Britain faced another week of snow and biting winds as bleak weather continued to sweep the UK. So don’t stow away the scarves, hats and boots cos winter had shown no sign of loosening its grip. Arctic gales blew into the country bringing icy conditions and snow showers. A biting wind from Russia, nicknamed the Beast from the East, made seasonal temperatures of 5C felt colder than it actually was. Blizzards and gales caused chaos on the road. It was blooming freezing while waiting for the bus, with a nasty blustery wing plunging the temperature further. When I left the casa, the flower pots were scattered everywhere. It began to rain as I got down from the bus and got heavier, as I walked to my office. By lunch time, huge wet snowflakes began floating down and by 5.30 pm, a blizzard mass of white blanketed and transformed the earth. Temperature wise, it was flipping freezing cold.
Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow
Will the winter never go
On Saturday, I woke up to a very thick blanket of snow. The bird-feeder was buzzing. There was a party going on and, hang-on, I spotted a feathered friend who looked familiar. Grey-brown with a very distinctive black cap !!! Woop…woop…woop it was the adorable Black Cap. I was grinning from ear-to-ear. He was a very shy bird often hiding among the undergrowth. This enchanting little bird was nicknamed ‘Northern Nightingale’ due to its fluting songs which unfortunately I’d never heard before.
Under the twigs the blackcap hangs in vain
With snowwhite patch streaked over either eye
This way and that he turns and peeps again
After the weather had settled down, we went to checkout our favourite playground. We walked through the forest to see if there were any fungi about. Nada…zilch…non. A Robin harassed us and burst into a song. I paid him with a handful of meal worms which he obliged and flew onto my palm. But he was just too quick to photograph. We continued walking where we met 2 adorable boys with their dad. I shared the mealworms with them and the way their faces light up when the Robins flew in to feed was just priceless.
We checked out the hides and it was very disappointing with very little on show. Apart from the Robins, there was a distinct lack of birds in the trees and bushes along the path. The few Lapwings, Mallards and Gulls were all hunkered down on the disappearing island. A Pheasant was the only colourful bird, feeding on the bank opposite East Marsh Hide. We checked out Teal Hide and watched a flock of Teal dabbling about in the flooded lake with their melodious calls cutting through the very quiet reserve. It was very quiet in the birding front.
Hurrah for the laughing water
The songs that the streamlets sing!
Whish! The teal duck’s mate has sought her
With a stroke of his mottled wing!
~William Henry Ogilvie~
On Sunday, after doing the shopping in Asda, we’d to cancel our plan to go to either Bradgate Park or Coombe Abbey. The weather had turned for the worse that we decided to check out the playground again. As we turned into Brandon Lane, the road had flooded. Hmm…we bet the reserve was also going to be under water. We were surprised that it wasn’t. It began to rain and we headed straight to East Marsh Hide. Babe spotted a Water Rail but it disappeared into the reeds before he could take any photographs.
We’d coffee and something to eat to keep our cockles warm. We were surprised to see a dozen Shelducks paddling happily and feeding in the lake. From time to time, they will flying in and out of the reserve, their whistles and barking trailing behind them. We checked out Teal Pool and had a nice surprise when we spotted a Little Grebe swimming among the reeds. We didn’t stay long because it was freezing.
This week we finally evicted our unofficial lodger. After living in our bedroom for nearly a month and after weeks of trying, we finally caught him in a box of clothing. Babe covered him in clothes to calm him down and moved the box into the bath. Wild woodmouse can’t climb the bath sides. Babe took a few dozen photographs before we transferred him into a cake tin and then took him into the garden.
Babe opened the cake tin slowly and we stood there watching him making his escape. And off he goes into the night, with a final glance towards us. We were quite sorry to see him go because he was such an adorable creature with big beautiful eyes. Babe took lots of photographs because you seldom get the opportunity to get this close.
“I hope we never lose sight of one thing—it was all started by a mouse”
Our department welcomed a school work experience student to our office for half a day. I couldn’t take him under my wings because I need to process a dozen super urgent Harvard Business case studies that was requested yesterday !!! My colleagues from Acquisition Dept. had warned me to expect them and I wanted to blitzed through them ASAP. I managed to complete the task before lunch time and around 2 pm, my colleagues from Collections Management came down hunting for the books. The Processing team had already taken the books away and they should be in the Short Loan Collection.
The horse meat scandal was getting from bad to worse. And then came the news that pork was found in halal meat pies for Muslim prisoners. What concerned me was wasn’t the producers/bakers Muslim, or was this another long chain of un-traceability? I sincerely hoped that my Muslim brothers haven’t betrayed their imprisoned brothers. If they’d, it was just unforgivable. One more thing, what was the point of having a Food Standards Agency that has done nothing to safeguard the British food chain. This seemed to be the pattern with the quangos. The Care Quality Commission and the abuse of the elderly; The Financial Services Authority and the catastrophic credit crunch. What’s next? Which quango was monitoring the NHS, Offgem, etc !!!
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine-press
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking
It was RSC last week at work before she was off for her maternity leave. She was taking 2 weeks off before the arrival of her baby. We’d been teasing her with some fantastic ridiculous names for the baby. She will be taking a year off and we were going to miss her loads. We gave her a warm send-off with a huge bouquet of flowers, a gorgeous good luck card and a luxurious pampering goodies. We wished her a quick and pain-free birth. I promised to text her everyday next week :-).
On Sunday, the Year of the Snake slithers in. Hisssssss…..Millions around the world celebrated the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. It was a time when family, friends and neighbours get together and wish for health, prosperity and happiness. Symbolic red paper lanterns decorated doorways, and fireworks crackled and popped, ushering the year with a joyous bang. We joined in with the celebration with a Sainsbury’s Chinese banquet as a treat. Kong Hee Fatt Choy.
Keep your mind as green as the bamboo shoots this New Year for good prospects to bloom in thousands.