I'm a bit late with my May edition of a year in Greenwich Park, most likely because for me, May is always a social month with a busy end as I celebrate my birthday. There's also less photos in this update, and I'm not quite sure why. It could be that even more than usual I was rushing through the park trying to be somewhere five minutes before I left, yes that happens a lot more in May too. Or because May is the month I enjoy and so want to savour it all for real, rather than from behind my iPhone, who knows.
The one thing that struck me about Greenwich Park this month though was how it adopted a meadow-like look and feel. Not something I expected, or ever noticed before. But now thanks to my walking commute I have the time to take in my surroundings, and see them change almost day by day.
There's been some rain too this month, I've avoided most of it including the heavy downpours in the latter half of the month, but sometimes my feet have got wet as I've crossed the dewy grass on my more direct route.
With rain, the trees have grown - something I've noticed in our garden too - in Greenwich Park, it wasn't so much how they'd grown, but how the canopy had spread. On the very dampest of mornings you couldn't help but notice a dusting of heaviness and almost oppressiveness.
In the Flower Garden the rhododendrons have been catching my eye as they've developed from buds at the start of the month to full-blown blooms now. Long may they continue!
The increase in noise has come from a steady increase of people using the park. Not a bad noise but just the hubbub of life in London, culminating in half-term last week and nice weather. It was great to see friends and families enjoying the sun. The boating lake, which I walk past each day has different occupants in the morning to the evening.
The mornings appear to be reserved for dogs, sticks and balls while later the clientele changes somewhat and the boats come into use. I do wonder if the afternoon clientele realise the boating lake's morning exploits. The dogs are funny though as they bound in, as they do, except for one morning there was a smaller dog looking none too sure. Meanwhile the larger dogs got out and left a puddle on the side of the lake, which the smaller one promptly rolled around in. Seems the perfect way to fit in, I guess.
And yes, I'm not sure I'd go in either.
This wouldn't be a proper monthly update without a look at 'my tree' would it, it's filled out rather nicely again hasn't it?
It's quite apt that I've posted this update today as it was the day that for one of the few times since last August the walking commute was rained off, but just a single bus journey reminded me of just how lucky I am.
Do you have a place that you visit and notice how it changes month by month?
It wasn't until I looked back over my photos from the month that I realised the theme was clearly birds in trees. And while I suspect they've always been there, or mostly, during April I became more aware of them, and even managed to capture a pair of parakeets sitting carefree - but not quietly - on a branch, mid conversation.
It's the first time I've managed to capture them so clearly, so I was quite pleased that they posed so well for the photo. I did creep up on them a bit but it was worth it. I'll come back to more birds later in the post, but first, look the scaffolding has come down from the Royal Observatory. It's looking resplendent against the blue sky too, isn't it?
As well as birds, this month has been about blossom. I've almost watched it unfurl in front of my eyes. There's been cherry blossom, magnolias and many more too, with the blossom girl dancing in the flower garden too. I missed this, which is probably just as well as I *may* not have been able to keep a straight face.
Early in the month I enjoyed the sunny mornings, I think we all did. And no doubt most of us are wishing they're back, as the month finished decidedly colder didn't it?
I'm very much up for the warmer temperatures again please. The tree that caught my eye early on in the series is now once again back in full leaf and looking just as fine as it did last year.
Ah yes, back to the birds. One morning I was walking down the path above and spotted a rather large bird perched on the top of tree trunk. I did a double take and then did a double back to take the picture. I've no idea what kind of bird this is but he looks most indignant about having his photo taken doesn't he? But he seems pretty comfy at the same time...
But he seems pretty comfy at the same time...
And you'll not believe it but the next photo is also bird related.
And yes it is a chocolate biscuit.
I walked a new route through the park so I could check the opening times of the Queen's Orchard (and no, I've still not made it there yet) when all of a sudden this chocolate biscuit dropped out of the tree narrowly missing my bonce. My reaction was, as you'd expect, one of disbelief mixed with the feeling that perhaps dreams do come true.
However on closer inspection upwards there was a rather large - and it has to be said, clumsy - raven looking down at me, no doubt wondering what my next move would be, and so I left him to his biscuit, just in case he threw his cuppa at me next.
So, birds in trees has definitely been the theme this month, not what I expected, but really you couldn't make it up, could you?
Understandably December has been the month when I've had the least 'park time' since I started this series. I don't think I walked home through Greenwich Park once in the whole month, so there's an immediate fifty percent reduction right there.
Actually, I'm wrong - I walked back through the park in daylight on 23 December as the office shut at 12:30 for Christmas, how could I forget? That was also my last visit to the park of 2016 too, and now almost two weeks later it seems funny *not* to have been there for so long!
Throughout December I'd been experimenting with a more reliable morning route too, one that removed the need to walk across the grass, as with dew and frosts I'd prefer to stick to the paths. I probably didn't choose too well when trying this path for the first time. Not only was there a bit of frost, but I also had mid-height heels on instead of the flats and trainers I usually walk in.
Not my best decision making skills on show, but I made it to the bottom safely and it must be said rather gingerly. I've since decided that this isn't my morning route, or my regular one at least. That's entering the park on Maze Hill and rather than taking the path that seems most logical (and leads to the slope above) I've discovered taking the path straight ahead leads me to my favourite avenue of trees, and has meant I can pick up my grass-crossing route a bit further along. There are though, as you can see, a cross-cross of paths on the way.
And this route which I've settled on means I can still keep an eye on that tree, the one that now the leaves are down has exposed a rather large nest.
So with a shortened path route in the mornings, my rough calculations mean I'm seventy five percent down on a summer month, that's quite a lot isn't it? But the shortest day has been and gone, so things can only be getting better, even if it is just by minutes each day.
And my mornings now start with some brick wall love, perhaps January will be the month I capture that well enough to do it justice. I view it from outside the park, but marvel at its size, materials and even lack of straightness (really) and it looked even more mysterious in the December fog.
There's been quite a bit of fog this December, but as all dog owners know dogs still need walking fog or not. And so there's a more business like feel to that, it's been about getting the job done, heads down, hands in pockets, and getting home again. And who can blame them?
The fog has made for some rather atmospheric photos though, so while I may not have many photos of this month, they are still pretty special.
Today I'm back at work and am keen to walk through the park again, to see if my regular nod dears are also back at work or still have the same routines, I expect they will. And I wonder if there'll be a spurt of New Year fitness activity to spot, I suspect so. Who knows, maybe even I will finally get my bike out for my daily commute, I know I've been threatening that for a while now.
But in the meantime, now seems the right time to wish you all a very Happy New Year and thank you for reading. I hope 2017 is a corker for us all, as well this year I've got some celebrating to do (think significant birthdays!)