30 Days Wild :: Day 1

Towards the end of May we signed up for 30 Days Wild with The Wildlife Trusts and today saw the start of the challenge.  As the skies rapidly greyed and the storm clouds rolled in, a challenge it certainly was (not least because having not long given birth – Arty is 5 weeks old today – I don’t have a waterproof coat that fits (much less one that goes over a sling and the sling is needed when walking through fields!). Still, I’d made a promise to get out and about every day this month, so once we got back home, I had my first foray out in a while to walk the dog.

Even though the wind was rather strong and whipped my coat quite a bit, it was good to get out into fresh air again.  The elder flowers are pretty much ready to be picked (elderflower cordial making needs to happen soon), so that is a plan for a sunnier day.  I noted forget-me-not; clover; much happier-looking shepherd’s purse (it was flowering through the winter but small and stunted);  cranesbill; honesty and foxgloves not quite flowering yet; some sort of mustard and a brassica and more.  The horse chestnut flowers are particularly beautiful at the moment, but I wasn’t able to get a photo as they were trees passed whilst travelling on the bus and in the car.

We headed for the woods for some respite from the wind and rain, but as the weather worsened had to make a bid for home (Ted had appeared in just a hoodie after I’d got to the fields – I think he’d escaped through the door before J had seen his lack of raincoat).  There’s a famous saying that goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” It’s right. A bigger, warmer, waterproof coat would’ve made a difference!

Here’s hoping the weather brightens tomorrow!



A belated recap of 2012

Because I’ve had a busy start to 2013 I’m a little late recapping 2012, but I wanted to take a little time to look back over the year and summarise it with a few photos and thoughts.
The New Year in January saw us moving to a new house and John and I moving in together.  It may have been a new house, but it was back to the village we’d lived in since 2005 (we only left for 6 months after becoming temporarily homeless).  It’s quite a big village, though, indeed it’s quite often said it could vie for town status and I wasn’t familiar with the part we moved to, so it gave brand new exploring possibilities.
The housing estate was across the road from playing fields that led to open fields, grassland and woods – plenty to see and do for a family who enjoy walking and learning about nature.
February brought surprise snow after a dry Candlemas.  My eldest son took the camera and went off with his friends into the night.  He took the photo below (amongst many others). The children were, or course, thrilled.  Me, less so, I’m not a fan of snow – or rather snow is fine, so long as I’m not really expected to go out in it and can admire it’s sparkliness from indoors.
The snow only lasted a few days and a couple of weeks later it was dry, if rather chilly, and we took a trip to The Yorkshire Wildlife Park.  The pigs below were new (to me) and I loved their rich golden colour.
March brought more walks accompanied by the ever-enterprising Rosie (one of our cats).
I seem to have so many photos of family members up trees. I sometimes feel I’m missing out, but it’s hard to make your way up a tree when you’re pregnant (as I was at the time) or babywearing (as I am now when we go out for a walk).
John and I had a trip down to Birmingham (my hometown) for my father’s 60th birthday meal (his party was delayed until the summer with the hope of more clement weather).
Me with my stepmother and aunt.
A small collection of male family members in the pub after the meal.
April took us to Brodsworth Hall – the weather was beautiful and, as ever, I enjoyed a walk around the gardens.  Each season brings something new to see and it is a place that I like to visit regularly.
May brought more exploring the surrounding countryside and enjoying the sunshine when it came.  Rain had brought water to the streams and ditches and at times it was rather soggy underfoot.
June was a very busy month!  Lots of June birthdays and more walks in the sun.  One of the most magical things about where we lived were the hordes of rhododendrons that clamoured around the edge of the woodland – harking back, possibly, to when the land had been a part of the nearby Rossington Hall.
My father’s birthday party took us down to Warwickshire and an overnight stay to spend time with family and old family friends.
A rare group photo of my brother, me (even more heavily pregnant and due any day at this point – I kept having visions of having to give birth in a motorway lay-by on the way home) and John on the front row and my two eldest sons at the back.
At the tail end of June, Anna was born into a busy month of birthdays (she shares her’s with my brother) and following swiftly on, July brought getting used to a new family-way of being, for it had been a while since there’d been a baby in the house.
For many years Nin had asked for a baby sister for her birthday and finally her wish had come true.
August brought my second son home for the holidays and a trip to Sherwood Forest and the Robin Hood Festival.  The day was very warm and we enjoyed some time sunbathing.
September and a trip to the East Yorkshire coast: Hornsea and Mappleton (and a flyby through Hull).
In October we discovered a new passion for all things fungi and set off scouring the woods.  We also went on a guided fungi walk to learn more and Nin became official photographer for the day.
November brought a flurry of packing and organising and a scaling back of time spent out-of-doors.  Wild fruit appeared rather thin on the ground in the hedgerows around the house (due to some very wet weather – a worry because it has also affected food production in this country) and I was having some mobility issues that affected searching further afield.  We did pick some rosehips to make syrup out of, though.
My eldest son is a proud senior member of Army Cadets (although approaching the end of his membership with them due to his age).  November 11th brought the annual Rememberance Day procession in the village and we went along to watch R head it as a flag bearer.
December brought an even great flurry of packing as we got ready for the impending house move.  Solstice was quiet and rather minimal and Christmas saw fourteen of us sit down to dinner – the most I’ve ever catered for (although I say ‘catered’, but it was a shared approach with John’s mother, sister and father helping make and cook the food).
The decorations came down the day after Boxing Day and the last bits of the house were packed up ready for January and moving day.
2012 was a bit of a strange year – almost like a holding pen for me.  After the chaos and, at times, hardship that was 2011, the move in 2012 brought a kind of underlying limbo where I felt that, whilst life had certainly become far easier and more positive, that I was waiting for something – indeed, being pregnant I was, but it was more than that, 2012 became a period of rest and recuperation and a transition period towards a new way of being.  R moved out in October and with E now living with my father so that he can attend sixth form in Birmingham and with plans to go from there to University, we found ourselves with a contracted household (even with a new baby) and a completely different pattern to daily life.  Everything fell into place for us to move and so, after only a year (and the third house move for me in 18 months!) we downsized to a rather solid three bed semi on the very outskirts of South Yorkshire and finally, I think, a new chapter is now beginning…