At this time of year, I look forward so much to the arrival of spring. I smile at every new bud on the tree, every snowdrop in the ground, and we watch happily every night in our office as 5 o’clock creeps closer with blue still in the sky, counting down to the time when we drive home without headlights on and spend energised evenings in the fading light. I love the idea of being rid of the mud at the field gate, wandering out to check the horse with pumps on across fresh grass, the smell of fly spray filling the air again; and can’t wait to wake to daylight every morning, out to the garden for coffee, feeling like a whole day’s living’s been done before work even begins.
And yet sometimes, like this weekend, in the midst of the usual February countdown to spring and summer, the romance of winter just catches hold of me again, and I remember why I love it so much and why I count down so keenly to it too when the last days of summer come. ❤❄️
Last night, walking out to a further away field than I usually have cause to go to on our farm, bringing in a friend’s horse for the night, I unlocked the icy padlock on the far-away gate and walked along the grass strip above the fields’ edges, the horses all gathered in clusters around newly-filled ring feeders. The sweet wintry smell of the fresh bales of haylage filled the frosty air, the sky that deep midnight blue of just-before-darkness, the colour always richest just before it turns to black – stars already dotting it and the moon casting light as wellies and hooves picked their way back to the bright lights of the barn.
By this morning, the temperature had risen enough for the rain to return so it was swooshing windscreen wipers and rain bouncing off the car roof as I drove into the farm again. Leading the horses out, frozen fingers wrapped round lead ropes – only warming up when gratefully tucked into Charmer’s cosy turnout rug, where he’s like a little insulation heater in spite of the weather, or wrapped round travel mugs of coffee chatting to friends in the barn doorway – while the ponies began to stamp their feet impatiently, making us laugh.
Their battle finally won and the meander to the field done, find myself standing at the gate in my usual weekend morning routine, Charmer on one side and me the other but both still standing together for the brief few moments before our days begin. Sooner or later he will inevitably spot something more interesting further down the field – where the boys are tussling with each other and the prettiest mare shaking her head as she trots along the fence – but for the moment it’s lovely to have a lull in the morning’s busyness; and it is so easy to be thankful, in spite of looking forward to a new season, for these short cold days and the cosiness they help us find. X
Last January I discovered (to my joy!) for the first time that there was a word, hygge, which summed up just perfectly everything I love most about this cosy wrapped-up time of year. A year on, and hygge has continued to sweep across from its native Denmark to take our countries by storm, revolutionising how we approach wintertime – especially the post-Christmas part of winter. It offers a softer and more rounded alternative to the out-running, diet-beginning resolve of the new year; in the form of a more achievable balance between good health – with fresh air and long, rambling walks – and indulgent nights in – with a little bit of chocolate, a mug of something warming and some cosy time devoted to enjoying good company and home comforts.
I have recently been reading the very beautiful Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, given to me by my sister as a lovely present at the beginning of the winter, and it has been such a special book to dip in and out of every day.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life – or just be comfortable in each other’s company – or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea… Hygge may be the closest we come to happiness when we arrive home after a long day’s work on a cold, rainy day in January… this is where most of our lives will play out. Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday.”
This weekend, with snow lying on the ground and frost glinting from every branch of the trees outside the window, felt more hyggeligt than ever. My husband has been working away this week and as both of us are for a couple of days each next week too, we were all the more grateful for a lull in the busy-ness, some time together and the chance to enjoy winter’s cosiness.
The boys have been happy to have us both home too. It has been lovely to spend time with them, and Ty especially has been enjoying the extra company around the house all day. His little face is always there, waiting to see what’s happening next, and he’s been our shadow this weekend as we’ve gone about our days and evenings, enjoying the companionship.
The last couple of days have been very much a blend of wrapping up to wrangle with the biting weather and spending time enjoying the warmth of the indoors. Yesterday I spent the afternoon riding along crisp paths with friends, chatting and patting our fluffy-necked ponies as we did, carefully avoiding still-icy patches on the tracks here and there – the sun setting at 3pm without a true thaw ever quite reaching us. We’ve been for long walks along the bracing but beautiful waterfront, and have been as a matter of routine pulling on hats and gloves before each leaving of the house.
