Sunday, 10 February 2019

A brief glimpse of Spring

Upon waking up last Sunday morning we were met by two strange phenomena. The first, being of the visual variety, was the most obvious, as it was immediately apparent upon drawing our curtains. The grey clouds had taken a day off, leaving us with a brilliant blue sky and a sunny disposition.

The second was a lightness of feeling which initially wasn't easy to put one's finger on. Then it dawned on us. For the first time in two months it was a Sunday without any obligations, free to spend whichever way we fancied.

Putting the two together, we felt truly blessed that the sun had chosen this very day to grace us with her presence.

According to the weather forecast, this cloudless, sunny day would be a one-off. In fact, the weathermen said it would only last until mid-afternoon. So, we wasted no time in filling a thermos with strong hot coffee, packing a picnic and heading off for a bracing walk and some much needed fresh air.

I wore my beloved princess coat, accessorized with a green beret and scarf. My hands were kept warm by my fake astrakhan muff which cleverly doubles as a handbag!

Our favourite nature reserve, Het Broek, where you have followed in my footsteps many times before, was our destination of choice.

The sun was surprisingly strong and it was good to walk and bask in its relative warmth.

The lakes and ponds were glazed with a fine layer of ice, too thin even to hold the weight of the  resident waterfowl, who could be heard screeching and bickering across the main lake as usual.

Soon we came to the bird hide, a ramshackle wooden hut looking out over the lake.

It was looking deceptively calm, as most of the birds seemed to be hiding among the reeds bordering the small islands in the far distance.

Only a young swan, still partly clad in its downy plumage, was venturing out on its own.

The warmth of the sun after the heavy rains of the last couple of days gave rise to a thin white mist emanating from the sodden earth, creating an ethereal, de-focused world.

The tangled bushes, which simultaneously carried last season's growth and Spring's new beginning, and the majesty of the high, windswept trees, made my daily worries recede, so that I was only living in the moment and savouring every breath.

I was looking forward to a visit to my favourite part of the reserve, a paradisaical corner the sight of which always fills me with tranquility and a unfathomable feeling of déjà vu

But the path leading to this slice of heaven was closed off and the bridge crossing the brook had been removed.

A notice on the gate said the path was permanently closed to protect the family of beavers who had taken up residence here. It is true that we did notice some beaver activity the last time we were here. Obviously, this sounds like a solid enough reason, but I was still feeling quite bereft at the thought of never seeing my favourite place again. Silly me, I'm getting all teary-eyed while typing this.

Taking another path instead wasn't nearly as satisfying, but there were still enough sights, sounds and scents to enchant us and even trick us into thinking it was an early Spring day.

On a path sheltered by a bank of reeds, I tilted my face towards the sun, which was colouring its paleness with a blush on my cheeks while warming up my winter-heavy limbs.

It was warm enough to show you what I was wearing underneath my coat: a black frock patterned with a firework display of flowers in white, orange and green. I wore an ochre belt at my waist and a green cardigan on top, echoing the green of my opaques.

My boots are the ancient pair I'm always wearing for walks of this ilk, and which were still carrying traces of the muddy clay we trampled in on Christmas day.

Onward we walked, through a landscape which had time to heal its peat-digging past and become a haven of fauna and flora. 

If it weren't for the occasional encounter with fellow walkers, the quiet would have been quite deafening in comparison with our daily life's hustle and bustle.

For this particular girl, however, the quietness was like medicine after the frenetic rush of the last couple of weeks.

After eating our picnic sitting gingerly on a damp bench, it was time to return to our car.

It was getting busier now that it was past lunch time, and we no longer had the place mostly to ourselves.

And, true to the weathermen's word, the sun started playing hide and seek with the clouds, until the blue sky we'd waken up to was blanketed once more.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday and Mica's Weekday Wear Linkup!


