The Week of the First Snow

These are old photos, taken about this time of year, but two years ago. That’s because the last couple of weeks have been taken up with family things – our son’s graduation (in nursing – with distinction – which is an enormous pleasure) my mother’s move into residential care, and absorbing the outside school responsibilities of looking after our grand-daughter into a busy life – and cooking up a poetry night at our local coffee house. But I think you can take it that the territory of rain still looks pretty much like this!

We got the roof fixed just in time before the rain, and the central heating pump replaced just before the frost. And the upgrade to the broadband went without a hitch, so I can now listen to the radio on my laptop without it having to pause for breath every five minutes. Now we are having the sittingroom and the hall decorated. We have had to move four bookcases to accommodate this, and it’s not a big house, there are books everywhere! There is dust everywhere too. I knew I was a B- housewife but really, there are places behind bookcases where finding the original carpet is like archaeology. But it will be done by Christmas, and there are new bookcases (larger!) coming, so everywhere will be not only cleaner and fresher, but tidier.

Outside the only vegetables flourishing are the brassicas – kale and cabbage and early broccoli seem unfazed by all the wet. And the birds are back, drawn in mostly by the frost. I’ve seen redwings and fieldfares, there are swans on the river, and the Scandinavian starlings are here in force. And I’ve just seen a greater spotted woodpecker on the top of the birch outside my window. I thought it was a starling at irst, but it’s too big, and piebald. Other people have told me we have woodpeckers, but this is the first year I’ve seen them regularly for myself. Also blackbirds. I know blackbirds are supposed to be territorial, but in winter they seem to move about mob-handed, and there are about eight of them bobbing about the garden, knocking each other off the patch below the feeders where the small birds scatter the seed.

We are coasting towards the end of the calendar year, and we are already in Advent, which is the start of the liturgical year, so it’s a good time to be quiet, review and assess things before we make a new start. So I’ll be doing just that in the next few posts

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