At last, some proper wintry weather. A bit of frost anyway. Until now I haven't needed to wear my woolly hat, not once. Usually it is fixed to my head for the whole winter. In the last few days though everything has had that twinkly dusty covering. I have gone out of my way to walk on the grass just to feel that crunch. I was beginning to feel robbed of a decent winter. What's the point of a mild winter that's barely discernible from the rest of our temperate year?
Our bird feeder is the busiest attraction in the area. We always have a pair of woodpeckers (Greater Spotted, I think) as well as the usual selection of chaffinches, green finches and great tits. In the sunlight today the pheasants look like they're plumed in copper and gold. Last year one or two of them figured out how to perch on the top of the feeder and reach down to the seeds with their tail feathers raised for counter balance, but this year's population is still scratching around on the ground. I can be pretty certain that they are not the same birds since there is a lot of shooting in this area, although our 'landlord' doesn't allow any hunting on his land. Weirdly though, I have seen a shady character in full camouflage, including his green-splodged rifle, cutting across the camp site at dusk to get to the woods, only to return some time later, dragging a deer carcass behind him. I happened to have just stepped out of the Airstream one evening and, perhaps sensing my surprise and suspicion, the hunter tried to put me at ease by engaging me in conversation about how the local roads were less icy than earlier in the day. Phew! That sure did distract my attention from the fresh corpse on the ground.
My formerly-broken ankle is causing me less jip. I felt like there was a plateau in the process recently. I was expecting or hoping for steady and tangible improvement but I was still frustrated with aching and fatigue. Now I've reached that stage where I can be out and about and forget all about it. I do still feel tentative on potentially slippy or uneven ground though. A few walks to the pub helped me turn the corner. I can remember feeling chuffed that I could comfortably stride out rather than take shorter, safer steps. Thank God for the incentive of real ale.