Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Good fences make good neighbours.
Tiny green shoots are pushing through the ground under the Scots Pines. Outside the back door the shoots are well up and showing glittering white "eyes". Yes, the snowdrops are coming through - a week to Christmas, five days to the shortest day, but there they are large as life and twice as welcome. With unfailing regularity, every year, they make their appearance just when the days are short and dark. "The dark days before Christmas" my mother used to call this week - and what better time than that to give us due warning that the snowdrops are coming!
Last night the sun had gone to bed well before four o'clock and by five o'clock it was dark. There was a sprinkling of hazy stars. When we get a cold, bright night here in The Dales, the sky is spectacular. The field opposite our house is flooded after Saturday's heavy rain and I was hoping for a bright night last night before the water goes down, because then we can see the reflection of the stars in the water and we get a double dose.
A combination of cold, frosty weather, a Southerly wind and two inches of rain on Saturday has brought down the dry stone wall around my cottage garden in the village. It came down suddenly, leaving a gap and blocking the path.
David took our local dry-stone-waller, Fez, to look at it on Sunday morning, and - hopefully - he is going to rebuild it some time this week. As the poet, Robert Frost, says "Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down."
It happens all the time up here, but luckily there are plenty of skilled wallers around to quickly build it up again.