This was the light on the hill last week but now it has gone dark with all the suddenness of winter. Ten minutes ago I went out to lock up the hens and could still see in the gloom. Now it is truly dark and the shape of the pigsties and the bakehouse has disappeared into blackness. Across the valley a single light shines and the line of the hill is still just visible, deeply black against the nearly black sky.
We have been collecting leaves today, not all the leaves, that would be as impossible up here as heating the world with a patio heater (hate them, such a stupid idea, why not go inside if you want to be warm, rant) but the leaves from by the bottom gate and in front of the pigsties and the bakehouse and those from the path in front of the house. Twelve bin bags full are stacked in one of our many out of the way corners, holes poked in the bags with a handy ash stick, and will slowly moulder into a lovely leaf mould for the hellebores and cyclamen. If only I knew where the cyclamen had gone to.
Ian has had to go back to work for a dinner tonight and has fitted that in with a trip to see ailing relatives. I think I have the better day today. I have been potting up bare rooted perennials; Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Knifophia Bees Lemon and Eremurus, the Foxtail Lily. I have been moving perennial wallflowers and watering the cold frames, filling bird feeders and sorting laundry, and checking the holiday cottage for some visitors who arrived as the light began to fade.
And now there is the question of what to do with an evening to myself. I have a DVD of "Lost in Austen" from the lovely bodran to watch and an uncharacteristic urge to paint my toenails. This last is as a result of my favourite new activity, yoga. This has to be done with bare feet and I am hoping to comfort myself for the inflexibility of my hamstrings with pretty toes. Both watching DVDs and painting toenails are not part of my normal routine. Then there is the looming of Christmas. I am never going to be the sort of person who has done all their Christmas shopping by the end of September but I am starting to get a bit oppressed by the sense that I have done nothing whatsoever.
And so a plan is emerging: an hour or so's shopping on the internet for Christmas presents which will save me from the horrors of real sweaty shopping, followed by a bath and a sit by the stove with "Lost in Austen" whilst I paint my toes. Then if I am really lucky Ian will not stay away overnight but will drive home in the middle of the night so we will be here together in the morning.
Oh, and fish pie for tea. Small things but good ones.