I have been busy enjoying the grey weather, revelling in it, actually. Those last days of January and the beginning of February I felt that I had to make the most of it because soon it would spring. I was right; though there was a little bit of autumn in between. These leaves I picked up on the way back from a pilates lesson down at the gym that looks out over the river. It had been so windy that leaves had been caught up in the rusty looking metal grille of the underground car park and I was inspired to pick up some of the London Plane tree leaves blowing around the riverfront, you know, just in case I might need them for something (more of that another day). Today in the same spot, sans camera, looking upriver, the tops of the tallest buildings - the shard, the gherkin, and so on - were up in the grey clouds. This, I thought, is what must make do for me in the absence of mountains.
We city dwellers must take nature wherever we can. When we're lucky, nature comes to meet us. A walk along a canal might turn up some precious sightings or birdsong. A couple of weeks ago, whizzing along on my bike, I stopped short at the sound of a mass of birds,precious sparrows as it turned out, in a tangle of buddleia, just near this spot...
"Oh, I saw a kingfisher here the other day" pipes up John. I could have slapped him I was so jealous.
Down river on another cold weekend, we paid a visit to the RSPB site at Rainham Marshes, the perfect place for a cold, grey afternoon. the volunteers who run the place are really welcoming and kind. " Look! We have the telescope set up to see the two seals over on the other side of the river". What! Oh my word, how exciting was that! (So exciting it seems that I had to buy a box of penguin christmas tree decorations in their sale to express my gratitude. What an Advent Calendar we will have next year...).
And so it went on. Feeding the coots and moorhens and mallards on the canal as the day turned from light grey afternoon to dark grey evening. A buzzard flying up high in the sky on the road to Maldon. A flash of parakeets on the day I planted my garlic. A great tit in the garden today, reckless or confident enough to ignore the slinking cats. It would be corny to say that they make my heart miss a beat; but I'm afraid they do.