Monday, 28 January 2013
Monday, 21 January 2013
Needless to say, as soon as I mention that snow never settles in Southampton, it snows all night and all day, lays thickly and the city is brought to a standstill by the relentless blizzard!
All the schools were closed and the gleeful yelps and screams of cheerful snow covered children, ambushing each other up and down the streets, could be heard constantly throughout the morning.
By lunchtime all was all quiet on the Western front, the children were all frozen to their bones with soggy socks and frostbitten fingers. It was still snowing hard outside, as the coats and gloves dried out on the radiators and the frigid digits wrapped around cups of hot chocolate gradually thawed.
After some grub and warming of the extremities, everyone was back at it again. Epic snowball fights evolved all along the road. Boys Vs Girls, Kids Vs Adults, Family Vs Family, it didn’t seem to matter much.
|Frozen Ducks Dodging Pack Ice|
The forecast said that it would continue all day and probably not abate over the weekend. Obviously, it was time to break out the thick socks and sledges!
The following day a gang of us headed out to Shawford Down, the main roads were thankfully clear, and the journey was safe. The massive hill had been well used by local children the day before and was looking a bit worse for wear but it was still frozen so the sledges were soon flying along.
Spontaneous snowball fights broke out all over the place and zooming sledges made textbook targets. The sledgers could neither stop nor dodge the chilly-fingered assassins, as they slid toward their snow-spattered destiny.
|A Direct Hit (Tee Hee)!|
Monday, 14 January 2013
|Brent Geese Flying South, Possibly to Avoid Becoming Xmas Lunch|
Well folks, for me personally 2013 has, so far, proved a long way off satisfactory. Hopefully things will begin to improve, as time goes by. But enough of my woes, I have a popular blog to maintain. Winter/Spring is always a lean period for foraging but we still love to get out amongst nature, and hope to inspire you to get outdoors, for a walk with your family.
|Hurst Spit and Keyhaven Salt Water Lagoon|
Much to the children's disappointment, it has not yet snowed where we are. Mind you, we rarely get snow settling in Southampton, even when it is forecast for the area. I always blame this deficit on the hot rocks that lie beneath the city; they are used as a source of geothermal energy to heat part of the city. People never believe me when I say that Southampton used to be a Spa town, but it was.
|The Needles, off the West of the Isle of Wight|
We have managed to get out and about a bit though, and we had a very exciting and stormy walk on Hurst Spit. Hurst Spit is a massive shingle bank that has been thrown up by the constant action of the elements. It is the closest part of the mainland to the Isle of Wight and has long been a strategic military point for the defence of the Solent seaways to Southampton and Portsmouth. The castle at the end of the spit was built by King Henry the 8th in 1544 and King Charles 1 was imprisoned there in 1648 before being executed.
More important these days are the large tidal lagoons of Keyhaven, behind the spit, a refuge and harbour for many small boats and also an important nature reserve and bird sanctuary.
|In the Shade (and Lee) of the Spit|
When we arrived the Spring Tide and wind had caused the road to flood but we chugged through and found somewhere dry to park. The fist thing that was apparent was the force of the wind, the car was being buffeted all the time.
|Some Would Say We Are Crazy - We Would Disagree!|
We donned our wet weather gear to shield us from the storm and set off to test ourselves against its power, it was incredible. The waves were smashing into the shore and several times spray and spume breached the vast barrier to soak the few brave walkers.
|Milford, Battered by the Storm|
We decided that it would be too exposed to trek to the fort and lighthouse, and chose instead to go the other direction toward Milford. We saw many flocking birds including Fieldfares (I think) in the corn fields where we parked. I could watch birds doing this all day, it is just fascinating how they all change direction at the same time.
|The Brilliant Brent Geese Treat us to Another Honking Fly Past|
The highlight for me though was when a vast flock of Brent Geese, that had been grazing on a field, took off as one and wheeled around honking, doing a few laps of the lagoons, before settling in a different part.