Friday was a cold and grey day, but sometimes a girl has to get out for a walk no matter what the weather, and that's how I felt when I woke up on Friday morning.
What's more I wanted somewhere marshy and deserted, perhaps a bit of industrial wasteland and possibly a view of the sea or the river at the very least. The only place that seemed to suit was the Hoo Peninsula, and so I headed for the RSPB reserve at Cliffe Pools.
In two hours at the pools, I saw only four other people, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of birds - coot, little grebes and all kinds of water birds that I didn't recognise, as well as spotting the flash of a kingfisher a couple of times, and seeing a heron and little egret rise from the shallow water as I came up to a viewpoint near the edge of one of the pools.
There was some extreme picnicking on the banks of the Thames - hot soup with chunks of French sausage and paprika in it, and the heel of my homemade loaf - but other than that I just crunched around the still-frozen paths, watched massive ships drift by along the water, and gazed into the slightly hazy distance.
Luckily it wasn't so windy as to bring the temperature down any further, and I was nicely warm as I yomped around the deserted reserve.
No pictures of trees today, but plenty of bullrushes and reeds and seed heads - similarly hypnotic winter silhouettes, almost as good as trees.
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