We had another fall of snow yesterday morning. From 5am I peered out of the window watching the flakes swirling around the lamp in the gusty wind; they settled with ease on road, grass and trees alike. A good day lay ahead. My thoughts turned to home schooling and PE in the snow again!
We walked mid morning. The snow was by that time falling lightly but there was a bitter south easterly wind. As we walked across the damp meadow we stumbled (literally) upon a familiar hazard- frozen mole hills. They are hard as rock and well hidden by snow, presenting a real trip hazard, perhaps more so to those of us who constantly watch for animals as we walk! Areas of frozen flood water under the snow were another trip hazard, but fortunately we know the terrain well now. Not that I am complaining, I see this as part of the natural world we inhabit; something to be remembered on very warm days in summer, a reminder of the wonderful variety of weather we experience through the year.
The scenes before us were beautiful. A soft grey sky, still dropping fine ice pellets that made our faces sting. The land was lighter than the sky above, a great subject for artists and for us watercolourists cheap on pigment! We wandered as if we were in a new world. Ditches held small flocks of redwings who ‘tucked’ angrily as we approached. A woodcock flew up a few feet in front of us, its chestnut garb bright against a neutral white background. Walking along a hedge line we saw a roe deer feeding, probably the same animal we have encountered dozens of times on our walks. For a while she carried on but inevitably sensed our presence, lifting her head and pausing to look and sniff before bounding away.
In the margin of a stubble field we walked in badger tracks which took a sudden swerve right into a blackthorn thicket. The return walk saw us facing the keen easterly wind, so bitter, as cold as we have felt this winter even though we have experienced much lower temperatures. The stinging ice pellets were relentless under a leaden sky. A last visual treat before we reached home was a male bullfinch stripping dock seeds. The final hundred metres saw us throw snowballs galore in the knowledge that a warm house and hot soup were nigh.