woensdag 25 januari 2017

Warming up to the ice age

Last Saturday, our plans for another clearing session at my dad's house fell through, so that we unexpectedly had a whole day to ourselves, to do whatever we fancied.

As it was an exquisitely sunny, albeit frosty day, there was no way we were going to spend it inside.
In fact, we made the very most of it and went for a long walk a little further from home.






As the temperature was still well below zero degrees Celsius, we dressed warmly, which in my case meant a colourfully patterned wool-blend dress, closing with a zip at the front.

It might look deceptively thin, but its wool content makes it really warm. In view of our walk, I wore it with both a slip and a thermal camisole underneath.

I chose opaques in almost exactly the shade of green featured in the dress.









This thick cream cable-knit cardigan, with delicate red and lilac detail, completed my outfit.



On top of this came my trusted fake fur coat. I also wore a lined vintage turban hat, a nice long purple scarf crocheted by my friend Ingrid and a pair of fingerless gloves to enable me to take photographs. Oh, and my new-to-me sheepskin boots, of course!


Whenever it got too cold, I tucked my hands in my handbag disguised as a muff. Or is it the other way around?

A thirty minute drive away, Het Broek in Blaasveld (broek meaning marshy area) is a favourite nature reserve, which we visit in all seasons. Much to our shame, our last visit was in May (I blogged about it here), and I guess 2016 was the first in many years that we did not visit it at least once in the autumn months.

Although there are several options for shorter and longer walks, we usually do the same loop, which offers quite a lot of variety.



Immediately after entering the domain through a gap between hedges, two large ponds come into view, now covered in a thick layer of ice.

The pond on the left is the kingdom of a gracious pair of white swans. A lady walking her dog was feeding bread crusts to the birds. Rather than regally gliding over as usual, the swans, clearly out of their depths, came waddling over, treading carefully on the slippery ice.

Followed by a comical moorhen, whose antics on the ice put me in mind of a funny cartoon bird.


Het Broek is a watery wonderland, with ponds and lakes in different sizes, and with the exception of one or two sand ridges, the whole area is only two to three metres above sea level.

In winter, the many brooks and creeks which run between the crooked trees are clearly visible.  In spring and summer, these are mostly hidden by abundant foliage, allowing only the occasional glimpse.



Beyond the first two ponds, the path snakes through a wooded area, passing some secluded ponds, the quiet only punctuated by the sound of chainsaws accompanying the process of woodland management.



Eventually, a more open landscape on the edge of the domain was reached, where a small frozen stream quietly meandered through banks of iced greenery.

After a short stretch along a tarmacked path bordering a body of water which is used for water-sports, the nature reserve is re-entered. This part was opened to the public fairly recently, and still has a relatively untouched feel.



I loved this enchanted tree-bordered channel of now frozen water, with thick slabs of ice littering the path next to it. And doesn't this innocent piece of wood eerily resemble some poor animal's head?



On to the visitor centre and picnic area called Beaver Island for a short stop and some silly poses involving a couple of naughty bronze beavers.



A few minutes after leaving Beaver Island, we caught our first glimpse of our favourite stretch of the walk: the water meadows, or should that be ice meadows?



From here, there are paths in two directions. We opted for the one leading off to the left, which is the longer of the two. Surely, those few patches of ice are going to be a doddle?



Soon the path became harder to negotiate, with treacherous patches of ice alternated by squelchy stretches of mud where the sun had melted the ice. At one point, the only way to continue without sinking into the soft mud was by climbing a conveniently placed bench.



And yet we continued, even when at one point there was no way of avoiding having to walk on the ice. Let me tell you that this is quite something for me. As a four year old, I broke my arm after slipping on ice, leaving me with a life-long trauma.



The magical world at the end of the path was worth the effort, though, the low sun spotlighting the ice floes dotting the drowned forest floor.


The final stretch of our walk led us past some of the bigger ponds, in other seasons the haunts of gaggles of quacking ducks and honking geese.

