Thick-legged Flower Beetle

This beetle must have one of the best names in the animal kingdom – the thick-legged flower beetle, Oedemera nobilis.photo of flower beetle

It is quite apparent why it has been given this moniker, just look at those thighs! It is only the males that have these swollen looking thighs.flower beetle

The females are rather more mundane.beetle on orange flower

The larvae grow in hollow plant stems emerging as adults to feed on open structured flowers. In my garden they seem to particularly enjoy the rock roses.flower beetle

They do seem to prefer hot sunny days, perhaps to show off their iridescent green metallic jackets.flower beetle

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Ashy Mining Bees

The ashy mining bee, Andrena cineraria, is described as being one of the easiest of the solitary bee species to identify. This is how I know one when I see one. black and white bee on white flower

They are black with two ashy grey bands, the males and females are similarly marked, but the females are larger and the males have tufty grey hairs around their face. You can submit a sighting here.black and white bee on white flower

They fly between early April and June. They nest in the ground, sometimes in groups, in lawns and flower beds. They prefer sandy soil and a sunny position.black and white bee on white flower

They feed on a wide variety of blossoms and flowers. In this instance there were four of them feeding on cow parsley. There were also many other bees and hoverflies at the same time, but cow parsley is also a useful food source for butterflies and moths.black and white bee on white flower

Cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, is often found in woodland and verges. It is a member of the carrot family with distinctive white umbels. It has the fancier name of Queen Anne’s Lace, the common name suggest that it is an inferior parsley. The leaves can indeed be used in salads. However, cow parsley is easily confused with hemlock which is deadly. It is also known as Mother-Die as superstition had it that if it was brought into the house it would kill your mother. The hollow stems can be used as pea shooters.

Yet another name used is kecks, and it is using this term that Shakespeare mentions them in “Henry V”. The Duke of Burgundy refers to them in rather disparaging terms:

Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.

Being idle myself I have failed to scythe these kecksies, but the various bees and hoverflies have benefited and personally I find this inferior parsley to be a very attractive plant; a froth of white dancing among the greenery.white flowers

 

 

Hereford in the Snow

Following on from my post about the poppy display at Hereford Cathedral in the snow, here are some more photos from my walk into Hereford City during the Mini Beast from the East’s blizzard.Photo of blossom in snow

I thought this blossom looked very pretty in the snow. At first I thought it might have been blackthorn, but there were no thorns and some green shoots were showing, so I expect it is some sort of cherry plum type thing.Photo of blossom in snow

Far more easy to identify is Holy Trinity church, a Grade II listed building dating from around 1870.Photo of Holy Trinity Church

In the grounds stands a memorial cross dedicated to the men of the parish who died in WWI and WWII. For more information on the memorial, the wording and the names inscribed see this website.Photo of war memorial in churchyard

Regular readers will be familiar with the Bulmers woodpecker. This is my only photograph of it in the snow.Photo of Bulmers woodpecker in snow

Next to it is the WWI memorial poppy bench.Photo of WWI poppy bench

Another opportunity to save my soul; Eignbrook church. It is another lovely building.Photo of Eignbrook church in snow

Now we reach the old medieval walls that used to encircle the City of Hereford. Not much of a deterrent to ingress these days, unlike our traffic system. Note the snow squished daffodils.Photo of part of old wall in snow

This part of the wall was the site of one of the entrances into Hereford and the area is still called Eign Gate.Photo of Eign Gate Hereford in snow

Now we come to the cathedral, it is currently hosting the WWI poppy display “Weeping Window” as mentioned in a previous post.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

Skipping along to the nearby Old Bridge, we get views of the River Wye ….Photo of River Wye from bridge

… and the other side of the cathedral.Photo of cathedral from bridge

Walking down by the river and sheltering under the New Bridge we have the Old Bridge and cathedral in one direction.Photo of old bridge and cathedral

Hunderton bridge emerges through the blizzard in the other direction.Photo of hunderton bridge in blizzard

Back at the cathedral, Sir Edward Elgar patiently waits for the pot holes to be repaired before it is safe to cycle home to Malvern.

