One fristy frosty morning while most of England was still shivering under the chambermaid… #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

…I went a-roaming, like some black-clad country parson flitting between the hedgerows in search of sinners to redeem.

I found only guilt – guilt at disturbing the knife-edge live or die birds in the trees and hedgerows, all trying to decide whether they were still really alive or not after the overnight freeze, and trying to judge that ideal moment of sufficient energy and warmth to fly versus the odds of finding that first succulent insect or worm for breakfast to replace the energy expended on catching it. Judge the situation incorrectly and a sparrow might end up on the ground without the wherewithal to get back into the air.

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We had been promised fog for today, but instead we got a white-out frost that turned the pathways and fields from mud, glorious mud, into knee-jarring but solid uneveness.

Spot the Cardinal. HeΒ is in this photograph but, very unusually, we had almost the whole of this stretch of canal to ourselves last night.

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The light changes dramatically at this time of wotnot during thingummy, especially when there’s a spot of sunshine and a patchwork firmament.

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Sssshhh! Don’t wake up the JCB – it might come chasing across the fields after you.

Moles seem to be the most active creature in the landscape, from the evidence of pile after heap of freshly graded and frost-free soil. What are they in search of? Summer? Burrow, poke up a velvet nose – nope, still winter here – back underground and onwards to try again…

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Bottom left of frame looks like a crop of Brussels sprouts but is in fact just drooping and frozen nettles… tasty, but not as yummy as a sprout.

The stiles and even the bridges-with-stiles all require a firm grip and a steady step if a chap is to avoid involuntarily favouring apex over fundament.

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On my past explorations I have been bowled over by badgers and peered at by adders, but I would rather love to see a fleeting fox in this sort of weather. Some hopes, but you never know. At least the trees are easy to sneak up upon.

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Red-heads in the field.

Sneak upupon? Snooked. As can be the Cardinal, if you walk back quietly via the field.

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Cardinal Wolsey in the hedgerow.

All scrub and brush and no canal to be seen here.

Until you go back through the gate and up the steps…

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Cardinal Wolsey on the absolute cusp of rust-coloured autumn and monochrome winter.

It’ll not be long before the weak winter sun has melted the thick sugar-icing frost on the solar panels and they’ll need a squidge with the old squeegee, the better to harvest any light that there is.

One thing I did notice was that nothing around here seems to eat these. They’re rosehips aren’t they? A heavy crop everywhere, and all untouched by wildlife.Β Something must eat them and distribute the seeds, surely? I know that it won’t beΒ me. πŸ™‚

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Back indoors methinks, to Mr Stove, a pot of coffee and a teasted toecake or two.

Once this frost dissipates wonderland will revert again to thick mud – and, with daylight – to dog-emptiers. Tis best that I am indoors afore then, for tis that the humans doth do my ‘ed in.

The floor-show for most of the daylight hours around here is the local gang of three or four moorhen who bob up and down, squeaking comically. I do like moorhen. Is moorhen its own plural? Moorhens? I don’t know, so let’s go aboriginal and just say moorhen-moorhen.

Anyway.

Nothing to see here today. Move on. Move on. Move on…

πŸ˜‰

Ian H., and Cardinal W.

Still in England duringΒ The Great Age of Stupid but today with added frost.

12 Comments

  1. Utterly beautiful; frost is a magical ingredient that has the ability to make everything look better. Thank you for posting these pictures, they have bucked me up no end.

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    1. It has indeed – with the exception of mooring ropes, which are a tad difficult to handle when frozen solid! πŸ˜‰ On the recent move the rear tonneau cover was also frozen so solid that I couldn’t fold or roll it away, I had to lift it as one sheet and lay it on the roof to await the sun’s attentions. The countryside has a magical look and feel to it in proper winter.

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  2. Wonderful pictures and I especially love the longesome Cardinal for once surrounded only by nature, the silence must have truly been golden. Jigsaws tis true but also Christamas card worthy pictures.

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    1. Thank’ee kindly! The solitude didn’t last long – two more boats moored this afternoon on this long, long emtpy stretch – one at the Cardinal’s stern, one at the bow…

      Perhaps I have an old-fashioned “magnetic” personality? If so then will someone please tell me where I might go to get myself degaussed?

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