A warm Sunday morning in March, much like it was the other weekend. A new kite. Some necessary errands ticked off the list and a chance to take off for some family time. To the beach to fly our new kite. Possibly more for me than for Baby VP, though when it took off the look of awe and wonderment filled her face just as much as ours. It was possibly the easiest kite I’ve ever flown, and so much fun. It stayed in the air, without any skill from me, for over 25 minutes. And was, at one point, flying almost 80 metres in the air with only a very light breeze. Amazing and so, so magical.
Monday 13 March 2017
Saturday 11 March 2017
Weekends are so short these days. They fly by in the blink of an eye, so, so quickly. What’s different? We’re busy with little Baby VP who is definitely not a baby any more! But weekends… they disappear. So we try to make sure that we go out and do Interesting Things together as a family.
So a couple of weekends ago we donned warm coats, Baby VP wore her thick all-in-one bunny coat, and we headed out for a decent countryside walk. I must admit that since having a baby, our walks are not as long as they used to be, and certainly shorter now that we don’t use a pram any more. But we make sure that we stop to enjoy all that nature has to offer and now that spring is so tantalisingly close.
We find that getting out early is best as we not only avoid the crowds but we make the most of the pre-nap energy. I also think that getting out and about early is best to see wildlife and we were lucky, seeing a treecreeper, lots of blue tits, coal tits, great tits and chaffinches as well as a pheasant, robin and moorhen. It was the first time that Baby VP had been into a bird hide for quite a while, and this time it was magical because she was so open to seeing the birds. We made sure we pointed each one out. We’re not ‘twitchers’ by any means, but there is a lot I appreciate about seeing birds come and go and spotting new ones I haven’t seen before. They really are beautiful things, birds.
I think about the things I want to pass on to Baby VP, the things she’ll remember forever, and one of the greatest things I can think of is a love of the outdoors. An abiding love and deep appreciation for the wonder and beauty of nature; the awe-inspiring brilliance of the world’s living body. I think of how much information there is to teach; how much I am learning alongside her and I feel so humbled by it all. The weight of this duty is immense. What a wonderful job to have.
By the time we were finished walking and bird-watching we were ready for a sit down and a coffee, complete with a toasted teacake shared between us three.
Sunday 5 March 2017
Have you noticed that we’re now exiting the deepest, darkest bits of winter? Like a plant deprived of the sun, I am desperately craning myself to find some its rays again. So when the weather gets above 10C and the wind is not blowing a gale and the sun is shining? I make like a cat and luxuriate, nay revel, in its appearance. Hoo-boy, Sun, you have been away far too long!
All of the above necessary conditions were met the other day and so I set off with Mr VP and Baby VP, the Archers omnibus on in the car (to my absolute flummoxing, I’ve discovered that Mr VP is not only a closet fan of the Archers but if I miss an episode it turns out I can rely on his almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the goings on in Ambridge to set me straight! *insert wide-eyed surprise-face here*).
And so we walked. Away from others, though as it was pretty early (for a Sunday), there weren’t many takers for a brisk walk. Just myself, my girl and Mr VP. Blue skies, white clouds, oystercatchers, a huge stretch of golden sand to explore and beachcomb on and the deep blue North Sea.
On the way back we saw a couple of unfamiliar birds flitting back and forth in the hedgerow. It turns out that they were stonechats. A new one on us!
Monday 16 March 2015
Friday 27 February 2015
Our native (and most beautiful) duck, the Eider duck, at home in these shores. Spring flowers on the wood burning stove when it’s not in use. Valentine’s Day roses from Mr VP. Ringed plovers who share a home with the Eiders and the cormorants, the herons and the grey seals. The black coal sand on the beach, light and easily swept away. And a bit of Genesis as this song (and most the Genesis back-catalogue) has been on our playlist quite a bit recently.
Sunday 8 February 2015
Apologies for the lack of blogging. It has been busy here and I seem to have lost my blogging mojo for a little longer than anticipated. On the upside, the days are beginning to get longer and (dare I say it) slightly milder. I’ve been craving long beachy walks, so each weekend I try to make sure that Mr VP and I make the most of the daylight hours we have together and I look forward to the summer evenings when we can spend long hours at the beach in the warmth.
Alnmouth is a nice beach. Not very long on its northern flank, but it has lots of rockpools at low tide, and soft, white sand. We were lucky, we saw the first blue sky in quite a while, with lots of sun. We watched as purple sandpipers (top) and oyster catchers combed the rockpools. Hazy silhouettes in the distance of Coquet Island and the bright blue horizon.
Sunday 1 February 2015
Welcome February! I have been eagerly awaiting your arrival and thus the arrival of aconites (a month later up here than down in Cambridgeshire), snowdrops and viburnum flowers. To celebrate the new month, we headed off into the depths of the countryside for a walk. The more northerly and inland we drove, the lower the temperature fell and suddenly the roads started to become snowy. In the distance, the hills were thick with snow and glinting the sunlight back to us. Fields full of heavily pregnant sheep, looking rather uncomfortable (the poor loves), were white and small drifts had gathered on the windward side of the hedge.
Finding everything covered in snow, it felt almost like we’d taken the day off and flown somewhere far colder. The paths we walked down held the imprints of those who had gone before us. Those arrow-shaped footprints are courtesy of a moorhen and their improbably-sized feet. Speaking of birds, Gosh! We saw so many of them. Bluetits, bullfinches, chaffinches, coal tits, nuthatches, blackbirds, wrens, robins, coots, moorhens, crows and in the distance we could hear the flight call of a buzzard. One of my favourite birds to see is the nuthatch, as she busies herself with finding food and then hiding it in the nooks and crannies of tree bark. I was also lucky enough to have finally taken my first photo of a wren! They’re so quick that to get a photo is normally almost impossible, and I have been trying for some time. So when this little tiny wren, only about the size of my thumb, was rummaging in the leaves, I took my chance and managed to photograph her before she darted into the undergrowth.
We stopped to soak in some sun on the walk, and within a minute of sitting down we were being watched by two pairs of beady eyes. The blackbird watched us for a while and then approached, completely unafraid, even when we put our hands out to her. She sat with us for a while, flying off when people walked past and then returning moments later to watch us again. She came so close that at one point we thought she’d sit on Mr VP’s boot. The robin was a little more skittish, but hopped under our legs and looked for bugs hiding on the bench. We stayed with them for 20 minutes, enjoying their company and feeling very honoured, as one does when wild animals trust you enough to come close.
What a way to start the month, eh?