The landscape is white as I wake and my glasses fog up as I clear the ice from Roz’s car. My hands are the red that shepherds fear in a morning sky and my feet soak up the coolth from the frozen gravel through my slippers. I’m beginning to wish I’d changed into something more suitable before being all chivalrous.
I cuddle the plug in electric heater as I drink my tea, my hands slowly thawing. The log burner has gone out and I need to clean it before relighting. Apart from some 25 year old night storage heaters the fire is our only real source of heat on days like this.
I need to walk the dog first though so it’s time to get moving. I put the still-steaming mug on the old formica counter next to the sink and head out. Out and up onto Pepperbox Hill just in time to catch the sun poking over the rim of Brickworth Down. Mungo finds a half chewed tennis ball and seems inordinately pleased with himself. Jade tinted grass crunches like snow underfoot and the sun warms things enough that I feel OK without a hat. If I close my eyes and block out the sound of the A36 in the distance the world seems at peace with itself, not a breath of wind, just lungfuls cold clean fresh air.
Back at home the frost has lifted a little, just enough that the ice on the old dew pond by the house has thinned to a wafer thin layer. A slight breeze is ruffling the deep red willow branches above me and as I watch something quite strange is happening on the surface of the pond. The breeze is just catching the thin layer of ice and causing it to move ever so slightly, so the pond which is only perhaps 20m across is rising and falling like a faint ocean swell.
Down the lane I can hear two pheasants fighting and behind me, above the roof of Savages Cottage a red kite wheels in the icy blue sky as it is mobbed by crows. Mungo pulls on the lead, keen to get to the noisy pheasants and I’m brought back to the real world.
Time to clean the fire out and get it lit, although I may have a cup of tea first.