Monday, October 27, 2008

Out and In

It's a funny old cold-wet afternoon. Not inviting at all. I can't summon up the enthusiasm to don boots, hat, coat and gloves and set about the numerous autumnal tidy-up jobs which await me out there in the garden. There are things aplenty to cut down, haul away and compost. The greenhouse needs a thorough 'bottoming' to rid it of the air of neglect I sense as I slide the door open - the summer's tomato plants are now sorry specimens hung with a ragbag of half-ripened fruit; peppers are sticky with whitefly; a lone cucumber is swollen and flabby on the vine....

And leaves....leaves in abundance. Leaves falling like confetti, ginger as freckles, tumbled into crackling heaps. I have raked and scooped 'til my back aches but a glance skywards shows more and more waiting for the whip of the wind to direct them earthwards. I don't relish the prospect of wheeling yet another barrow load to the compost bin even if it does mean more of the brown gold that is leaf-mould.Through the glass of my window and from the corner of my eye I spy a beech tree, brilliant as a beacon against the sombre conifers of Badnage Wood. In truth it's hard to miss and like all good beacons draws me towards it. I am out and how good it is to be up here on the hill with the land falling away beneath me - a stream of golds and browns and greens tumbling away down the side of the Long Mountain. How I wish I could fly and soar over this magnificent landscape with its myriad twists and turns, clefts and hollows.

It's cold and the air is wet but I'm glad I stirred my stumps. The hardest thing I think is getting through the door.

Then, from my vantage point on the hill, I hear Heather, Karl and Phil over there in the Little Triangle Field gathering in the last of the cows and calves. Phil is out on the flank somewhere while Heather urges them on and Karl thwacks his boot with a stick. It's the odd rhythmic thump which attracts my attention - and that of the hens as well. The birds stand with heads cocked and listen to the cavalcade of men and animals move across the field. There's a young bull amongst them too and I can hear him snorting heavily as they move towards the yard. He's a lumbering, muscular, ginger beast amongst the lighter-weight cows and their liquorice-allsorts calves. There's a wagon in the yard waiting to take them down off the hill to their winter quarters. The tail-gate shuts, the lorry strains its way up our narrow lane and they are gone. Silence.

That's it 'til spring then; only sheep left to nibble back and forth, seemingly oblivious to the elements.

I turn my back on the burnished landscape, head into the wind and rain and sprint for the warmth of home. Time for me to be in too.

14 comments:

paula said...

umm – a wonderfully evocative post. Today we had cold, huge hail and thunder - tomorrow I'll bring the cattle in too…

Pam said...

Lovely post. I hope you finished it off by having a hot cup of chocolate and putting on warm whooly socks.
We had snow today - only a few flakes but enough to make me say Noooooooooo!"

Lindsay said...

We had quite a nice day here in North Wilts. Sorry about your leaves - as you know I have a maniac leaf collector! The trees everywhere are a lovely colour so it is nice to get outside.

Marianne said...

This is such a lovely time of the year, the change of season, the change of pace and priorities. ou capture it so well.

Twiglet said...

So glad normal service has resumed!
Cold, wet and dreary over here on my hill but your brilliant description of life on your hill really brightened my day!

Frances said...

It's a dark and rainy day here in New York, and so I send you lots of thanks for taking me outside to your beautiful landscape, with its trees, and wonderful animals.

When I venture out today, there is no way that I will see splendor like yours.

elizabethm said...

I came out with you on that one! Lovely post and can see it all so vividly in my mind's eye.
Today we have had sleet and the top of the ridge is white with the first snow. I am not ready for it to be so cold!

Nan said...

I loved this. I tend toward staying in too much, and need to get myself out. The rewards always outweigh any bad weather. I'll walk down and get the mail right now, in the raw, cold rain which is supposed to turn to snow (first of the season!) later. Thanks for the nudge.

Cait O'Connor said...

This was lovely.
I was like you on Monday - I had plenty to do outside but I couldn't stir my stumps and as you say the hardest thing sometimes is getting through the door.

david mcmahon said...

You revived beautiful memories of my many visits to your country, covering Wimbledon and Test cricket.

You'd enjoy our weather now - warm spring days for us!

Nikki-ann said...

It's certainly cold around here at the moment. Thankfully, we've just got our central heating working again! :)

CAMILLA said...

A lovely post. I love this time of the year, all the different shades of colours on the trees.

We have many tree's down very bottom of the garden, lots of leaves have shed their load onto the ground along with windfalls.

Very cold here Mountainear, and dusting of snow is forecasted for tomorrow.

xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Ooooo lovely and I am so glad that is not just me that has trouble getting out the door - then once I am out I don't want to go back in - contrary, or what. Lovely to get back in the warm though after an exhilarating spell outside.

Hilary said...

What a beautiful description of the season. I could practically see, smell and hear the action around you. Nicely written. I just blew in from David's/Authorblog.