Winter has let me know that it’s on its way, and it’s only just over the horizon. The horizon here is one of bare hills and moors, folding over into Lancashire, like a green and brown wave This is where most of our weather comes, straight from the Atlantic. I like to think you can smell the salt, but you can’t!
Most of the old farms are sheltered by a single, twisted hawthorn or elder tree, wet and black. Each battered tree tells of an old family dream that planted it in the first place, in a fit of wild optimism, or a fit of wild desperation.
We have been hit today by the tail-end of a hurricane from the western Atlantic. It’s not a proper hurricane by the time it reaches us, of course, and it just brings strong winds and a lot of rain. Rain or no rain, Ruby has to go for her walk, and so do I. This is my daily training session, which will make me young again
Most, though not all, of the leaves have fallen now, and, in the wet, the vivid colours of autumn are muted. Nevertheless, there are wonderful chips of colour. Some of the hazel and elder bushes still have green leaves that shine like papery lemons. All the different shades of green and brown are mainly what I look at now.
I try to register every picture the world gives me as though I have never seen anything before I smell the earth for the first time, and I stop to listen to the wistful song of a robin. I feel cold rain on the back of my neck.
There was all of this on today’s walk, but there was also rumbling thunder. Suddenly, the wood was hit by wind and sleet that came straight from the faraway Western sea. When it hit the wood, it was like a train. At least we could hear it coming!
The sleet whitened the wood temporarily, the paths turned into muddy streams. I was soaked and bitten by sudden cold.
But then, with another grumble of thunder, it passed on, leaving drizzle to tap on the window, and that lovely rosy glow you get as your hands and legs warm up and your face feels like . . . well, like a face again, instead of a lump of lard or putty.
It’s really exciting to be alive.