Thursday, 31 December 2015

Look Back 4

For the last of our troll through the past year, we fall upon October and the onset of Autumn. The weather had started to take a turn for the worse and rain stopped play on several occasions. All that dampness proved perfect for toadstools to appear.
The colours of autumn were fantastic this year - something of a surprise given the otherwise poor weather of summer.
 Across Mapperley reservoir, the reflections were delightful on those rare occasions when the sun shone.
 October also saw the final flight of the last remaining, flying Vulcan bomber.
On to November and the weather continued to be dull and cloudy.
At Straw's Bridge, a couple of exotic visitors caused a little excitement. Egyptian Geese are always worth getting excited about.
The beginning of December saw Malcolm and I making a short visit to York. The city was already starting to suffer from the flooding which has only got worse during December.
The main reason for our visit was to have a look at the Christmas market and get a bit of festive cheer, something which was in abundance in the bustling streets of York.
So, here we are again at the end of another year and looking forward to 2016. Lets hope it turns out to be a good one.

As always, a Happy New Year to all who deserve it.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Look Back 3

More from the archives today as we look back at July and the height of summer. The month was dominated by the flowers. From the tall and stately...
 To the diminutive and pretty...
 and a plethora of ox-eye daisies.
we also had a new 'tick' for the list with a first spotting of a Snake Fly!
Then it was on to August. The fields around Shipley Park were made even more picturesque by the presence of some very fluffy and adorable Highland Calves.
 We had a some pretty stormy skies to admire too...
 But the reservoir at Mapperley was covered with lily pads and surrounded by late summer greenery.
Lastly for today, we get to September. We had a long walk along the High Peak Trail at Cromford, including the old canal...
The steep hill was a bit of a slog..
The canal itself was busy with delightful Little Grebes...
 and inquisitive mallards.
 Later in the month the harvest season had begun and hay was being cut around Shipley Park.
The end of the month heralded some misty mornings and some lovely 'atmospheric' shots.
 These were from Shipley Hill
Tomorrow, we'll look at the last three months of the year - on the last day of the year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Look Back 2

Continuing our troll through the year, we arrive at April and the very welcome sight of all that spring blossom. The Cherry trees were full of pink blossom...
 Then the Swallows started to arrive...
 And by the end of the month, the woodland of Shipley Hill were covered with their usual Bluebell carpet.
May saw us taking off for a few days stay in Lucerne, Switzerland.  What a trip it turned out to be. The Mountains were spectacular to say the least...
 We all enjoyed the sights around Lucerne itself...
 And meeting up with Malcolm's lovely Swiss family was a wonderful treat.
Back home and things were blooming in the spring sunshine.
June and the height of Summer heralded the start of Orchid season - always a delight...
 Every year they provide wonderful colour and a little exoticism to the countryside.
June also saw us flying off to Edinburgh for a short stay in that lovely city. One of the highlights of our stay was a couple of visits to the Botanical Gardens. The first time we visited, access was somewhat limited by some truly dreadful weather for June. The grounds were still open...
But we had to return the next day to see the Palm House and the more 'tropical', indoor areas which were closed (health and safety as usual) the first time.
Some of the floral sights were breathtaking.
 And highly exotic!
Stay tuned for more tomorrow as we look back at July to September.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Look Back

It has become something of a  tradition at this time of year, for us to have a brief look back at the past year. So here we go again...
The year started on a rather frosty footing and we set out for our walk on 4th January, with the thermometer well below freezing..
At the end of January, the blog was filled with pictures from our week away in The Algarve. We had some lovely walks along the cliff-tops...
 ... and along the beach where it was (thankfully) very quiet and un-crowded.
By February, winter had caught hold of us and snow coated everything in Shipley Park.
The sight of snow and the feel of plunging temperatures is always very welcome to me - but Malcolm prefers the sunshine and sandy beaches!
After the snow came the snowdrops...

While we are on the subject of Snowdrops, we were amazed this morning to see that they are already making an appearance on Shipley Hill!
March was dominated by all the talk of the Solar Eclipse - (goodness! It doesn't seem that long ago). Despite the cloudy conditions, we were lucky enough to get a view of it...
March also saw us off on our travels again. We spent a few days in Albir, Spain and were very impressed with the walks around the Sierra Gelada. There were some lovely views...
 And the cliffs were spectacular...
By the time we got home again, the hedgerows were beginning to show some early Spring colour. The first - as always - came from the Blackthorn bushes.
 Followed by the Alders
That's about all for now. Tomorrow we will look back at April to June.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Well, here we are again. Seemingly only three weeks after the last one, it's Christmas Eve once more. Having been disappointed by Santa's efforts over the last few years, this year, I am resolved to lie in wait for the red-coated interloper and mug him for his sack of gifts the moment he appears by the Christmas tree and begins to devour the mince pie and glass of sherry. Spirit of good will and all that!
Anyway, a very happy Christmas to all who deserve it and we'll see you - slightly worse for wear - on the other side...

Monday, 21 December 2015


It seems like ages since Malcolm and I got out for a long walk in the fresh air. What with Christmas gift shopping, bad weather and battling around the supermarkets for sprouts, there doesn't seem to have been any time for a good stroll. And before you know it, here we are again at the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and (officially) the start of winter. Actually, the Solstice this year will be at 04.49 GMT tomorrow morning, so hopefully, we will be tucked up snug in bed and miss the occasion.
But to 'celebrate' in true pagan style here is a link to Jethro Tull's 1976 Christmas hit Ring Out Solstice Bells.
So, while Malcolm dances naked around the garden with a sprig of holly in his hair (not really), Happy Solstice to all.!!!!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Nutcracker

Looking for something traditional at Christmas? What could be more fitting than a night at the ballet and The Nutcracker? This is really rather good...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

York Market

One of the main reasons for our visit to York was to take a look at their Christmas Market and soak up some festive atmos'. Of course, with Christmas markets, you always get crowds of people all doing what we were doing, wandering about looking at everything and buying nothing!
But, doing our best to cope with the crowds and push our way round, we got the Christmas spirit as it got darker and the lights made everything festive.
Occasional carolers and the ubiquitous Slade, Mud, Gary Glitter and Band Aid songs added to it all.
By now, it was turning colder too, so feeling more Christmassy by the minute, we made for Costa Coffee to try one of their festive speciality hot chocolates. All in all a successful little trip which set us up for the season to come.