It is very cold here in Cardiff. I know it is not cold like the weather in North America, but it is colder than we are used to. In recent years our winters have been quite mild, with only the occasional frosty morning, but this year frozen ponds and buckets of water stay frozen throughout the day.
The photographs were taken on New Year's Day. Unfortunately our camera does not have the capacity to capture the startling beauty of that morning. Just above the level of Wyndham's fields the whole of Wenallt hill and woodland was frosty white, and sparkling in the sunshine. Much as I often do not relish leaving my warm fire to see to Red, my efforts have been rewarded with the sharp directness of my experience of the elements in this winter season. The warmth of camaraderie at the yard over the Christmas and New Year season compensated for our coldness. I know I am alive having to be out in this weather and appreciate our woodstove even more when I return home chilled. I'm sure I am a more cheerful and appreciative person than I would be if I could just stay cosily at home, insulated from the reality of winter weather.
Reports of Dee tell me she is fine. I miss her quiet presence in the stable, where it always seemed she could sense when I needed her to step aside. I miss her sense of humour and her little habits. I definitely miss her common sense at gates – Red is not at all easy at gates and today managed to graze my knee as we entered the arena. Dee was already adept at managing gates when I first owned her, so I am not clear as to how to educate Red in this (any suggestions gratefully received). He knows that something needs to happen, but always seems to rush at it rather than standing, so that we end up in the wrong position.
Red has changed quite a bit over the last few weeks – or is it me that has changed now that he has my full attention? He is generally becoming more co-operative and relaxed in the stable, so that I can easily move him over when I need to. Picking his feet out is no longer something I dread and has become a pleasure. Yesterday I had him clipped and he was a perfect gentleman. I think we are finally developing a relationship.