Friday, 9 April 2021

Furzton Lake

Furzton Lake in Milton Keynes was created to act as a basin for flood waters during rainy spells and was constructed when the Furzton estate was being developed in the 1980s, and incorporated a disused, water-filled clay pit. The lake has matured into an easily accessible and peaceful oasis for local residents, office workers and wildlife. Easy access and good pathways make it a popular choice for joggers, cyclists and walkers.
A bridge divides the lake into two very different areas. The larger area to the west of the bridge is an expanse of open water with two islands. The smaller one is totally covered with willows, poplars, Hawthorn and Blackthorn which provide safe cover for nesting and roosting birds. Grey Heron nest there and can be observed from the cycle redway. Woodpigeons congregate there. The larger island is more open and on its south side can be viewed from a conveniently placed seat. Herons, geese and ducks preen themselves in the sunny aspect. On this island there are wooden sculptures Silhouetted Portals by Wendy Hitchings – which have proved popular with the resident bird population and are used by gulls as vantage points.
The smaller area to the south-east of the bridge has a wide range of marginal plants and is more shaded and sheltered. It has a boardwalk from which observations can be made.
Alex Fox

Friday, 2 April 2021

Hot cross buns

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom; Ireland; Australia; India; New Zealand; South Africa; and some parts of the Americas, including Canada and the United States.

The bun marks the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

They are now available all year round in some places. Hot cross buns may go on sale in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand even as early as New Year's Day or after Christmas.

In many historically Christian countries, plain buns made without dairy products (forbidden in Lent until Palm Sunday) are traditionally eaten hot or toasted after midday Good Friday.

Alex Fox