Also left out in the cold is Bully, the sculpture of the iconic Hereford bull.Photo of hereford bull sculpture in snow

He is guarding the Old House. It strikes me that we Herefordians are not very imaginative when it comes to naming things! Photo of Old House in snow

Oh well, time to trudge back home for some hot chocolate.Photo of old house in snow

Astronomical Spring

It was astronomical spring, the vernal equinox, on 20th March 2018. For a brief period it did start to seem spring-like once the Beast from the East had left us, although being the UK obviously it rained. photo of cherry plum blossom and blue sky

The cherry plum buds blossomed.photo of pink cherry plum blossom

One of the local crows decided they were a tasty snack.Photo of crow eating cherry blossoms

The daffodils bounced back.Photo of yellow daffodils with rain drops

The primroses have mostly been eaten, I think by slugs, but I managed to snap one.Photo of yellow primrose with rain drops

The sunshine and the mahonia blossoms brought out the bees. There was a large buff-tailed queen bumblebee but she was too busy to pose for photos. The male hairy footed flower bee was more accommodating. Check out those hairy feet!Photo of hairy footed flower bee

I was very happy to see that he was joined by a female. She has black hairs and doesn’t have the fancy moustache. She also moves too fast for my camera!photo of female hairy footed flower bee

There was also a honey bee.Photo of honey bee on mahonia

And then with two days of winter left to go, the Mini Beast from the East arrived. Can you spot the two robins? One is sitting in the apple tree, the other is on the ground.Photo of apple tree in the snow

Extra sultana rations were provided for the blackbirds. The snow didn’t last long enough to bring the fieldfares back.

The poor hedgehog was too hungry to hibernate again and left some interesting tracks in the snow between the hoghouse and the feeding station. They walk low to the ground so their skirt of prickles ploughs the snow up either side of their footprints.

Meteorological Spring

Meteorological spring commenced 1st March (astronomical spring didn’t start until 20th March). Indeed at the beginning of March the garden had been showing signs of spring. The crocuses opened out to reveal prodigious amounts of pollen for any passing early bumblebee queens.Photo of crocus flower

After weeks of watching the snowdrops sullenly hanging their heads …Photo of snowdrops

… they did this, revealing their green stripey undergarments.

The quince was looking blousey and fabulous as usual.Photo of quince flowers

Even the cherry plum blossom was budding.Photo of cherry plum blossom buds

Then this happened: Dubbed the Beast from the East, a wintry blast of cold air from Siberia brought 27cm of snow to Hereford.Photo of ruler in snow

The snowdrops’ new found confidence was cruelly squished.Photo of snowdrops squashed by snow

The quince managed to keep looking sassy though.

The hedgehogs that had just woken from hibernation decided to go back to bed, which was just as well as they would have needed a mini digger to get into their feeding station.

The mouse managed to tunnel out.Photo of mouse hole in snow

The garden did have a bleak beauty to it though.

We worked around the clock to keep the water from freezing and to put out extra rations for the birds. Mostly blackbirds.

A couple of robins.

Blackcap.Black cap drinking

Chaffinch.

Long tailed tits.

Wren playing hide and seek as usual.wren in foliage

The snow brought a new visitor to the garden, a fieldfare, Turdus pilaris.  They belong to the thrush family and are usually found in social flocks in the countryside. They frequent hedgerows feeding on berries and insects. Most of the fieldfares seen in the UK migrate here from Scandinavia during the winter.fieldfare in the snow

Later around four fieldfares turned up, bullying the blackbirds for a share of the apples. As soon as the snow left, so did they.

