Fog and ice in the terrier's nose

      At last a cold and icy morning and the mud is frozen, what joy. No more slipping and sliding and the dogs returning home absolutely filthy. The reading on the mercury on Friday night into Saturday morning was -5C and it was a changed world that greeted me and the two Parson Jack Russell Terriers on the morning walk.
      Lucie couldn't understand the concept of ice when her nose bounced off the water as she went for a drink and she kept checking for nearly two miles before she finally gave up trying to have a drink as a bad job.

      Her attention was briefly diverted by a pile of timber and undergrowth as she covered three times the ground that Barney and I covered, always moving at speed. I do have to say that I wish I had a quarter of her energy, as I have already said she covers at least three times as much ground as Barney and I on the walk. She has a seemingly incredible amount of energy to burn. In fairness to Barney he is the human years equivalent of eighty four and she's fourteen, Saturday actually being her second birthday.

      The level of frost and ice was quite remarkable and the change from Friday quite staggering, almost a weather change at the flick of a switch. There's no doubt the farmers will appreciate the lack of rain and the cold starting to gradually break down the big ploughing and furrows for their spring planting.

      On the return leg of the walk a stand of poplars assumed a ghostly appearance and as the fog continued to drift, swirl and shift the trees would appear and disappear seemingly re-forming themselves. Trees as shapeshifters, I'd never thought of that. That's all a bit Tolkein and Arthur Rackham imagining trees marching across the fen in the fog.

      Barney continued to do his own slightly slower thing, regardless of Lucie's wanderings and sprinting around and my requests for him to get get a move on. As always he used his photobombing creativity to show his best side and also to let me know just who's really in charge of the proceedings when we are out and about.

      Finally at the end of another old orchard a naked apple tree and lots of windfalls. Last year these trees had apples still on the trees at Christmas but now they are almost all windfalls, even the sheltered trees were in just the same condition. Every time a bird lands in the tree the apples fall to the ground with a thud and a bump but they'll provide food for the fieldfares, blackbirds, redwings and countless other birds over the next month or so even down on the ground.



It's bloody cold now. Is it going to be a proper winter? John