Well we’re still waiting for snow in this neck of the woods, we had a light flurry last week that lasted an hour or so, it didn’t really settle and was soon gone, we’ve had hail though and fat see through rain that fell slowly (think it was very non impressive sleet) but no gently tumbling from the sky snow (the sort I remember from Winters growing up in the Suffolk countryside)
I’ve lived in or on the outskirts of Norwich for over 20 years now and in that time I’ve experienced some proper snowy winters, in January/February the year before last we had 2 weeks of snow, it snowed pretty heavily every day, and where we live, just near the marshes, was beautiful. Very Narnia-esque. (I first read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when I was quite small, maybe 7 or so, and I think it’s why the snow association with Narnia is such a strong one for me)
Even though we’ve not had snow we have had some heavy old frosts, being in a “valley” near the marshes means mornings are often misty or foggy, and it can often be a bit chillier here, and the frosts take hold more. The marshlands themselves are often covered with tendils of wispy grey mist so unless I’m staying exactly on the path, I don’t tend to walk out until a lot of it has cleared.
This is my first view as I walk through the big wooden gate at the bottom of the lane behind our house……..this is an “off the path” walk…the ground was so hard it was fine to walk across, though by mid-day it’s all muddy and boot sucky.
The ground itself is frozen solid, and white dustings of frost linger in the shadowy bits…….when the sun comes out though, the pastures soon turn green from white.
Parts of the river and water canals freeze, they reflect the trees and overhanging reeds and grasses as it meanders round. There are still lots of birds about, always swans and we’ve gotten quite used now to seeing a heron when we are out.
In the Autumn huge “canals” or drainage were cut out of the ground, this is to help the marshes stop flooding, last year they flooded and were water logged for ages……and at Christmas parts had already flooded so I’m not sure how successful this has really been. At the moment the landscape looks really brutalised and raw, though I guess once the reeds start growing in, and water flowers seed and spread it will look a lot better. At the moment it’s so bleak looking I couldn’t bare to take a picture…….
This little stretch is one of my favourites, it’s where we often get greeted by friendly muddy pawed dogs with wet ears and rather muddy shoe’d owners…..when the reeds are high then we often spot small birds perched on them, and in Summer months the swans and moor hens are nearly always spotted along here.
The landscape behind is somewhat bare at the moment but the air is filled with the sound of bird song….in the distance I can hear a low hum of traffic and the odd rumble of a train leaving Norwich station (the track runs along the back of the marshes, if I’m near the track when I’m walking then I always wave at the train…..in my head I’m like Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children….though I think the trains speed by s fast no one really sees me…or if they do they think “what is that mad woman waving for?”
Looking back across where I’ve walked, and the sun has come out, the frost has all gone………once the ground has dried out again then a local farmer pouts his cows out here to pasture……The Arpette isn’t too keen on them but I like cows.
When I was growing up I went to a lovely Primary School (it was a proper little school and it was the school that not only my dad had gone to when he was small but also his dad before him had learnt his three R’s there too)….every week a lovely old chap called Goldie Ellis would take us out for walks along foot paths and over the common and heathland that surrounded our village, and inevitably this would involve walking through fields of cows and so I’m quite happy to pet them……
Much to The Arpette’s “what the what are you doing?” stunned looks I happily gave a cow a hug back in the Autumn….it was a lovely sunny afternoon and the cow was laying down and was quite content for me to stroke and coase it’s face and neck….it was so beautiful I had to hug it and it was fine…no stampede or anything (it smelt so warm and lovely)….as you imagine, when we got home Bernard’s nose twitched so much it, the smell definitely puzzle him.
It’s so quiet and peaceful, a couple of dog walkers in the distance but I barely saw anyone today…..lots of birds about though, saw plenty of my favourites…..tiny little long tailed tits. We used to get them in the garden but the cold winter the other year saw them all off….however I’ve started noticing several little colonies of them on the marshes, so I suspect their numbers are back up and hopefully we’ll be seeing them in the garden again very soon. (According to the latest Country Life magazine, they are called “a banditry of titmice”)
This was such a nice walk, it was chilly but I was well bundled up and the sun was shining so it didn’t feel to bad at all……even when it’s nippy out I still like to get out of doors, in part to stretch my legs as sitting sewing and embroidering for long stretches does nothing for my posture (and the ever expanding quilted bottom) but it does help blow out the cobwebs upstairs and perk me up…not from feeling in the doldrums or anything like that, but new ideas always seem to arrive more when I’m out of doors rather than when I’m all cooped up inside.