Poppies at Hereford Cathedral

Sunday 18th March 2018, the UK winter was having its last hurrah with the “Mini Beast from the East” bringing biting Siberian winds and even more snow. As you know I can never resist a little stroll in a blizzard; this time I visited Hereford Cathedral.Photo of Hereford Cathedral in the snow

I thought the art installation currently there, “Weeping Window” would look good and even more poignant in the snow.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

This work was created by artist Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper. Along with “Wave” it formed the basis of “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London at the start of the WWI Centenary in 2014.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

It can be seen at Hereford Cathedral until 29th April 2018 after which it will go on tour. You can find more details on their website or search #PoppiesTour on Twitter.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

The cascade comprises several thousand hand made ceramic poppies, representing the lives lost during World War I.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

The Cathedral in Hereford will be hosting other events focusing on the home front during WWI. Not only did Herefordshire provide recruits for military action, most notably Suvla Bay in Gallipoli, but also workers for the local munitions factory and of course the vital farm work providing food. More information can be found on their website.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

Snowdrops

February is the month we associate with snowdrops, scientific name Galanthus which is Greek for ‘milk flower’.Photo of snowdrop

It is a common flower across Europe, introduced to the UK in the sixteenth century, and is a welcome sign of spring. Their seeds are particularly tasty to ants, this is how snowdrops are spread. Or gardeners can dig them up after flowering to separate some bulbs to transplant elsewhere. Snowdrops also provide nectar for bumblebees and other insects waking from hibernation. They thrive in deciduous woodland, flowering before the leaf canopy is formed to make the most of the winter sunlight.Photo of snowdrops

An alternative name for snowdrops is Candlemas bells, as they tend to appear at the start of February to coincide with the Christian festival of light. In Pagan times this was the festival of Imbolc, half way between the winter and spring equinoxes. This was a fire festival celebrated by lighting candles and marked the beginning of the lambing season. The snowdrop is the symbol of the fertility goddess Brigid who was honoured at Imbolc; she was later transformed into St Bridget.Photo of snowdrops

Traditionally snowdrops are not picked to be displayed indoors as they are considered unlucky. Due to their white, shroud-like tepals and their proximity to the ground, they are associated with the dead.Photo of snowdrops

It is thought that the snowdrop might be the herb “Moly” referred to in Homer’s “Odyssey”. Described as a white flower dangerous for mortals to pluck, it was given to Odysseus by the god Hermes to protect him from Circe’s poison. Snowdrops contain the alkaloid galantamine which acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This chemical has been used to treat disorders of the central nervous system and more recently is being used to counter the effects of Alzheimer’s. In the case of Odysseus’ men it perhaps counteracted the delusion caused by an anticholinergic drug making them believe that they were pigs.Photo of snowdrops

Renowned nature lover, daffodil fan and poet, William Wordsworth saw fit to mention the humble snowdrop in his Two-Part Ballad 1888, the entirety of which you can read here, but this is the relevant part:photo of snowdrops

I began
My story early, feeling, as I fear,
The weakness of a human love for days
Disowned by memory, ere the birth of spring
Planting my snowdrops among winter snows

During World War II, the British referred to US military police as “snowdrops” because they wore white helmets. It is also the affectionate nickname for the RAF police in the UK, as this quote from the ARRSE website shows they are held in high regard, “….they take a perverse pleasure in confiscating Leatherman tools and Swiss army knives  from heavily armed soldiers, and X-raying rifles, pistols and other tools of the military trade to ensure that there is nothing dangerous hidden inside them.”Photo of snowdrops

If you want to know more about the different cultivars of snowdrops you can download Mick Crawley’s pdf guide to identifying snowdrops here.photo of snowdrop

Hints of Things to Come

Following on from “Green Shoots” I have become weary of waiting for the snowdrops to flower, they are being most laggardly.Photo of snowdrops emerging

They have been overtaken by the ornamental quince which is actually producing blooms.Photo of quince flowersThe promise of more pink from the cherry plum tree.Photo of cherry plum blossom buds

