I realise that even with sore knees, it is good to be doing some exercise, so we went out for a walk this morning and fortunately, the sun was shining.  Mr. HCB is very kind and chooses walks that are mostly on flat ground, because going uphill is rather difficult so today he thought it would be a good idea to walk around an area on the south of the town called Wichelstowe.

There are two lakes and also part of the Wilts & Berks Canal.  This is 52 miles long, was completed in 1810 and mainly used for carrying coal in the early years.  It is linked to the Kennet & Avon Canal at Semington, near Melksham and to the River Thames at Abingdon.  It will eventually join two other sections of the canal and then bring the waterway into the centre of Swindon.  After decades of neglect and deterioration, in 1977 a group of volunteers started working to restore the canal and it was great to see so many people out enjoying the fruits of their labours.  It obviously takes longer than if the work was being done full-time, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end and many in the community will benefit.

I didn’t take any shots of the canal today, as I was looking for “tiny” things for the Tiny Tuesday challenge and I was spoilt for choice.  We stood for quite some time watching a cormorant fishing, which was lovely, but we were sad that many people walked past us with children and didn’t even mention this - but perhaps they didn’t know what it was!  

Many of the trees are bursting with buds and catkins, so I have made a collage and put this in as an extra.  We were intrigued by the purple catkins and didn’t recognise them, but when we got home, I found out that they are on the Common Alder tree - bottom left.  At the top left is one of the “fruits” of the Alder and if you look closely you will see a fly on it.  At the top right are male Hazel catkins, which seemed to be more open that the Alder ones.  The middle shows a rose hip, with a feather caught on the branch, and the bottom right shows a Pussy Willow slowly opening.  It was a wonderful sight to see all these - and to know that Spring is on the way.

My main shot for Tiny Tuesday is moss growing on top of one of the walls - the little seed head was a bonus, and could hardly be seen with the naked eye just in passing, but once I got close up and really looked, it was clearly visible.  I think people walking past wondered why an old lady with a camera was taking photographs of moss on a wall!  

It was so warm and sunny that I didn’t even need a hat or gloves, although of course, Mr. HCB was wearing his Tilley hat, because he has to wear it so that the sun doesn’t get on his face.  

I’ve just taken the decorations down and have sorted them out, so that they all go into one large box, which is good and Mr. HCB is watching an old Michael Caine film, “The Eagle Has Landed” so that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

Hope everyone had a good New Year’s Eve - and that 2019 will be a great year for you.

“Life stands before me 
     like an eternal spring 
          with new and brilliant clothes.”
Carl Friedrich Gauss : 1777-1855

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