Note: this was written on Sunday night.
It snowed on Thursday night and Friday morning. The farm when we arrived was 6 inches deep in snow, which I had never seen before (the house is very cold in winter and we don't come much). The country looks beautiful under thick, untouched snow. The sky was blue and bright, there was no wind and there was a brilliance and stillness about everything you rarely experience. The country isn't silent, as some people fondly imagine; it's filled with the calls and flappings of birds, the chirpings of innumerable insects, the bangings and scrapings of rabbits, hares, foxes, wildcats, wild boar and others careering through the undergrowth, the wind in the trees, even the hum of electricity in the wires. I never take music or a radio when I go out walking (unless the Athletic are playing, of course) because you miss half the fun; you're not really there.
The snow showed up clearly the furrows in the fields, and even the cross patterns, with one set made by the plough and another by the sowing machine, and also the wobbly bits where the tractor driver was in a hurry to finish and get home. Snow-covered and with the low sun, they are much clearer than in high summer.
The sunset on Friday was magnificent, a swirling mix of blood reds, flame oranges, sizzling yellows and the shade of pink that can walk into a bar without being laughed at. All set near the horizon between a deep blue sky adn a pure white landscape. The photo is a poor reflection of the reality as we saw it, and if you painted it no one would believe you.
By Sunday morning most of the snow had gone, and only little patches of ice were left where some weight had compacted the snow; on the paths, tyre marks from the farm vehicles; in the fields and the hills, our own footmarks; and everywhere trails of little white dots that were the frozen pawprints of rabbits.
It's all gone now, and we just have cloud, wind and a bit of rain. Mud on the paths makes it difficult to walk. We are sitting by the fire, which seems the only thing to do. The logs are damp, so they spit from time to time, and the gamekeeper and I have differing views about how to build and maintain a fire, but it's burning, and later we'll cook dinner on it.
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