The crocuses emerged first from the cracks in the path. Photo of crocuses

They are now rising up from the lawn like Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton army.Photo of crocuses on lawn

Even the daffodils are threatening to bloom before them.Photo of daffodils emergingStill in the yellow corner we have the dependable winter jasmine.Photo of winter jasmine yellow flower

The mahonia promises some early nectar for any eager bees.Photo of yellow mahonia blossoms

And in the blue corner we have the periwinkle.photo of blue periwinkle flower

Last, but not forgotten, the first forget-me-not of the year has upturned its face.photo of blue forget-me-not flower

As ever, all garden activity is overseen by the ever watchful robin.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 – My Results

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch took place over the weekend. It was raining and windy which seems to put some birds off from visiting garden feeders. Unusually I didn’t see any sparrows at all this year.Photo of sparrows sitting in tree

Another thing that may have put some of the birds off was the presence of the sparrowhawk, I captured a blurry image of her on the camera trap.Infrared photo of sparrowhawk

There were at least 8 different blackbirds.Photo of male blackbird

Rock/feral pigeons = 11Photo of pigeon

Chaffinches = 3Photo of chaffinch

Collared doves = 2Photo of collared doves

Wood pigeons = 2Photo of woodpigeon

Starling = 1Photo of starling

Magpie = 1Photo of magpie

Dunnock = 1Photo of dunnock

Robin = 1Photo of robin

Wren = 1Photo of wren

Blue tit = 1Photo of blue tit

Great tit = 1Photo of great tit

Black cap = 1Photo of black cap

I was very disappointed that the great spotted woodpecker, jackdaws and crows didn’t turn up. Although more than anything I’m wondering what I have done to upset the sparrows as they were the most sighted bird by others.

The hedgehogs are still hibernating, but the squirrels are as frisky as ever.Photo of squirrel

Here are my results interpreted by the RSPB.Chart of top 10 birds seen

Here are the RSPB nationwide results so far.Chart of RSPB national results of bird survey

Apologies for the poor quality pictures, bird photography is not my forte!

 

 

#BigGardenBirdwatch 2018

The 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch is upon us. Run by the RSPB it takes place over three days between 27th-29th January. All you need to do is spend one hour watching the birds in the garden, park or even supermarket carpark and record the different species that you see.Photo of coal tit

You can download a free pack with all the details that you need, plus some great information about how you can help birds and other wildlife, from the RSPB here. The recording is for the UK only, but the information pack will be useful for other parts of the World too, and it is an enjoyable thing to do just for the heck of it.

The Liebster Award

I was very kindly nominated for an award by a fellow rat fan and haphazard gardener. Thank you.

My favourite blogs would be:
https://gardeningamateur.wordpress.com/
https://ownedbyrats.wordpress.com/
https://tootlepedal.wordpress.com/
https://thewildenmarshblog.com/about/
https://littlesilverhedgehog.wordpress.com/
https://madcapdog.wordpress.com/
https://skyblue43.wordpress.com/
https://vickialfordnatureblog.wordpress.com/
https://appletonwildlifediary.wordpress.com/
https://petalsandwings.blog/
https://youngfermanaghnaturalist.com/

Too many lovely blogs to list. I don’t know whether the above blogs have less than 400 followers, probably not, but I’m breaking all of the rules of this award.

I like blogs written by kind people with a love of nature and animals and I hope that description covers mine.

The Random Gardener

This blog has had a nomination for the Liebster Award from the very interesting Mrs N’s Ordinary Life – as with a lot of these awards there is a follow-up, of course! The idea is to answer eleven questions set by your nominator and then to nominate eleven blogs which have fewer than 200 followers with the aim of increasing traffic to them; flattered though I am to be nominated, here I hit my first stumbling block as it seems quite hard to find out just how many followers someone has and I don’t like to bother people.

