The Hill (Part 6)

Today was quite cold, the first proper cold of the winter really, a cold which puts a hard white frost on the meadows of the valley floor, a cold which lays swatches of frozen run-off shining diagonally across moorland roads in the low sun, and a cold which forces bike riders to put on their thick top, their thick gloves, their thick hat which they think looks cool but everyone else, well, doesn’t, and their thick bottoms which, unused since February and reinforced against the wind have all the flexibility of a pair of wet levis left overnight on a Moscow January washing line, all to pursuade their legs to go outside the front door. Also a cold however which, early on a Saturday morning at least, clears the roads of anyone who doesn’t have a border collie and an expectant ewe on the backseat of their car, a cold which means a stop for coffee before the last leg home can be defended as essential to ensure that all ten toes remain attached to their respective feet when the salt splattered smurf shoes come off at the end of the ride free of the nervousness of being seen as the style-concious see-and-be-seen continental affectation of summer and a cold which at last brings the prospect, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day, of snow on the fells and the hope that following a slightly off-key start weatherwise and despite all the unmeteorological stresses and strains it brings December will be magic again

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