There was a proper, hard frost last night. A thick sheet of sculpted ice covered the Systems Administrator's Skoda even though it was parked in the shelter of the house, the gravel had lost its crunch and was welded into one solid mass, the lawns glittered whitely, and the frosted seed heads would have been a joy if it had not been too cold to want to hang around outside looking at them. I had to defrost the hens' galvanised drinker with hot water, and was mightily relieved on looking in the greenhouse to see that the electric fan heater had managed to prevent the geraniums from freezing.
The early morning sun was beautiful, a deep orange globe still not fully risen above the horizon. By mid morning it hung low in the sky, a pale orb to the east, while across the fields to the west freezing fog had settled in, the thermometer was still a couple of degrees below zero, and I was relieved that we did not have to drive anywhere. By lunchtime the freezing conditions had given way seamlessly to rain, and I turned the heaters off. Tonight it is not supposed to freeze, and I will risk leaving them off. The geraniums do not know what a precarious existence they lead at this time of the year, ignorant inhabitants of the Shires with the Nazgul ever prowling at the periphery.
I thought I could spend the afternoon usefully mugging up on my new woodland charity presentation. They notified me that it was ready on their website three days after my father died, and for obvious reasons I did not get round to looking at it at the time. The old presentation did perfectly well for my last booking of the season, and then had to be pressed into service again for the additional talk I did at a couple of days' notice, but I might as well be ready for next year. I managed to find the woodland charity's original email in my inbox, but the link to the new presentation was only valid for thirty days so I couldn't download it. Ah well, it was a good idea. I hope somebody will be there next week to send me a fresh link, since we are getting towards the stage of the year when everything grinds to a halt until 2 January 2018.