A moment's calm

I stopped work for Christmas yesterday and here I am with presents to wrap, food shopping to do and cards to deliver. But for an hour or so this morning I have decided to be still. Soon the house will be full of people and noise but this morning it is quiet. Overnight there has been a hard, hard frost and the valley glitters white in the pale winter sun. Behind the ridge on the far side of the valley the sky is pure and pale.

Although the sun is bright the air is still clear and cold and the bird feeders are thronged with birds comng and going, now great tits, now bluetits, now chaffinches. Yesterday I looked out of the kitchen window and thought "My god, there is an eagle in the walnut tree." Just fifty yards away, the walnut tree is over the fence of the side garden just in front of Ian's workshop. Of course it wasn't an eagle, it was a buzzard, but it stayed huge, beautiful, a wild visitor from another world, for fifteen minutes or so. Its feather markings were clear and strong in my field glasses.

Tomorrow the cold will be gone, the forecasters say, and I will miss it, so this morning I have wandered the garden. Last week we had some bare rooted plants delivered: hawthorn and blackthorn to extend the kitchen garden hedge, osier willow to try to grow my own shoots to make a willow igloo for the field (we take a long term view of life up here), rosa rugosa for the edge of the drive and Roseraie de l'Haye to plant in a big curve beyond the swing. We heeled them in, waiting for time to prepare and plant. Today the earth is, as the song says, hard as iron, water like a stone. No planting this week.

From the garden I can hear the cock calling, bossing his hens busily. The cats are on the cushion in the sun on the kitchen windowsill. There is nowhere on earth I would rather be than here, now.


  1. Beautiful photos. Thank you. Strange I had the same 'eagle' experience here on Monday!!

  2. We get many buzzards here, the farmer takes a dead animal to where they tend to collect every morning. I'm ashamed to say it's usually a rabbit.

    Your photo's are beautiful. You have such a serene place to live.

    Our morning is absolutely freezing. Raw. A north easterly biting wind which is the worst for us as we live on the top of a hill off the north east coast. The sky is grey and everywhere looks misty and dirty.

    Crystal xx

  3. such gorgeous pictures. the grass looks frosty.

    and i, too, love that calm and anticipation before all the happy madness begins. when i was a child, my favorite day of the year was december 23.... the day before it all began....

    i love this post.

  4. What a wonderful place to live. You are so right to get your bit of calm in all this rush.
    Happy Christmas

  5. What beautiful pictures! You have inspired me to head off outside with my camera too. What a lovely blog. Nadolig llawen. xx PM

  6. Beautiful, peaceful photos. The eagles are everywhere here nowadays. They come to eat the remains of the salmon that returned to spawn a month or so ago. The bald eagles are magical creatures, as you say, from another world.

  7. I am definitely coming to live with you Elizabeth!!! Absolutely beautiful blog xx

  8. Mmm beautiful.Happy Christmas

  9. Yes beautiful and looks so peacful.

  10. That was a moments calm for me to read too Elizabeth. Lovely blog. You sound very serene...it is the simple things in life which make us happy.

    Made me smile-I see the buzzard most days really up close on a post and nearly every day I think "There's an eagle!" They are so majestic.

    warm wishes

    PS-just caught up on your last blog to 13year old self.Left comment.

  11. ah, sigh, so glad you enjoyed your serenity, it looks simply gorgeous! May it all continue through Christmas.

  12. This posting is very calm and peaceful. I really love that third photo. It's beautiful.

  13. Your post is like an oasis of calm. Beautiful .. and exquisite photos.

    Merry Christmas Elizabeth:-)

  14. Lovely site and I suspect fairly near my neck of the woods( by blogging standards, anyway! ) Great site and look forward to a proper look.

  15. Thank you for bringing that special, calming quiet appreciation of what surrounds you to all of us.

    I completely understand why there is no place that you would rather be. The trips that you make to London may be needed, but also must make that return to the hills even more precious.

    Happy Christmas! xo

  16. Glad you are so happy. Lovely pics.
    We have a surfeit of buzzards here too - unless they're eagles. Returning from the farm shop this morning after picking up a rib roast for the family party tonight I noticed one on a lamp standard. It was facing away from me but had let its wings droop so that it resembled not so much a bird as an enormous moth. I've never seen a bird do that before (except perhaps Cormorants and they hold them straight out like washing). Weird.
    Must get on sneaked out of the kitchen for ten minutes but duty calls. Happy Christmas, Love Fenniexx

  17. What a lovely piece of writing - very evocative.

    Sometimes one just has to stop and 'drink in' the beauty of the here and now.

  18. I'm sneaking my quiet time in now before the day's cooking and cleaning starts in earnest - your blog has made me feel very calm and serene, as usual!
    Love for Christmas xxx

  19. I love to hear the buzzards mewing in summer - a sound redolent of long afternoons and blue skies. Happy Christmas!

  20. Lovely to see those pictures of your garden and house ...having seen them in the 'real' it was suddenly like finding an old friend popping up...now where was Omerod? Hope you have had a lovely Christmas....eagles/buzzards and all.


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