|The Marsh at College Lake, Near Tring|
Having opted out of the science rat race over 20 years ago I am beginning to realize how retirement has affected my view of the world. I have never been the best organizer of my own time - but at least when I was lecturing there was a fixed timetable of required activities to provide a framework for the day and the week.
|Moorhen and chick on rippled waters|
The trouble is that I have always been a workaholic with an overflowing in-tray - and I still am - despite being retired. With few fixed dates it is easy to put things off until tomorrow - and sometimes I suddenly realize that several matters have become urgent. Because of what happened to my daughters I need to keep my stress levels down - and the best way to do this is to take a country walk - and things such as this blog just have to wait.
Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities to relax in the area around Tring, but one of my favourites is College Lake, which is run by the Beds, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. When I first visited this large hole in the ground some 20 years ago work had started on establishing a nature reserve at one end - while quarrying was continuing at the other. Last year a fine new visitors centre was opened - which means I can end a walk with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake!
There are a wide range of habitats - a marshy area, shown above, a deep water lake, woodland - including a newly planted area which will look wonderful in 50 or so years time, heath land areas and an area where crops are growing in the old way - with all the associated weeds! There are also areas of bare chalk, left from the quarrying which is beginning to be covered with vegetation, and rare breed sheep and cattle graze the grassy area. Whatever tine if year you visit there is always something for the nature lover to see. For instance only a few days ago I spent a happy half an hour watching a hobby flying over the march area catching dragonflies.
Photographs all taken in July 2011