Thursday, November 16, 2006 it draws in...

"... it was not till summer was long over, and cold and frost and miry ways kept them much indoors, and the swollen river raced past outside their windows with a speed that mocked at boating of any sort or kind... in the wintertime the Rat slept a great deal, retiring early and rising late. During his short day he sometimes scribbled poetry or did other small domestic jobs around the house..."

Kenneth Grahame may have been given to whimsy (not Kingsleyesque, but...)... nonetheless late autumn and early winter in England have rarely been so neatly observed as in chapters 3 and 4 of The Wind in the Willows.

This morning, the Afon Llwyd, not much fuller than yesterday, hurrying faster, to escape that gunmental mountain sky for the jaundice sunshine over the Bristol Channel? And - yes -no - yes! - a wren! Really, incongruously, shyly, a darting wren amongst a hedgrerow's ivy, even in November.

Even when it is cold - perhaps when it is coldest of all - I crave the shelter of a little place in the woods or the fields. This is when silence is heaviest and most enjoyable. Maybe a secure and well-hidden old caravan, a little generator and a one-bar fire, a book, lots of woollen blankets, a torch, soup, soap and water.

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