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in Cakes lane, I can hear pink-footed geese calling in the sky, hidden by tall hedges.

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a sudden rain storm blurs the frigid air.

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November, winter’s precursor, is here.

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there’s still just enough strength in the sun to warm your back, but it’s a low sun and it drops down into dusk early.

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turning the clocks back finds us with uncanny quickness in the dark of cold winter afternoons. we light fires to combat the dark and the cold, especially huge communal bonfires. the sparks fly up and the flames crackle to banish evil spirits and keep ours up, to revive the memory of summer heat. the rural custom of men in dresses with fiery torches marching round the village in the dark banging drums and pots and pans, is a defiant gesture to the dark, bravado against the implacable night.

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last night a huge white moon hovered low over the garden, its cold light illuminating frosty grass, all colour bleached out. perhaps this winter will be cold enough to kill off the bacteria of the fire blight that ruined my apple and pear trees last spring.