The New Year. I pulled aside the bedroom curtains and peered out to find that cars parked nearby were white with frost. Well, sooner or later it had to come. Berries on Berberis and Cotoneaster bushes have been almost untouched by birds so far; I expect that to change soon.
I got back into bed!
That was four days ago - but I must explain that I have been out of bed since. It would be an exaggeration to speak of unremitting rain over these days but we seem to have had more than enough to top up reservoirs and I have found myself largely confined to the house.
On 4 January Chris and I went to Banbury for the funeral of a friend, Earl Ferguson. I almost said an old friend but to be honest, although Chris had known him for some years, I only met Earl a year or so ago and that was to give him and his wife, Julie, a hand with the garden; the illness which was to claim his life was already beginning to affect him and render him less active.
We went to Banbury Crematorium for the service, seeing much flooded pasture on the way. The arrangements were very much as I would wish for my own: simple, non-religious and not at all mournful. As Earl was a proud Scot a piper was there to play a pibroch for the commencement and conclusion of the service; much as I love the bagpipes they would be inappropriate for me. Later the flowers from the coffin, etc, were arranged into small posies for the ladies to take home. I've not encountered that before and thought it was a very nice touch.
Chris has been rather ill for a month or so - we were even forced to cancel a short break in London - but she was determined to get to the funeral. She not only coped very well but even spent some time at the wake later. So despite the circumstances I came home feeling far more optimistic about the coming months.