We were on a schedule this morning, as we had our weekly supermarket shopping appointment with Sue at 9am, so I cracked on with a super-fast exercise session (super-fast as in it was over quickly, not relating to the speed at which my legs moved, I hasten to add) then hurried back indoors for a shower and a bowl of cereal before we left the house at 8.50am.
It was a beautiful morning - bitterly cold, but with a brilliant blue sky and bright sunshine. We found Sue wrapped up warm waiting for us at the bottom of their hill, picked her up and headed for the usual double dose of supermarkets - Lidl followed by Esselunga. After that, and a quick detour to the chicken man for Sue to pick up some more chicken feed, we parked the car back at Sue's house before heading to the café around the corner for cappucinos all round and a lovely catch up. All being well, Chris and Sue will have their car back from the garage next week, and Sue will no longer be in need of our services to transport her and her shopping back home. However, certainly from our point of view, our weekly joint supermarket shopping expeditions have become something we look forward to and the social aspect certainly relieves the chore of its usual tedium and mundaneness. Maybe we'll make it a permanent weekly social date and continue to shop together even after the Panda is back on the road!
By the time we left the café after two rounds of coffee, the sky had turned from cloudless and blue to dark grey and foreboding - and as we headed up the valley after dropping Sue off, large spots of rain mixed with sleet started to fall on the windscreen.
We unloaded the car and, despite the fact that it was cold, wet and miserable outside, we decided to take Reggie straight out for a walk. We thought we would go up to the refuge track where at least there would be some tree cover to shelter us from the cold rain, so we got togged up in waterproofs and wellies and headed out.
As we drove up the valley toward the track, the ratio of rain to sleet/snow changed noticeably in favour of the sleet and snow, and by the time we parked the car at the side of the track, it was definitely snowing.
We zipped our coats up, unfurled an umbrella and set off up the track. As we walked, the snow started coming down thicker and faster, and we soon found ourselves in a winter wonderland - it was as if we had walked straight through a pair of magical wardrobe doors and into Narnia.
|The aliens have landed!!!
This was only Reggie's second experience of snow, and it was his first real experience of being out in proper, thick falling snow. He loved romping around in it and had us in stitches as he repeatedly tried to catch the snowflakes in his mouth as they fell through the air.
We walked for about 15 minutes before realising that the snow was building up so quickly that we were in danger of getting stranded up there, so we did an about turn and returned to the car.
As we drove back down the track and back down the valley, the snow-to-rain ratio flipped back in favour of rain, and we arrived back at our house in cold, cold rain.
By the time we got home it was lunchtime, so we made some tuna sandwiches which we followed up with a nice hot cocoa with a dash of brandy to warm the cockles of our hearts, before lighting a fire and settling down to a cosy afternoon of indoor admin. Except that, by the time we had got computers booted up (and moved them to the warmth of the living room), we realised that the weather had done another 360 degree turn and once again the sky blue and the sun was shining brightly!
By this time it was nearing 4pm, and there wasn't enough daylight left to do any outdoor work of any significance, so we decided instead to put the admin tasks on hold and take Reggie outside for some 'walking to heel' training. He did brilliantly - clearly there's a long, long way to go for him yet, but for a first proper go at it he did really well, and of course we'll keep working on it.
After his schooling session, we decided to take him for a bit more of a walk around the woods - he hadn't had as long a walk as we had intended on the refuge track, thanks to the snow, so we thought it would be a good idea to get him to run off a bit more of his endless puppy energy.
We started off climbing the donkey track that goes up off the drive - from there we could see that the hills further up the valley had been treated to quite a dusting of snow.
After that, we went to the donkey track that descends from the drive near to the gate. We decided we would walk down this track and around through the woods to the terraces beneath the house (as we had done earlier in the week) - and while we were there we would measure the width of the 'raised bed terrace'. We'd earmarked this terrace, which seemed very wide, as a possible site for a polytunnel, so we wanted to find out exactly how wide a tunnel it could accommodate. Answer: the terrace is approx. 3m wide, so there would be plenty of room for a 2m wide polytunnel with a walkway beside it.
We also assessed the state of the terraces and considered our next plan of action - our intention is to dedicate the day to terrace clearing again tomorrow, as the weather is meant to be dry, so watch this space!
After that, we climbed back up the terraces and into the garden, put the geese to bed and headed inside to stoke the fire and settle down for the evening -just as the rain started again!