Monday, 20 December 2010

Winter wonderland

For the second time since we put up our Christmas tree we have snow. On the first day it was about an inch thick, but much of it melted when the sun came out mid-morning.

The next night we had a dusting, which again melted quite quick. Assuming that that was it for the year we made a snowman yesterday. Ian had to take a bucket through to the front to find enough snow. We named him Snowbert:

Last night we had several inches more snow - the most I've seen in the UK since I was a child.

I've never seen a snowman covered in snow before!

The birds are really hungry today - enough so that they are stripping the bushes of berries that they ignored even the last time it snowed.

After feeding the birds I spent quite some time clearing the snow off the ponds - the snow blocks the light which stops the plants producing oxygen and can kill amphibians.

We attempted to drive into town (I wanted some photos of the cathedral in the snow), but didn't make it more than a couple of feet before we had to get out the shovel and thought better of making a second attempt. Next door's van got several metres further a few minutes later, but ended up having to reverse down the road and park where it had started.

The thatched cottage at the end of our road:

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Chestnut Centre part 2: otters

The main reason we chose to visit the Chestnut Centre last Sunday was that we had found out that our friends Manoki and Panambi (the giant otters) had had two cubs in the summer and that they were now old enough to have visits from the public.

The giant otters were nowhere to be seen when we arrived, but we had lots of fun with a pair of North American river otters while we waited for them to come out. Their favourite game was swimming under the ice for as long as they could hold their breath and then popping out into the water and rolling around, but they also enjoyed sliding down the snowy slopes on their bellies.

At one point they seemed to think we might have some food and came right up to us to check

Eventually the giant otters came first to their indoor enclosure behind glass (as opposed to another indoor one where they're not bothered by the public)

and then wandered outside. They spent all their time in the river so we weren't able to get any photos up close, but it was wonderful watching the entire family playing together

Ian took lots of videos of them playing so I shall post one here when he's had a chance to edit them.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Chestnut Centre part 1: deer

Last weekend we took a trip North to see Gary and Dewi. We first stopped at Ikea at Bristol, but they were having some kind of emergency and were evacuating the store. We decided not to wait and proceeded to the Ikea at Wednesbury instead. After we got our shopping we continued up to Preston. You can see photos from our visit at and

On Saturday we all went shopping and chose Dewi a bridesmaid's dress :-)

On Sunday we returned home via the Chestnut Centre. Derbyshire was covered in thick snow and although many of the animals were hiding from the cold the ones that were out were very friendly. Most of the deer were on or next to the main path running along the hillside:

We were approached by a beautiful stag who was presumably checking that we were behaving ourselves around the rest of the herd.

This pretty little fallow deer wanted to know if we had any food and even when it discovered we did not it stayed close for some photographs.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

We have finally caught up with the rest of the country and early on Thursday morning it snowed in Exeter. Very exciting since we'd already decided to take the day off to buy a Christmas tree, decorate it and get ready for travelling up to Preston on Friday.

We were lucky to get a tree because B&Q had shut their outdoor area where they kept the trees because it was so slippery with snow and ice. Thankfully a very kind man let us go and choose a tree, otherwise we would have had to travel much further and pay more for the tree.

After we'd got the tree in place we decided to go for a walk in the snow. We went to Stoke Woods, just North of Exeter.

The view from nearby Duryard Valley Park:

One for GB - cows wishing they were in New Zealand?!:

William slept in until nearly 3pm, but we finally managed to get him out in the snow for a whole 3 minutes before he went back to bed.

The tree this evening: