Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hope springs eternal

Going for a walk at the weekend, I spotted this coltsfoot plant growing virtually out of the tarmacked path. Such a tough, hardy plant!

 Does anybody know why ladybirds huddle together? I read that they do it for warmth ... but do they even give out warmth??
Either way, every winter, without fail, I see these little groups huddled together. Waiting for the spring sun, no doubt, which will warm them and allow them to leave the huddle and move on.

I was happy to spot this bumblebee. My first this spring!
It busied itself in a patch of crocuses, emerging dusted in pollen, only to move on to the next flower.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Thank you to Meditation Matters - St. John's Center, for this quote:

"Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated that that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it."
-- Sylvia Boorstein

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent - the time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
Traditionally this is a time of fasting and giving, of repentance and reflection.

I came across this recently:
"Lent is a time of fasting in the run up to Holy Week and Easter. Fasting involves both giving things up and taking things on.

Someone who is fasting might give up food during daylight, for example, or a particular type of food. They might give up a behaviour that hurts themselves or others, like smoking, excessive drinking, or judging others. This would involve honest self-examination, a sort of stock take on behaviour. This can lead to people apologising, either to God or to others, for things they have done wrong, and even to long reaching lifestyle changes.

 It’s not just about giving up negative stuff, it’s also about taking on positive stuff. This might mean giving money to charity or getting involved in social justice projects or campaigns that help the needy. It could be something as simple as popping round to check an elderly relative is ok. It very often involves taking on a commitment to pray more regularly, to find a healthy and sustaining spiritual pattern and rhythm."

Reflecting on this I have decided to have two very simple meals a day (such as dry bread, dry rice, porridge made with water).
I am hoping to learn from this what it must be like for the millions of people who live on very little and do without the many luxuries which I am lucky to enjoy.

Any money I save by eating such simple food rather than buying lunches etc will go to charity. (Although I haven't decided on a charity yet. Any suggestions?)

Will you give up anything or take up something this Lent?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More Wildlife pics

Today  we went for a walk through the Hanson Environmental Study Centre. A great place to sit in one of the hides and watch the birds. My favourite one is the woodland hide.

Not long after putting the bird food out, this little tit appeared. One of the fellow birdwatchers in the hide explained that debates had ensued amongst the experienced birders as to whether this was a marsh tit or a willow tit.
Who knows?

The robin is of course much easier to identify!
Earlier this week a robing landed on hubby's hand to take a some food. Quite a brave little fellow! (Robin, not hubby!)
This squirrel did not seem to care much about the fact that the food had been put out for the birds!
But the cutest of them all was the little bank vole, which appeared between the logs of a nearby wood pile.

For more great pictures from the Hanson Centre and elsewhere, visit Tales of a Bank Vole.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Along the river Great Ouse

Today I went for a walk along the river Great Ouse.

This beautiful old cedar tree stands in the church yard of Holy Trinity church.

Walking down from the church to the river, I met this swan, who appreciated the sweetcorn kernels, which I had brought.

Further up the river I walked through the tunnel which runs under the old Iron Aqueduct that crosses the river.

Underneath the aqueduct I spotted this juvenile heron who was looking for fish.

Walking back home along the canal I fed some ducks ...

... and spotted this canal boat which was frozen in.

Then it was time to head home. Time really flies!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Finally we've had some snow. The first this winter, which - compared to last year - has been very mild so far.

Plenty fell overnight, although most of it has melted by now.
I managed to take a few pictures on my way to church this morning, before the melt began.