I have always enjoyed my Christmas’s but it is a relief to be doing something different this year. For any of you that know me visiting new places and experiencing new things is everything to me, and I have never explored Surrey before. I stayed with family at Thames Ditton, that even though is on the border of greater London still retains the feel of village life. At the moment the Thames is flooded and the brown dirty water has risen so much that the local pub’s car park is almost unusable with one car half sunk and abandoned to its fate. Of course I had to explore Guildford, the self-proclaimed capital of Surrey, with its steep cobbled streets and old clock tower outside the Guildhall. Guildford is along the river Wey, a tributary of the Thames and has a charming Old English feel to it.
On the last day just as I had packed up my car and ready to leave we spotted an oversized statue of an owl on the branch of an old tree across the road. In the summer the owl would be completely hidden, but the bare branches afforded us a good look. And just as we were all ruminating over the unusual spectacle two pale green parakeets flew onto the bare wintry branches of the tree and called out in their distinctive load voices. Our host Penny, commented that the tropical birds have been spotted around the Hampton Court area for many years. There are a lot of ideas of where the parakeets came from but Penny said that the most likely explanation is that someone had simply tired of their pets and let them free. Parakeets are a tropical bird originating from the Himalayas but have surprisingly thrived in our cold English weather because they are used to the mild cold winters of the Himalayas. The tropical birds have become a common, and overall welcome, sight in Surrey.