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Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Snow and snow

Heh. Couldn’t resist the pun.

Well, as anyone following the news/weather would be aware, the wet and mud gave way to snow. Severe weather warning type snow. A snowcopalypse. We were on the edge of the zone for the ‘red’ severe snow warning, and it was quite impressive. The school was closed and we were actually snowed in for a couple of days. It was incredibly pretty. The trees over our entrance drive were weighed down with snow and arched over the road.

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Then we had a few days where it would thaw slightly by day and freeze by night. Which means… icicles!

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And then… it was warm and wet. There was some heavy rain and in the space of a day, all the snow had gone.

But look! There was something even better in their place!

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(In the background you can see the river. We’ve had a *lot* of rain!)

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We were in London a couple of weeks back, and so we decided to go to the zoo. Goodness me, the zoo is expensive! Fortunately we used some supermarket coupons, and so instead of costing us £75, it cost us £15-worth of supermarket vouchers. Excellent!

I hadn’t been to the zoo in years. It has changed a lot since I was little, mainly because the animal enclosures have been hugely improved. We didn’t see the tigers this time; they were hiding – not something that was an option for them when I was little. You’d see the poor beasts pacing up and down in front of the glass. And I remember being upset by the polar bear, as even as a child I could see that the poor creature was going mad. So, no polar bear, big tiger enclosure, huge gorilla enclosure, the old elephant enclosure now has small bearded pigs and the elephants (and rhino and hippos) are living it up at Whipsnade. There’s a new penguinarium (that’s what I call them, it’s not a proper word, although it should be) – the old one is now Grade 1 listed so they can’t demolish it, or even get rid of the sign.

Would you like to see some pictures?

The new penguinarium:

Rather huge beastie in the Butterfly house:

Pelicans at feeding time. I am fond of pelicans.

They had an enclosure with free-range squirrel monkeys. They were super cute and the kids loved them.

A lioness briefly woke from her nap to gaze disapprovingly at us.

This is Zaire, the matriarch gorilla. She’s splendid. She was lounging about, picking her teeth with a stick in a marvellously louche manner.

We love giraffes Chez S&S. So we had to go and see them.

Littlest S&S liked the aquarium best – I didn’t take any pictures but it was great. By the way, did you know that ‘aquarium’ was a word coined by London Zoo for their aquarium? Before that, the name was ‘aquatic vivarium’.

All in all, a lovely day, although I think the children will get even more from it when they’re a bit older. We’ll keep saving those supermarket vouchers.

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Ray of sunshine

I do love sunflowers – they’re so happy! And they also give me an excuse to use the lovely tall jug we were given as a wedding present; long-stemmed roses not featuring prominently in my life, ahem ahem.

They’re especially nice when there isn’t much actual sun – which is the case a lot at the moment. But when sunflowers meet autumn sunshine, something lovely happens. Something so lovely that I’m sharing this picture, even though I didn’t artfully remove the tons of clutter from the background before taking it.

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Well, I haven’t managed to do a Tuesday 10 for a while since I restarted, but here I am again.

My garden is a work in progress – long term readers will remember that we started re-landscaping last year. Since then, we were overtaken by work, pregnancy and needing to replace all the pipes in the house because water was coming through the ceilings. So the garden is, to put it mildly, not what I hoped for. The flower beds are either overgrown or dug over and covered to await replanting. The veg beds are no more – we removed the last lot and didn’t manage to build more. Hey ho. But despite that, there are still some signs of spring.

The primulas are out – including the ones I transplanted from the bed that was dug up. They have survived being transplanted at completely the wrong time of year and look marvellous:

And there are primroses everywhere – they’ve even spread into the lawn, which makes me very happy. I’m not someone who longs for an immaculate lawn (which is probably a good thing, all things considered…)

The daisies are up and out and being ruthlessly picked by Miss S&S the Elder:

There are lots of new leaves:

And lots of new lambs:

And my herb pots by the back door are showing signs of life – my parsley:

And my mint:

I shamefully ignored my strawberry plants last year. They’ve sat outside in all weathers, but I have a few flowers, which is more than I deserve!

The marvellous magnolia stellata is going over now, but here’s a picture I took a week or so ago:

And the cherry blossom is out in force:

Plenty to gladden the heart even without the flowerbeds … but next year will be better!

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My darling clementines

This is one of the things I love most about winter.

Clementines and satsumas. They embody Christmas for me – the smell of the peel, the orange nets they come in, the ones in big boxes still with leaves attached, and of course there has to be one in your Christmas stocking.

I can eat and eat and eat these – and so can my children. Hooray for clementine season!

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Here are this week’s pictures for the photo scavenger hunt over on Ashley Sisk’s blog. No, I still haven’t managed to post on a Sunday, but Monday is an improvement. Baby steps…

Right, here goes.

Purple.

This beautiful orchid was a gift from some friends. They clearly didn’t know of my track record with orchids, but I am hoping that this will be the one I fail to kill.

Food.

I love the colours of these pulses, and really enjoyed swirling them round to get different combinations of colour and shape.

In disguise.

This is a mask I bought in Venice – not one from the touristy mask shops that are everywhere, but from one of the few proper mask makers who work in papier mache. (The Italian for papier mache is ‘cartapesta’, which I think is a very pleasing word.) I chose a mask style called ‘La Civetta‘ (The Flirt) which is the type worn by the female characters in the Commedia Dell’Arte.

Shapes.

This is a vintage ‘Double Wedding Rings’ quilt that I picked up for a song on Ebay. I love the shapes, both of the pieces (the circles are made of various trapeziod and diamond shapes) and the geometric patterns on some of the fabric prints – and then of course, there’s the swirling shapes of the quilting.

Photographer’s choice.

This is a picture I took this week by the river. I really like the way the autumn colour is just coming in – the yellows and oranges pushing inexorably against the green.

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And here we are again, right up against the deadline! Here are this week’s pictures for the photo scavenger hunt over on Ashley Sisk’s blog.

Macro

This was a web I saw on the school gate when I dropped the Little Girl off. Fortunately I had my camera in my bag!

Found Texture

It has been a week for webs, because there were some on the tree when I took my ‘found texture’ picture.

Home

Bit of an odd picture, this one – I shall explain. I love my home, but my favourite place, especially as the days get shorter, is my bed. It’s my place to hide from the world – not just for sleep, but to read, to dream, to sit with a sketchbook, and to have a cuddle and a chat with the husband – and the kids if they’ll stay still long enough. And when I look up from my bed, this is what I see. Our house is old, but these beams are older – you can see the notches in the main beam from where they have been used before.

Cover

I have alluded in the past to my love of notebooks. And anyone who has seen my Pinterest will know of my love of owls. So here are some friendly little chaps from the cover of a notebook I couldn’t resist buying.

Tree

One from the archive here! This is a tree that regular readers will have seen before – it’s the ancient apple tree outside my kitchen door so it’s been captured in all weathers. It isn’t very photogenic at the moment – strong winds have left it lopsided it desperately needs tidying up. So here it is earlier in the year.

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