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Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Downs, The White of Snow and Broom Lakes...

Working up near Dunstable Downs, I hope to be able to get out and enjoy the incredible scenery and wildlife. A rich chalk grassland, the highest point of Bedfordshire, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, numerous Sites of Scientific Interest, and two scheduled ancient monuments definitely make it worth a visit (sold it to you?!). My first walk across the top of the downs to take some panoramic shots proved successful. A red fox weaved its way through open fields, dodging the crows, and continuously got hassled by the magpies. The fox squatted on occasions, scent marking the fencing and leaving its feces across the downs.

The Downs on an overcast day - you can see five counties on a good day!

Watching fox on the Downs!
A 360 view from the top of the Downs

 A few weeks back, I posted about how incredible our world can become when covered in the bright white of frozen water, chaotically fallen as snow. Momentarily, spring looked like it might be on the way; as the snow drops finished flowering, and began to decay, daffodils started to spring up across grass verges and under hedgerows.

Death of the snow drops

Daffodils by the river

Not quite. As I am sure you are aware, more shocking weather, more snow, and more ice engulfed the country. Which has meant news reports packed with horror stories and a great deal of moaning from pretty much everyone I have spoken to.

Snow showers!

Icy water of the River Ivel

The problems snow, ice and freezing temperatures cause are clearly an absolute burden on peoples lives. Yet, there is no denying its beauty. Seeing the ice on the river, and then the light, white snow fall from the sky, I could not help but wonder what it was that makes snow white. Essentially both snow and ice are frozen water molecules. Yet while ice is clear, snow is white. The difference is in how the water is frozen. Snow contains air gaps, tiny bubbles of air pockets. And it is within these air pockets that light is reflected back in all directions, with no preference to any particular wavelength of light. The sunlight is therefore reflected in its natural colour, containing all wavelengths, which appears white.

Hefty chunks of snow, floating down to earth

Collapsed shed of Stotfold

Unfortunately for Sky, she has just moulted... 

A new car has allowed me to spread my wings slightly. My first day after picking it up, Haz and I took Sky and Ellie over to Broom lakes. The wind cut across the open fields where the sand is currently being extracted before the land is turned into more lakes, and what could potentially be a wonderful area of natural beauty. A standalone tree, bare and battered, overlooks the icy lake of coot, grebe and wigeon. Like a skeleton, the naked tree defines the essence of winter. Stagnant, waiting for spring.

Tree against the Sky

After a harsh winter, I look forward to the burst of new life spring brings; the sunshine scattered with heavy showers. I then look forward to the warmth of a summers evening, sitting in the garden with tea and biscuits watching the garden birds work furiously to bring up their young (with the exception of my bodies insistence that pollen is some kind of alien virus attacking my body, and needs disposing of through a constant stream of tears and snot). After the hot, sticky summer days, I long for a cold snap, where I can wrap up warm and feel invigorated after battling the wind and ice. After our first lot of snow and ice, I felt ready for spring. But this extended winter is hanging on. I love a cold and snowy winter, but I also love the sun and spring. I do not know about you, but I am about finished enjoying this coldness and am ready for some spring action.

Looking forward to more of these: sunsets from Dunstable Downs

Squeezing in! Sky and Ellie in the boot of the Micra
Until next time... 


  1. Your icy water photo is amazing! Well they all are but that's my favourite!

    The doggies look cute in the boot! Sky looks adorable with her chin on the seat!

    I also agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph! Love winter, but this is just getting a bit ridiculous!!

    Let's hope spring arrives soon :)


  2. Thanks Lou :)

    Surely cant be much longer now!
    The dogs crack me up; first thing I did was buy a blanket from charity shop for the dogs in the boot! Bit cramped with both of them though, bless em'