A few weeks ago, having not been to Milton Keynes for probably two years or more I paid two visits to the town in a week. The first time to do some Christmas shopping and the second time to take Lara to a birthday party at the Sno!zone. On my first visit I took my little compact camera and snapped a few photos of the Christmas display as I wandered around the shopping centre.
Middleton Hall at thecentre:mk has been transformed into a Christmas Storyland Adventure! Complete with Santa's Grotto, carousel and indoor Christmas Market with delicious hot food & drink and handmade gifts.
These snowmen were cute.
In the little chalets at the Christmas market were gorgeous hand made and hand decorated items. Like these tree decorations.
Whilst doing my shopping I was surprised to come across the Concrete Cows inside the centre.
The Concrete Cows in Milton Keynes are an iconic work of sculpture, created in 1978 by Canadian-born artist, Liz Leyh. The Cows are constructed from scrap skinned with fibre glass reinforced concrete. The cows were originally on display in a public park but have suffered many indignities. Sometimes they have simply been vandalised, while at other times they have been painted pink, become zebras, had pyjama bottoms added and have even been beheaded. The original cows are now in a safe place inside the shopping centre whilst replicas are now outside.
Having taken and photographed my 43rd walk this year I now think its time to throw in the towel and admit that I am not going to complete my challenge to take 52 walks in 2010. I got to 43 but with only three weeks of 2010 left there is no way I am going to complete the remaining nine walks. I am disappointed! I don't like to fail at anything but I have to be realistic. I have enjoyed the walks we have taken. We have been to places we perhaps wouldn't usually have gone and the photographs I have taken are a lovely record of those walks. Perhaps I will take the remaining nine walks soon, and if I do I'll post them here, but I'm afraid it's likely to be next year.
I am so conscious that I am quite a few weeks behind with my 52 walks and not liking to be defeated I am desperate to try and catch up. So today I took a walk ........ around our garden. I know its a bit of a cop out but when needs must.
Unfortunately the garden looks pretty bleak at the moment. There are lots of leaves on the grass.
But on closer inspection there a few splashes of colour. These berries are on a Maple Tree. It is actually a bit different to your usual Maple Tree because each year one side of the tree bears red berries ...................
......... whilst the other side bears pink berries!
We assume that the nursery where the tree came from grafted two varieties together. Don't know whether this was intentional but it makes for an interesting looking tree.
Elsewhere in the garden there are the odd brightly coloured leaf like these on the Spirea Bush.
These Cyclamen where bought last weekend and are still waiting to be planted in tubs. Hopefully they will bring a bit of colour to the front of the house in the coming months.
Amazingly some of the bulbs in the garden are already starting to peep through the soil.
We have snow forecast for this part of the country towards the end of next week so either I shall be able to go for a nice snowy walk or I'll take the easy option and decide to stay inside in the warm. Hmmmm, wonder which it will be!!
Todays walk was around The Parrot Zoo (incorporating The National Parrot Sanctuary) at Friskney, Linconlnshire and was also our last walk in Lincolnshire before heading back home. The zoo is home to 1350 happy parrots and parakeets, and is the largest collection of rescued parrots in the UK
Todays walk was around the town of Wainfleet. During our walk I seemed to take a lot of photos of signs so I'll start with the village sign which shows the Magdalen College Museum (more on that later).
The main reason for our walk around the town was to visit Batemans Brewery. Batemans Brewery is one of the country’s oldest family breweries. It is based on an old windmill, dating back two centuries and overlooks the River Steeping. Definitely THE most picturesque of breweries.
Batemans was founded in 1874 by George Bateman and the Bateman family are still very much involved with the brewery. Batemans is the holder of the Regional Brewer of the Year Award 2010.
In August 2000 a Visitors Centre was opened at the brewery. Visitors can have a tour around the Victorian brewhouse, where much of the equipment is made of brass and copper as well as round the new brewhouse ........ and our course sample to beer!
Inside the old windmill the circular windmill bar stocks the championship winning Bateman’s beers. Due to the circular shape of the mill you can stand in various areas and the sound magnifies itself, Roman Auditorium style.
Besides the brewery there are other interesting places in Wainfleet like the market square with its clock tower
Between the Brewery and the Town runs a main Railway line with Wainfleet’s quaint old station
and signal box.
Barkham Street was built in 1847 for Bethlem Hospital according to the design of Sydney Smirke, their architect and named after their benefactor. A number of similar terraces stood in Southwark near Bethlem Hospital. The street is such an attraction because the city ‘Regency’ architecture is so much different to the other houses in the small town
Besides Batemans Brewery and Barkham Street the other main attraction in Wainfleet is the Magdalen College School.
Willam Patten known as William of Waynflete was born in the town in 1395. He became Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England. Having founded the Magdalen College at Oxford he authorised the building of Magdalen College School in Wainfleet to provide scholars for the Oxford College. Originally designed to take seven boys the building was last used as a school in 1966. The impressive Grade 1 listed building now houses a museum, library and cafe. Unfortunately at the time of our visit it was closed to the public.
After our visit to Donna Nook beach to see the colony of Grey Seals in their natural habitat we decided to visit Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary. Natureland first opened in 1965 and was a place that on my childhood visits to Skegness we always went. Every year, particularly during the breeding season, seal pups are washed up on the beaches around Skegness, abandoned or separated from their mothers by the tides. The lucky ones are brought into Natureland's Seal Hospital where they are cared for and when the seal pups are fit, fat and healthy, they are returned home to the sea.
The common seal pups that were at Natureland at the time of our visit were so cute and those in the Rearing Pool looked very healthy and happy.
This next little chap looked so contented.
As well a seals, Natureland also has some other resident creatures.
The Jackass Penguins were a little shy but did venture out of their huts for a little while.
There were several very hungry ducks on the Koi Carp pond which were only too willing to gobble up the fish food before the fish could get to it.
In the Butterfly House there were beautiful butterflies. Not as many as there probably are at warmer times of the year but we still spotted a few. including some huge ones.