Monday, 2 February 2015


The mallards are staying in a particularly tight group this morning. But there’s probably little if any thermal gain for them in huddling while paddling through a sea so cold that the fine slurry of snow on its surface hasn’t melted yet. Fat flakes settle on the lone heron as it looks on, impassive, from its perch on the central rock. Stock-still, hunched like a crone, its grey shawl waxes paler by the moment.

Snowflakes are coming straight down now. The north wind that yesterday had whipped them up in dancing eddies, plastering them to the glass, has died away. Sporadically, branches on next door’s apple tree move a little, but only due to their bending and recoil from the snow bearing down on them.

Another swoosh and thump as a slab fractures away and avalanches from the roof. It’s been happening all night. Those sudden commotions in the midst of such tinnitus silence were a little startling. I’ll be fixing gutters come the milder weather.

Oyster? Pearly? The grey obliterating the mainland mountains is cold of content but not of hue. There’s a subtle pinkness to it. A brightly-coloured fishing boat trawls slowly down the Sound as the veil lifts behind it, revealing tentative foothills. Now the contrast is turned up while the colour drains; it’s a pin-sharp pen and ink landscape, impossibly, mathematically detailed. Scrubby trees as dusted fractals. Slow, sine waves. A brimming, binary scene.

And just as quickly, the pastel’s back. Now a smudge of wan, yellow sun, gently gilding the sand.