Country mouse longs for a frost

Finally - a frost.

For the third year in a row, the meet at my parents’ house was cancelled due to the waterlogged ground. The day itself started with a sharp frost, which finally dislodged the last of the leaves clinging to the big oak outside our garden. It’s a funny thing—I yearn for the leaves to burst open in springtime, but, by this time of year, I don’t really feel satisfied until the last one has cart-wheeled to earth. I am in love with each of our seasons. I need them to feel and be distinctive from each other.

The frost was welcome—it made the day feel like part of a proper December. Unlike last year’s feeble effort, the countryside was spangled white and the morning air was especially delicious, although whether that it is due to taste, temperature or texture, I’m not sure.

The earlier rain, however, has soaked the land and driven the vermin from the fields and the hedgerows towards everyone’s stables and outhouses, keeping our terriers in a constant state of frenzy. After two warm summers and a couple of mild winters, the populations of rats, mice and especially voles have exploded. We could do with more frosts.