It has been a beautiful clear winter’s day on the Essex coast; time for gardening and taking down the outside Christmas lights this afternoon, but this morning I went for a long walk around the Backwaters. I made a series of paintings of Quay House a few years ago and it was looking good this morning despite someone having painted the dark Essex weatherboards a pale grey. The tide was just beginning to recede and there were thousands of birds beginning to move about out on the mud, starting to feed. Also big flocks of Brent Geese on the fields and Golden Plover and Lapwing on the Saltings.