Tuesday, 27 April 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 13 - A walk around ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire (26th April 2010)

Yesterday I accompanied Lara's school on a trip to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. The weather was good and the children were able to see lots of animals. I only took my little point and shoot camera so the photos I took aren't as good as I would have liked but they capture the day.

The 'In With The Lemurs' area gave the children a chance to go onto the lemurs’ island to get up close to the Ring-tailed lemurs. As it was sunny quite a few lemurs were sunbathing in the sunshine.

We managed to get to the Brown Bears just at feeding time and the children were all able to throw fruit to the bears. The bears weren't particularly interested in the fruit but the children enjoyed feeding them none the less.

The Humboldt penguins were pretty cute although rather smelly.

The high light of the trip was seeing the new elephant calf. He was 2-weeks old and born just after midnight on Monday 12th April to first-time mother Karishma, age 12. The baby hasn't been named yet and has spent his early days getting to know the other elephants in the herd, including half sister Donna who is nine-months-old, while enjoying the spring sunshine in the seven-acre elephant paddock.

Postscript - The Baby elephant was subsequently named George, or Mr George Ketchum to give him his full title!

Monday, 12 April 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 12 - A walk around the grounds of Debden House, Loughton, Essex (10th April 2010)

I spent last weekend in the company of some fellow crafters at Debden House in Loughton Essex. We spent the weekend scrapbooking, cardmaking and generally having fun being together enjoying the hobbies we share.

On Saturday some of us went for a walk around the grounds of Debden House. This was the third time I had stayed at Debden House and because of the hard winter we had this year everything in the garden seemed to be at a much later stage of growth, but hidden here and there were some splashes of colour and interesting things to see.

I assume that this old gate was once a lych gate which had fallen into disrepair.

There were a couple of these stone seats dotted around the garden including this one tucked away under a tree and in danger of being covered by plants.

These grape hyacinths were lovely although there weren't many of them. For some reason they always make me think of fairies!

Last year when I was at Debden this Monkey Puzzle tree was covered in ladybirds. This year there were none. I love the intricate pattern if the 'needles' round the branches.

I think this next flower is a celandine - a small yellow flower which some people consider a weed.

Some of the trees were in blossom although not as many as other years.

I couldn't resist photographing these pansies which were in planters near the front of the house. They were so bright that it would have been rude not to take their photo.

Monday, 5 April 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 11 - A walk around Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire (5th April 2010)

Todays walk took us to one of our favourite places - Wrest Park at Silsoe, Bedfordshire. Apologies to any of you who followed my blog last year if I bore you with yet more photos of the park. I decided this visit to focus on taking photos of some of the buildings within the park.

The garden at Wrest Park are considered by some to be the most magnificent gardens in England, yet one of the least well known. Wrest Park was the home of the De Grey family from the 13th century until 1917. The old manor house was demolished when the present house designed by Thomas, Earl de Grey, an enthusiast for 18th-century French architecture, was completed by 1839.

The domed pavilion (originally called the Banqueting House) which stands at one end of a long canal was designed in by Thomas Archer in 1709. It is hexagonal on the outside and circular inside with winding stairs going up to tiny rooms.

The impressive Bowling Green House built in the 18th century unsurprisingly stands in front of the bowling green with hedges surrounding it.

It is difficult to photograph the Orangery which dates from the 1830s as it is approached through an avenue of trees which prevent getting a photo of the whole of the building from the front.

My favourite building I think is the Bath House with its pool, and pebble and knucklebone floor.

Last year, after visiting Wrest Park many, many times we stumbled across this little wooden house near the old orchard. Everytime I see it I think is Hansel and Gretel or the children's song 'Little Cottage in the Woods'.