Last year we had no frosts until March: a real “green” winter. Endless rain. This morning everywhere is white and bright; everything thick with frost has it has been for days. The outside water tap hasn’t thawed bar one day this week and the metal handles of the wheelbarrow are a tad chilly first thing in the morning! As it is cold and dry I have been able to ride out on the roads; only little rivers of ice in the occasional place where melted frost has run onto the road during the day and then refrozen at night. We can usually pick our way round these. Although, I did have a bit of a fright the other afternoon. Hacking along a single track lane I met a Tesco delivery van. At this point he is a few hundred yards from me on a straight piece of road. I am wearing a fluorescent coat and am vigorously signalling for him to slow as I get the horse to step onto the grass verge. Did he slow down – no,not one iota! Shot past far far too fast. The young lady on the Tesco complaints line was very ” understanding”, but could do nothing without the registration number even though I could supply the post code and precise time of the incident. They did offer to put out a general reminder to drivers. There is quite a campaign running in the media at the moment about road accidents involving horses. Thank goodness we didn’t meet that idiot on a bendy bit of road!
The cut on the horse’s leg has broken open again a bit; so still not able to do very much other than exercise; on dry parts of the hill if the weather allows, but have to try and avoid the mud. Bit frustrating it has been so slow to heal, but the cut is where the foot flexes.
One of my “regular” readers complained that I had only put up a picture last week. . . . . . will have to resolve to make more effort! I was only in one evening last week and I spent that trying to make a start on the Christmas cards. Two evening were devoted to “choir”. We performed a carol concert last Friday and had a “dress rehearsal” a few days before. We have had two engagements in the last couple of weeks and have two more before Christmas. We have learnt new pieces as part of both performances. Two of which are quite complicated (“In Dulce Jubilo” and “The Little Road to Bethlehem) and all but one piece are sung unaccompanied. Oh well, keeps the old brain ticking over with all the concentration.
I am having to fill the bird feeders all the time. The birds are ravenous in this cold. It is quite good that we have lots of different berried shrubs throughout the garden to feed the birds. The blackbirds have been gorging on the cotonieaster and there are also lots of apples left for them on the top of the apple tree on the drive. Out of my reach but of great benefit to the birds. The garden is sheltered by high hazel hedges providing a profusion of nuts for the jays and squirrels, both of which can be heard squabbling repeatedly in the higher branches. The lawn is pock marked with their little burial holes where they stash the booty. The red kite has been circling this morning; it must be hungry as coming quite low and taking little notice of me feeding the sheep.
Not my favourite animal at the moment. The borrowed ram decided to go AWOL Friday afternoon. When I got in from my morning in the Charity Shop i found a message on the house phone to say he had been spotted in the neighbours garden but had now vanished. Off I went with a bucket of feed on the hunt. Not anywhere near the garden of the people that had phoned: not in the church yard or the Rectory garden. Back to the house to get the car and spread my search. Drove up and down various lanes; routes he may have taken. then with luck as I drove down the hill back towards the house I spotted one lone sheep in a little field beyond the rectory wood. Some way away. Luckily someone was at home at the Rectory and with their help we were able to get him nearer the home field, where he made another dash for freedom!. Anyway with me in hot pursuit; once more round the churchyard and he climbed over the wall and down back to his girls. He has done his business there I think and is looking for more thrills. He is extremely heavy and very slightly lame so I was staggered he could manage to climb up and out over the churchyard wall even at the point it is falling down a bit!! All in the name of love he managed it!!
Flipping sheep – anyway he is contained here at the farm now and will be going home shortly…….