Sunday, 2 January 2011

Fleeting Winter sunshine

It has been a grey, dismal January and cold with it. Not walking or cycling weather really. But when the sun has made a rare appearance, we too have emerged blinking, like pale grubs. Shall we wander down this mossy path and climb up to the fields beyond?

Dazzling blue skies and a trio of buzzards mewling as they surf the thermals. We head towards the estate farm and admire, yet again, the old stone barn which to my mind would make a marvellous studio.

Although the landscape is still bleak, the sun draws out rich hues and the clear, cold air sharpens outlines.

If you look closely, some foliage is 'warming up' as new bark and buds push through and amid the aqua greys and sombre tertiaries, bright mustards and warm pinks glow. Nestling in the roots of the bare hedgerows, tiny snowdrops shudder and tremble in the wind.

It is as if the seasons are poised on a cusp; there is, despite the chill, a feeling of anticipation and hope.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Back on the bike

Today, January the first, seemed a fitting start to the New Year to get my cycling legs back. I haven't been out for a ride since breaking my arm back at the start of October and felt a bit nervous about my first outing. It was a cold, dank afternoon, with a hint of mizzle, but the snow is almost gone at last. Despite the gloomy weather, Marjorie and I were exuberant to be out again, rediscovering the freedom of the road.

There was barely a soul around. I stopped to say hello to the little Shetland pony who seemed warm but bored.

Stopping again to look at the thaw water swelling the stream.

This is our version of '
Downton Abbey', cunningly hidden by judiciously planted trees; this is as much as a commoner will see from the road, when winter has stripped the branches. Time to head back to the village and home, feeling properly hungry for the first time in weeks. Fresh air and exercise - can't be beat.

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