Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud – Nothing Quite Like It for Cooling the Blood!
Well, cooling the blood in January might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but mud is certainly one of the more tedious side effects of the continual rainfall we’ve had this month. To set the scene: it rained for virtually the whole of January 1st and things haven’t really improved since. If you dare to go off-piste, so to speak, you will have to cope with varying degrees of mud. These vary from relatively wet, which means you won’t get too dirty, to complete slime and that’s bad news as it’s also slippery.
However, if you want to avoid treading in eternal mud, there are some areas nearby with sandy soil, like Holmbury Hill and Farley Heath, where you (and the dog) can have a good walk without having to be hosed down before you enter the house. Unusually, we have a black Labrador, carefully bred to retrieve duck in the icy lakes of Canada, who doesn’t like getting her paws (or any other bits of her for that matter) wet. She tiptoes round puddles and teeters on river banks desperately trying to reach a stick without having to take the plunge. If there really isn’t any alternative, and totally as a Last Resort, she will follow a stick into the water and, in doing so, occasionally gets what has to pass for a bath.
From the perspective of looking outside from inside, the countryside can appear wet, cold and unfriendly, if not downright nasty, but, once you manage to venture out there, it’s surprising how pleasant it can be. Ignore the mud, wear the boots, and you might find a walk isn’t that bad, especially now a number of footpaths have been cleared by LEAP volunteers. The wintery smells, trees, birdsong, and just the quiet, can be quite addictive. I have certainly heard a few birds around, but am not adept enough to identify a bird by its song. Some snowdrops can now be seen around the village, though the continual rain has made them look a bit squashed.
Let’s hope February brings drier weather, though we’re probably due some snow and ice. Mind you, anything will be better than more rain, but ……