On Monday, mam + I headed down to Hatfield (about 20 miles north of London) to see nana. Grandad had died at the end of January after being ill for a quite a while, so was mixed emotions being down there. Was great to see nana again, she’s doing pretty well when she has walking frame, just don’t get in her way!
We’d gone out for a meal with her and Linda + Derek (aunt + uncle) on the Monday evening at a local pub which was a good night, and then on Tuesday Carol joined us as we went to the crematorium just outside of Stevenage where grandad’s remains are. Again, more mixed emotions, but having been stuck in Alaska as he slowly got more sick and then passed away, I had to go. It’s a really nice peaceful parkland area they have and memorial stones, and was nice to see mam, Linda + Carol (all three sisters) together with nana. We then headed to another pub for lunch (getting too used to pub meals, gonna hurt going back to Bethel…), and then said goodbyes before a quiet evening just hanging out where it was mam, nana and I.
But, yesterday morning I headed out early to Stanborough Park, just across the motorway from Hatfield where we used to go when I was a kid. It had got pretty cold the Monday night, down to -4C or so (okay, so not cold by Alaska standards…), so both the north and south lakes had a thin layer of ice of them which made it cool. A young swan kept coming up wanting attention and seeing if I had any food:
Further round the paved path (better than when I was apparently bounced along a gravel path in a pushchair when I was a kid…), the wooden footbridges around where the little waterfall from the north lake meets the stream feeding the south lake:
More display of the winter colours and early morning sun in the trees around the south lake:
Heading back towards the car, a couple of geese were very vocal in their displeasure at the lakes being frozen over. These two flapped around in a little patch of open water not quite sure what to make of it all, then finally managed to get airborn before skidding along the ice trying to land again:
A fairly easy 4 hour or so drive got mam + I home in Durham by mid-afternoon today and missed any traffic of people moving around for New Year’s Eve, and nana seemed quite content to ring in the new year with a whiskey or two Just wish it wasn’t so hard to be able to get back and see her again soon.