Early winter oak
Viruses are such sneaky things. Despite assiduous mask wearing and social distancing, today I woke up with a classic common-or-garden cold - lots of sneezing and snuffling, and slight muscle aches, but no fever or cough.
But as there was sunshine and blue sky, I had to get out for some fresh air and exercise so headed to Swaddywell Pit - which was promptly covered by a large dark cloud. It was very soggy underfoot after yesterday's snow and rain, and I was able to observe springs and seepages bubbling up out of the limestone. The sun returned for a short while before I left, when I captured this oak tree, still sporting the last of its autumn finery, but revealing the gnarled shape of the branches beneath.
I spent much of the afternoon cooking for a small family birthday get-together. Despite the cold, we sat out on the patio round a fire, drinking mulled wine and various flavoured gins and eating baked potatoes with black-bean chilli and flammkuchen. Some of us also had chicken wings, and partway through we were joined by our fox, who seemed unphased by the patio festivities, and happily crunched up the chicken bones that were thrown out for him! We finished the meal with a lemon curd drizzle cake with candles showing Chris's age in binary - which sparked a lively discussion!-