The grass crunched under my shoes as I trudged towards the empty birdfeeders. The cold quickly found its way through my thin shirt, and the air hurt my throat and lungs with each breath, but the birds were hungry, and my conscience would not let me rest indoors.
My fingers, never fond of the cold, grew painful as I wrestled with the bucket of fat balls and bag of the finest seed mixture, before coping with the intricacies of the feeders.
The sunlight was blinding and most welcome, yet ineffective this early in the day against the thick frost and biting temperatures. It would be another hour at least before everything warmed up and the frost melted, only to reappear the following morning. When I finished, I stood back, pleased to have done my bit for our feathered friends. I looked around the garden, at how different it seemed these days. The plants had died down and were fast asleep, everything wearing a thick dusting of what looked like icing sugar. Here and there, late flowers had paid the price and were crystalised for their tardiness.
I started to wonder what fate had in store for us this year. Lord knows it hadn’t started well already and I knew it would be weeks before there was any hope of an improvement…