rowan tree blossom


Old habits die hard. He still woke at 5.30 a.m. At six he rose to light the fire for Nessa. She complained of the cold so. It gripped her joints, stiffened up her hands. If she couldn't spin, knit or make a tapestry, especially of an evening, she took to brooding. He wasn't having that.

Last night's mild autumn temperature had slid into winter's colder ones. The weather forecast was right for once. A slight frost lingered on the morning air, a glint of white on the water troughs, a touch on the battens on the fences and a lick on the paddock grass. The first sight of winter.

He sighed. Winter crept up and hit hard here in their valley. One day there‘d be sun and a mild 17°C. Then overnight a southerly would sneak in, bringing a taste of the Antarctic, the scent of snow and that twelve degree drop in temperature. Oh, the sun still shone, but there was no warmth to the feel of it.

He snorted, as he did every time he had to use the fancy, glass doored fire-in-a-box thing his children had installed. The Masport fire had been a Christmas present, for their mother, of course. He wouldn’t have given it house room otherwise, stupid, ugly thing. But it roared up the instant he set a match to the paper and pine cones. And yes, it did warm the house quickly, but he preferred the old open fireplace which took one great log and smouldered all day on it. This silly monster ate small tidy chunks of wood which had to be chopped. Took him an hour or two each week with a chain-saw and wore him out.



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