18 January, 2013

2012 Review

Looking back through my blog for 2012 I'm reminded what a busy year it was professionally and personally, yet I have mentioned only a few activities that could be of interest. So in this post I'm going catch up a little. A little? Yes because to include everything would generate a post so long you would need tea break and a meal break to get through it all!

We had a family holiday in Exmouth in February. February, yes why not? Actually February 2012 was quite mild, there was very little wind and plenty of sunshine.

Beach walks were really enjoyable and the sunsets were fantastic.

We visited Paignton zoo and that was very worthwhile. It seemed much larger than last time we were there, that was quite some years ago now though.

Some days were misty which gave quite an eerie feel to some places, Beer was an example:

There were lots of birds to be seen that we don't see much further north; such avocets and brent geese. Egrets seemed to be just about everywhere these days and make a great subject for a photo.

Exmouth and the surrounding area is  excellent for birdwatching and it was also interesting to note how early some of the flowers were. Daffodils were really conspicuous and it seemed odd to find them next to snowdrops.

More travels, this time Suffolk in April. Picturesque Suffolk doesn't seem to be a common phrase but it truly is so. Unfamiliar buildings, expanses of shingle beaches with fishing boats waiting for their next call of duty and masses of flat countryside, often intensively farmed bit that in itself can produce some eye catching scenes.

Minsmere is an RSPB reserve we always try to visit when in the area and the atmospheric coastal towns of Walberswick, Southwold & Aldeburgh are places I don't like to miss too. 

Here are just a few scenes that I have space for here. 

The tower, once a water storage tower is now known as "The House in the Clouds" and is near Thorpeness.

This field of rapeseed was the only one we saw on this visit. I feel there must have been more, perhaps they just hadn't burst into colour yet.

One day we arrived at Dunwich beach quite late in the afternoon. It was surprisingly cold and I think windy too. That's not apparent in the photograph of the red fishing boats but the accompanying sunshine is. Walberswick with Southwold behind it are in the distance.

Much nearer home and on a changeable, cool day in July we were in New Brighton (Wirral). I live in Cheshire so it isn't too far away for us to nip out to for some fresh air. Actually pre 1974 the Wirral was part of Cheshire but in the re-organisation it became part of Merseyside.

Once again this was a family trip so to add a small amount of playfulness to the visit we took a set of boules with us. It's a good game actually and takes no space at all. I regard it as a sort of airborne game of English bowls.

Having played boules and had our picnic we decided a walk along the beach in the Birkenhead direction was the thing to do. A few things surprised us. New Brighton is a much nicer place than it used to be, the sun came out and we found a small park with a bandstand in it. A band was playing Joe Loss and Glenn Miller music which are not my favourite but on this day it seemed really quite pleasant. The park was in a sheltered spot, the afternoon became warmer and we ended spending a relaxing hour there before heading of home.

If you have read many of my other pages it will come as no surprise that I have found something to mention about radio controlled aeroplanes. In July it was competition time.

My club, the South Cheshire Radio Control Society, held it's now annual fun competition day. This is just an informal club event that gets everyone involved in one way or another. The flying part is just to find out who can fly a brief routine of a few loops and rolls in the shortest time. Once again I didn't win, or come near to it but it was great fun taking part and that is the point of it anyway.

My excuse is that I was flying a traditional high wing model and the winners were flying small lightweight electric models. Pity it wasn't more windy :o)

In September the Mid Cheshire Barn Owl Conservation Group held it's annual fun day. It's mostly some stalls about barn owl conservation, other endangered species and a flying display by the Cheshire Falconry who also very kindly host the event for for us.

I usually look after a display stand but this year my main task was a photographic one, not so much of the birds but of visitors. Alex Staniforth was a torch bearer for the London Olympics and brought the torch he used for people to be photographed with in return for a small donation to MCBOCG funds. We were somewhat overwhelmed by the response and it kept me busy for quite a while.

I'm going to finish this post with another "Photosynth". This one is from a walk my wife and I did in October at Raw Head which part of the Peckforton Range. My legs were not brilliant on that day so a relatively short walk took us nearly all day. It was a good day for taking our time anyway, sunny with some broken clouds, a little cool but not cold and the views were breath taking.

There is more, like the Vulcan XH558 flypast, model glider flying at the Horseshoe Pass, a visit to Wroxeter complete with Roman banquet and the list goes on. Yes, a very busy year!