Sunday 5 February 2012: Slightly foxed...
The promised snow arrived: it started falling not long after six o'clock yesterday evening and continued steadily into the small hours of this morning, giving us a covering of about 8cm . The boys were quite excited and Ben kept a note of the depth with a tape measure. I woke up several times in the night to an unnatural orange glow, caused by the reflected street lights.
This morning the trees were heavily covered, and all was quiet and white. Even the sky had adopted a subtle palette of greys. Teenage boys are not easy to rouse, even when there's snow to enjoy, so Pete and I took the dogs out to Thorpe Hall without them. I was hoping for a winter wonderland, but somehow the flat grey sky just made everything look a bit featureless and drab.
We'd just been discussing how the snowy slopes needed a handsome dog fox or a herd of deer to provide interest when I spotted a movement among the trees. We stopped and watched a fox digging in the snow and then stopping to wash itself, oblivious to our presence. Unfortunately all this was viewed through a broken screen of vegetation with no clear view.
I nearly didn't bother to change lenses, but there was just a small chance it might move, and after standing patiently for a moment or two, it shifted position and I got the chance I'd been waiting for. It was remarkably unperturbed by our presence, especially considering we had the dogs with us, off their leads. The air was very still and I don't think they'd actually noticed it, or maybe they just weren't bothered, as they must quite frequently come across fox scents in the garden.
I managed to get a few shots before another person with three dogs came along the path. This proved to be just too much, and the fox made a quick escape. I'm pretty sure this is a dog fox, as he has a broad face. In large you can see several scars on his nose, the badges of past battles.
When we arrived home the boys were up and raring to go for a long walk . This isn't a frequent occurrence so I thought I'd better oblige!! We dug the car out and slithered down the slippery road, heading off to Bedford Purlieus. The boys and I had a good long walk in the woods, and spotted fox and badger tracks. As we were returning to the car, the woods resounded to the haunting wails of a pair of red kites, who seem to be setting up a breeding territory, and were having some disagreement with a pair of buzzards.
This afternoon Alex has been out sledging and building a snowman and has just returned soaked through. The amount of college work done this weekend has been minimal, but he may well end up at home tomorrow, as we still have a reasonable covering of snow and the forecasters are threatening ice and freezing fog for the morning!