Christmas came and went, the temperature dipped to minus thirteen and ice formed in the margins of the river. The local put and take big fish water was frozen over for two weeks or more and snow lay on the ground until the day after Boxing Day when the temperature rose and turned the parish to mush and slush, and caused a brief flurry of flies to hatch around midday. A few of the Brown Trout in the river are looking a little lean and could do with starting to think about feeding again. The Brown Trout eggs in the hatching trough are now hatching, a little later than last year, but they seem to be a reasonably decent batch.
Father Christmas brought me a new float rod for Christmas after my old one was broken in a mysterious footballing incident in the garden. My first foray with a stick float, trotting a piece of pinched bread, produced one of last year’s stockies that was particularly lanky, a three quarter pound Grayling and half a dozen immaculate Roach to just under a pound. The river is low and clear, a bit more colour and water would now doubt produce a bigger bag.
More and more Wigeon have moved into the valley over the past few weeks, along with quite a few Teal, and a very funny duck that must be some kind of Hybrid, the Snipe are still about, but unusually the Geese have not moved onto the top water meadow. There seem to be plenty of Pheasants about, although our remaining two shooting days may prove otherwise.
The cold weather has ensured that all the flora and fauna are aware that it is Christmas time, Snow drops have only just started to show above ground, and the daffodil bulbs that my dopey spaniel dug up in the garden, seem to have a long way to go before they will be bursting into bloom. Most things seem to be in their winter dormancy apart from the Moles, that somehow manage to throw up fresh hills of earth through six inches of frozen ground.
On New Year’s Eve, our two children are now of an age where they would prefer to go off to roister and raise hell elsewhere than spend an evening in with parents and friends, this left the two of us on the evening of the thirty first. Fine wine, fireworks, food and conversation were done by ten thirty so we went to bed, rising early on the first day of 2011 to take the dogs down onto the Common.
There was a fox with a rabbit in its mouth, Roe deer and Muntjac scuttling away, a cacophony of quacks signalled the departure of several varieties of Duck and we almost trod on three short eared Owls, who were decidedly reluctant to leave the area and flew their floppy flight around our heads before settling in a nearby ash tree.
Chuck it all together in an Old Chinese proverb and they would no doubt prove to be incredibly significant events that would culminate in my wife or I bearing triplets with small ears some time in September, alternatively it could just be that we were the first down on to the Common that morning and nothing had yet been disturbed, If sickness and stomach cramps strike I will let you know.