The mornings bring the frost now. My children breathe heavily so they can see the warm stream of air they create. They call themselves baby dragons, pretending they’re trying to breathe fire, but instead just getting puffs of hot air.
We’ve dug out gloves, hats and scarves and we sit bundled up in the car waiting for the ice to melt on the windscreen with heaters on full-blast.
I love this time of year. The quiet, calm descent into winter that comes all to quick each year.
This afternoon, after coming back from forest school, the boys head straight out into the garden. We move an enormous tree stump into a corner and we pile up sticks and rocks around it. We add a couple of bug homes that we made last year on Cromford Wharf, and fill a few stray plant pots with old spice jars I can’t bear to throw out, straws, the pieces of a broken plate, leaves, sticks, rocks. They create an enormous bug hotel to house the creepy-crawlies over winter. They plant a couple of plants that have been propped on top of the chicken coop for far too long. Daddy helps to put up a bat box we were given. I rehang the wind sock in the tree.
I prune the raspberries that have finally finished for the year. The boys plant a few remaining bulbs to add to the riot of colour that adorns the edges of our garden in springtime. We refill the bird feeders, adding a couple of fat-balls to our repertoire.
These days are the best days – outside all day, being productive, keeping busy – the cool air nudging at your collar and nipping fingertips.
I sit on the sofa as the day trails off. Muttley comes to me, burying his head into me and I push my face into his neck. His warmth hits me, the smell of the bonfire from 3 days ago still clinging to his fur. The wellies are lined up in a muddy row against the wall. The gloves, wet and dirty, are in the washing machine, almost ready to be put on a radiator to dry for the morning.
They feel good, these cooler days. As night takes hold and my children sleep soundly, I slip into the bath, warming my bones. I look forward to a day with no plans tomorrow, and with that thought, I submerge myself fully under the water, losing myself in bliss.