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It being a fairly dour day, R and I finally got round to overcoming our usual inertia, and doing something we’ve talked about for a while: we took a trip over to Compton Verney and bought an annual membership. The pricing structure for this gallery is peculiarly baroque, but as far as I can make out we’re now able to visit the park and the permanent art collection in the house, as well as many of the temporary exhibitions and special events, for the next twelve months. Today we saw the exhibition Whistler and Nature, which was an interesting complement to one we saw at the Lady Lever in Port Sunlight a couple of months ago; had coffee and cake; and then went for a fairly bracing walk around part of the lake.

I’m very fond of Great Crested Grebes, even when, as now, they’re in their rather drab winter plumage. They’re graceful and attractive birds, and I particularly like seeing them interact with each other. There was a pair on the lake today, and even though it’s way outside the breeding season they seemed to be going through a kind of bonding ritual – I’ve put three photos of them on my Facebook page, should you be interested. I hope that this is a resident pair, because it would be very nice if I could get to watch them displaying next spring. I may need a longer lens though, because they seem to have a preternatural instinct for avoiding an approaching camera: everywhere I went this afternoon, they contrived to be at maximum remove from me. I managed not to take it personally!