At this time of the year it is often difficult to find anything to smile about regarding the weather here in the Yorkshire Dales. Alright, the sun is shining and it is not raining - there you have a couple of pluses; but on the other hand there is a strong Northerly wind blowing and it is bitterly cold. Added to this, the weather has been so wet over the last few months that all the fields are full of holes where the beast have trodden. You take your life (or rather your ankles) in your hands every time you make a step forward. It is gradually drying up everywhere, but there is not much joy to be had from a walk in the fields.
The hedgerows are more or less bare - just a few berries on the topmost boughs of the holly and a few hazelnuts here and there on the hazel trees. That is about it. So the winter visitors will have small pickings and quickly move on.
So this afternoon, walking round the fields with the farmer, I determined to find at least four things which were likely to make me feel better about the forthcoming Winter - likely to make me feel that however dire the weather gets, if one looks carefully enough, there will always be something to get pleasure from.
So, here are the four things I found, for what they are worth.
Beautiful patches of lichen on an old gate; the last few glowing rose hips not taken by the birds; honesty seed pods under the hedge; the last couple of roses in the garden.
Another thing to smile about today is that my dear friend, M, who has been in hospital for a few weeks, is coming home today. I have just taken her some eggs from my hens - with their golden yolks they are bound the cheer her up.
Enjoy the sunshine if you are here in the UK. If you are in the US - then I hope you got the President you wished for - and if you didn't then you can't help but admire Romney's graciousness in defeat.