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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Oh my goodness, it's so long since my last blog post!  The main reason for that is because I haven't been able to do any gardening since moving to the new house.  We had one half-decent weekend when I managed to cut the grass down with shears - the garden has been neglected for quite a long time so the grass was long and coarse.  Since then it's either been raining or snowing and the back garden, we've found, is a perpetual bog!  This is because of damaged underground pipes in the next-door-neighbour's garden - the pipes are linked to ours so our garden gets flooded as well as hers.  Unfortunately the neighbour, an elderly lady, spends most of the time down south with her sister, so we're waiting to see what she's going to do about the pipes.  Meanwhile, I'm considering just turning the whole of the back garden into a huge pond. :) 

I have to confess I've been a teeny weeny bit down in the dumps at not being able to get started with the garden, but I'm telling myself that it will be worth the wait.  Anyway, because I have no garden photos, I'm posting ones that I took while out walking today.  Part of my walk took place during a 'white-out' - a man stopped to offer me a lift.  I told him it was okay, that I was out for a walk to take some photographs and thanked him.  "Yer mad," he replied and sped off before I could come up with some witty retort, such as, "Madness is relative" or even accuse him of being mad for driving in such dangerous conditions.  Ah well, I enjoyed my walk nevertheless and if it hadn't been for me needing to go to the loo, I'd have stayed out longer.

Here's two lovely cows I met while walking along the old railway line.  They were sheltering in the corner of the field and were totally indifferent to the interest I showed in them.  One of them glanced round briefly at me, the other didn't move at all. :)

A road bridge going over the old railway line - it leads to a farm

Horses in the snow

You didn't know Narnia was in County Durham, did you!  It isn't really - this leads into the nature reserve at Oakenshaw.

 These reeds are growing in the lake, which is now frozen over, at the Oakenshaw nature reserve.  I love the contrast of the straw-like texture and golden-yellow of the reeds with the dark green conifers in the background.

It's dusk now and the light in the photos is changing.  This is the frozen lake with a little island in the middle.  There are usually lots of ducks here, but I think the cold must have taken them somewhere else where they might get more food..... I hope.

Having left the nature reserve and village of Oakenshaw behind, I am now approaching my home town of Willington.  These sheep made a peaceful and restfull scene, but when I approached them with my camera they jumped up and moved off.  I apologised for disturbing them.

I make my way along the farm track that takes me to the top of the pit bank.  I'm very fond of this particular spot - it looks scenic whatever the season.

At the top of the pit bank looking down on Willington

My walk was just over 4 miles and I was out for only a couple of hours but I enjoyed it so much, except for the bit when I couldn't find the exit at the nature reserve and got a bit disorientated...... it looked different all covered in snow.  I didn't much like the thought of me stumbling through the trees in the dark..... not with my imagination! 

Update on my NaNoWriMo novel - I didn't get it finished within the month, so I didn't get a winner's T-shirt (boo-hoo), but I've since finished it and now at work with the editing. It was a really fun experience, one that I would thoroughly recommend to everyone.

And now I would like to wish everyone a


  1. Missed you Lesley but back with a bang.
    A brilliant post........Maybe not brilliant but very very good.
    The reason the cows stayed under cows indulge in water sports?
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Hi Arian, thank you! :) Maybe the cows were huddling in that particular corner hoping that passers-by would give them some nice tit-bits. Poor things, there wasn't a blade of grass to be seen in their field.

    I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's posts. :)

  3. An early chrissy pressy............i got your comment on my blog and immediately rushed over here. I must admit i only half read your posting. I just wanted to get to the bottom to say "HIGH, YOU'VE BEEN A MISS". I've been quite concerned, talk about YOUR imagination. It's great to see your cheeky piccy again. I promise i'll read your post properly later.
    I'm just sitting here with a big daft grin on my face !

  4. Oh bless you Mr Kinson, you certainly know how to make a girl feel wanted! :D

    Have a lovely Christmas John. :)

  5. excellent photos!

    wishing you many christmas blissings!

  6. Thank you G! :D Everywhere looked so picturesque in the snow.

    All the best to you and yours!

  7. Such lovely photos dear Lesley, you are certainly getting some snow.
    I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas in your new home and best wishes for the coming year when you will be able to be outside and plant your new garden.

    I have just planted some cosmos and some nasturtiums and have been busy weeding garden beds and having a general tidy-up. Time spent in the garden is always pleasant.

    xoxoxo ♡

  8. Hi Lesley.. sooo pleased your back to blogging I have really missed you. Have the birds and other wildlife found your new garden yet?

  9. Hi Dianne, thank you. :) Cosmos and nasturtiums sounds lovely - both very reliable and colourful flowers... good for the wildlife too.

  10. Hi Helen. :) We've got robins though I'm not sure if they're ones that may have visited our old garden. We also have a huge flock of starlings that roost under the eaves of our roof in the evening. They wake us up in the morning with their scrabbling about. :O) A pair of collared doves has just began to visit the garden in the past few days and we think it may be the same pair that visited us before. :D

  11. I enjoyed the walk out with you Lesley. It's a nice area where you live. There looks to be loads of opportunities to get out there a do a bit of power walking. It's all very picturesque in the snow but in reality it is a worrying time for ALL of the wildlife. I popped out today and saw 3 Wrens in the bottom of the bare hedgerows and it was rather uplifting but i do hope these beatiful birds survive. They are a species that gets particularly badly hit when the temperatures plummet, so seeing them after what we've already had gives me hope these guys just might get through.
    I hope your move wasn't too traumatic as it is a very stressful time and then the problem with the garden on top. The thing is Lesley, there isn't too much you can do about it at the moment so chill and wait 'till the wether gats better and you can sort things out with the neighbour then you can get to work on your new garden and eventually get it how you want.
    Anyway, enjoy Christmas and i wish you all the best in the new year.
    Best wishes,

  12. Hi John. There are lots of good walks round here. I understand what you're saying about the birds and the cold weather - every morning I open the door to feed them and feel the cold rush of air and I feel so sorry for them. Your mention of the wrens has made me decide to go to the pet shop as soon as it opens (probably Monday now) and get some insect food, as I've seen wrens in our garden. I've been putting out suet pellets that have insects in them, for the robins.... maybe the wrens will get some of them too.

    As far as the garden goes - yes, I need to be more patient.... once Christmas has passed, it's amazing how quickly Spring is upon us. :)

  13. You look as if you live in an interesting part of the world naturewise. After you sort the drainage out in your garden I hope you consider making a pond, my own ponds have given me so much pleasure and interest over the last 25 years.

  14. Hi David. :) I'm lucky to live in a lovely part of the country. There are lots of open spaces here and we don't have to go far to 'get away from it all'.

    I'd love to have a pond in the garden. The only thing that rules it out just now are our three old dogs - they would just plough their way through it, but it's definitely on the cards for the future. :)

  15. Are you SURE you don't live in Narnia? It all just looks like a storybook - perfect in every detail. The photo of the horses in the distance, with the ancient rock wall in the fore is my fav.