Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Look Not Behind Thee

The day before the new year, I took down the old calendar in the kitchen and put up the new one I got free with the Sainsbury’s magazine. The old pink diary had been stowed away with important dates transferred to the shiny maroon one. The dog eared and written pages replaced with pristine and clean pages. As I flicked through the empty pages, I became aware of the mysteries of an unknown future…representing the promise of things, seasons and 365 days to come and not yet accomplished dreams and hopes of the future. All in Allah’s hand. Scary and exciting at the same time. May we have an amazing and wonderful 2013 for each and everyone of us.

Life is a book in volumes three

The past, the present, and the yet-to-be.

The past is written and laid away,

The present we’re writing everyday,

And the last and best of volumes three

Is locked from sight – God keeps the key

~Author Unknown~

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We stayed up the night, flipping the tv channels, counting the hours. Babe came down to set the camera. The drinks and a post-Xmas log was set on the table. We could hear one or two fireworks banging and rockets whizzing outside. We watched the celebrations that was going on in other countries and couldn’t wait to start ours. Then the countdown began. We clinked our glasses of Schloer and wished each other. NIST and I watched the numerous firework displays from our neighbour’s gardens. A few rockets whizzed above the casa making us jump with their loud bangs. We quickly went indoors to continue our celebrations because it was freezing outside.

We woke up to a sunny start of the year! Britain had finally seen a break in the clouds as clear skies replaced rain, ice and floods. The dry weather followed the wettest year on record in England. After a bitterly cold and incessantly rainy end to 2012, it was finally drying up for the start of the New Year. Many families spent the end of December cleaning up after flooding and struggling to travel because of impassable roads and cancelled transport services. But after the wettest year on record, the outlook was far brighter for 2013, with temperatures leaping by four degrees and the rain staying mostly away for the start of January, according to the weatherman.

We took advantage of the dry but cold weather and looked forward with excitement to the clear bright skies. We took NIST to Bradgate Park for one of the favourite pastime of the new year, loong walks :-). And we weren’t alone. Thousands were there. The main car-park was full and cars were parked along double yellow lines on the main street. The traffic warden was going to have a very busy day.. Bradgate Park D3100  01-01-2013 12-09-01

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.

~Soren Kierkegaard~

We made a u-turn and drove through the tiny village. It was a nightmare trying to drive up the hill because more cars were parked along the road. We gave car-park 2 a miss and drove straight to the 3rd car-park. Oops…it looked full but we queued to get in and we managed to get a space, Phew… We wrapped up warm and joined the masses, buggies and doggies. It was a pleasure to be out on a day like this. The slightly irritating winter sunshine was blinding us. Mist was still clustered round the top of the trees and a chill wind blowing across from the reservoir nearby. NIST looked amused seeing what people got up to on a new year. Bradgate Park D800  01-01-2013 12-37-55Then we spotted a herd of Red Deer feeding among the bracken and heather by the slopes of the hills. NIST was excited on seeing them and so were we. We seldom see Red deer when we were here. We crept closer and closer trying to get some good shots. As usual, some people tried to get too close which spooked them and off they go. Bradgate Park D800  01-01-2013 12-21-21 We continued walking and queued to use the facilities. The field beside the visitor centre was empty. Usually, there were herds of Fallow deer basking in the sun. We noticed that they’d moved to the other side of the field. We walked towards them and took as many photographs as we could. It was quite hard to see parents letting their children get so close to the animals. The deer looked cute and docile, sleeping on the grass. But these were wild animals and if they were spooked, you don’t want to be in front of those antlers. Bradgate Park D3100  01-01-2013 12-56-40 We walked towards the limestone outcrops where we saw small herds of deer grazing or resting in the bracken. We saw hundreds of people by Old John Folly. We walked along the ridge overlooking the park and the reservoir. The views were breathtaking. We heard Jays making a racket from deep in the forest. As we descended from the hills, walking along the long ridge, we could see the car-park was packed and they’d stopped any cars from entering. It was that busy. On the way home, more cars were parked haphazardly along the route. I’m glad we’re on our way home. Bradgate Park D800  01-01-2013 13-53-30 A few days before the new year, NIST and I checked out the sales in the city centre. We tagged along with Babe to Currys because he wanted to purchase something and I wanted to check out a new washing machine and a food mixer. Then he gave us a lift into town. Thanks darling. The first thing we did was a trip to the market where I bought a pack of fish-balls while NIST got a bottle of spicy prawns from a Chinese stall. Then we went to the Chinese market where NIST bought a packet of dried noodles.

Then we browsed the sales on Lower Precinct. We tried the clothes and shoes in H&M, Next, New Look, Clarks and Dorothy Perkins. I fell in love with a pair of black court heels from H&M but it was scratched and that was the only pair left :-(. Finally, I bought a detached collar from D. Perkins. It was on sale and got further discount by using NIST student’s card. Thanks a million.

We stopped for dinner at the Chicken Cottage. I’d never eaten here before, another first for me. We ordered the quarter pounder burgers with fries and a drink. It was ok, nothing spectacular. We’d a lovely time polishing the meal and people watching. Everyone who walked past the window were all laden with shopping bags. Business must have been good.

I wish you Summer memories

To warm each Winter’s day,

And all the hope and joy of Spring,

When Winter slips away…

I wish you many blessings

Along the path you tread,

And all the love of all the years

To light the way ahead

~Iris Hesselden~

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Babe received the sad news that his aunt Barbara in Leeds had died. We have no further details yet and I guess we will be attending the funeral as soon as we were informed. Our condolence to the family during this sad time.

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