A remarkable thing happened in the days after the rain and sleet passed… the ground, which had been frozen as solid as iron for ages, thawed, brought forth snowdrops, catkins and buds and dissolved into an intolerable quagmire, seemingly overnight.

The dead smell of winter cold has been replace by a slightly livelier smell of damp woods, leaf mould and mud.  All around are the sounds of spring; birds are staking their territory noisily in the trees, woodpeckers are seeking a bit of grub, frozen rivers tinkle with fresh energy and everywhere you walk, you can hear the slurping, sucking noise of your boots as you struggle to free them from the mud.

I decided to take Our Dog for a walk out to the garden where Our Lass’ parents have a small summer house and vegetable garden in order to saw up some wood which I liberated from a pile of felled winter-damaged trees by the side of the road but when I got there I realised that the ground was far too slippery to safely use a chainsaw, using an axe would just pound the logs into the swamp and any attempt at sawing by hand would just result in my sliding backwards and forwards until I gave up or sank.

I selected a large ball of mud wearing a collar, correctly assuming it was Our Dog and trudged off back through the forest in search of some tarmac.  Slightly wetter patches of mud revealed the course of the river and taking the path down to it was more a case of sliding into one tree after another or just sliding all the way down and hoping for the best.  To get up the other side I had to abandon the path and go through the thickest patch of trees I could find so I could use them as a ladder.

With boots weighing around 10kg each, I finally made it to the bus stop and broke 2 sticks in the process of getting as much mud as possible off my boots.  Even then the driver gave me and the mud-hound a dirty look as we slopped onto his nice clean bus.

Back home, we were stopped by Our Lass who met us at the door with a stern look and an old towel.  We had to go through strict decontamination procedures before we were allowed further than the doormat and the mud which had dried in the bus’ heating started to flake off, causing Our Lass much unnecessary suffering.  Our Dog got a good brushing, causing her much unnecessary suffering and I was forced to strip off my soiled clothes, which caused Our Lass more unnecessary suffering.  The towel lay abandoned on the floor, looking like a small ploughed field.

All in all, a thoroughly pointless day but it is nice to be able to breath without getting frostbite.  Perhaps we’ll get enough sun this year to evaporate the water and enough wind to stop it all falling straight back down on us as rain.

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