Tuesday, 21 December 2010

And winter came............

Today is the winter solstice  and the official 1st day of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. It will also be the shortest day. That means from tomorrow the nights will be getting shorter again..... but summer does indeed seem a very long way away at the moment. We have had some unseasonably cold weather here in the UK and I think sometimes we forget that Christmas is actually only just in winter by 4 days. The likelihood of a white Christmas here is actually a very remote one but this year seems odds on.
Since early December we have had biting cold weather and such heavy snow. Everything really is a true winter wonderland and for once the Christmas cards with their snowy scenes are perfect illustrations!



This is our local church at the ponds and it really looks so festive covered with snow.
I am considering using some of my snowy photos I have taken this year in my Christmas cards next year....they are perfect with the snowy scene!








On Sunday we sang this song at the Carol service. I smiled as I thought how apt these words were!




It is not quite midwinter but the earth is certainly
hard as iron around here and the snow has definitely  fallen, snow on snow. As we came out into the icy darkness
after the service my Hb and I just stood and looked
around, taking in the almost surreal beauty of the
surroundings that  night.





I took some photos, which although I appreciate are a little out of focus, ( it is hard to stand still in the freezing cold until the camera shutter shuts!), I think almost have a magical winter glow to them...
Despite the freezing cold we had walked there and back as our car at the moment is going nowhere. I am actually glad we did as I am not sure we would have realised how beautiful it was outside.

So now that we are in winter I have also had a look at my garden and the local wild life to see how they are faring.


Under all this snow are my violas and snuggling deep inside are the bulbs I planted in the autumn. These are usually very hardy but it will be interesting to see what does emerge next year.









I have to keep bashing the heavy snow off my palm and the weight is almost breaking the branches. I have had this hardy palm for many years and up until now it has survived. I will have to keep my fingers crossed that it does after the extreme temperatures of this year.












Some of the plants are providing welcome berries and of course the viburnum is in flower! I love this shrub in my front garden, even with icicles hanging the delicate flowers are in bloom.








What a plucky plant this is.
  
The local wildlife seem to take the winter weather in their stride, the birds down at our ponds still paddle around in the icy water......




Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!



























I also caught sight of the squirrels playing, they are very well fed with nuts by the local children so have no problems in the snow and actually seemed to be enjoying it.



This one kept running in and out of the trees.



























So the garden and wildlife seem to be doing alright out in the winter wonderland...so what about  Billy............how is he faring on this first day of winter.....?

Well he is most intrigued to find that we now have a tree in the dining room.  Now how on earth can you explain that to a cat?

I do hope this winter does relent a little for us here in the UK but wherever you are ......
..................welcome to winter...............

Bye for now,
Jane x

(Remember that my very last **days to Christmas post is coming up on Christmas Eve, so do come back. The big day really is nearly here :0)

10 comments:

  1. I loved this post, Jane. Your photos of the church and its surroundings at night are magical, and the ones of the wildlife and garden in the snow are such good compositions and really tell the story of this wintry time. I've often thought of the words of In the Bleak Midwinter too - I once stitched a sampler using the first verse and it couldn't be more appropriate now, could it? Hope Billy doesn't mind the tree in his house too much! Helen x

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  2. Hi Helen, I'm glad you enjoyed this..my Hb also tells me that there was also a total lunar eclipse last night..not sure we would have seen much as it was snowing again last night!
    Billy is still trying to puzzle the tree out but finds it a good place to sit under!
    Enjoy your day,
    Jane x

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  3. Jane, you and I are on the same wavelength today!
    I couldn't think of a more appropriate carol than 'In the Bleak Midwinter' because bleak it is! If I were Billy I'd just stay in there under the tree.
    I love your night time photos, it all looks very Dickensian!!
    Anyhow we're now at the shortest day so it's all onwards and upwards from now, great!! :)
    Vivienne x

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  4. LOL Vivienne, I think I was writing my comment on your blog as you wrote mine! Great minds eh!!
    Here's to winter but yes it's so good to be getting some daylight back after tonight.
    Keep warm in Narnia. Billy is not daft, fast asleep on his chair as I type.
    Jane x

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  5. Lovely images, Jane!

    Winter is very beautiful, but I hope it's not too cold or snowy there on Christmas, so all who travel from far can reach you Christmas-home. It's very cold here (-25C) and getting colder as we speak, but hey, it's the shortest day of the year, it can only get better and LIGHTER from here!

    I cannot believe it's 21st already, I just started my Christmas blog and now it's almost over...

    Stay warm and cozy and kiss to Billy!

    Yours,
    Mia

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  6. Goodness me Mia, that is SO cold. Time has flown hasn't it as we have celebrated the countdown Christmas on our blogs, I have so enjoyed it, one more to go for me!
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that my parents in Kent and Milly and Tom is Essex can get safely up to us.
    Keep warm,
    Jane x

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  7. I really enjoyed seeing your post! Everything that we are lacking here in the city at the moment

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  8. The last time we visited New York Vita was about 8 years ago in January when you had the heaviest snow for some years....Hope you get to see some snow but that it does not get in the way of family and friends celebrations!
    Jane x

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  9. Jane..wow, the images you've posted here are so magical. I especially love the glowing lights at night. Beautiful! It has been wonderful to get to know you via this blogworld this past year - I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year ahead. I am so grateful for your kind visits and for your friendship - it is always a joy to see and read your words at my blog. I hope to post more in the new year..hopefully I'll have some new images to share, though right now, I'm under a mound of presents to wrap for my girls. I can't wait. It'll be wonderful. Wishing that it snows for Christmas for you...lucky!! Take good care!

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  10. Hi Shirley, thank you so much. I too have really valued our friendship via our blogs this year and I am looking forward to seeing more of your wonderful art in 2011.
    Merry Christmas,
    Jane x

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I really enjoy reading every single one of them.
Jane x