Yes, yes, I know it’s still only November, but my countdown is on as last week I spotted that our community Christmas tree had gone up on the corner of the cricket pitch.

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Once I’d spotted this one, I kept seeing them in every village I drove through. I should stop and take some pics of the Thornhill tree every week, to see what state it’s in – the local youth consider the height of entertainment to be pinching the coloured bulbs and smashing them. Last year, by mid-December there were only three lights left, right at the very top where no one could quite reach. At least the tree stayed nice and green, unlike the Lepton tree which shed all its needles the week after it went up.

It’s much colder, although not cold enough to freeze the mud. Occasionally we get a good drying wind for a couple of days, which helps. Most of the time I slither along telling myself that a winter walk is as good as doing aerobics on a wobble board.

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The horses are snugly rugged up out on the tops.

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It’s also cold enough for Sparky to look very peevish every time I stop to look at scenery or take a photo. After 30 seconds she starts to shiver dramatically. I would be more sympathetic if she didn’t act traumatised whenever we call her over to put on her hoodie.

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On the way home I made her stop again when I saw these spectacular holly berries. I must check m’mother’s tree so I can start thinking about outdoor decorations.

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