Looking out into the back garden this morning, across the tracks of the Muntjac deer that crept in over the snow yesterday, I saw a small flock of fieldfare – beautiful birds from the same family as the much more common song thrush. Sadly, they are on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) Red List, indicating that they are of the highest conservation priority. I have never seen them before where we live, and they seem to have been attracted by the hawthorn berries and rose hips in the hedge at the end of the garden. As the RSPB says, fieldfares are “Best looked for in the countryside, along hedges and in fields. Hawthorn hedges with berries are a favourite feeding area”.
When I first arrived in the mid-1980s at Royal Holloway, University of London, I could not decide whether I actually liked the Founder’s Building, named after the College’s Founder Thomas Holloway. It was certainly impressive, but it took a long time before its architectural qualities began to influence me for the better – now, after all these years, familiarity has led to friendship! Designed by the architect William Crossland, the Founder’s Building was inspired in part by the Château de Chambord in the Loire.
The unusual amount of snow that fell in the early days of January 2010 shows the building at its very best. I hope these photographs illustrate why I have indeed come to admire those who conceived and constructed this impressive university building.
Please click on the above thumbnails for larger images
Following yesterday’s immense snowfall and dark skies, we awoke this morning to a gorgeous sunrise and freezing conditions. Yes, the boiler stopped working again, but what does that matter when the weather takes its part in painting England at its best! Below is a selection of photographs of the scenery in Virginia Water, especially in the woodland surrounding the Wentworth golf course. Enjoy!
For larger versions, just click on the images.
Many parts of the world are deep in snow with temperatures well below freezing – Moscow is predicted to have a maximum temperature of -14o C today. Our weather in the UK palls in comparison! However, last night saw some of the heaviest snowfalls in southern England for many a year, which somehow creates a sense of exhilaration. Minor roads across the region have not been cleared, leading to many an ‘incident’ with cars sliding all over the place, and not being able to get up even relatively slight inclines. Early this morning, attempts to help push drivers stuck on the hill outside our house proved surprisingly futile! Some young people nevertheless managed to ‘enjoy’ themselves, throwing snowballs at passengers waiting to get on to the few trains that were running! I know that this amount of snow is unusual, but Surrey County Council has done a really bad job of keeping local roads ice and snow free this winter. To be sure, the weather has been extreme, and main roads should take priority, but in the last 20 years the local roads in north-west Surrey have never been as dangerous as they have been this year.
So, please enjoy these images from Virginia Water: snowing last night; at least 6″ of snow in the garden; the postmen had some fun at their depot; local rail bridge, not flooded for a change; Siam restaurant in the snow – a long way from Thailand; well done to South West Trains actually getting some trains to run; Wellington Avenue abandoned cars; the railway line; more abandoned cars; trees in the snow; Trumps Green Road trees; Trumps Green Road shops; and the car park by Station Parade.