This morning we woke to thickly frosted panes on the cottage roof lights. But what a change after the dank and gloomy days. The frost came with added sunshine. And blue-sky brilliance. And frosted sparkles. And somehow cold weather doesn’t seem half so shivery when it brings wall-to-wall brightness.
This is the Evereste crab apple tree by the back garden fence. The pigeons and blackbirds have been scoffing the tiny apples. At least half the crop has gone already. It helps that the fruits are much smaller this year so the birds can get their beaks round them. And in between times, the apples that remain make fine beaded garlands, which we can see, looking up through the kitchen’s French windows. It truly is a treasure of a tree.
Back in August and September:
CFFC: Apple Red Colours
A real hoar frost too. Finally, after all the recent seasonal prevarications, this feels and looks like winter.
When we left Hay-on-Wye on Friday morning we headed west into the hill country above the Wye valley. The lane wound up narrowly from Clyro to Painscastle, the hedgerows bathed in high-definition sunlight. But there were also rafts of ice – here and there, where the road dipped into shadow. It was exciting to see – real ice, even if it was swiftly turning to slush.
We were taking a somewhat round-about route to our immediate destination – the Erwood Art Gallery whose leaflet says it is the biggest privately owned gallery of contemporary art and craft in Wales. It is also in an isolated spot in the woods above the Wye, and to add to its interest is housed in three Victorian railway carriages left over from the days when the train came this way. Into my mind’s eye puffs a doughty steam engine pulling a long tail of carriages. I imagine rattling along the wide river valley, hills and farms and sheep pasture all around. And think: it’s a crying shame this loss of Britain’s most scenic railways – killed in the ‘60s by the wretched Dr. ‘Let them drive cars’ Beeching, he with his most undiscriminating axe that has done so much to promote the slow misery of dying rural communities, and the clogged up byways of our small island.
But enough ranting. It’s too fine a day. When we reach the moorland tops of The Begwns, and before our descent to Erwood, we stop to admire the view. And that’s when I come across the frosted bracken…
Black & White Sunday: texture