Friday, 27 February 2015


It is said that, somewhere in Britain, there will be at least one Gorse bush in flower every day of the year. Right now, the Gorse flowers are starting to bloom around these parts.
Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is well known to most of us.  It is common throughout most of Europe and its extremely prickly nature makes it an invaluable part of the countryside, providing safe nesting places for a multitude of bird species.  Members of the Pea family (Fabaceae), their flowers have a distinctive smell of coconut.  Unfortunately this morning's cold weather prevented the natural oils in the flowers from releasing their scent, so as they say, "close, but no coconut!"
Following the rather wet weather of late, it was lovely to be out and about in the sunshine this morning and the Gorse flowers were just the icing on the cake.

Monday, 23 February 2015

70 Years On

I never knew my paternal Grandfather. He was killed in action seventy years ago this very day, so I thought a small tribute would not go amiss...

Tom Wear was born in Pudsey, near Leeds on 21 January 1910, the son of Walter, a Bridge Painter and Maud, a Weaver. He enlisted into the Royal Signals on 27 March 1941 and was posted to General Trade Training on 30 April.  On 21 May 1942, Tom was posted to 1st Armoured Divisional Signals - formed in 1937 by Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd and initially called the Mobile Division.
Tom spent time serving in the Middle East between December 1942 and June '43.  He was held as a Prisoner of War in Italian hands before ending up in North Africa on 28th November '43, remaining there until 4 January 1944.
Tom was posted on 29 March 1944, to the 4th Training Battalion and then on 15 April to 2nd Training Battalion.
August of 1944 saw Tom posted to the Northern Command Signals before joining the 115 Construction Section.  Eleven days later, he was posted to 17 Line of Communications Signals.
Signalman 2369649, Tom Wear was killed in action, aged 35, on 23 February 1945.
His grave is one of just 101 commonwealth burials, located at the Schoonselhof Cemetery, in Antwerp.  His page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website can be seen HERE.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Carpet of Snow

More of those delightful Snowdrops today. The sunshine was certainly having a positive effect on the tiny white blooms and the tight-closed flowers of yesterday were opening beautifully.
These were growing on the western side of Shipley Hill, with the sun filtering through the trees above.
Further round and now on the North facing side of the hill, there was a carpet of little, nodding blooms.
You had to be careful where you trod, so as not to tread on any.
More and more of them...
Just beautiful!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


I said there'd be more photos of the Snowdrops and I didn't lie.
This morning's walk, after several days of dull, damp and frankly rather dreary weather, was sunny and bright. We decided to take in Shipley Hill and the wonderful Snowdrop display to be seen there.
Most of the flowers were still closed tightly shut, despite the sun shining on them - perhaps they would open later in the day.  But for now, they were staying tight-lipped.
There seems to be a fantastic number covering the woodland floor this year.
Getting down to leaf-litter level, you get the full effect.
Beautiful!  And still more to come, I expect.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


The weather stayed dull for this morning's ramble through Shipley Park.  So the views across Mapperley Reservoir were not the best, although the reflections on the surface, were still good.
Way off in the distance, a few Goosanders (Mergus merganser) were just visible as were the ubiquitous Black-headed Gulls and Tufted Ducks.  but they were all keeping well away from us.
So, we just had to make do with the reflected (if somewhat dull) glory of Mapperley's water-side trees.
From here, it was onward through the village, returning home via Slack Lane and warming up with a hot coffee.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Snowdrop Time

Following a few days with not very much to mention, we took ourselves off for a  walk along Slack Lane to Mapperley Reservoir and upward to Shipley Hill. The reservoir was still half frozen, but the stiff breeze which was blowing across the water, was stirring up the surface and breaking up the ice. The bright blue sky was reflected in the water and ice.
As the ice cracked and broke, the crackling made a sort of music.
Along the footpath around the reservoir, the sunshine brought out the few colours of winter.
Up Shipley Hill and the Snowdrops were starting to appear through the leaf litter.
With the promise of many more to come, these few, pioneering flowers were delightful as they nodded in the sunshine.
There will be many more Snowdrop photos to follow during the next few weeks no doubt.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Past days

There was no walk this morning. The 'joys' of Tesco beckoned, so we set off with shopping bags, for a little retail therapy - and after shopping in Tesco, therapy is desperately needed as well as a brandy. So, just a few pictures from our snowy walks earlier in the week.
Round by Lodge Farm Cottage, the scene was distinctly wintry.
By the time we had climbed Shipley Hill, the sun was shining through the low-hanging branches of the hill-top trees.
There was considerably more snow on the hill than on our estate below, it rather caught us out.
Just one more...

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


This morning, we set off for a walk through Shipley Park and on to Osborne's Pond and Shipley Hill. At Osborne's Pond, we found the surface frozen over and coated in a thin dusting of snow following the short but heavy shower first thing. All very picturesque, but it makes life tricky for the waterfowl which make their homes there. The Mute Swans however, didn't seem too put out by it all.
Photographing white against white can be tricky, especially when your camera is set to 'automatic' settings, as they can get rather confused.
All seemed to be getting along together... except one individual male bird, who was doing his best to keep the one small area of clear water to himself and (presumably) his mate. The others were not impressed by all his posturing.
It was all rather lovely, but exceedingly cold as the wind whipped up and blew across the lake.