|Two feet of snow and its still falling!|
|A well hidden Fiat|
After all the glowing reports we are getting from NZ it seems rather ironical that the UK is having one of their wettest and coldest winters on record.
Oh well we continually look for the upside of this predicament and David's classic is always "think how much better it is for your skin"!! Thats getting a bit old now.
We've just spent a few days over in Herefordshire, although mighty chilly, as we're out striding around the fields with a gorgeous couple of dogs, Tilly and Anna. The early morning light in the mist does look incredibly beautiful as long as hats, scarves and gloves are secured tightly.
|Nick and Beau|
|David and Obe |
Next stop was just inside the M25 with a couple of rather large(70kg), delightful Dogue de Bordeauxs, Izzi and Beau. Miles and miles of walking around Trent Park, which was either frozen solid or mud up to the ankles. Fun being in the city for a change, although we did feel like we'd been a health camp by the time we left - three hours walking most days!!
|Poppy & Obe|
|Becky waiting for action with that shovel|
|And it stayed and stayed|
|Off to find the nearest village shop|
Then up north to the Shropshire Hills for a week of unbelievably heavy snow. Had seven lovely dogs to keep us company as we stoked up the fire and hunkered down to keep warm. The cottage was as snug as a bug, the dogs terribly well behaved, so we made the most of the long nights with hearty casseroles, delicious hot puds and a glass or two of red wine.
|View from kitchen window|
|The big melt|
Easter was celebrated in Nantwich, with lovely service at St Mary's church in the middle of the town. Followed up with a vast selection of yummy chocolate and good cheer with friends!
|Minnie Pit memorial|
Then a great walk around the hills, finishing at the site of one of the worst mining disasters in history - the 1918 Minnie Pit Disaster where 155 miners died.
Chester was the next stop, we'd been before and did infact have my engagement ring made here ( twenty-eight years ago and still wearing it!), but this time saw it in a whole new light.
We wandered around the two miles of Roman Wall, admiring whats left of the castle and the wonderful old Roman bridges. Such a great way to get a feeling of what a fortified city was like. The River Dee, which flows through the city, had at one time been a prosperous port and centre for shipping trade. But over the years changed its course, silted up and the Chester racecourse now covers that area. It is infact the oldest racecourse still in use in England and can be admired as you stroll around the wall - pity we hadn't timed it better, could imagine a fun day at the races.
|Dee River in Chester|
|A hint of Spring|
The magnificent Cathedral remains almost intact with a history spanning almost 2,000 years. While the unique double level walkways with shops at the street and first levels know as The Rows have been in existence since the 14th century. And these give the city a distinctive look, and a rather special environment to do your retail therapy in.
A day in Oxford was also a highlight, although this nasty cold weather takes the edge off it a bit. And try as we may to not compare it with Cambridge, it was starting with a major handicap.
Sometimes referred to as "The City of Dreaming Spires", Oxford has examples of nearly every English architectural period. Home to the oldest university in the country, and perhaps the English speaking world, this city is renown for its scholars and royalty that have resided here for over 800 years.
|Christ Church College|
The many historic buildings, colleges, museums, libraries and places of worship make strolling slowly around the city an absolute delight. We even spotted a couple of deer lazing contentedly in the Meadow, which are parklike gardens just outside the huge Christ Church College.
|No bicycle goes unused|
Now days it has become one of the most diverse smaller cities in the country with an economy fed by education, research, science based industries,high tech communities, manufacturing and of course tourism. Also a vast mixture of international students contribute to a thriving social culture in the city.
|Hands on learning|
|After that education its the best mode of transport|