I took a birthday card and small present over to my friend yesterday; she wasn't at home, but I hope she has enjoyment from the pot of sweet-smelling blue hyacinths I chose for her.
This is an area at the front of her home - the council cleared a patch of shrubs and brambles, leaving just bare earth. I know my friend enjoyed hearing the chatter and twittering of the sparrows that lived in those shrubs; it was all silent there yesterday with not a single bird to be seen, even though she has erected a feeding station to attract them back.
I do love the Spring flowers she planted though in an attempt to make that patch more beautiful.
As Pam wasn't at home, I decided not to waste my trip; she lives close to a favourite beach of mine, so despite the grey day and the constant drizzle, I set off for a walk.
This is the edge of the Country Park, which had flooded badly thanks to the non-stop rain of recent weeks, but quite a few seabirds were enjoying this fresh water lake, including two large Black Backed Gulls.
and a solitary Tern standing on the wet path!
I crossed the road to the beach - and all colour disappeared. I did say it was a grey, drizzly day!
There wasn't another soul to be seen, unsurprisingly, but memories came flooding back of the many walks I took here with my old dog, Zac. It was very poignant as he walked with me in spirit, dipping in the shallows at the edge of the surf, picking up a washed-up root of kelp and shaking it, lashing himself with the slippery fronds of weed in the process. Sometimes a particular stone would appeal and he would carefully pick it up and drop it at my feet, inviting me to throw it for him. Even though it landed among similar stones, he would always find the correct one and bring it back, endlessly.
This sea-front garden used to have quite a large summerhouse here, enclosed by a thick, sturdy wall to protect it from the sea, but the storms smashed it all down, wall and summerhouse, leaving chunks of stone and splintered wood.
I see the owners have replaced the summerhouse with a much smaller shed and built another wall; I hope it stays safe this time.
Further along the beach, other walls have been built in an attempt to save any more gardens disappearing into the sea.
There isn't usually a stream here - this is the result of the rainfall pouring down from the clifftops and gardens above.
A root of kelp firmly attached to a large pebble - Zac would have enjoyed dragging that along!
I retraced my steps and headed to the Beach Cafe - a hot chocolate and a slice of Coffee & Walnut cake were essential (once I'd wiped my wet face and hair with a handful of kitchen towel.)
And finally - some colour from my garden to brighten the grey day, although I did enjoy my walk and felt quite chuffed that my new knee had coped well with trudging through the sand.
Hyacinths in bud - colour and sweet smells to come.
Maybe there will be sunshine for my next outing; we can but hope.