Winter sun

 


We have someone in our house. I do not mean a burglar. We have guests for the first time in almost two years. The only people that have been in the house, apart from us two, are a plumber and heating engineer. So, there we were wondering how to talk to people and have a meal with people around our table. Would I feel awkward? Would I be able to think of things to say?

I need not have worried, after a few minutes it seemed as if the last two years had not happened. Mind you, there was a lot of planning beforehand. There was isolation and COVID tests to take. With our tests we only had to swab our noses and wait 15 minutes. But our guests had a different pack, and they swabbed their throat and noses and waited (in the garage) for 30 minutes. We were all clear but waiting for the line to appear (or not) seemed like and age.

Our dark nights seem like an age too, but I expect that you have noticed that we have six minutes more daylight today than last week! Time is rolling on after the shortest day and the sun is rising earlier and setting later already. The difference is miniscule and so we will not be aware of this yet, but the plants and animals are.

I have been to look at our borders and there are no bulbs showing yet, not even a tight triangular tip of green leaves but the buds on the magnolia are swelling and the yellow flowers on the mahonia are covered in blue tits searching for pollen and nectar. The plant is called ‘Winter Sun’ and the flowering stems fan out like a sunrise.  

I did not see any bumble bees looking for an early sweet snack, but I stumbled across a mole hill in the middle of our lawn, and I can see fresh rich brown mounds in Oak Meadow. The moles are looking for food and they love earthworms which are in the meadow. Normally the worms are deeper underground especially in cold weather, but we have had wet weather recently. To survive, the worms come to the surface and the moles are following them and that is why they are excavating near the top now and it seems as if there are more moles than ever pushing at the soil with their big front feet.

That reminds me about our presents, I gave Mr T some socks with woolly insides, and he gave me some socks with non-slip patterns underneath. That is what two years living in isolation has done.


The moles are looking for worms near the surface of the wet soil

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