Changing Seasons 2017: February

February arrived at the meadow and the little wooded area beside the stream, enticing nature to quicken as the year edged slowly onwards…

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(Remember to click on the galleries for better views of the pictures!)

As youthful sunlight grew bolder, caressing the earth with an enlivening touch, new life began to stir amidst the leaf litter. Green shoots pushed free of chill dirt. Soon, hosts of delicate snowdrops bowed their heads in shy greeting, whilst hearts and minds swelled with romantic ideals.

Bathed in dawn light or dusk, the paths meandered over the meadow and beneath the trees, drawing footsteps onwards. Benches invited those visitors brave enough to face the frigid elements to sit awhile in peaceful contemplation. Meanwhile the stream flowed on in a silvery ribbon…

Within the tree tops birds gathered, peeking from behind branches and darting from perch to perch. In search of partners with whom to share the coming months, they sang their boastful songs as they preened, their chests puffed out in self-importance.

Amidst February’s burgeoning landscape, a multitude of detail was hidden – for those who were willing to look. Bracket fungi provided stepping stones into fairy lands, whilst ivy bedecked in dewdrops glistened in dawn light. Strands of fur tangled around brambles, hinting of life forms present when a human gaze was absent.


This post is for my February edition of Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons Challenge. It’s a little later than I’d hoped to post it – mainly because my internet is still not completely back to normal. It’s not too bad for visiting blogs now, but unfortunately it takes forever to upload pictures!

If you’d like to see how the meadow, wooded area, and stream have looked at different times of the year, please visit the ‘Changing Seasons’ category in the menu at the top of the page.

Do you have a favourite picture? I’d love to know!

CWW: Beside the Lake

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Follow the lane as it wends its way through craggy hills, sodden earth beneath your feet and deep waters at your side. With each step feel your cares tumble loose, descending like scree into the lake’s inky depths.

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This post is for Cee’s Which Way challenge. The pictures were taken at Wastwater – the deepest lake in the Lake District, Cumbria, UK – which we visited over this past weekend. This was the day after storm Doris had passed over, so it was very wet underfoot, and still very cold, windy and cloudy. Fortunately it managed not to rain whilst we were out there!

I hope you like them.

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Changing Seasons 2017: January

As the midwinter celebrations fade into memory, the new year settles into a haze of grey monotony – a progression of days shrouded in obscuring mist. But even amidst the gloom, an allure can be found if you open your eyes to the sight. Light will filter through even on the dullest of days.

(Remember to click on the galleries for better views of the photographs.)

Find your way to the natural places, and breathe deep of the chill air. Bathe in the peace to be found as you connect with the earth. The daylight might yet be thin, lacking the strength to which it will grow in the months to come, but it is strong enough to enliven your spirit as you walk across the meadow and beneath the trees.

Whilst no flowers yet bloom, and the trees remain starkly bare, there is still beauty to be found in the minutiae of the wild places. Beneath your feet toadstools continue to emerge, whilst moss, ivy and lichen add touches of greenery to a largely umber world. Droplets cling to leaves and branches, reflecting back at you a miniature world, bathed in light.

Amongst the branches a multitude of birds flit, darting from perch to perch in search of sustenance. Blue tits, long tailed tits and blackbirds can all be spotted, adding life an movement to the wintry tableau.

A final sight to lift your spirits can be seen as January draws to an end. The first hints of Spring’s revival can be found amidst the remnants of the old year – fresh green leaves reaching towards the sky. Soon new life will arrive.

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This post is for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons 2017. As usual, I have far more than the 5-20 pictures we’re asked to share – though this is barely a quarter of those I could have included. Sorry, Cardinal. o_O I’d say that I’ll try to stick to the limit better next month, but I know just how low the likelihood of that is!

As I began last year’s challenge in February, this post actually brings me full circle. I had thought about photographing a different place this year – but the meadow, wooded area and stream is where I always want to visit when I head out of the house with my camera. And there’s always something different to be seen…

If you’d like to take a look at some of the previous posts for this challenge, I’ve now added a Changing Seasons category to the menu at the top of the page to make them easier to find.

