Yes, folks, it's coming back again.
Heavy snow forecast.
This photo was actually taken about three years ago, when I was walking home from work. The buses and trams had all stopped running, so I had no option but to walk. Sheffield is built on seven hills, and I had walked up and down two of them by the time I got here. As you can imagine, I was feeling very sorry for myself, but at least it had stopped snowing, and I just stood there knee deep (I'm not very tall) in snow, and admired the scenery around me.
I wasn't taking a shortcut through the countryside, by the way. This is the rear entrance to Birley Spa, an Ancient Roman spa that now sits in the middle of a housing estate. In Roman times, the water was believed to have healing properties; today it comes with an 'elf and safety' warning. In Victorian times, the pond, then used as a boating lake, and the adjacent woodland were a popular tourist attraction, the Disneyland of their day.
I visited the spa several ago, first time since my childhood. As a child, a very small child, yes even smaller than I am now, I remember paddling in the nearby stream, full of frogs and water voles. I never saw the pond then, because the man who lived in the spa house always kept children well away from it. Very wise of him, although I didn't appreciate it at the time.
Anyway, back to the recent visit. The spa has been renovated. You know the sort of thing, Roman marble columns patched up with concrete. Although it is now a Grade II listed building, so future work should be more in keeping with the old building. As well as seeing the pond for the first time, I also went under the spa house to see the actual Roman spa. Unfortunately, the stream has been concreted over and now runs underground.
Saw this in the garden today, a Goldcrest. The first time I ever saw one was last year, amongst a flock of goldfinches, but this one came alone. It stayed in the garden for a couple of hours, undeterred by the blue tits who were constantly chasing it off the feeders. The only problem with seeing unusual birds at this time of year is that they are usually an indicator of bad weather to come. Have I mentioned the snow ?
And finally, totally off topic, I thought I'd just give a mention to the High Speed train service that has just been announced this week; due to arrive in Sheffield in twenty years time. Somehow the phrases 'high speed' and 'twenty years' don't sit well together do they ? And, apparently, the proposed train route runs straight across Sheffield Airport's runway. Now that is going to be one amazing level-crossing.