Busy, busy, busy.
Yesterday R and I brainstormed a meal plan for the stretch through Christmas, and today we did the supermarket delivery order, and then trekked around Warwickshire and Worcestershire sourcing the things we either couldn't or didn't want to order (such as sprouts on the stem, which on last year's evidence are very much nicer than pre-cut ones). All the while remembering that by December 27th the next generation down will probably be only too delighted if we take B off to the soopamarkit for an hour or so, allowing them to loll around in peace and hold a grown-up conversation.
The weather has gone completely mad now. On Friday it was -11°C here, the lying snow in the garden was several inches deep, and R drove me to my evening rehearsal because I was too nervous to drive myself. On Saturday it was -4° at lunch time, and -7° overnight, but I was still wearing three jumpers (one of them thermal), and my car treated me to a little back-end skid on the way into the drive as I arrived home from the afternoon rehearsal. By yesterday morning the temperature was approaching zero, but it was still cold enough for the rain to be coming down in lumps, and compacted snow was turning to sheet ice. Then at around 10pm R spotted from the kitchen window that almost all the white stuff had suddenly vanished, apart from a few stubborn ice patches on the patio. And today the thermometer hit 14°C, and it was almost impossible to believe that it had ever or could ever snow in this part of the world. As we drove away from the farm shop I saw a chap strolling along wearing cargo pants and a t-shirt.
During the cold snap the birds completely stripped our pyracantha and cotoneaster bushes of berries (the first time I ever remember this happening so early in the winter), so I'm now strewing the lawn with cheap apples for the fruit fanatics. Between whom there is no seasonal spirit of giving, I have to say: it's every thrush or squirrel for him or herself, accumulate all you can collect, and defend it fiercely against everyone else. Blackbirds can be especially aggressive about this, and it seems to me that the tilt of this female's head is saying, "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?"
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