Apart from perhaps Christmas Day the 21st of December is for me the most important day of the winter. Why? Because it marks the winter solstice and now the days are getting LONGER! It may in reality be difficult to discern the increase in daylight for a few weeks but it's that psychological lift one gets knowing that for the next 6 months we will be getting more daylight as each day passes. There is a recently formed group or side of Morris Dancers in south east Cornwall called 'Cat's Eye' and they marked the evening of the solstice with some exuberant playing and dancing. They performed outside 'The Rising Sun' pub yesterday evening and they needed to be lively as it was close to freezing point. I'm glad that they didn't perform for too long or I might have frozen to the spot!
Although this cold frosty spell will put a slight check on nature it is the first significant cold snap of the winter. We had one or two light frosts in early November before the deluges later in that month but on the whole it has been incredibly mild. Trees have stayed in leaf longer than expected and I saw a violet in flower on November the first. Forsythia in the garden opposite my cottage has been showing some flowers for a few weeks now although it is nowhere near fully out yet. I recall there are a couple of good places to see winter heliotrope in east Cornwall, I think I shall have to check them out.
Of course there is a lot of winter to come and one must remember the long comparatively cold spell last year which held back the daffodils by some weeks. But the general trend is for all the seasons to be warmer. We will just have to wait and see!