On the whole, while these awards give you a nice warm glow I suspect that they have limited reach and are really aimed at new blogs, to get them going. The Liebster is not an official, endorsed-by-WordPress thing, so with that in mind I’m not going to follow the instructions to the…

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Winter Buds

All of the snow and frost that we have had lately seems to have kick started the process of vernalisation. A wide range of plants require a cold spell to promote the formation of flower buds or to awaken a dormant bud. First up, the quince.Photo of quince buds

Then the lilac.Photo of lilac buds

The forsythia has even managed a bloom.Photo of forsythia

Other people in the UK are reporting snowdrops and even daffodils in flower, but there are no signs of these in the garden yet.

Snowy Garden

If I haven’t already bored you with my photos of snow in hereford parts one and two, brace yourselves for more of the white stuff.Photo of snowy fence

Even a dull suburban garden can be turned into a Narnia type winter wonderland.Photo of snowy garden

The evergreen yew tree was groaning under the weight of the snow. Photo of snow laden yew tree

It sprang back afterwards, demonstrating why yew was used to make longbows as it can bend under a lot of tension without snapping.

The deciduous apple tree having shed its delicate leaves was able to take the weight on its sturdy branches.Photo of apple tree in snow

The apple tree also provided some shelter under which I provided food and fresh water for the birds.

And the squirrel.Photo of squirrel on snowy tree

The squirrels were busy in other parts of the garden also.

There were some impressive icicles on the buildings.Photo of icicles

There were also icicles on the plants.Photo of icicles on ivy berries

And clumps of icy snow adorning most surfaces.

Snow! In Hereford! – Part Two

Following on from my post about my excitable jaunt through the blizzard on 10 December 2017, I went for another walk two days later once it had settled.Photo of snow at dawn

I finally got my snowy dawn photos.Photo of snow at dawn

I’m sure my friends in Scandinavia, Russia and North America etc are wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, I’m like a big kid and we very rarely get any snow that sticks in Hereford, at least not in recent years.Photo of snow at dawn

Indeed most of the UK gets very little deep snow which is why we are so poorly equipped to deal with it when it does happen. We don’t own snow chains for our cars, local authorities don’t invest in equipment to clear snow and so the nation grinds to a halt.Photo of snow at dawn

People still hop into their cars determined to get to work, no doubt terrified of losing a promotion, or even the job itself. As we have so little experience of driving in snow people often come a cropper.

Photo of snow berries

Snow Berries in the Snow

Perhaps if non-essential workers were given time off work during heavy snowfall people could relax and have fun in the snow.

Photo of dog in snow

Nice Weather for Dogs

I also take the point that it is deadly serious if you are homeless or can’t afford to heat the home you have got, but those are social issues that should be remedied and not really the fault of the weather.Photo of snow at dawn

Whatever your opinion is of snow, surely we can all agree it does make the scenery pretty.Photo of snow at dawn

It is also important not to confuse weather with climate. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that global temperatures are rising and agreement amongst climate scientists that the cause is man made. The predictions for a warming climate are for more extreme weather events, this includes cold ones. For more information about climate change with easy to understand facts and myths debunked see the NASA website; it even settles the debate about whether cow belches or cow farts produce more methane.Photo of snow at dawnA less than cheery fact for you; every winter around 100 people in the USA die from shovelling snow. Using your arms not your legs is more strenuous; heart rate and blood pressure increase. This combined with the cold air causing arteries to restrict creates the perfect ingredients for a heart attack. So, take it easy and wear a hat.Photo of snow at dawn

On the plus side, shovelling snow burns approximately 233 calories per 30 minutes. This means that with Easter just around the corner you can reward yourself with a 150 calorie Cadbury Creme Egg and still lose weight.Photo of snow at dawn

And yes I do still have some more snowy pictures left over for another post.

