Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Snowdrops Weekend

The Snowdrop

Fear no more, thou timid Flower!
Fear thou no more the winter's might,
The whelming thaw, the ponderous shower,
The silence of the freezing night!
Since Laura murmur'd o'er thy leaves
The potent sorceries of song,
To thee, meek Flowret! gentler gales
And cloudless skies belong.

Her eye with tearful meanings fraught,
She gaz'd till all the body mov'd
Interpreting the Spirit's thought--
The Spirit's eager sympathy
Now trembled with thy trembling stem,
And while thou droopedst o'er thy bed,
With sweet unconscious sympathy
Inclin'd the drooping head.

She droop'd her head, she stretch'd her arm,
She whisper'd low her witching rhymes,
Fame unreluctant heard the charm,
And bore thee to Pierian climes!
Fear thou no more the Matin Frost
That sparkled on thy bed of snow;
For there, mid laurels ever green,
Immortal thou shalt blow.

Thy petals boast a white more soft,
The spell hath so perfuméd thee,
That careless Love shall deem thee oft
A blossom from his Myrtle tree.
Then, laughing at the fair deceit,
Shall race with some Etesian wind
To seek the woven arboret
Where Laura lies reclin'd.

All them whom Love and Fancy grace,
When grosser eyes are clos'd in sleep,
The gentle spirits of the place
Waft up the insuperable steep,
On whose vast summit broad and smooth
Her nest the Phoenix Bird conceals,
And where by cypresses o'erhung
The heavenly Lethe steals.

A sea-like sound the branches breathe,
Stirr'd by the Breeze that loiters there;
And all that stretch their limbs beneath,
Forget the coil of mortal care.
Strange mists along the margins rise,
To heal the guests who thither come,
And fit the soul to re-endure
Its earthly martyrdom.

The margin dear to moonlight elves
Where Zephyr-trembling Lilies grow,
And bend to kiss their softer selves
That tremble in the stream below:--
There nightly borne does Laura lie
A magic Slumber heaves her breast:
Her arm, white wanderer of the Harp,
Beneath her cheek is prest.

The Harp uphung by golden chains
Of that low wind which whispers round,
With coy reproachfulness complains,
In snatches of reluctant sound:
The music hovers half-perceiv'd,
And only moulds the slumberer's dreams;
Remember'd LOVES relume her cheek
With Youth's returning gleams

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)~

Coombe Abbey D50  06-03-2011 14-51-04

I have been hunting for snowdrops ever since I saw them colonising the Shropshire road verges and woodland edges last January. I’d seen clumps here and there but I want to see white sheets of them carpeting the landscape . As winter began to retreat, my hope of finding them diminished bit by bit, until last weekend. My adventure started when we went to Bradgate Park to check out what the natives have been up to.

As usual, a pit stop at Groby Pool.  The natives here were very excited to see us especially when they saw me with a loaf of bread. After feeding them, we noticed a couple of hybrid ducks getting frisky. The only problem was there was only one white female and she was being pinned down by 4 males. She was nearly bald on her back where the males were pecking while trying to pin her down. Poor thing. Groby Pool D300s  05-03-2011 14-04-79

Then off to Bradgate Park where we drove past the Old Vicarage and the grounds of the semi-derelict garden were literally covered with my most sought-after flower. I was grinning from ear-to-ear. I guess the saying things happened when you least expected them, do come true. As soon as Babe parked the car, I walked back and photographed to my heart’s content.Bradgate Park D50  05-03-2011 16-12-54

When I walked back to meet Babe at the car-park, I noticed clumps of snowdrops lining the banks of the River Lin which ambles through Bradgate Park. Another photographic session. Finally, I’d met these harbingers of spring and their gentle presence meant that soon the beauty of spring will be upon us. For me, nothing else can lift the spirits so surely as the vision of a bank of snowdrops.Bradgate Park D50  05-03-2011 14-35-02

We scanned the River Lin to see if our favourite noise-box was around. But only silence greeted us. Ooh, I hoped he’s ok, either asleep in the reeds or has migrated back to Scandinavia. I’m going to miss him. But this beauty, a grey wagtail suddenly appeared on the banks. He was so busy feeding that he ignored our cameras. Out of the blue, a pied wagtail flew in and chased him off. This was the first time I saw 2 different wagtails together in the Park.

