Back in the late spring, early summer of 2022, we had a skulk of foxes in the field bringing up four fox cubs. We believe it was two vixens, with a couple of cubs each. Normally we would see two cubs at a time, but on occasion another two cubs would come from the other side of the mound and join in with the play. One set of cubs disappeared during the summer. We assume (hope) they moved on somewhere else. The cubs are now fully grown, and we have seen them since this video was put together.
You can watch the short edition, a little over 5 minutes, or the long two and a quarter hour video. The longer video also stars Badger, Muntjac deer, Squirrels, rabbits, Great spotted woodpecker and various other birds.
Five minutes and 52 seconds showing the highlights of the cubs.
Many National Trust houses reopen for Christmas and are decorated with a theme. We try and visit at least each year. There are some houses which are decorated in an extravagant fashion, such as our local house, Waddesdon Manor. This is a big money-making scheme and visitors are charged entry whether they are or are not members of the National Trust. These houses tend to become very busy. We typically visit the smaller houses which have been decorated by the volunteers and are still free to National Trust members. This year we have already visited Chastleton House in late November and squeezed in this visit to Canons Ashby to meet up with some friends of ours.
The weather had been cold and frosty for several days, and wonderful frost patterns had formed on the lawns and outdoor furniture. The house looked spectacular with the bright blue sky and the white from the snow/frost patterns. The house had been decorated with small paper Christmas trees, castles and Welsh dragons, the theme being Arthurian legends. Seems the volunteers had made many of the decorations. Brilliant and, of course, R cannot resist a dragon. There were even dragons eggs and a puffing, growling dragon.
Of course, no visit is complete without a visit to the cafe (not to mention the secondhand bookshop), where, on our second visit, we stayed and chatted until past closing time. Back at the car park, the NT staff were trying to figure out who was still in the gardens, and which cars belonged to visitors.
We have had a dry and very cold few days in the United Kingdom. The temperature in Kingswood dropped to -11C and has been below freezing all night and day. I haven’t felt anything as cold as this since we first moved here in the late 1980s. Despite this cold patch, the UK average temperature for 2022 averaged more than 10C, the first time ever it has topped 10C. The cold weather went on until the 18th, but of course warmed up for Christmas.
I grabbed a few pictures of the frost patterns on cobwebs and vegetation using my mobile phone.
I was up at 4.00 UTC to see a rare event. The planet Mars was occulated by the moon. The next time this happens will be January 2025. I took around 80 photographs, discarded many, and superimposed each image on top of each other. You can see the moon in the center of the image, and images of Mars on the top left getting closer and closer to the moon. Eventually Mars was behind the moon. This occurred at around 4.59. I went back to bed, intending to photograph the moon when Mars reappeared on the bottom right. I was a little late for this and missed the initial image of Mars reappearing an hour later at 5.58.
I was lucky, a noticeably clear night in Buckinghamshire, though cool at -5C. The down jacket did little to keep my hands warm.