Posted by Tania Kindersley.
At last, at last, the Christmas spirit has arrived. I have written before about how mysterious I find moods. I understand furies and griefs that have good reason; what I am not sure I shall ever understand are those inchoate emotions that seem to descend from nowhere, with no concrete cause. Of course if I sat down with a good shrink or a copy of Jung I expect I could unearth the subliminal prime movers of the mind, but as it is, I really do have no idea why I was so ragingly grumpy yesterday, and yet today I woke up smiling like one of Santa's little helpers.
Whatever the reason, I am gloriously grateful for it. It is minus eleven, and the snow is glittering in the sun. The sky is the kind of blue for which there is no word in the language. It is beyond azure, into a whole new realm of blueness. The dogs had a heavenly morning in the woods, I am making chicken soup for my mother, old friends rang up and made me laugh, the house is calm and tidy, I have made my last trip to the post office, and I am now officially on holiday.
There shall be no more politics or seriousness for the duration. It shall be whimsy and photographs and SNOW DOGS for the next few days.
I hope that too many of you are not stuck in traffic or stranded at airports or otherwise stymied by the weather. I hope that the spirit of Christmas is gently falling on you too.
Pictures of the day are of this beautiful day.
See that sky? Occasionally, when a photograph comes out too dark or a little flat, I will lighten it or beef up the contrast, using my wonderful Picasa software. These are absolutely untouched. That just was the colour of the sky in the west this morning:
My favourite Scots pine:
(See how the light is different? One shot is facing due north, the other due east. At all points on the compass today, the sky was a different colour.)
The elegant ladyships, ready for their close-ups:
These photographs are not any good, all blurry and out of focus, but I wanted you to get a sense of how much fun the SNOW DOGS were having in the woods. Also, there is some spectacular winter light on the tree trunks:
(That last one kills me. It's the ears.)
The hill to the north:
Random tree, looking west:
A delicate pine branch:
The beeches, lined up like three little maids from school:
The silver birches:
This one makes me laugh. The Duchess has her long-suffering can we please go inside and have a biscuit now face on, while the Pigeon is sitting bolt upright in her every good girl deserves a treat mode:
The view to the south:
And my adored hill, looking so glorious today that I shot it twice:
I have a faint memory of a gentleman somewhere who kept a photo journal by taking a picture each day of his garden or the view from his front door, or something like that. I think he did it for a year. This hill is the first thing I see when I walk out of my house in the morning and look to the south, and I am starting to think that I may photograph it each day too, as a record of the weather and the seasons and the light. Even when lost in the mist and the dreich, it still has a majestic beauty. Also, if I can say this without sounding too sappy: I do feel very lucky that I get to look at a beautiful Scottish hill. I am very big on the not taking things for granted front, and I do not take that piece of nature for granted for a single second.