Monday, 17 January 2011

The winter so far in East Cornwall

After the mayhem of the frost, ice and even some snow in December the weather here seems to have reverted to "Cornish standard".  This can be interpreted as reasonably mild, fair dollops of rain and the occasional day or half day of sunshine.

As someone enthralled by all types of weather, except the absolute extremes that lead to death and destruction, it was good to see some snow.  The best of it was on the Friday night that led up to Saturday the 18th December.  It was on that sparkling sunny morning that Cotehele celebrated its wassail up in its Orchard.  As usual this event was led by our local worthy musicians "The Rubber Band" and it was a massively pleasurable walk of three or four miles to get there.  I had forgotten though just how much extra effort it takes to walk through snow!  Virgin snow under a blue sky is something special but it's the follow up when it is part melted and starts to look grotty that inevitably disappoints.

A big plus of the cold weather was the expected influx of redwings.  My friend's apple orchard lies behind the cottage and she had left some windfalls on the ground.  The redwings were delighted as were one or two fieldfares and some male blackbirds.  There were plenty of pickings for everyone but this didn't stop the blackbirds from bullying the much smaller redwings.  Maybe that's why redwings appear in greater numbers than the fieldfares and blackbirds - they can't all be chased away from the rich pickings on the ground at the same time!

Down near the weir there is an area either side of the river path where violets grow.  I seem to recall being told that violets were cultivated commercially in a nearby garden and that this patch could have come from there.  I check them in the winter to see if any are in bloom and was rewarded earlier today with the sight of one of them in bud.  Another part of the river bank not far away is good for snowdrops and it looks as if by the end of this month some of these might be in flower.  Great to see a heron just downstream of the weir as well waiting patiently.

Of course there is still plenty of time for more cold snaps but the length of daylight is increasing, always for me a great psychological boost.

No comments: