Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Nearly Narnia

These photos were taken on the first morning after a night of snow. We walked out onto the heath and up the hill, finding a group of local New Forest ponies breakfasting on the newest shoots of gorse.

Whisper Dog enjoyed snuffling in the fresh snow.

Fudge the young mare came over to ask for help. She had a branch hanging from her mane and she stood patiently while I removed it.

Her friends stayed over in the gorse brake, looking for green shoots beneath snowy branches.

This pony has an unusual patch of light hair on her shoulder. We think this may be where she was hit by a car in her younger days and the scar has healed with differently pigmented hair.

Three bay mares, their long coats fluffed up against the cold, facing a world turned white.

Whisper seemed perplexed by the way his daily walk , and all its scents, had changed.

Up on the wooded hill there was utter silence. It may be a cliche to say that it seemed like Narnia, but the transformation of a familiar wood was magical.

I found myself imagining Mr Tumnus the fawn appearing from behind  snow laden trees.......

Even the way home seemed to offer different possibilities in this new, cold white world.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow Garden Snapshots

The snow arrived silently and heavily, last Thursday night. On Friday, between snow showers, I took some garden photographs. There was a strange, quiet shock in the way that the landscape was transformed. Lanes in the village were blocked with snow. The usual morning hum of cars passing the end of the fields had disappeared. A cold, grey peace had fallen over the garden.

Yesterday, a partial thaw began, but in the night the freeze returned and brought icicles this morning.
By afternoon, as the sun began to dip in the western sky, patches of green were returning to grass and hedge.

A half moon showed, half hidden behind the old Scots pine.

A mound of ivy kept its scattering of snow.

Snow trapped among fine branches began to freeze again.......

...and the fields stayed an icy, unforgiving white.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Winter Sunset at Mudeford Quay

A few photos taken last Tuesday, when it was cold, but before the snow came.
I drove home via Mudeford Quay as the light was falling and I felt a need to be beside the sea, if only for a few minutes.

The setting sun cast a soft pink light on the Needles and the chalk cliffs on the westernmost end of the Isle of Wight.

This is the place where the waters of the River Stour and the River Avon rush out of Christchurch Harbour and into the sea, through a narrow channel called The Run. On Tuesday evening, the tide was coming in. As tidal waves met the waters from two full, flooded rivers, the sea churned and surged over  sandbanks just off shore.

Seabirds congregated on a spit of sand, sometimes taking off to fly over the turbulent waves, looking for fish.

The wooded cliff top at Highcliffe.

Looking across Christchurch Harbour, towards Hengistbury Head.

Calmer waters along the shoreline at Stanpit.......

....where seagulls were settling on sheltered water, not long before the sun went down.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Quick, Cold Walk in the Forest

Today was a bright, sunny Sunday. After days of grey sky and rain, the weather cleared but the east wind was cold. Snow is expected in most of Britain over the coming days.

We walked for just half an hour. Three of the local New Forest ponies were eating someone`s hedge on the village green.

Snowy, the white grey, is an old friend and came over to see us. Her companions, the Black Mare and Baggage, the bay, were more interested in food.

Lovely Snowy..........

...and her stiff moustache which is great protection when chewing on holly and gorse.

Whisper Dog is old and can be grumpy with other dogs, so he wears a muzzle in case he meets one.

Marks on a holly tree, where a pony has chewed on the  bark.

Moss on an oak trunk.

A holly tree where the bite marks are healing and forming scars.

On one side of the lane was a view across pasture land.

On the other side, across a pond, the valley stretched across heath and gorse towards a long, low hill.

From the top of the Beacon Hill, where iron age people once made a settlement with far reaching views.

The lane not travelled.

On the hilltop, an old, leaning oak......

A silver birch......

Turkey tail fungi on a tree stump.....

Sunlit green moss and lichen on winter trees........

....and time to turn back towards home.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Memory of Gingerbread

As a contribution towards the Christmas food, our Elder Son and his Fiancee ( who loves baking) made a Gingerbread House. They enjoyed creating this one evening after work. When they arrived here on Christmas morning, the Gingerbread House had to be snowed-on with icing sugar, before the Gingerbread People and a garden path of Gingerbread Stars could appear.

The saddest part came when the house had to be taken apart at the end of Christmas and the gingerbread shared between three families. No one could bear to watch, so Elder Son had to do the deed on his own. The gingerbread tasted very good!

This year`s Christmas weather was the wettest I can remember. The Winter Jasmine flowers were the only cheerful things to be found in the garden.

Not quite ready for gingerbread, our baby grand daughter was ten weeks old at Christmas and happy to watch, smile and try her best to join in.