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As we continued walking, we saw 14 very handsome Red Stags checking out the visitors passing by. They were quite nervous of the dogs which were running all over the place. I wish people kept their dogs on leash. From the way these stags were standing we knew they were waiting to cross the road. We parked ourselves behind a fenced tree and waited. They checked us out to make sure we’re harmless before crossing and strutted quite close to where we were standing. It was soo amazing to see these handsome creature so close to us. It was quite frightening too. Check out those antlers.Bradgate Park D300s  05-03-2011 15-31-08

The weather was beginning to fold in and it began to drizzle. It was freezing and very windy. So it was time to head home. The traffic was getting quite heavy as we got nearer to the Ricoh. There was a home-game today and the fans were heading home. Babe turned on the radio when we heard that the Sky Blues were thrashed 4:1 by Bristol City. What on earth happened??? Bristol took a 3-0 lead by the break and end up wining 4-1 with the home team down to ten men and a replacement goalkeeper who could hardly move after getting injured himself within minutes of replacing the team’s No.1. Looking at the league table, they have dropped a further two places to 19th, just six points off the bottom three in all too familiar territory. Common boys…Bradgate Park D300s  05-03-2011 15-24-06

This Saturday was the inaugural World Book Night - a nationwide event which will see one million books be given away by an army of book lovers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland. At the Warwick Arts Centre between 6pm and 8pm, you can pick up your own free copy of a World Book Night book. I wish I was there to join in the fun. I hoped the event had a good turnout.image

25 different novels have been selected by a committee of people dedicated to books, based on recommendations from publishers and booksellers. There will be 48 copies of each elected novel to give away. The idea behind giving away these books was to stimulate reading and spread the love for books to as wide an audience as possible

Each book will have a WBN number on it, which will be registered on the World Book Night site: It was hoped that book-receivers will read the book, register it online and then pass it onto another reader meaning each person has a role to play in encouraging new readers’ interest in books. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for these books so that I could be part of the action.

It was hoped you’ll also be able to follow your own book and see it take on a life of its own passing from hand to hand, city to city and hopefully even country to country. You should  be able to exchange ideas and impressions online with other readers. Like an on-line book-club. The 25 books and their authors that have been picked for giveaway can be found at

On Sunday, I spent the morning clearing up the garden, raking the fallen leaves and pruning the shrubs. Tiny shoots were already sprouting here and there. I also need to purchase a few big pots because the Buddleas and Hebe needed re-potting. I couldn’t wait to get down and dirty :-). After a late brunch of mushroom omelette, we went for a drive to Coombe Abbey and we weren’t alone. The car-park was nearly full.Coombe Abbey D300s   06-03-2011 15-13-52

We loved walking through the woods where we observed the squirrels chasing each other and playing tags. Above us Long-tailed tits were flirting from tree to tree. And along the hedges by the lakes, we spotted big drifts of snowdrops, creating the characteristic flurries of snow that makes them so endearing. Bees too were enjoying the sweetly-scented flowers, feeding and flirting from one to another. I am so pleased that I’d my fix of these beauties at two different locations. Coombe Abbey D200  06-03-2011 15-05-25 

At first we planned to walk towards the bird-hide at the end of the country-park. But we changed our minds because by this time, it was getting so busy and lots and lots of dogs running about. So Babe suggested we nipped over to Brandon Marsh. As we walked back to the car, we spotted a couple of Nuthatches feeding from tree to tree. One even landed near our car when we realised that someone had left a pile of peanuts on the ground. But why near the car-park, so close to the main road???

Coombe Abbey D50  06-03-2011 15-21-39

At Brandon Marsh, we were greeted by robins singing their hearts out. I’m sure they won’t stay single for long. I spotted a large clusters of Fairies’ Bonnets growing on a piece of rotten wood, hidden by the undergrowth. We were in Baldwin Hide when we met Kay and Andy. I gave Kay a big hug and say my condolence on the death of her mother. We nattered a bit because I’d not seen her for ages. Thankfully, there were only 4 of us in the hide.Brandon Marsh D300s  06-03-2011 16-27-35 It was very quiet in the bird front. A pair of Great Crested Grebe swam quite close to the hide. I think I’d missed their mating dance. We decided to call it a day cos it was freezing and the cold winds blasted into the hide. On the drive home, I heard on the radio that Man United lost 3:1 to Liverpool. I’d to ask Babe whether I heard that right. I couldn’t wait to see season-ticket holder, JG, on Monday. We are going to have some serious banterings. :-)

Yesterday Emak was 72 years old. When I called, she was about to fall asleep so I asked Abah to wish her a wonderful birthday from both of us. May Allah look after all of us, always. Amin.

“He, who wishes to enter paradise at the best gate, must respect his father and mother”

~Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Bukhari and Muslim~

Coombe Abbey D200  06-03-2011 14-54-14

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