To all intents and purposes, we live in the countryside. We may be but a short hop to the nearest town and only an hour from London but it is large fields and big skies that form our surroundings.
But sometimes it is easy to overlook that. Or at least develop a complacency.
As silly as it sounds, occasionally I forget that we are living life in the slow lane complete with vegetable patches, miles of hedgerows and an abundance of wildlife all around us.
Perhaps it is something to do with the weather. During the spring, summer and even into autumn I spent a significant amount of time outside. Digging over the soil to make room for vegetables. Sat in the sun eating a fresh salad for lunch. Lying on the lawn and writing. Picking blackberries from beyond the sharp thorns of the brambles or scrumping apples from the abandoned orchard next door.
But come the chill of winter, the rain, the frost and the wind, spending time outside has not been an appealing option. The world seems to have narrowed to the point that, now that January is here, the only thing that really exists are the four walls of my office.
Then something will happen to remind me why we moved here in the first place, something presses my reset button and allows me to open my eyes for a brief moment and actually see.
I was in the kitchen making some breakfast when I heard a faint knocking at the back door. Too quiet to be a neighbour or the postman I looked out of the window to see that the hens’ run was empty.
Sure enough, there they were, the three of them waiting by the back door for handful of something tasty – dried fruit or some seeds.
I sent them on their way with a handful of chopped dates whilst I made do with a toasted hot cross bun and a mug of steaming tea, consumed in the garden with the sun just beginning to peep over the skeletal trees. Certainly worth braving the cold for.