Today is what the farmer would call a 'quiet day'. There is not a breath of wind, the sky is a uniform grey, the temperature is warm for the time of year, and nothing much is moving here in the depths of the country. Virtually the only sound is that of the male robin - one every hundred yards or so, singing its beak off with what sounds like a song of joy but is actually an agressive song saying 'get off my patch.'
There is no sign of activity in the fields as Tess and I walk down the lane. But then, there wouldn't be - the fields are so wet that any vehicle that ventured on to the soil would be instantly bogged down. Early last week the farmer was able to pull a friend's tractor out of the mire with his new, bigger version. Dare I say, naughtily, the first time he has actually been able to boast 'mine's bigger than yours!'
Although it is warm there are only minimal signs of any growth. Buds on some of the trees are quite fat but a long way from beginning to actually grow. The stretch of alders by the beckside - alder is one of my favourite trees - is showing a faint tinge of red in the tops and the alder catkins hang dark and hard, waiting for warmer days to make them break out.
There are a few berries left here and there but they are almost rotten and look most unappetizing. I really wonder what our birds find to eat away from the bird table, although the farmer says that with the fields being so wet there will be plenty of grubs for them to search for. Also because this is a pheasant-rearing area, I suspect that a lot of wild birds frequent the pheasant pens in an effort to share some of the spoils.
Speaking of pheasants, this morning I have been to the Physiotherapist for my six-weekly visit (the farmer had to drive me there as I am again unable to drive) and on the way back - only a distance of around ten miles - we were conscious of just how many dead cock pheasants there were on the road. The farmer says they have already started to fight over the hen pheasants (men never learn do they?) and get so involved in a fight on the grass verge that they just don't notice the oncoming traffic. I suppose the only good thing about it is that these dead bodies are instant food for the hundreds of crows that fly around. Every carcase is surrounded by pecking crows and they only rise up when the car is almost on top of them. By tomorrow there will be no trace left, apart from a few feathers that will blow away in the wind.
A friend is up in the Dales from Kent and I am hoping to see her within the next day or two - it is quite a long time since we met, so it will be lovely to see her and catch up on all the news. She is a much travelled lady and has not been back from Australia for all that long. And all this in spite of sadness in her life. It makes my silly little black-out such a petty thing when I think of the things that others have to put up with, so I am determined not to let it get me down. Keep on blogging - that's what I intend to do.
And to cheer me up even further, I came back into the house through the front garden and saw that the Winter Aconites are already up - their little green frills are already showing so now they just have to turn their little yellow faces to the sun (if it doesn't snow first).