It is 4pm, and already twilight, but we are back in the cosy kitchen., the dogs curled in their baskets and my little Christmas tree glowing in the gathering dusk.
Despite the wind, it's been a lovely day. True, we did get caught in one torrential shower while replenishing the bird feeders, but Model Dog and I carried on regardless, although the TeenQueen was having none of it. When we looked round for her, she was nowhere to be found - until we discovered her sitting in the woodshed, watching us from her nice, dry vantage point.
She explained that she dissolves in the rain - or rather 'absolves' as we say in this house - so of course she needs to be extremely careful.
But the rain blew away, and we spent a few happy hours gardening.
The flower garden hides behind high walls, and is relatively sheltered from the fierce south-westerlies that have been blowing these last few days. Unexpectedly the sky cleared and the sun came out around midday, so it was lovely to be out and able to carry on with my job of tucking the flowerbeds up for the winter under a thick blanket of compost.
|His Gorgeousness, Henri|
Henri, our beautiful boarder, doesn't garden - it is beneath his dignity, and anyway, it makes his socks dirty - but he did deign to spend a few hours outside today, toying with the idea of catching a bird or two. However, that also proved to be too much of an effort, so he retired to his other bed in the shed, and is now back in the kitchen where he is overflowing my lap and serenading me in dulcet tones.
The In-Charge has gone to deliver the last few Christmas cards and buy some hen food so that we don't run out. Everything else has been bought, delivered, posted or collected and we are now officially on down-time.
Christmas is about to begin.
Oh what a lovely feeling!
And when I popped out to feed the chooks a short while ago, what did I find?
My very first Christmas present.
They're the first eggs we've had for months, since before the long, drawn-out autumn moult.
Not even the pullets have been laying, which is very odd, as that's what pullets are for!
But no matter. Someone has been doing their homework and discovered that it is traditional in this house for the first egg to be laid on Christmas Eve. (They are a day early, but we won't quibble over details, they're only beginners, after all.)
I think it must be the Littlies, or maybe the Phoenixes, because these dear little white eggs are very, very tiny.
|With two bought free-range eggs|
See how small they are, here beside the free-range eggs I bought at the market.
But they will be delicious, and are quite the nicest present I can think of.