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WPC: Graceful

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History’s enigmatic weight settles, cloak-like, upon your shoulders as you walk beneath the graceful arches. The weathered stones may be mere remnants of times past, but still they stand, elegant and proud, marking the route along which devout men once walked. As the wind dances around the columns you can almost hear the sound of male voices raised in prayerful song, their worship resonating down through the ages…

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This post is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is graceful.

The photo was taken at Fountain’s Abbey – the ruins of a Cistercian monastery near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The entire site, built out of richly golden sandstone, is beautiful to photograph, but I found the arched walkways running alongside the nave particularly graceful and attractive.

Changing Seasons 2016: December

During December I again photographed the meadow, wooded area and stream in my village for Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Changing Seasons challenge. With the busyness of Christmas preparations, along with an unseasonably warm but drearily overcast month, I only managed a handful of visits to my favourite place, but luckily those few walks gave me plenty of pictures!

Remember to click on the galleries to see the pictures at a larger size.

So, come and join me on a walk through the meadow, down to the wooded area and beside the stream, as December takes hold…

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You breathe deep of the chill air as you walk across the meadow’s open expanse, enjoying the feel of the crisp grass and the fallen leaves, rimed with ice crystals, as they crunch beneath your feet. The paths that in the summer months wound through long grasses, are now mere echoes upon the ground, but you follow them still. Whether in the shrouding mists of early morning or the sublime gold of the afternoon, each footstep carries you further from your troubles, opening your mind to the possibilities that lie ahead.

The many benches scattered around the space draw you to rest for a spell, allowing you to absorb nature’s serenity. Wrapped warmly in woolen layers, with hat, scarf and gloves protecting your extremities, the chill doesn’t bother you as you meander from perch to perch, though you don’t linger long at each stop. There are many more areas to explore, after all.

Resting on the bench newly placed beneath the trees, you gaze at an area held tightly in December’s grip. Oak, birch and horse chestnut trees all stand starkly bare. Winter green has now become dominant within the woodland spaces: holly, ivy and fir adding a dash of colour to an otherwise bleak scene.

Arising from the bench, you walk alongside the stream, watching the sluggish flow of water beneath the icy tendrils that stretch out from the shore. The afternoon light gilds branches in gold, adding an element of warmth that your chilled senses deny exists.

You carefully watch where you put your feet as you walk beneath the trees, taking care not to trip over the jagged remains of tree stumps or to tread on any of the funghi that continues to sprout amongst the concealing leaf litter.

You stop where a branch reaches out over the water. The last few leaves cling like tree ornaments, whilst water droplets glint around them, hanging like nature’s own midwinter decorations.

But nature’s own are not the only decorations to be found. Strung from the trees throughout the wooded area are fat balls, packed full of winter treats for the birds, whilst strings of popcorn drape over the fir trees clustered in the corner of the meadow. Robins, blue tits and long tailed tits can be seen flitting to and fro, enjoying their midwinter feast.

Finally, as the sun sets beyond the trees, and with your senses bathed clean by the calm stillness of nature, you take your leave of the meadow, wooded area and stream, knowing that soon you will return…

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I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on a walk around my favourite place. Did you have a favourite picture? I’d love to know which ones caught your eye.

If you’d like to revisit some of the previous months’ galleries, you can follow the links below:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

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Cee’s B&W Challenge: Steps

This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is: steps – inside or out.

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The steps stretch before you in a seemingly endless trail up the cliffside and you curse your decision to make the trip, your legs aching from the strain. The steep drop alongside the path is enough to make you grip the rail tightly as vertigo sets your senses spinning. You shift your gaze resolutely ahead, focussing on the crumbling stonework barely visible at the summit. The climb you’re undertaking might be a nightmare brought into reality but the promise of ancient ruins, their fabric woven through with tales of magic and mystery, gives you the strength to push onwards. 

The views will be worth it, you tell yourself.

You just hope it’s true.


These pictures were all taken around Tintagel Castle, a place that you have to climb far too many steps to get to!  I have to say that the views were definitely worth it.

Tintagel is most well known for it’s connection to the legends of King Arthur. This link dates back to the 12th century when Geoffrey of Monmouth named it as the place of Arthur’s conception. The legend says that the wizard Merlin used his magic to disguise Uther Pendragon as Gorlois, King of Cornwall. This allowed Uther to sneak into Tintagel and into the bedchamber of Gorlois’ wife, Igraine, and Arthur was conceived.

