Showing posts from February, 2019


It's nearly Spring! Continuing my posts about the illustrations I did last summer for Lia Leendertz's 2019 edition of  The Almanac - a seasonal guide . For the inspiration for  February  I used memories of my own garden as it comes to life after the winter months. The opening spread for February includes Hazel catkins, Winter Aconites and Crocuses; Bluetits doing a mating display and a Blackbird pecking at moss ... feeding on grubs underneath or maybe collecting some to start nest building. Look out for the Blackbird appearing again in the illustrations in the coming months. You can see the sun shining in the illustration, low in the sky in the early morning. The January illustration is set at dawn and the next one for March will be late morning ... the illustrations take you not only on a journey through the year but through the day from dawn to dusk. Here are my notes of what could be included in the illustration, my original quick sketch, tracing for transfer to t

Old Hall Marshes

  A walk around Old Hall Marshes (7.8 miles) Saturday 16 February 2019 Weather: mild, 14˚C, south-westerly breeze, cloudy Parked opposite Salcott-cum-Virley church. (please click on the photos to enlarge them) The marshes are an area of rare unimproved grazing pasture and creeks protected from the sea by earth banks; outside the sea walls are salt marsh and the mud flats of the creeks along the Blackwater estuary which are exposed and re-flooded with the ebb and flow of the tides. This precious mix of habitats provide a rich food source for numerous bird species and make up the Blackwater Estuary Nature Reserve . A cloudy day and a flat bleak landscape ... but plenty to see. The tide was out so the salt marsh has been drained of water and the mud exposed. You can see the narrow channel that winds through the mud banks ... at high tide sailing these waters needs careful navigation.  The mud may look uninteresting but for wading birds, especially those that vi

Lidgate - Ousden circular walk

Our first walk in February was on a gloriously sunny day after a bitterly cold few days including snow and sleet showers and hard frosts. Sunday 3 Feruary 2019 Weather: -1˚C, still and clear, in the sun it feels warm Starting from the Bailey Pond at Lidgate and circling anti-clockwise to Ousden church, then back via Lidgate church. 4.5 miles Pond? what pond?! It's been drained and dredged, the fish and other water-life will soon be returned and I'm sure it will look beautiful again. (click on the photos to enlarge them) We headed down the village street passing a blue plaque on a wall marking the birthplace of the poet John de Lydgate , not a household name now but back in the days between Chaucer and Shakespeare he was a poet of great renown. We turned left up a lane which rises steeply as it leaves the village cottages and gardens behind, soon we were in fields above the village. In this area we often spot herds of Fallow Deer, but this wa