Snow tracksAlthough there were no more major snowfalls, temperatures remained decidedly frosty and the fields were therefore still a uniform white as far as the eye could see (about four miles, due to the hilly terrain). I took a few short walks to reacquaint myself with the local scenery, disturbing a couple of hares (Lepus europaeus) and a rather fat common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and watched enterprising collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) eat sprouts by perching on the top of a plant and leaning over to attack the stems. Apart from a small wind turbine at a nearby farm and the ever-expanding distribution centre at the main road, the old homestead looked exactly as it did years ago (a marked contrast to the continuous demolition and construction in Korea).

Winter fields (1)Winter fields (2)

Emley MoorThe poor weather meant that I was housebound for quite a lot of the week, but this did allow me to finish going through all of my stored possessions and take approximately half a ton of books and bric-a-brac to our local Oxfam. I now have the onerous tasks of estimating how much volume everything else takes up in order to get a shipping quote for the move to Canada, and of listing the more interesting things on eBay.

Emley Moor sunsetAs the time of typing, temperatures are steadily edging up and we should have rolling green hills again by the end of the weekend. Run-off is filling the streams (flooding will be the next annual unforeseen transport chaos-causing disaster), and the hedgerow birds will be able to find their own food instead of relying on the fat-and-insect pellets I requisitioned from the supermarket. If there isn’t another big freeze, this will have been one of the shortest and most intense winters in living memory.