Minus two degrees, it said. The fog was thick, not moving at all, and the prospect of the walk round to the village shop was distinctly unappealing. Especially this morning, feeling rough and after the encounter with my uninvited bedfellow had dragged me from the warmth of the duvet at four o’clock. Plus, I’d already been out long before dawn.
Ani, of course, had loved the freezing fog, coming back with ice crystals on her fur and a huge grin on her face. Not so her human. I was frozen. It is not that I do not own nice warm coats, you understand. It is just that for some unaccountable reason are in the car. Five miles away. And I have, with creditable persistency, failed to remember to bring one home.
I did, however, have the big plaid blanket which I had wrapped, shawl-wise, around me over my jacket. At that time of morning there was, after all, no-one to see or fall about laughing except the dog. And she laughs at me anyway. Even so, the time waiting for Ani to run off her energy and explore the morning had me shivering. So the necessity of the walk round to the shop left me cold, in more ways than one. Still, needs must… and of course, it did at least look beautiful.
The trouble is I suffer from mutually aggravating complaints. I have Raynaud’s, which means that Dante got it right… Hell is cold. I have often wondered if he suffered… That is bad enough, but I possess lovely little heat packs to help with it. Which are, guess where? Yep. In the car. I also have gloves, but… ditto. Still, it would be no more than an uncomfortable annoyance without the second and incurable disorder…
That one is trickier. It involves my total inability to walk out of the door without the camera. I try, really I do, but then I see something and regret it… so most times I bow to the inevitable and take it anyway. This would be no problem most of the time, but I need my fingers… and in this weather not being able to feel them is the easy bit. Function requires warmth, warmth needs gloves and gloves won’t operate the damned buttons. It is a dilemma that needs to be taken by the horns … always supposing your hands are warm enough to feel them.
Still, the beauty of the morning was worth it. Trees loomed like great, grey shadows out of the fog. Ice edged every leaf… Frost powdered the world in white and I saw the first icicles; the frozen fingers of winter on the heating vent… which tells you how cold it was. Minus two was a bit of an understatement. Mind you, that was according to my phone… how does it know? It may have been minus two in the warmth of my pockets, but I’ll bet it would have had more to say had I exposed it to the cold air… Personally, I think it was no more than an educated guess.
I was, for some strange reason, alert to spiders this morning and the frozen cobwebs that festooned every fence, branch and tree were amazing. Far prettier than the gaudy remnants of festive tinsel still lingering in odd pockets as I wandered through the village. Birds made pale silhouettes as they huddled amongst the sparse leaves. Even on such a morning the number and variety was incredible for such a short distance. The rose hips and teasels looked incredible, outlined in frost, while the first, early buds of the Japanese Quince blushed in the embrace of ice.
The little yellow flowers of winter jasmine and the firethorn berries gave the illusion of warmth to the frozen world. Even so I was shivering before I had gone halfway… and it is not above a five minute walk to be fair. Unless you are messing about with cameras, of course. I thought I would probably only be able to take pictures on the way there, with the general idea that my hands, by then cold, could stay in the pocketses on the way back; warmth being precious to this hobbit.
But the village shop came up trumps again. They sell everything. Including, apparently, a set of child sized hybrid mitten-gloves. Being, as we have established, about knee high to a grasshopper, with their loud pink Argyle pattern, these fit perfectly. They consist of fingerless knitted gloves with a cunning mitten flap that folds over the fingers and is easily removed by idiots with a camera. For the princely sum of £3 they were mine. Perfect!
Until I got home and put them on the table… when Ani, disgruntled at having been left behind, decided they were hers.
Wonder if they have any more?