This should have been posted two days ago but LJ wasn’t playing. We’ve had a series of foggy and frosty mornings, very beautiful, which remind me so much of this favourite Tunnicliiffe illustration from the Ladybird book What to Look for in Winter.
As soon as it’s daylight, I’m able to enjoy what has become a daily treat: watching long-tailed tits on the bird feeder. There are always six of them, never a singleton. They all cling on to the feeder at once, tails wagging busily. Then at some unknown (to us) signal, they all fly away at once, only to return moments later. It’s a charming sight. When they’ve finished, the blue tits have a go. I’m surprisingly pleased by this.


I know I’ve used that quote before but I love it and it seems particularly appropriate just now. It’s been so murky here I’ve needed lights on in the car and in the house all day long. I might just as well have kept the curtains drawn. About half an hour ago I had reason to step outside and was struck by the beauty and profusion of the winter jasmine. It’s quite tightly clipped all around a window and positively shone in the gloom. Earlier, being vexed by things, I didn’t even notice it but then it lifted my spirits and I hope it does yours. Happy St Nicholas' Day.


Colder than ever this morning and a suitable start to December: sunrise at about 8 o'clock this morning. As if that weren't enough, Ive just heard the first radio airing this season of Slade's Merry Christmas.

Edit. Bizarre thing. The field beyond my hedge is *really* frosty. Yet a tractor is buzzing about cutting the long grass. Huh?
No, not curly kale or purple sprouting, delicious as they are, but those useful hardy perennials which keep their leaves in the winter. Here’s a few of mine. First up, Epimedium ‘Fröhnleiten’. How fresh and shiny does it look?

wintergreenepimedium
more )

8.00 this morning

A very happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone.

Friends on Blogger, you are not forgotten but I've been having terrible trouble commenting on your sites.


Actually, from where I stood at the kitchen window.

Although the days are getting longer the cold weather makes the usable part of the day shorter; a window in the middle before the sun starts to fall and the temperature plummets again. Luckily, it's nice to be warm indoors looking out. Where I'm sitting now I've been watching the deer, apparently grazing quietly in the last of the sun, suddenly start pushing each other about, then bound away. This sort of weather always makes me think of medieval images; some atavistic notion, no doubt. Here's January from Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry.




It’s freezing cold and even with the heating on I’m wearing furry boots indoors. In spite of this, I love the winter countryside. This morning I drove to my usual garden centre to check out greenhouses (20% off until the end of January). The bleached look of the fields; the neatly trimmed hedges of a well managed countryside, russet where beech leaves hang on; black tree outlines; subtle greens and browns everywhere. These are the real colours of winter. I’ll have no truck with ‘winter gardens’ full of gaudy dogwood stems and phormiums; nor with claustrophobic conifers and heathers. No need to pretend that winter is actually some other season. I’d rather see the bare bones for a while and surely snowdrops, hellebores and a few select winter-flowering shrubs should be enough for anybody?

While I was at the garden centre I bought some hyacinths (white, of course) in a pot, so that I can enjoy watching them grow and eventually catch that wonderful scent. When I told the man in charge of greenhouses that I’d just moved he said, ‘Where’r yew tew now then?’ I like that. It’s strange that I’ve only moved a mile from my old house yet feel so much more in the country.

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