Bloody brilliant weather. The sort of weather I wait for all year. Cold. Cold enough to see your breath and need a hat on or a hood up when standing still but not cold enough to make leaving a warm house traumatic. Cold enough to need a fleece under the hoodie but warm enough to go without a jacket. Today too there’s just the right degree of foggyness to close things in a little and the leaves falling from the trees seem just to be drifting down perfectly, not a trace of hurry about them.
Then it’s been a day of digging and chopping and rolling about in damp earth and moving stones. A day to get really dirty, with earth in your hair and in your undies. Fingertips worn smooth, dirt under my nails and large patches of dark and damp on knees and elbows but then inner warmth that comes from moving about, the thickness of the air just right so that you know you are still breathing.
It’s been a grat day for sounds too. OK, there were the usual dogs barking, but more lazily today perhaps, then the occasional chestnut falling still, the slow tinking of cow bells in the field below and the faster tinking made by the goats feeding in the woods. The tweetering of a huge flock of great tits and just after lunch the hooting of a daylight owl. Then a funny five minutes overhearing that most common of problems, how to tell the guy with the chainsaw to stop cutting when he can’t hear you. The guys down below were hollerin’ for all they were worth to no avail, then a rending, tearing sound and… and… no crash as the tree obviously simply rested itself against another. I learned some new and interesting swear words. Then there were the occasional rustles in the trees as the wind arrived for a moment, and the more normal rustles of the blackbirds in the undergrowth. But then there were what has got to be without doubt my most favouritest sound in the world, wild geese. They’ve been flying over since Sunday, with their bubbling gurgling calls. Then they land a while, like yesterday, and sit around for a bit then take off again all at once with much honking and more burbling and a rushing, almost roaring sound of their feathers in the wind that momentarily drowns out everything else and leaves you stunned and in awe as the race almost in slow motion over your head. I don’t think anything can compare to that.
As the howler and mum have gone to Turin for the night it’s a quiet evening in, long soak in the bath, home-made chicken curry, rice and chips for dinner washed down with fizzy grapefruit juice, and, for the first time for ages, years, a film to watch from the comfort of a sofa (we’ve just put one in the kitchen).
I was going to kip outside on the camp bed and do a bit of star gazing too but unfortunately it’s just started to rain so I think that I’m going to have to put up the tent instead and do some nylon gazing instead.