Christmas is hard to ignore, as I realised long ago when I tried to ignore it and ended up depressed. And it can be quite a lonely time, if you let it. I was determined not to let it. So I headed off to Wales for the day. Last Christmas I was up on the Skirrid, which was nice, but rather cold and a bit busy (though not as busy as Pen y Fan, a couple of Christmasses earlier, where there was a party atmosphere, everyone basking in a sense of mutual felicity at avoiding the worst excesses of The Family Christmas).
This year, I headed up the Wye valley. I stopped at Redbrook to admire the ice floes that were jostling down the river. They reminded me of the rafts of water crowfoot that liven up this river in the summer time; but these were white blossoms of ice.
People were sauntering over to the Boat Inn at the other side of the railway bridge for a pre-lunch drink, but I had my flask of tea with me and I was heading north.
Above Monmouth I left the main road and slithered up Little Doward. It’s great fun driving in snow, as long as you don’t prang, of course.
The first things I saw when I got out of the car were deer prints in the snow. In fact, in the woods, I saw no human footprints; just deer, fox and rabbit. Busy places, woods at night, evidently.
A nuthatch piped; a raven cronked as it flew over; occasionally a small cascade of snow powder would fall from the top of a tree. A squirrel made its way through the canopy, leaving a glittering wake behind it.
I sat on top of a crag and looked down on the Wye, which was completely frozen over here. Just for now, everything was utterly still.