Our pre-six am 'comfort break' tour of the garden illuminated by a nearly full moon shimmering down from a cold sky onto a frost covered lawn. The lawn looks surreal - like something out of a Grant Wood painting . Two metal garden chairs positioned on the edge of the ridge shine as if they're reflecting the mid day sun. I catch a glimpse of the local fox. He's large and dark brown. A big boy. More like a young Labrador than a fox but with pointy ears and a vivid white flash on his tail. He's wily and sure of himself. A natural king of the valley. Sometimes I see him sauntering through the fields when I walk Sophie down to the stream. He walks with a cocky insouciance that tells you he and his ilk have been here for ever and will be here when we're long gone. He, above all, is the reason I don't like the hunters. Sophie, is of course, oblivious to his presence.
I turn on the torch to find out where my companion is. Comfort restored she's by my side telling me to open the gate and commence our tour of the village.
The Christmas decorations outside the church are still illuminated and giving off seasonal cheer. They must, surely, come down this week.
By the time we've had breakfast and made it down to the river the sun is peeping above the horizon. As it rises it burns off the frost and we find ourselves enveloped in a swirling mist. Sophie stands and stares at two audacious cormorants . The birds are roosting on one of the pontoons that's been swept away by the recent floods onto a sandbank. The small sailboat that was there a couple of days ago has gone. It goes without saying that the cormorants are completely untroubled by Sophie's presence.
The floods have left a trail of detritus along the concrete slipway. This is minutely examined by Sophie for anything edible. Who knows ? There maybe some putrefying fish. I tell my furry companion to hurry along but this morning she is suffering from clinical deafness. I say the word ' treats!' and she bounds towards me - clinical deafness immediately, and miraculously, cured.
meanwhile in the real world :https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-16/rail-theft-soars-los-angeles-pilfered-packages-littering-tracks