We have had a sharp frost. The roof outside the bedroom window was covered in ice.
But it soon burned off in the sun and we were left with a mild, sunny day, warmth in the sun and a real feeling of spring - in early February.
Nothing seems to be harmed much and there are even, albeit sickly, nasturtiums in the green.
Preparing the garden has to move on apace - I noticed that the sides of the steam where it passes through the lawns really need digging out.
We are being entertained by our grandchildren - which remind me - congratulations to G and R and family and their imminent grandparenting - well in August.
Grandparenting is an event which comes as a surprise - yes, we'll look after him/her/them for a few days whilst you have a break then they return to find the grandparented couple sitting on a sofa staring into space wondering what hit them.
Very tasty in salads and as a fine chopped topping to fish and stuff.
Our long suffering dog - he stands outside all year round (except when he is blown over by a gale) is going rusty. I think I will have to treat him with a rub down of oil. No matter what I say he either stares blankly or nods.
Note the winter pansies flowering behind him. The pot also has tulips now just shoving there plumules above the soil. (Nice word plumule?)
By afternoon and sunshine Doc is basking (if fading a bit) and the chimes are still.
Crocuses have opened and the wood is full of birdsong, thought mainly sparrows, tits and finches so twittering and chirping rather than singing. Then the robin begins to belt it out and all is well with the world.
Actually, as I was waking this morning I heard the laughter of a green woodpecker - but still have not seen him (or her).
One of the main clearing jobs is collecting fallen sticks - bits blown off the ash trees and some are now heaped as a small bonfire at the far end of the garden. However there are many subsidiary heaps that need to be gathered and moved. Anyway we will probably have a gale and then I will have to start all over again.
In the garden I can almost hear the plants muttering - shall I, shall I not? Is it time to grow? Is it too early?
I do have a sense of foreboding that we could undergo a cold spell (probably will - here we call it summer).
Really we have been so lucky up t' north when I hear of the floods in t' south. So what can be done? More flood defences, dredge rivers, plant lots of trees in the hills and inland to soak up the water, stop building on the flood plain, make tarring over gardens illegal, shift houses to higher ground?
They said on the television that some parts of the east coast are eroding away at two metres a year - so - in 25,000 years the tide will have reached the foot of the Pennine Hills - mm? - don't think I will worry about that one.
The settlements up here formed after the last ice age were up on the hills. No one much lived down in the boggy valleys where the wolves and wild boar roamed. Even in the fens one lived on highish ground if possible.
So, transfer everyone within 15 metres of sea level (or below) to high ground and grow rice on the food plain in paddy fields. Use the low land for crops.
It is easy to be smug sitting here 100 metres above the sea and three miles inland but it is terrible for all those affected. I hope it all dries up soon and the Gov. and Dept. of t' Enviroment gets its act together. Perhaps the centre of London needs to be flooded, the Houses of Parliament to be inundated and then something might get done.
ps. G and L - I hope your flash flood ruined caravan situation in Le Lavandou is resolved soon.