Unplan your plans.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and while we didn't make any sort of grand plans in celebration, we ended up having a really fantastic day. A lot of nice things that we had been thinking about and wanting to do for a long time just happened to all come together, and the fact that we knew that Monday was the start of our half-term break really leant an extra air of relaxation to the day.

Besides eating a lot of nice food throughout the day (always a sure sign of success in my eyes) we also took a long walk through Panshanger Park. We are in the middle of winter here, but the feel was distinctly autumnal, with the exception of the bone-chilling wind that ripped through the open fields every now and again. We ended up wandering around for quite a while, exploring the waters, woods and wildlife habitats, and marveling at the Great Oak.

The atmosphere in parks like Panshanger is a perfect example of what Britain does best. While at first glance the landscape may appear dreary and damp, you'll soon discover that there is a romantic and magical quality to the colors. One can easily imagine fairies and wood nymphs darting around through the trees, but come back to the reality of the environment, the plants and the animals, and you will be no less impressed.

By the end of our walk we felt appropriately refreshed and eager to head home to our blankets and central heating. We wrapped up the evening in cozy contentment, watching a movie that we had both been wanting to see. We reflected on how, strangely, Valentine's Day had turned out to be something quite special, though we hadn't really meant for it to be. Then again, most of us know that it is always the unplanned moments that turn out to be the best.

Wishing I had brought a hat.

The Orangery.

Panshanger Great Oak.



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