  1. it sounds like a gorgeous walk!!
    sweet princess coat with that fur trimms and the dress´pattern is very art deco!
    thankfully the beavers have a brook to protect their home - i´m sure that lots of people would ignore the blocking if the bridge were still there.... (as they do here with the rocks where the falcons have their nests - grmph!)
    i have such a muff-handbag too - but without the chain and more round in shape. do not use it very often because i always have very warm hands :-D
    hugsies! xxxxxx

  2. This really makes me yearn for spring and the possibility to get back outside walking.

    We are expecting another big snow and ice storm on Tuesday this week. I'm not looking forward to it.


  3. No getting outdoors for us-just had a storm with another on the way this evening. I'll have to enjoy your walk instead ;)

    That coat is such a beautiful piece.

  4. There is nothing like getting back to a little nature after a hectic time in the "real" world. I'm so sorry to hear you've lost your special spot, my dear - I hope a new one reveals itself to you soon!

    Love your amazing frock - this is one of my favourites! It's so grey and cold and stormy here this weekend - I can almost feel that wonderful sun!

  5. Thank you for sooo wonderful pictures. I love you have a muff! I am looking forward to spring.
    A very huge hug Tina

  6. Ah Ann in the fishers sac are mini mini shrimps. They put it for example in papaya salad.

  7. Love the green beret and scarf - so bright and cheery!

  8. Such lovely scenery and such beautiful writing, Ann! I really enjoy reading your posts. Love your outfit with the gorgeous touches of green. I always think of you when I wear green! ;) It's definitely become one of my favourite colours after seeing your lovely green outfits and accessories! Hope you had a great weekend. XXX

  9. You write so evocatively about your walk that I feel I was with you in person! Gorgeous photos too. Sorry that your favourite place was cordoned off, but how lovely to have beavers! I love your outfit, and really really want a muff handbag! XXX PS thanks for leaving me a comment:)

  10. These are beautiful photos from your walk. I love the print of your dress and how you styled it. The green beret is a nice touch.

    Maureen |

  11. How lovely you had sunshine at last! Love your outfit and the muff is gorgeous!

    The photos from the park are beautiful; I can feel the warmth from the sun and you look so happy! It's a shame your favourite part of the park is blocked off but it's quite exciting to think of the beavers building their
    dams; I've never seen a beaver outside of a zoo or safari park...

    I hope you've had more sunshine!

  12. It sounds like a wonderfully relaxing start to the day and your outfit looks so cosy! it's a shame you couldn't go your usual way, but nice that you could enjoy the sunshine for a bit! :)

    Hope that you are having a lovely start to your week :) Thanks for joining the #weekdaywearlinkup!

    Away From The Blue

  13. Beautifully written, and wonderful photographs. It's that time of year whe we're teased with a little sunshine but it doesn't stay for long! The muff/bag is adorable Xx

  14. Such evocative writing Ann, winter heavy limbs, I really identify with that!
    I felt sad for you that you will no longer be able to visit your magic place. No one else will either though, so at least the magic will remain.
    Beautiful photograpy, as ever ☺ xxx

  15. Looks like a lovely day for a walk. Hi to Jos xx
    I love the print on your dress and the tights are a perfect match with your cardi.
    What a shame about your special place though. We know things have to change but it’s still upsetting when it does sometimes xxx

  16. You look fabulous (and warm!) in your coat and lovely green accessories!. Your dress is stunning too and I love the firework floral print!. But my favourite piece is the muff-bag, woww, it's amazing and so cute!.
    Sorry that you can't visit your favourite place because of wild life protection, sometimes it's hard to let some beloved landscapes to animals. Wish you find same magical feeling in another beautiful corner as soon as possible!. I always enjoy having a look at the amazing landscapes you're used to walk on, nature is a neverending source of wonder!

  17. A wonderfully written piece, dear Ann! Nothing beats feeling that warm sunshine on one's skin after a near eternity of harsh wintery weather.
    Your coat is gorgeous and perfect with the green accents. Jos looks very smart, as always! xxx
    PS How are the knees? Jon had some steriod injections in his before we went away and he's pain free for the first time in years!

  18. Lazy Sundays are the best - especially when the weather's good too.

    I love the firework flower pattern. It's like a 30s pattern blown up large. Is the dress 70s? (I was wondering if it was that 70s-does-30s influence.)