

After a couple of hours and about 4 miles we were back at the car park.

It was time to go home and make the Sunday roast.

I really enjoyed this watery world, with it's reflected sunlight and birdlife.

Happily it's not too far from home and I'm hoping we can come back to see the difference the changing seasons makes.

I hope you will "join us"
Jacquie x

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Quiet Winter

Hello Lovelies,
the title of this post is totally stolen form Sarah, who saw it as a hashtag somewhere and liked the idea of it. I like the idea of it too.
I'm enjoying January so far. With the pressure of Christmas over I feel able to relax and enjoy some slow, quiet days. 
Of course life with three teens is never that quiet, but I can always go for a walk.
After years of never having a moment to myself these simple pleasures still delight me.

I love a walk at twilight when the sunset is still colouring the sky and the moon is rising.

Looking at the moon through bare branched trees is rather beautiful.

 Yes, it's chilly but I still find it wonderful to be outdoors as the light fades.

 And then Hurry home to the cosy warmth.

 My Amaryllis has finally flowered. I love the slow process of watching it grow.
 Sadly this year my plant had a encounter with a candle just before Christmas and I had to perform "Life Changing Surgery" as eldest put it. At least it had a second flower stem and if I stand it in front of a mirror it looks like it still has two flower stems :0)

I'm playing safe with fairy lights instead of candles now.

Of course there are a fair amount of grey days, when it's hard to find something pretty to photograph. But there is a sort of calm quietness ( when it's not windy)

I liked Lucy's description in THIS post ..."the pared back simplicity of the winter scenery."

And then there are birds. So much easier to spot in winter and braver because they are hungry. Robins hop around the footpaths.

And in my garden there's almost always a Blackbird. I have feeders in the trees and scatter meal worms on the grass by the bird bath.

and seeds on the picnic bench attract many different birds. How I loved this cute Wren.

Snacking on the sunflower seeds.

 The pictures are not the best but they were taken through the bedroom window. I love having a good zoom. 

 Simple Sunday walks are another quiet Winter pleasure. The gulls and Cormorants have taken over the rowing boats on the lake.

And I was fascinated by these ducks that hardly stopped dabbling. They were so hard to photograph.
 I had no idea what they were, but I've looked them up. They are Teals...of course they are. Just look at their "eye shadow" and the little flashes on their wings.

 Another sight we can only see in winter.

This female mallard was much easier to photograph, it's just a shame I chopped off part of her reflection.

 Twilight by the water at 4pm.

 I'll leave you with a picture of the huge scone I enjoyed for lunch on today's group walk. I'm not sure  it fits in with the quiet Winter theme, but it was very photogenic I thought.

 It was such a treat to sit in a cosy cafe instead of our usual picnic. And winter gives us the excuse to seek out cosy doesn't it.

Winter you are just fine with me at the moment. In a bit I will be more than ready for my favourite season, spring, but not yet. I'm not wishing winter away.
How about you?
Jacquie x