Now they were deserted, apart from a couple of dare-devil ice skaters, watched over by dormant, dead-to-the-world winter trees.

26 opmerkingen:

  1. Haha! Funny picture of that beaver! How Canadian!! Another beautiful post! I gasped at the beautiful photographs of the swans!! They must have looked particularly absurd waddling wind the ice. You look wonderfully cozy in that beautiful dress!! I've never been fortunate enough to find a wool dress that wasn't a sweater dress.

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. That beaver just called out for a funny picture! And yes, the swans looked a little absurd, but the moorhens really stole the show ... xxx

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  2. I'm afraid of swans-they're MEAN! And big.

    The photographs are all lovely, though my favourite is the ice floes between the trees. I'm not sure I'd have climbed a bench and walked across ice to get the photo, but I'm glad you did-it is just beautiful.

    You look stylish in your cold weather outfit, and you are lucky to have such a talented friend to knit you such a gorgeous scarf-in a great shade of purple too.

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    1. These swans are quite docile, except when they have cygnets with them. By the time we reached that bench, it would have been more effort to go back the way we came, so we decided to plod on ... xxx

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  3. What an enchanting place. Nature is wonderful. Love that cardi x

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  4. how adventurous! you´r brave to go over your trauma!
    i would have loved that walk - water wilderness comes short after mountains in my book! :-)
    and you look very chic in your cozy attire! funny pics with the beaver!
    huge hugs! xxxxxxx

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    1. Now, I still have to tackle my vertigo, which would be quite a different story ... I love water wilderness too, especially as wild and virtually untamed as this one ... xxx

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  5. Paisley is such a fab pattern. I've really been hankering for a bit of paisley lately. Your dress is fab.

    I hope the poor swans are swimming again now.

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    1. As it's been more that 10 degrees Celsius warmer than last weekend, I'm sure the swans will be swimming again by now. That paisley dress is a favourite, and as there are so many colours, it's very versatile too ... xxx

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  6. What a lovely crisp wintery walk! Poor birds though, having to deal with the slippery ice. I love the crochet scarf, such a gorgeous regal colour. xx

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    1. Thanks Cate, I really love a winter walk like this. I felt sorry for those birds, but they seemed to take it in their stride ... xxx

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  7. such an amazing walk, the landscapes, the wildlife, everything is really gorgeous! (not so enthusiastic about ice and cold!)
    And I love your beautiful dress, and really nice layering!. You look toasty!
    besos

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    1. Thank you Monica. I don't mind the cold, as long as it's dry and - preferably - sunny, so that I can dress in many layers and not feel the cold so much. xxx

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  8. What a gorgeous place to walk! Your dress and matching tights are just lovely, and yes, that piece of wood looks like a frozen wild boar head, eek! xx

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    1. We do love walking there in any season, Claire. I justwish we had a couple of stately homes we could visit when it's raining ... xxx

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  9. It really is a lovely place and your outfit is as always perfect

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  10. It all looks so beautiful but so cold!!

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    1. Thanks Gisela, but although it was about minus 4 degrees Celsius, I didn't actually feel the cold. xxx

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  11. Lovely day out in the fresh air and a lovely outfit to be seen in.
    Do you prefer winter clothes to summer Ann. I do, I love all the layering.
    Lynn xxx

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    1. That's a good question, Lynn. I do love my winter clothes and the layering and such, but once spring is around the corner, I do get a hankering for my summer dresses. xxx

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  12. I love your cable knit cardi, it's so pretty. As much as I love this time of year, I do feel sorry for the wildlife. Oh, I found my hand muff and used it on our latest National Trust jaunt xxx

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    1. Thank you Melanie. You must show us the hand muff in detail ... xxx

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  13. The beaver is brilliant! I love your cardie too-so cute!

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    1. Thanks Kezzie. Couldn't resist fooling around with the beaver! xxx

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