Saturday, 28 January 2012

January in Devon

A Friday evening's motoring down to Devon to see the family. Heading down on a winter's night usually means quieter roads although you miss out on the beautiful Dorset countryside.

Saturday morning and to Modbury. A lovely village with lots of splendid shops. Modbury has a super St Luke's Hospice charity shop that is brimming with old bits and pieces. Last time we were here we came away with a framed portrait of Edward VIII. This time, a 1935 jubilee mug (yes, we're Royalists in case it's not obvious) and a 1926 Arthur Rackham print.

Sunday dawned grey and overcast but didn't put us off a wander around the farm and off down the country lanes.

Pigs expecting food! (they'd only just been fed of course)

A quiet Devon lane.  We only saw one car in about two hours, it was very peaceful.  We wandered and stopped to notice the hedgerows and banks along the roads.  It is easy to think that because it is winter that everything is dormant and colourless, but looking closely we found some beautiful plants, fungi and lichen that were very much alive and full of colour.

Scarlet Elf Cap
Lichen growing on dead twigs and branches

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A Frosty January morning

As I woke and looked out of the window this morning it finally felt like winter. After all the snow and ice of last winter, this winter has been very damp and mild so far.  The garden was covered in a beautiful silver frost and the grass crunched under foot.  Even the weeds looked beautiful.

Our hazel tree which had provided such a bounty in the autumn, is now bare apart from a few catkins and the blue tits flittering in and out of the branches.  I could hear a robin nearby and even a frog in the garden next door. The only plant flowering at the moment is the winter jasmine, with its cheerful yellow flowers, and the flowering currant bushes are starting to bud.  As if right on cue, a gardening catalogue dropped through the letter box when I went back into the house to warm up.

Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday's dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow.
-  Nelda Hartmann, January Morn  

Monday, 2 January 2012

Cobwebs blown away

Our last day off before returning to work and finally the dreary rain that seemed to have settled over us for most of Christmas has blown away. A lovely bright and cold day. Perfect for a walk on the South Downs.

From Cheesefoot Head we headed across the farmland towards Morestead village. The wind as we walked across the high ground was biting but once sheltered by the trees the sunshine was glorious.

Coming back we saw literally hundreds of crows and jackdaws descending on a field in the valley. Flocks of them seemed to appear from all directions. We've no idea what it was that was attracting them. Then just as quickly they dispersed. No pictures sadly. We forgot the camera and the mobile phone really wasn't up to the job.

As usual we derided our ability to identify trees and plants. A definite resolution for 2012!

After 3 hours of traipsing we headed home for a very welcome mug of tea. A fab end to our Christmas break.