Alas, the end of the year and the beginning of a new decade! It really makes you feel old, but I'm happy with where I am ending the year, and excited for what lies ahead within this new era! This reflection on the year will probably be short but sweet, as with moving and the New Year I still have thousands of things to get on with this coming month! I haven't been able to do much photography wise but that's because I've had a lot going on in my personal life so that just has to take precedence!
I ended up moving yet again at the beginning of this month! I've got myself a little flat on the outskirts of town - so I'm close enough to town, but even closer to fields and woodland which makes me even happier! I'm looking forward to exploring but I'm also looking forward to having free reign in decorating the place, which means I can fill the walls with my photography! I've currently got a multi-frame on the wall which has 12 small pictures in it as I can't decide which ones I want to put in larger frames! I've gone for a pink theme in my bathroom so I know eventually when I find some nice pink or lilac photo frames I will have some of my pink-ish flower photography and maybe a beach scene or two on the walls as I think this would be a nice tie-in to my theme! It has been a little harder choosing for my sitting room as I'd love to display a nature, macro and a ruin photo in here but I'm so indecisive it is hard to pick which ones mingle before I end up hating all the photos I considered and I have to start afresh another day! I think once I've properly organised my furniture and ornaments it will be much easier to find photographs to frame and display! My grandad got me one of those Wainwright maps where you can write the date on it for each time you visit one of the 214 fells, so I've got that in my kitchen and plan to surround it with pictures I have taken on those days! I've also marked off the lakes and some other well-known fells I have visited which didn't make Wainwrights cut onto the map for that personal touch!
The old canal line from Preston to Kendal runs by my house, part of it has been made into a public footpath and part of it lies within the farmers fields just off the road, this part is also a stonesthrow away from the river which has a lovely variety of trees, wild flowers and views of the main Lake District fells and even Yorkshire! I'm looking forward to a patch of dry days so that I can explore here as I know it gets extremely boggy by the river and I'd rather go for a nice walk than a slop-about! I have walked along several sections of the river and canal, but I haven't properly linked up all the little footpaths that connect to the main walkway yet so I'm eager to do so now I have a central base to start from! I'm still close to the Helme, a favourite local hill of mine, but now I have a much more scenic route to approach it from which adds a little spice to my usual wanders! Even my walk to town is pleasant, as I follow the river towards the North and there are footpaths following each turn in the riverbed until you approach the centre of town, and with the right lighting and amount of foliage, this can be an extremely pleasant walk to work!
When the seasons change and the nights are longer, I do enjoy spending time in an evening wandering around quiet streets and more urbanised areas which I tend to avoid in the daytime. I find there is some tranquility in seeing the houses lit up from the glow of television sets poking through drawn curtains as I wander past all snuggled up in one of my many thick scarves and winter coats! I've been able to get out quite a bit in the evenings this month as it has been quite dry, and as I'm close to several estates I have been able to do a variety of circular loops within these areas without walking along the main roads too much - I much prefer these walks without the 'ambient' sound of town life and passing traffic! Of course, it was Christmas this month, so these walks were vastly improved by viewing all the Christmas decorations and lights people had placed in their gardens - I'm not a big Christmas person but I'm a sucker for a set of fairy lights so this is probably one of my favourite things about the season!
At the beginning of the month, we had a little sprinkling of snow to mark the true start of the winter celebrations! We hadn't had much at the beginning of the year, and not much at the end as it turned out, but I was still blown away at how a thin layer of snow can make even the most mundane roads look stunning! As I had moved into my flat at this point, I took advantage of having the canal path and several little lanes close to my doorstep that I went for a little walk that took much longer than it should have as I had to stop to take pictures of almost every frosty leaf I spotted! My macro opportunities are usually somewhat limited in the winter months, but I just love how snow can make even the simplest weed look vibrant in colour - snow is truly a wonderful backdrop to work with! I must have spent forever walking down part of the path which had a variety of winter berries growing in the foliage, and of course I couldn't resist snapping some snow shots of the classic Christmas berry, a holly bush! I didn't have time to do it this year, but hopefully they may be useful to make Christmas cards out of in 2020!
Even when I went to see my favourite band in concert this month, I managed to get a wee bit of nature into my visit! I had gone to see Clutch in Leeds with my friend Ellis, and we stayed at his house to the north of Manchester that night. The weather was pretty miserable but Clutch were fantastic as per usual so we were still in high spirits the next day. As to get a bit of fresh air and break up the time we had to wait for my train, we got our lunch and decided to find somewhere quiet to sit. We had a wander through a couple of fields until we found a little clump of trees to provide us shelter from the rain which couldn't decide on what velocity it should fall at and sat and had our lunch. We could see over Ellis' town and had an almost 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside, I imagine on a clearer day some of the Peak District could probably be seen! It looks a lovely area and I'd love to visit the Peak District soon, so I'm definitely making plans to gatecrash my friends house and drag him on some lovely walks!
This year feels like it has gone by in a flash, but then I have had much more to deal with in my personal life this year too, as I mentioned earlier I've moved house twice this year! Although I feel like I haven't been out enough, those memories I've made exploring childhood favourites in Coniston with my grandad or my first time visiting the amazing Cumbrian coastline around St Bees will stick with me forever! I'm hoping to stay in Coniston again, as I have decided this is now a tradition whether my Grandad likes it or not, and I would love to visit more of Western Cumbria as we simply couldn't fit it all into our short stay! I am determined to be more productive in 2020 as I have felt in a bit of a slump recently, and I do not want it to continue into the new year! I'm hoping my personal life will be more settled in 2020 so that my photography can take precedence and blossom!
Lets see what 2020 has in store for us, ey?