First Frosts

Most mornings during the week when I leave the warmth of my bed it is still dark outside.  At six o’clock all is quiet in my tucked away village, as I drive out to town for the gym, pool or spinning class I usually engage in before work.

This week however I have been struck down with a dreaded bad cold ‘maybe flu’ it has put me out of action regards keeping fit, work or anything else remotely physical.  Last week I went about my normal daily activities but felt lethargic, my whole body ached – not just the bad side – everything was an effort, coming home after work all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep.

Come Friday the reason for my lethargic state presented itself in all its sniffing, sneezing, fuzzy headed glory.  Nevertheless I did feel better generally and not so tired. With tissues in hand, on Sunday my ‘long suffering’ and I walked a challenging – for me – five and a half mile trail to the top of Bulbarrow Hill – the second highest point in Dorset some 274 metres.

Sunday night saw me relapse in spectacular style, sweating one minute, shivering the next.  Consequently I have not been able to work at all this week so far.  From a business point of view this is not ideal, yet I find myself through the fog of my fuzzy head feeling thankful for these few unexpected mornings at home, restlessly awake to see the sun rise on the first frosts this winter.

As the dark slowly turned to light pulling back the bedroom curtains revealed the summerhouse below, its roof sparkling and glittering white, over the bridge the grass leading down to our inherited stream pale and stiff, the water a gentle flow rather than the torrent of only a week previous.  Fields beyond our boundary glowing burnt orange their surface streaked with long shadows from the low sunlight.

Time has been on my side to leisurely rejoice in what gems our new garden has revealed.  The grass border, it structural stems stiff and upright in shades of bronze, red and ochre, dense underneath providing cover and shelter for foraging wildlife.

To the front of the house the oval leaves of a large cotinus ‘Grace’ have turned translucent red from their former deep purple. Cornus ‘Midwinter fire’ are starting to live up to their name as stems glow brighter orange red as the last leaves fall.

The Magnolia ‘Stellata’ flowered gloriously soon after we moved in, but now devoid of leaves the swelling pale grey, white furry buds of next years display are clearly visible on its bare architectural branches.

Hopefully these first light frosts are just the start of many harder ones to come although my fingers at work will berate me for those words as they become numb and throb as I work. With short often dull days ahead I will only have to look out at the promise of those pale buds to lift me from the melancholy of cold wet winter days.  In addition I have the delight of working in other gardens all with their own special winter surprises and hope for each new season, thus spurring me on from getting too maudlin!







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