Sheltering from the storm, in our little stable 

When I awoke this morning, it was to the howl of the wind against the window-pane, lashing rain, and a tinny voice from the little radio beside the bed telling incessant tales of travel disruption, storm damage and the anticipated driving snow. Down in the kitchen, making a much-needed warming coffee, chattering to the boys and Rosie in their cages and layering up my jumper and scarf, getting ready to brave the outdoors; the little security light above our back door flickeringly revealed near-horizontal rain and the gardens beaten by the billowing wind.

Along at the farm, my little pony – generally a firmly outdoor type by nature – took no persuading to come out from his vantage point under the overhang of the trees at the top of his field and make our little walk, heads down against the elements, into the stable, happily watching me while I made his breakfast, laid down some hay, set out his toys and settled him in for what seemed to be a much-appreciated duvet day.

Tonight, working day (and week!) complete, I made my way back to the stable and found a much cosier and fluffier looking boy waiting for me, happily munching hay and rolling his treat ball around the stable. It was the loveliest of evenings, fingers woven tightly round my travel mug of hot chocolate, gathering with the others to gaze out at the increasing winter wonderland around us and burrow down deeper into our jackets. Later, just me and Charmer, took some time for grooming, standing beside him for extra warmth, quietly centred, with the bangs and clatters outside seeming so far away.

Today, the howling of the wind and the rattling of the sliding door are unmistakable, and this is certainly the place we both want to be. There have been so many other days too though, over the years, that I have come here to shelter from storms of all types – here, where the lights glow a reassuring orange and the warm brown eyes of my little pony seem to understand perfectly and wisely whatever it is I’m glad to find some solace from.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with him, safe and warm in the barn, watching the snow fall or the rain whip, is my favourite place to be in all the weathers and storms of life. Tonight, in these last days of January, as we batten down the hatches against the gusts and look with hope to the brightening days of February just around the corner – with light creeping into our mornings and nights, and the promise of spring in the milder air – I was glad to savour what may be some of the last of these winter nights, for this year at least, and enjoy the unique and cosy calm they bring.

Have a safe and wrapped-up weekend all. X

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