 

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year, Gott Nyttar, с новым годом, Prosit Neujahr, Bonne Annee, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, Khushi Nayam Varsa, Xin Nian Kuaile, Nav Varsh Ki Subhkamna, Aremahite Omedieto Gozaimasu. I wish you all the very best in 2018.Drawing of Rambling Ratz with Mistletoe

In the UK it is traditional to kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas. Mistletoe is a symbolic kissing plant due to the Norse legend of Baldur.  Baldur the son of Odin and Frigg was killed by a spear of mistletoe, but then resurrected. Henceforth, a grateful Frigg vowed to kiss anybody she caught strolling under the repentant mistletoe. However, in another interpretation of this legend Frigg declares that mistletoe be a symbol of peace and good luck. During WWI it was common for silk cards embroidered with mistletoe to be given as good luck tokens, and it was the custom in France to give mistletoe at New Year; “Au gui l’An neuf” (Mistletoe for the New Year).

Photo of old mistletoe New Year Card

Mistletoe New Year Card c 1900 – via Wikipedia

Blackfriars Cross

In addition to the Whitefriars Cross mentioned in my previous post, The Cross at Whitecross, Hereford also has a Blackfriars Cross.Photo of Blackfriars Preaching Cross

This is to be found closer to the centre of Hereford City in the ruins of the Dominican Blackfriars Monastery. The friary was established in 1322, with the preaching cross in the cemetery. The preacher would stand inside the structure and proselytize to whoever gathered to listen. The nearby Coningsby Hospital was originally built in 1200 by the Knights’ Hospitallers, the crusading knights of the Order of St John.Photo of Blackfriars monastery

The preaching cross is a very rare example, I have read that it is the only surviving example. The cross was pretty much just a ruin when the famous artist Turner painted it. As with the Whitefriars Cross, the Victorians restored the preaching cross in 1864. They seemed to be fond of using their new found industrial skills to take care of our history.

Painting by Turner of Blackfriars Cross

Blackfriars Cross, Hereford (A Monument) ?circa 1793-4 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Gallery Oldham – Charles Lees Watercolour Collection http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/TW2199 , Photo: © Tate, London 2017

In 1538 the monastery was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries when Henry VIII disbanded such properties to raise money for his military campaigns after his spectacular falling out with the Pope. It was also considered by many that there were too many religious orders owning too much property and wealth.Photo of Blackfriars Monastery

These photos were taken on a film camera in the 1990s and digitally scanned.

The Cross at Whitecross

There is an area of Hereford known as Whitecross, named after the cross standing in the middle of the roundabout where two main routes into the city converge. I passed the cross during my stroll during the blizzard mentioned in a previous post; Snow! In Hereford!Photo of Whitecross

Originally known as the Whitefriars Cross, after the religious order, it was erected in the 14th Century. The hexagonal base is still the original, made of local sandstone, whereas the cross itself was restored in 1864. It required further repairs in 2005 after a car crashed into it.Photo of Whitecross

The base consists of eight steps, one of which is below ground level, a pedestal and socket stone. The pedestal has six recessed panels which were decorated and include the coats of arms of the Charleton family. It is topped by a foliated Latin cross. Lewis de Charleton was the Bishop of Hereford 1361-9 and it was he who instigated the erection of the cross.Photo of Whitecross

The purpose of the standing cross was to mark the position of a market place that was set up during the second outbreak of plague when people were too afraid to enter the City. Items brought out of the City were dipped in large resevoirs of vinegar kept on either side of the cross to disinfect them. Also coins were left in the vinegar vats to pay for food that had been brought to the outskirts of the City from the countryside. This second outbreak of plague reduced the population of Hereford from 3,000 to just over 1,000.Photo of Whitecross

The second plague pandemic is better known as The Black Death, it reached England in 1360, lasted for three years and killed approximately 800,000 people, around 20% of the population. It was a pneumonic plague caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria. During the first outbreak in 1349 the relics of St Thomas Cantilupe were taken from Hereford Cathedral and paraded around the City in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the outbreak.Photo of Whitecross

