I'm sitting here writing this in my south facing conservatory. Today it is far from warm in here, I haven't got the central heating on and outside heavy grey clouds race across the sky, pushed along by a gusty and cold ENE wind. Added to that are frequent light showers of icy rain, it's the 19th November and winter is finally beginning to appear on the horizon, made all the more obvious by flocks of Fieldfares, fresh in from Scandinavia and feasting on the hedgerow berries.
I've been out in the garden briefly today, digging a piece of border and pruning a Cotoneaster shrub, but as a whole, the garden is almost pruned, dug and mulched as I want it and ready for it's winter sleep. Let's face it, today is one of those days when it's simply better being inside, looking out, drinking a glass of something, reading something or just just mulling over what the last eleven months have been like.
So I've been sitting here, reading a newly published book by Matthew Dennison entitled "Eternal Boy - The life of Kenneth Grahame " who of course wrote "Wind in the Willows, and was captivated by a passage in it that seemed to express the way that days such as today, should end.
Kenneth Grahame and a friend had been walking in the countryside on one cold weekend. "we came home happy and tired, bought some chops and fetched a huge jug of beer from the pub. We cooked our dinner over the open wood fire, then great chunks of cheese, new bread, great swills of beer, pipes, bed and heavenly sleep". Oh yes, the summer is a time of very long and busy days, with short, hot nights, but the winter offers the reverse - rising late, a brief day and the snugness of giving in to lethargy, early darkness and the comfort of a long winter's night wrapped in blankets, planning next year and re-living this year.