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snow on the meadow

Snow and Thaw

Friday, 19th January 2001, West Yorkshire
thin ice THERE'S BEEN a powdering of snow overnight. By the afternoon it's gone and the landscape is neither one thing nor the other; it's not crisp mid-winter yet there's no hint of the coming spring. There's the rawness that sets in with a thaw. Everything seems greyer, damper, dirtier and drabber.

icicles Except for one sparkling crown of ice; there's a garden pond with a fountain that has continued bubbling through frost and snow. The tall decorative grasses growing alongside have been transformed into fat fingers of clear ice. It's hard to believe that those thin dried stems can be the basis for such stout icicles.

The floods have left 12 tyres washed up amongst the assorted plastic flotsam on the small silt island in the river. West Yorkshire is awash with discarded tyres. It's not surprising that so many of them were dumped here by the flood.

mallard drake A pair of Mallards swims across the river above the weir. The female may lay her clutch of 8 or 9 eggs as early as March. They've even been recorded sitting on eggs in February. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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