How lovely to wake on the first of December to some sunshine at last. Having been practically nowhere during November, I was desperate to get out and about. I roused Hercules and we hared off to the woods.
The pale sun shone bravely, like an invalid friend trying to rally himself. The footpaths were punctuated with ice moons; horse hoof puddles frozen solid. All around me birds flustered through the bare hedgerow, though the usual battalions of pesky grey squirrels were nowhere to be seen - no doubt hibernating in their warm dreys. Although there was not much apparently happening, it was joy merely to be out in the fresh, chilly air.
The hazel catkins are almost out - fat little tubes which will burst open in the bitterest of winds. The trees are already preparing for the coming new year - many of them showing tight brown shells, protecting the tiny buds inside. Spring is not too far off. Despite outward appearances.