Wheat field in December

A Friday in December

It can be a bit of a glum time of year to walk around the farm. The days are getting shorter and everywhere looks a bit dull now that the scarlet hips and haws have all but gone from the hedges and most of the beautifully coloured autumn leaves have fallen.

walking boots in mud

And it’s muddy. Place your foot incautiously in some places and it slides out from underneath resulting in frantic arm waving to keep your balance or an undignified descent. It’s no surprise that the fields have been deserted by the fair-weather walkers and you can walk for miles without meeting anybody else.

It’s cold so you need to wrap up with coat, gloves and hat and decide whether to walk in wellies (dry feet but uncomfortable to walk in) or walking boots (wet feet if there are lots of puddles but comfortable). I usually choose walking boots but have been having problems with the bootlaces. Despite tying them in an increasingly complicated configuration, they work loose and flap around in the mud creating a trip hazard. A bit like life and Covid.

oak tree in field by ditch

But today, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, though the wind was keen. My bootlaces stayed firmly tied and I didn’t slip too much in the mud or get wet feet. Best of all, the lumps of mud in the middle of a wheat field turned out to be two hares, which suddenly sprang up and rocketed off before pausing to look back. A joyous sight.


farm in distance on frosty day

Pausing

DECEMBER 2020

The last day of 2020 and I’m pressing the Pause button. Rewinding through 2020 wouldn’t take long. Mostly, the year has been a bit boring with few high points (a bit like walking through the Fens) and learning to live by an ever changing list of rules.

Fast forwarding through 2021 to plan anything would be folly when there’s every chance it won’t happen as expected. There’ll be a time when we can, but not just yet.

sleeper bridge with cultivated field behind

So, I’m pausing and enjoying the last day of 2020 with a walk through the frosted countryside.

child

Setting time aside to finish darning in the loose ends of a gansey for a small person (cutting steeks was a mistake).

Catching a glimpse of Captain Flash in the undergrowth.

Later there may be a celebratory drink. Or two.

Next year, who knows. Maybe I’ll just hit Play and plod on until we can do things as we’ve always done them. Or maybe I should press the Reset button. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt in 2020, it’s to be adaptable and embrace change. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was glad to ditch some of the normal December traditions. Who says they have to be resurrected?