Nicola here, talking about getting out and about in the dark days of January. Although the shortest day is gone the nights are still long and dark and in dull weather it sometimes feels as though there is little natural light at all. It's at times like this that my thoughts turn to the warmth and sunshine of the Southern Hemisphere!
I've been trying to get out as much as I can, walking the dog, enjoying the sunshine on the fine days, and looking at the colors of January. The natural world isn't as drab as it sometimes feels in the winter. On one of my walks the other day I saw this bird – a redwing – sheltering from the rain and wind in the hedgerow. When it flew I noticed that it had the most beautiful bright flashes of red on its side. There are plenty of other splashes of red about too; in the berries that line the hedges and brighten gardens.
A few days ago we went on a trip to Donnington Castle near Newbury. Donnington is the ruin of a medieval castle that was destroyed in the English Civil War of the 17th century. The Civil War battlefied of Newbury (1644) is in the fields below the castle. It was a rare sunny day with gorgeous blue skies and we walked all round the castle site and the battlefield and along the river. The blue of the sky made a wonderful backdrop for the castle ruins.
Looking around the garden for color I've found the bright yellow flowers of my mahonia plant which also has a beautiful scent at this time of year and I guess it won't be long until the first bulbs start to appear…
Which colors of January do you like the best? The blue of the sky or the white of the snow? Or are you a lucky person living in a warm climate with many beautiful birds, flowers and other things to brighten the month? I'm sitting looking at the pewter grey sky as another storm rolls in so please do add some colors to my day!
(Angus hasn't seen snow yet so here is a picture of Rochester and his friend Meg enjoying last January's snow!)