In the summer of 2013 I discovered the Walled Garden at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk. I say discovered, in the sense that I hadn't visited before, but I suspect not many have. Dating back to the 1700s, the gardens are midway through a significant restoration project. Once complete the gardens will prove to be a spectacular attraction, but it was nice to see some of the older and neglected aspects of the garden before it gradually goes through its transformation. I revisited in the summer of 2014, with some changes already evident including the planting of a vineyard, and some new signage, but it still retains its special character. Here are some images from the past two summers:
Whilst doing some gardening I disturbed a very young Fox cub. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something running towards the house. At first I thought it was a cat, but it was struggling to run in a straight line so it made me look again as it went straight through the back door. I went to investigate and couldn't see anything, it had obviously gone into hiding. After a while a beautiful young Fox cub emerged and ran behind a plant. It eventually peered out so we could get a look at it.
After opening the door it went straight out again and disappeared at the back of the garden. Later in the evening we were lucky to find it back on the lawn, this time reunited with the Vixen, and in a playful mood.
...Assuming that is the Collective Noun for Gannets. Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire is the place to see and photograph these superb birds which breed in good numbers from March onward. I arrived on a cold April morning just after dawn. A bitter wind was blasting off the North Sea. The Gannets were everywhere, coming in from fishing sorties, sitting on nests or claiming nesting material from the cliff tops. The weather conditions were ideal for a close encounter; when the wind hits the high cliffs it produces an updraft which the Gannets can steer into and just hang in the air feet away from you, or drop down slowly onto the cliff top to pick up their nesting material.