The frozen forest

Back in February, we took a weekend trip to the New Forest for my birthday. This part of England, roughly 100 miles southwest of London, is a protected area of ancient, open pasture and forest grounds. Ponies roam freely here, and there’s a rather genteel pace of life that makes it a lovely spot to wander and unwind.

I’d only ever been there on my motorbike in summer, when the roads get jammed and two wheels are a blessing if you want to get anywhere. On this occasion we’d opted for the train, thinking February isn’t a fun time for bike trips. We were both thankful for that decision, as an icy blast of Arctic air accompanied us during the entire weekend.

Once wrapped up, we spent the Saturday walking through the wintry quiet in anticipation of the next toasty village pub.

It was also a chance for me to test my birthday present to myself, the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens. Such catchy names, these things have. I was very happy with it, and still am, though it’s had criminally little use for my intended purpose of wildlife photography so far. It’s very sharp, compared to my usual walkaround lens at least. My only niggle is that the bokeh can become a little jagged when the lens is wide open; I guess the aperture blades aren’t as numerous in a budget option like this. It’s still definitely worth a buy though.

The next day we were all forested out, so we hopped on the train to Lymington on the south coast. It was another bleak day, though atmospheric, with ice clinging to the river estuary before it hit the sea’s salty waters.

Thoroughly frozen ourselves, we warmed up the best way there is – a huge Sunday roast – before hopping back on the train to London.

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