Secret winter garden

With only five days left of winter (who’s counting?), I thought it would be nice to do one more blog post about the snow. Oddly enough, just as the days were getting longer and the birds started to sound more cheerful in the garden, we had a very heavy fall only the other morning. We were doing the zoo at the time and I was only part way through scrubbing the litter trays. As I made my way back upstairs for the third time, I gazed through the window at the large flakes and wondered if I had time to get changed, grab my camera and go and find a suitable location outside. I didn’t. It must have been the best snow I have seen for a few years, but it wasn’t forecast. I even heard a surprised weatherman on the television saying there was snow falling right now in Kent and Sussex, but it would clear within the hour. Sadly he was right and two hours later you wouldn’t have known it had snowed at all.

As we finished the rest of the zoo, my thoughts turned back to the last time it had snowed properly and we both went for a walk up the lane. It’s all uphill from here and with the narrow lanes (no footpaths here) and tight bends, it took us an age to reach the horses, which I had really wanted to photograph all along. With those images safely in the camera and my fingers numb with the cold, it was time to turn around and head for home. At least the good news was that although we were both exhausted, at least everything was now downhill.

As we finally reached our neighbour’s farm (which happens to be in another county), I suddenly spotted the little gate featured in the image above. We must have driven past this spot literally hundreds of times a year, yet I had never seen it before. I can only presume it was another entrance to the tennis courts which sit at the far end of their garden and close to the river. Not used for many years, they are looking rather sad and forlorn. During periods of heavy rain, they are also prone to flooding. No wonder this gate was now overgrown and almost lost in the hedgerow.

My husband was keen to move on and thaw out indoors, but I had to stick around to get a photograph to do this little gate justice. The light was fading and for once I took several shots just in case. The snow had almost stopped by then, but it didn’t matter as there was enough already in the scene. Image taken, we made our way home to warm up and later that evening I processed the file. Oddly enough, since this was taken we must have passed the gate another few hundred times and yet I have never been able to spot it again. It remains my secret winter garden.

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