For the first time for a week, the sky is clear and there is a slight breeze. All the heavy mist and early morning fog has gone and the air is breathable.
I am doing the washing a day early because it is a fine day, because the farmer and I are going to a funeral tomorrow and because we have dear friends coming to stay in the middle of the week. So I snatch at a good, breezy day.
The painters have almost finished painting the outside of our farmhouse - only the downspouts left to do and they will be done tomorrow, weather permitting. So this morning I suspect the farmer will clear up all his prunings from the front garden. He has drastically pruned back a lot of bushes as the garden resembled a jungle. I'm sure it will be better for it come the Spring.
The over-riding sound in the garden is the song of our British robin - clear and strident, he seems to be singing from every bush and tree. It pleases me because, if you remember, the farmer disturbed a robin sitting on a nest in a watering can in the vegetable garden and she never returned to the nest. Later in the year I saw a robin venturing deep into a wygelia bush with a mouthful of worms - I do hope it was the same one and that she had nested again. And now I hope it is her offspring I am hearing. I have seen plenty of baby robins around - just like their parents but without the red breast until they reach maturity.
The other babies around are the pheasants. The ones bred for the shooting season have been let out to wander, scratch around and grow fat (they are fed daily at feeding stations) and the Lane is thick with them, half grown and wandering about. Driving through them is like going through an obstacle course, although I do sometimes wonder whether it is better to be killed on the Lane or to be injured in a wretched shoot and left to die a painful death (you can tell from this that I am not in favour of shoots - and I could never eat a pheasant.)
Speaking of such things, I read in the paper that London restaurants are going to be serving roasted grey squirrel shortly. No thanks. As my friend W remarked yesterday - they are just like rats but with a bushy tail. And would you eat rat?
And speaking of squirrels - many years ago friend M bought me a box bush in a tub cut in the shape of a cockerel. For years I have trimmed it with scissors and kept it in shape - or so I thought. Sitting chatting to friend W yesterday I asked her if she though my cockerel was well shaped, she pointed out that it had two 'ears' and that she thought it was meant to be a squirrel - so squirrel it remains.