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Cee’s Which Way Challenge 2015: Week #34 – The Old Railway Bridge

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A sedate path idles where mighty engines once roared.  The bridge stands lonely sentinel, holding memories of its glory days in unloved brick-work.


This post is for Cee’s Which Way Challenge. The photograph was taken in Newark on Trent (Nottinghamshire, UK) along the path of the old railway line. The railway itself closed in 1988 and since then has been turned into a path for walkers and cyclists. The bridge was built in the 1850s when the railway line was laid.

I hope you like it.

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Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Older Than 50 Years

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The Lady of the Ossington

Stairs creak, footsteps of a ghostly presence creeping ever closer. She watches through the veil as workmen transform her dream into her direst nightmare. As alcohol swirls in glasses, voices rising in drunken excitement, her ire grows. This was not what she wanted! How dare they defy her will? Fury crackles like static in the air. They may not be able to see her but she can still make her presence known.

Bottles shatter. Wine spreads like blood across the floor.

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This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. I couldn’t resist joining in again when I saw the theme for the next few weeks is ‘older than 50 years’! Old places and things are some of my favourite things to photograph.

The building pictured is ‘The Ossington’, formerly known as ‘The Ossington Coffee Palace’, and was built in Newark on Trent in 1881 by Charlotte, Viscountess Ossington. Her main aim was to promote temperance. She wished to draw as many of the local farmers and labourers away from the public houses as she possibly could.

For many years the Coffee Palace was run as the Viscountess intended, despite being requisitioned during both world wars. It was finally sold away from her heirs in 1978 and it was after this time that alcohol was first served in the building. Local legend holds that the spirit of the Viscountess was so disgusted that she returned to haunt the place. Her portrait was tossed off the wall, wine crates thrown off shelves and kegs of alcohol mysteriously bled dry with no signs of leakage. When workmen entered the building for renovations they complained of ghostly interference causing the job to take far longer than expected. They heard footsteps on the stairs, tools moved inexplicably and one morning they found the words ‘Get out of my house’ carved into new plaster as if by a ghostly finger…

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Which Way – The Waterfront

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The threat of rain is a familiar annoyance as you walk beneath glowering skies: it does little to deter your enthusiasm. Your eyes remain fixed on the small boats that sway gently in place. Excitement burbles in your chest.

The noises of the town fade into a distant murmur and you tune your ears to the music of the waterfront: men and women shouting and laughing, chattering as they enjoy their day; bird calls echoing over the lake; the splosh of water against wood. You resist the urge to add your own voice to the symphony.

Soon your adventure will begin.

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This post is for week 21 of Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

Today’s pictures were taken in Bowness-on-Windermere, in the Lake District, which I visited when on holiday in Cumbria a year or so ago. We didn’t go out on the rowing boats – we didn’t have time. I could actually do another whole Which Way post about our trip that day. We rode on a steam train to Windermere, then took a boat trip over the lake from Windermere to Bowness-on Windermere. There we had lunch and an hour or so of sightseeing before returning as we arrived. It was a very enjoyable day – despite the weather (typically for England) remaining overcast for most of it.

I would have liked to take a little boat out onto the lake though…
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Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Liquids

Ulswater, Lake District, Cumbria, UK

Ulswater, Lake District, Cumbria, UK

You gaze upon the sun-kissed waters from the shoreline’s shaded nook, bare toes caressed by liquid chill. One by one you gather each angry thought, each nagging frustration that claws at mind and spirit, and you cast them into the depths. With a heart embracing serenity, you let the water wash away all cares.

Ulswater, Lake District, Cumbria, UK

Ulswater, Lake District, Cumbria, UK


This is my entry into Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is liquids.

Both of the pictures were taken at Ulswater in the Lake District when I visited there on holiday a year or so ago. The little passage of descriptive writing is actually quite representative of my own emotional state on that particular day. I was on holiday with my parents, sister and nephew and my sister made it quite clear to the rest of us that she didn’t really want to be there. I’m generally quite laid back but her attitude was making me annoyed. A walk alongside the lake allowed me to regain my usual calm.

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