I like to post about things as they happen (being a man-of-the-moment kind of guy), so here’s one about the snow we had back in early February.
We didn’t get a huge amount in East Sussex; unlike in previous years. Several time last year, I had to leave my car up on the road and walk down to the Priory; only a 4×4 would manage to get back up the coruscating (!) incline from the house. It is a beautiful walk down the lane and virginal snow makes it even more so. Down through Margaret’s wood,
emerging at the far end, passing the small copse and looking out over the fields, while ahead and below the Priory slowly reveals itself. Unlike some, I love snow. I love playing in it and I love the transformation of the ordinary into something crisp and mint and pure.
But I don’t love what it can do. As I no longer live up on the ridge above the estate, I can’t go down to the Priory every day to check for rabbit incursions, or refill the bird feeders, or check there isn’t a burst pipe in the house … and that heavy snow isn’t damaging any plants.
An interesting side-effect of the gleaming stuff is to show me who’s been visiting the garden. Though it’s not always readily apparent what made which tracks:
Some are more obvious. This is pheasant …
… and this the fox, trotting across the meadow, in search of pheasant.
And this, this, (splutters with rage) is rabbit. I was able to follow the tracks to a small hole in the netting fence and block it off. Ha! (Just hope I didn’t fence it in, rather than fence it out).
I also saw these:
Curiously, the more I walked around the house, the more human footsteps I found. On each circuit of the gardens, I discovered more. Perhaps someone was following me? Or perhaps there was a whole gang of burglars prowling about? I shall need to be on my guard and be extra vigilant.
And then worryingly, I found irrefutable proof of the legendary, fearsome Lizard Man of Sussex; traipsing across the lawns with his anaconda-like tail, trailing behind him. Glad I didn’t meet him – shudder.
Either that or they were formed by me pushing a wheel-barrow. Actually, thinking about it, it was probably the latter.
The low winter sun makes me extraordinarily tall – which is satisfying.
Margaret’s sheep struggle during heavy snow, and need to have food taken out to them in the fields. As if she hasn’t got enough to do.
They did manage to find a small patch of grass, under the lee of a Priory hedge.
The east pond was partially frozen but, thank goodness, after the unfortunate incident when Solo (the stinky terrier) ventured out onto the ice (chasing a snowball), broke through it and had to be rescued by Jim wading out into the icy water (brrrr – so brave) she now stays firmly on solid ground.
I puzzled over the peculiar green shapes in the ice. I think they are formed by mallard landing, breaking through the slush and thinking, “This isn’t very nice” and taking off again; duckweed then fills the gaps left behind. I think.
Quite beautiful in a weird galaxy-ish, nebula-ish or neuron-ish kind of way. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
But I rather like them.