With the weather milder - but still dank and wintery - long walks are resumed. The kind of 'duty' walks taken with a stiff upper lip and the intention to get it all over with as soon as possible in order that one might return to a warm sofa, feeling virtuous of soul. Even the pretty village of Eastleach Turville seemed subdued as we started out.
The river Leach runs through the centre of the village, clean and crystal clear. Behind the trees peeps the tower of one the two churches which sit almost side by side - therein hangs a tale for another day, it is too cold to stand around telling stories.
Sharp eyed Andy spotted a brown trout somehow, amid all the drab browns and greens of the flowing river.
Leaving the village and heading out to the field footpath.
Passing an unpicked orchard, the apples a cheerful brightness against the gloom.
This is one of the bleakest times of the year - not even the faint promise of spring to lift the heart.
The sheep are quiet and sluggish, streaming slowly away from us as we walk through the valley.
At last we reach our stopping point - this rather dull looking muddy track is Akeman Street, part of the old Roman Road which stretches across this part of the Cotswolds. Here we hunker down on the stone wall and gratefully drink watery hot chocolate.
From Akeman Street looking across to the Hatherop Estate as the afternoon draws to a close. We must hurry, if we are not to be finishing our walk in darkness.
But the too-short day catches up with us and soon the trees are dark shadow dancers as we trudge along muddy grass. A lone black bull sillhoutted against the night sky, bellows a challenge in the chill dusk.
With much relief and tired legs, we return to the village, now festively lit with decorated cottages. Such a reviving sight after a rather melancholy walk and the realisation, not for the first time, that if Christmas didn't exist in mid-winter, it would have to be invented.
By co-incidence, we did part of this walk exactly (to the day) a year ago, but the weather was somewhat less gloomy, as can be seen by comparing some of the photos.