We had the first snow of the coming winter the other day. I woke up to a covering of white but it soon disappeared although there were flurries of snow during the day. There has been a lot of rain too and everywhere is wet underfoot which makes walking difficult for me where there are lots of wet leaves. Today I walked with a friend to Ford Green Hall a beautiful old mansion. There was a Christmas Craft Fair there today and it was very busy. We walked both ways and enjoyed the damp trees and misty landscape.
Outside my window the trees are almost bare of leaves and I can now see the many different birds sitting on the branches before using the bird feeder. This is giving me an opportunity to take photos of the birds again as I could not see them before because of the leaves. I love to see the trees now when you see their shape better and the way the branches grow out from the trunk. There is something special about them now and when the frosty days and nights are here too. On the nature reserve there are many different birds now as well as those that have been hidden amongst the leaves. There is always something to see and notice when you take a walk however short the walk. I walked back from the hospital the other day and the sky was clear. It is downhill most of the way but quite steep in places but is less than a mile to walk. I stopped and admired the view over lots of houses where there used to be fields but in the distance the moorland beckoned.
The approach to Christmas seems to start earlier every year. As a druid I should not really celebrate this festival but celebrate the Winter Solstice and Yule instead. However I like to celebrate them all but more of that to come in a blog next month. The photo is of Ford Green Hall taken in the rain this morning. I could not avoid the tree as the grass was too wet to walk on.
What a change in the weather this week. Not only has it been very wet but it has gone much colder. The leaves are changing colour rapidly and trees are now less leafy so you can see the birds better. There are blue tits using the new bird feeder and I hope to see many more during the coming colder months. There are more ducks on the pond although three of them flew off this morning! But I love going up to the pond in the early morning if I can. This morning though, for the first time I could hear the drone of traffic. This could be because of the wind direction and also because there are less leaves on the trees to absorb the sound. I noticed too the spiders webs this morning as they glistened in the aftermath of the last rain shower.
Some of you might know that I am a cycling fan and this week I can only sit and admire the feats of one particular cyclist. He has won the Tour de France several times now and this year has gone on to win La Vuelta, the first man to do so since the Vuelta changed places in the cycling calendar around 1995. He is an unassuming man but works hard to do what he does and always thanks his team for their support as without them he could not do what he does. I am writing about Chris Froome of course and I do wonder what challenge he will find next. He also took the time to learn to speak French and is then able to have conversations with notable people in the race management. In public he is always polite and does not have the quirky character that some other cyclists have which means that often the British public do not like him very much despite his achievements. I find this rather sad that we cannot look beyond what we see on the surface.
This applies to other things and people as well. Many of those who are in constant pain always say they are fine when they are not really fine as they don’t want to be pitied by others. Is this a British trait or do other nations have the same kind of feelings? I know I’m just as bad as often when asked if I am OK I will respond with a yes even though I might be feeling unwell.
So a mixed bag of things this week. Are you seeing and feeling the changing of the seasons? Do you see beyond the face value of things?
What a beautiful morning it is. The sun is shining but there is a chill in the air. The dew on the grass is sparkling in the sunshine just like gems do. There is a stillness too; it is as if the plants and animals are waiting for something. There are huge fat rose hips and juicy blackberries on the bushes as well as loads of crabapples. It looks like a good harvest.
The mallards have returned to the pond joining the pair of moorhens who live amongst the lily pads. It was so peaceful this morning when I visited the pond area. My bathroom is finished and the stress has gone so I am more mobile and able to enjoy the beautiful landscape around me. I can see the leaves changing colour now, some gold and some turning brown. It will be interesting to see what it is like in the winter months.
My neighbour and I put up a birdfeeder on Friday so we are now waiting to see what kind of birds arrive. There are many different birds around here including predators as well. But I love the tiny wrens too which nest in the nearby hedges.
My new book is finished and I am waiting for a proof copy to check for any spelling errors I have missed previously then it will be available for everyone. I will put details on here when it is ready. So now I am looking for new projects but have found a couple of half written books from some years ago so will work on those first.
This week I have also replaced one of my very large chairs with a smaller one and then moved my computer desk which I no longer use and given the swivel chair away. It has made a lot more space for me to move around and I feel better for the larger space. Little things like moving furniture around can make such a difference.
I hope you enjoy the coming days as autumn returns to our land. Tell me what you like best about the changing seasons.
