A woodpecker visited the bird nuts hanging outside my window this morning. Compared to the usual visitors, blue tits etc, he was huge, black with a bright red tail. I noticed the blue tits were patiently hanging about respectfully waiting their turn.  We had a sleet shower yesterday – a very odd late February day with the weather changing by the minute.  It won’t be long before the lambs start to appear in the field by the lane – the sheep were curious yesterday when I walked past their field with the dog but they stood their ground. I am still struggling with a cold – will it ever go?  It doesn’t help that I got soaked either.  I think of my son and his wife enjoying the sunshine and wine tasting in Cape Town and am a tiny bit envious.

A crisp clear day and our spinney here has a frosty covering. My neighbour has been scraping his windscreen and I am relieved I don’t have to go out until later. I am dog sitting the beautiful golden Labrador Saffi for my son and she is getting on well with the cat.  Saffi just ignores her and although the cat is wary she has finally realised that she is not going to be chased through the house. My son and his wife are jetting off this morning to South Africa via Dubai and I think some winter sun is what I need as I am struggling with a heavy cold.  It doesn’t affect the creative juices and I am looking through short stories again and coming up with a few new ones – I had no success last year with the short stories I sent off and I am determined that this year will see at least one of them in print.

February and there is a dusting of snow on top of the Dartmoor tors. I had a walk on Saturday along Drake’s Trail, a cycle and walking path that runs all the way from Tavistock to Plymouth.  Snowdrops were out and the views spectacular. It reminds me to take notes of the changing seasons, just little things that can make a scene sound authentic.  It was very cold, the path icy in places, and my friend and I were both suffering from colds and in fact we had a coughing competition in places.  We just did part of the Trail, about 4 miles in total, stopping off and stepping into the cosy warmth of the Skylark pub at Clearbrook  where we sat by the fire and had fish and chips before starting on the return walk. The pub was full of walkers who had braved the cold and excited dogs, made more excitable by the arrival of a huge Husky type who looked as soft as butter.  The walk seemed much shorter on the way back – why is that? – and at the end we were tired and our cheeks were very cold but it was exhilarating and set me up for the rest of the day sitting in front of the computer looking at a story I wrote a while ago which has never seen the light of day. It’s good to go back to something now and then, seeing it with fresh eyes and it certainly does no harm to put work aside if you are not completely happy with it.