It is the first day of Meteorological Spring (1 Mar), and there is evidence all around that the dark winter days are beginning to recede. Snow drops are out in abundance, and the tiny, but lovely rich yellow, white, and purple Crocus are open, showing off and displaying their striking colours. The bird life around where we live is also showing more interest in things, other than eating and surviving the winter, as they start to pair off and think about nest building. We have several nest boxes strategically placed around our garden, hoping that a Sparrow, Robin or a Goldfinch or anything will take up residence, but so far these luxury bare wooden boxes remain devoid of occupants. I have left bits of twig, straw and other nest building materials around the garden in case any birds feel the urge to start home making and we have recently seen Blue Tits investigating one box, and a female Blackbird taking nesting material into the hedge at the bottom of our garden. Lyn is very excited by this, and thinks we may soon hear the squeak of tiny chicks.
The yellow flowers are Hammemelis from our garden, the others are Snowdrops (Galanthus) seen out and about.
We are in the midst of a yet another Lockdown, the third one in less than a year. This one began on 4 January 2021 and is likely to go on for at least until after Easter or so we are told. Lockdown in winter is much harder. The days are shorter, there is less to do in the garden and as we found out in February, bad weather can stop most outdoor activities. In 2018 the east of England was hit hard by a snow storm the press dubbed “The Beast From the East.” We missed it as we were travelling in New Zealand. This year, we endured the “Beast From The Baltic”, a 10 day cold snap accompanied by frost, snow, and bitter cold days, some bright, some miserable. It was a great opportunity to get out on the bright days, “enjoy” the freezing weather and take some snowy landscape images. We are not allowed to travel anywhere outside our local area at the moment so the criteria for images was anywhere we can walk or cycle to.
Ploughed field in the snow.
Ice Patterns on The Window
How do I keep occupied in Winter? Easy, plenty of painting and decorating, online photography courses, a tiny bit of gardening, and when I can get the wood, making things for the garden. Lyn is busy with her yoga, writing and art courses too.
We are allowed out to exercise once each day so we have run, walked and cycled our way through lockdown 3. We bought new “winter bikes” in January. Our road bikes are too skittish and unstable on wet and muddy roads, so we treated ourselves to two hybrid commuter bikes. These are far more sturdy and much more capable of dealing with the miserable state of our muddy winter roads. We have had much fun, wrapped up against the cold winter weather, cycling through the countryside around where we live. It is such a contrast to see our local area stripped bare, compared to last year when spring was in the air as we locked down for the first time.
Us enjoying our new bikes
Finally, a random selection of images taken whilst out and about over the Lockdown. Some of these were shot for my online course, others for my own pleasure.
Our leaders have published a “road map” out of the lockdown as we ease gently back into the world. Hopefully I will be able to write about and illustrate events and visits outside a 3 mile radius of where we live come spring and summer, but any long haul travel plans we may be thinking about will have to wait for another year.