Saturday 30th March 2013
Awake from 04:30 this morning. After almost an hour of dozing on and off while listening to the dog sigh and scratch under the bed, I decide it’s time to get up and go out. Holly immediately scrabbles out with her ball and that “Ooh, you’re putting your shoes on; that means it’s time to play, right?” face. The weather station tells me it’s -1.4C (29.5F) outside as I put on my hat and gloves and leave a barking dog behind (sorry Mum, Dad and Steph!) and head out into the lanes. It’s partly cloudy with a light frost on some of the cars and a decidedly unpleasant, bitterly cold easterly wind.
As I walk through the village blackbirds and robins sing, with dunnocks joining in by the time I leave, past clumps of daffodils seemingly huddled against the breeze and a smoky grey cat washing itself in the gateway of one of the bungalows.
As I head off into the lanes and the Cornish farmland, jackdaws and starlings start to stir in the village behind me and primroses seem to fluoresce on the banks in the pre-dawn light. There’s a large cloud bank in the east which is going to delay me seeing any sunshine for another half hour or so. As I walk the lanes, blue and great tits join the dawn chorus and male pheasants call to each other (and any nearby females) in the distance. I approach a bend in the road and a female pheasant darts off the bank and across the field.
I walk down a winding path, away from the road towards a field, over a stile and across the field towards some ewes and their recently-born lambs; the sheep seem skittish, so I don’t approach any closer and stand at the edge of the field, against a hedge, to await the sunrise. As I wait, a raven cronks in the distance and a pale buzzard flies low across the field and into a tree in the distance where it sits to survey its domain.
After about 10 minutes the cloud bank develops a shining rim and it’s not long before the sun peers over it. I stand and watch this glorious golden orb rise slowly above the cloud, casting out the shadows of the night and bathing everything in a warm, orange light – sadly the bitter wind saps much of the warmth. I walk back to the lane as wrens work the hedgerows and rooks caw overhead.
There’s not much else about, although I there are a couple of recently-born lambs, last night or early hours given their size and how unsteady they were on their feet. I also could’ve sworn swore I heard the treacly summer song of a skylark, although I couldn’t locate the bird, and I’m serenaded by a yellowhammer as I trudge back up the hill against the wind. I stop momentarily at the crown of the hill to look down over the hazy Cornish countryside; sheltered from the breeze by a hedge, the sun feel distinctly warm and regenerating. I’m then back into the lanes and heading for home, the final sight of interest being a pair of robins involved in a scrap; there was much craning of necks, parallel hopping, and bowing, before one took the hint and flew off across the road and into an adjacent field.
The day turned out to be a cracking sunny one, but that bitter wind took most of the joy out of being outside.