Saturday 11 March 2017


Sprat-weather - fisherman's slang for those dark depressing days of late autumn and early winter when it never seems to get properly light. It seems such weather is good for catching sprats; perhaps the fish suffer from SAD and lose the will to live. On that basis, December should have been an exceptional month for sprat fishing. Almost every day was damp, and gloomy with a biting cold wind penetrating the thickest of coats.

Glimpse of sun through break in clouds reflected in dark muddy water
Dark Days - 13 December 2016
Sun reflecting in a muddy inlet off Dickerson's Pit

For me, this first image captures the mood of the whole depressing spell, a dark muddy patch of water reflecting a small rare glimpse of the sun. 

An oak leaf stuck in the grooves of a white frosty table top
Frosty Cheer - 8 November 2016
The frost provides little more than a white backdrop to the colourful leaf 

Enough of the gloom and a whole lot more cheerful picture! It has not all been grey murk. There have been spells of bright frosty weather, although there have been none of those gloriously pretty winter mornings when all the trees are covered in rime. At most, only the table tops, the grass and the low growing vegetation in the more open parts of the park have been covered in rime. This picture was taken on the first frosty day of the season at the beginning of November.  The brightness of such sunny mornings more than make up for the cold.

Moss on a Precipice - 8 November 2016
Again the frost brightens up the picture

I love the way a photograph can remove any sense of scale, and literally make a mountain out of a molehill (or vice versa). In this case, the moss growing on one of the planks of a table top is left teetering on the edge of a precipice.

Frost Candyfloss - 5 December 2016
The brown of the dead grass at the base of the plant, and
the colour of the trees in the background, underline how little
was affected by the frost.
A further brief frosty spell at the beginning of December, painted the grass and low growing vegetation with a veneer of ice, and left this plant looking like a stick of white candy floss.

Close up of sprays of winter jasmine
Winter Jasmine in the Sensory Garden - 2 January 2017
This winter jasmine climbs over the gate to the sensory garden
With most of the trees now bare, the only bright colours in the park were to be found in the garden. The bright yellow of the winter jasmine climbing over the gateway to the sensory garden bringing some much needed good cheer to the day.

Small dogwood bush, red and yellow surrounded by copper beech hedges
Dogwood - 2 January 2017
The bright yellow and reds of the dogwood,
eclipse the copper beech

In the garden opposite, the dogwood stood out brightly against the dull copper of the beech hedge and very muted greens and browns of the bushes and trees behind. 

Next: Winter