This morning on a venture to my mum and dad’s, spent some easy time chatting and watching the world outside the window with our hands wrapped round coffee mugs, the dogs sleeping peacefully – my old girl Ginny by my feet, the cat stretched along the full length of the settee just under the kitchen heater, making the most of the warmth.
Back home, we have spent our evenings in, under blankets with our favourite box sets playing and a real warmth filling our little house that can only truly come into its own on these very coldest of days.
I love this January-March season partly for the winds of change in the air – the increasing light in our days with every one that passes, the snowdrops brightly lining verges with flashes of hope, and the buds on the trees ready to bloom again; but in a large part too for its retaining of just enough darkness to mean that we can still burn candles, light the fire, eat warming meals and wrap up with books and TV at night. ❤
Hope you have all had a really lovely and hyggeligt weekend too, and have a wonderful week. X
Just wanted to wish you all a very peaceful remainder of the Christmas period and all the best for the New Year.
The warmth of these holidays and the wrapped-up days of winter-time, Christmas and all other festivals of the season can bring so much joy, and I look forward to them every year. They can also come at a difficult time for many if they coincide with pain or loss. I haven’t actually posted on here recently as we’ve been having a very difficult time in our life away from the pets, and it can be so hard to keep up with day-to-day life and especially with festivities in the midst of a dark period.
This blogging community though, over the past year, with so many people writing for so many different reasons and working through so many aspects of life, has been one I have valued very much; and wanted to wish to everyone reading, whatever your circumstances, all the peace and light the season can bring.
Hope to get back to writing about our boys early in the new year, but for the time being just wanted to wish to all my blogging friends a lovely week and all the very best for 2017. ❤️
A very happy All Hallows Eve from our little corner of the world… The pets have been enjoying it in their favourite ways, with Harvey and Ty having had their own minature equivalent of dooking for apples – fishing for peas and veg! Always a well recieved game, the wee ones had good fun with it this weekend…
With the biggest boy, it was lovely to have a perfect October-into-November hack out with our friends, watching the leaves fall and enjoying the pumpkins and decorations along the way; before back home for apples and dinner in the stable. ❤️
Looking forward to seeing in November wrapped up and cosy. A happy Halloween to all. X
This month so far has been a really beautiful one, full of sunshine from dawn until dusk – albeit that becoming a shorter and shorter window as the days go by. Night is descending earlier and earlier each evening, the smell of woodsmoke once again filling our little street as I pull up outside home – those who have beaten me to it already cosied inside, and our row of cottages shrouded in wisps from each chimney by night. Other swirls cover them too in the early hours of the morning as the hanging mist stays a little longer and a little longer each day before it’s dispelled by the rising of a valiant wintery sun.
In between working and the usual dashing around, the last few days have been filled with some of my happiest times – fitting for a season of harvest and thanksgiving. Each evening at the farm has been more beautiful than the one before, and Charmer and I have been on a mission to catch the light while it lasts for games in the sandschool as the sun sets and the last of the post-work rides for 2016.
The last few days have also been filled with time spent with family, something that always fills my heart with joy – hands wrapped round coffee mugs in one or other of our family homes, meals shared to the sound of resounding laughter and long rambles with my parents’ dogs, their young lurcher and especially our old girl, their now 13-year-0ld and fairly arthritic collie who, despite her years and hurdles, has so much enthusiasm for life especially while trying to keep up with her new sister, and loves her walks and life. ❤️
Back in our little home, we’re been slowly creeping into winter mode with the fire lit in the evenings and lots of chillis and pies being cooked. We have been missing little Rosie around the house this week – this is the first time we’ve ever been down to one cage since we moved in six years ago and Pet Corner seems very small – but Harvey and Ty have been lovely and keeping us entertained as always.
This is such a truly beautiful time of the year, and I love it more than I can say.
Hope you are all having a lovely week. 🍁🍂🍃✨ x