Merry Christmas 2017

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas; Frohe Weihnachten; Joyeux Noel; Kreesmasko Shubhkaamnaa; ‘S Rozhdestvom Khristovym; God Jul; Feliz Navidad; Meri Kurisumasu; Sheng dan Kuai Le; Shubh Krismas; Geseende Kersfees.Photo of baubel in tinsel

Christmas is a time for family, friends and merriment. However, for some it is also a poignant time of year when bereavement and losses are felt keenly. My thoughts are with those who are feeling sad and lonely at this time of year.Photo of rose in tinsel

Snow! In Hereford!

It’s not that it never snows in Hereford, but it seems to be becoming increasingly rare. When it does snow it tends to be fleeting and doesn’t stick.Photo of snow

However, 10th December 2017 in the wee small hours it started to snow and it didn’t stop all day. I decided to take a short walk early in the morning as I hadn’t been expecting it to last. The street lights were still lit illuminating the falling snow.Photo of snow

Hereford is situated in what meteorologists call a “rain shadow area”. Most of our weather is blown in from the Atlantic, the moist air hits the Welsh mountains where it is forced to rise. The barometric pressure is lower at high altitudes which has a cooling effect. This condenses the moist air into water droplets which are shed as rain or, when it is very cold, snow. Once over the Welsh mountains the less moist air descends and warms and so is more able to contain what moisture remains. Hence Hereford gets a lot less rain and snow than the Brecon Beacons.Photo of snow

Although Hereford did get a lot of snow, 18cm/7″ in our garden (20cm was recorded in Hereford), Sennybridge in the Brecon Beacons was deluged with 33cm/13″. In fact Hereford’s climate is described as being wet, just not as wet as Wales.Photo of snow

I had been expecting to see lots of dogs gamboling about in the snow, but the place was deserted. There were footprints so I was not the first. I hate ruining pristine snow.Photo of snow

I had also been hoping to take a sparkling snowy sunrise photo, but if anything it seemed to get darker as the snowfall became faster and heavier.Photo of snow

What even is snow anyway? Apparently snowflakes are formed when water droplets are supercooled around particles in the atmosphere. The particular shape the crystals form depends on temperature, moisture density and a whole load of other complex variables.Photo of snow

Although the ice that forms snow is clear the crystal shapes reflect light around causing snow to appear white.Photo of snow

Snowflakes tend to fall between 1 – 4 mph and each one is unique.Photo of snow

Here we are at the bridge. Hopefully the troll is still asleep and the snow will muffle my clippity-clopping and trip-trapping.

The babbling brook bubbles along through the blanketed banks.

The indigenous people of Nunavik in Canada have 53 words for snow, including “qanik” meaning falling snow.Photo of snow

At this point I am starting to not be able to feel my face.Photo of snow

The trees look pretty though, very Christmassy.Photo of snow

Farewell bridge.Photo of snow

Hello civilisation … maybe.Photo of snow

The driving conditions were dire, but there were still a few people who felt the need to venture out on a Sunday morning. Perhaps the people we depend upon such as emergency or medical personnel.Photo of snow

I did see a gritter lorry with a snow plough attached, but it didn’t seem to be using it. Snowflakes were also accumulating on the camera lens creating interesting lens flare.Photo of snow

I did contemplate crossing the “road” and walking through the field but it seemed to be getting darker, I was getting colder and the camera was getting wetter.

Photo of snow

I stood under a tree for a bit of shelter. Dear reader, learn from my mistake; a large clump of snow slid off a branch and slithered down the back of my neck.Photo of snow

Still, the streetlights provided some spooky atmospheric lighting to the snow.

Photo of snow

One last look at the snow laden trees.Photo of snow

Then another, then it was time to head home.Photo of snow

For those of you who like your snow moving, I posted a short clip on You Tube here: https://youtu.be/Iwou1e2JHtk