This week has been quite stressful as workmen have been in changing my bathroom to a wet room. The first day was the noisiest day so I went out on a trip to Trentham Gardens which I love. There were some amazing flowers to take photos of and the lake was beautiful. It was a good day to let go of stress. The rest of the week was less noisy but there were delays when materials had not been delivered so I tried to get out up to my local pond as often as I could but all the walking eventually brought on more pain.
One afternoon at the pond was really lovely. The sun was shining and there were dragonflies of various kinds flying around, some laying eggs. Another day I saw the heron but he flew away just as I arrived. Another day I watched young birds in a nearby garden. This morning I saw a wren, a blue tit, a coal tit and several starlings.
This is my way of dealing with stress and with the constant pain that I have. I find being in nature such a healing experience and I always want more even though my trips to the pond are limited by my mobility. I can see that a mobility scooter might be a good idea. I did have one once and it makes a lot of difference to where you can go but you do really need a good one for rougher ground.
My downstairs neighbour looks after the garden in front of our flats and we have discussed having a bird feeder out there hanging on one of the trees. I think this is something we need to get soon so we can feed the birds in the winter. There are many different kinds of birds in this area because of the pond area and the nearby nature reserve.. Watching the birds will also help when I get stressed.
How do you deal with stressful days? Do you get them often?
Earlier this week I went to sign all the papers and collect the keys for my new home. Within a couple of minutes walk is a small country park. As I was early for my appointment and feeling a bit stressed I decided to take a look at this small park. There was a small pond with a few reeds and irises around it and a man sitting quietly fishing. There were several seats so I sat down for a while listening to the most wonderful birdsong and enjoying the peace and the sunshine.
After a while I decided to explore the paths I could see. One went back down into a street while another one wound upwards through the trees. I took this upward path noticing the blossom on the trees and the wild flowers. It was not long before I had to return for my appointment but that short break in nature had destressed me. I know I will be there often to sit and enjoy the natural world around me.
I am sure that we all feel stressed at times and science is now proving that being out in nature can help us and is beneficial for our health. I hope you know places like the one I have found and use them for reflection and replenishment. I am adding a couple of photos to give you some idea of what the park is like.
Since moving back home I have been revisiting some of my favourite places. Some are long gone of course as this is a large area of industry and housing. But some are still there and there are also many new places to go and explore when I have the time. Derelict wasteland from industry which is now gone has often been turned into parkland.
One of the places I used to visit with my children is still there and I go there often but I have found another place to go which has exceeded my expectations. The Trentham Estate is a large commercial operation designed to attract tourists and also has a shopping village. But it is a place that never ceases to make me happy as I explore it. There is a large lake around a mile in length, there are historic gardens, woodlands and meadows, and so many places to hide from the crowds. Many things have impressed me, the way the old trees that have fallen are used from sculpture, the newly planted meadow areas and the wild flower gardens. Even the children’s area blends in with the land itself.
I have found small areas right by the lake where I can sit and watch the birds on the lake and the dragonflies and butterflies flitting around. I can walk through the woodland and see the sculptures. Then there are the fairies, a series, now sixteen in all, who sit around the estate. They are wire sculptures and can be found in unusual places. I have not yet found them all. But the peace of the lake and the ever changing sky are something I love to see. Each visit is a joy and like many others I purchased an annual ticket as the only day the estate is closed is Christmas Day.
The river runs alongside the lake and there are otters here but I have not seen them yet. There is a hide where you can sit and wait for them to appear. There are many varieties of ducks as well as swans and herons. A small island is the home for the herons. For me this is a wonderful experience enabling me to be at one with the landscape around me and I treasure it. I hope it will be there for ever.
I do a lot of walking; this is the rambling part of this blog. I am still walking with a crutch but I do get around and see some lovely parts of my area. There are lots of open spaces and places to walk where you see a lot of people dog walking. But the main problem is not the dogs or their owners.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning the open space nearby has far too much litter. Cans, bottles and takeaway wrappings. There are plenty of bins to put this stuff in so why aren’t they used? From talking to some of the younger people around me, late 20’s and early 30s in age, I find many of them have lost their way. They see no point in doing anything or complaining about the litter or other things because they say nothing gets done and no one listens. They are happy to drink to excess and eat what I would call rubbish food because they say, life is not what they would like it to be but they have no idea how to change it. They don’t want to vote in elections because they say it does not mean anything as nothing ever changes.
I am doing my best to discuss stuff with them to help them find their way but they are so disempowered and have no ambition to change. What would you do?