Stuck in that no-man's land otherwise known as 'Between Christmas and New Year' a girl can go stir-crazy. The sky's been down on the ground. Visibility nil. We've eaten. We've drunk and loafed around but now the novelty's wearing off. So yesterday when the sun appeared for the first time in days I dusted off the boots and gaiters, applied my NEW hat and headed for the hills.
And what a fetching but practical creation it is - perhaps not as elegant as my neighbour's gorgeous fur-trimmed model - but when the clouds are down and the wind chill factor's heading for the minus figures I'll be snug, smug and warm with those flaps over my ears. A pratt in a hat almost certainly. But a toasty one.
Off I went, over the hills and far away - well, the 4 miles it takes to do a circuit from door to door. Blue sky and fluffy clouds. Only sheep and birds for company. A farmer feeds his sheep. We wave and go our separate ways, two figures moving in a landscape.
Pheasants bask in the warmth of sunny banks and shriek with alarm at my approach. (Ugly birds but I wish them no harm.) Fieldfares flock in holly trees, gorging on the abundant berries. Starlings seek worms in the damp pasture then rise in a flock as one bird, turning and swooping to land in a skeletal tree all a-twitter. The sheep barely look up from their grazing.
Great to be out. Good for body and soul.