the weather seems to have been a bit colder than I was anticipating, the pavements have been lethal at times. most nights have been around or below freezing. obviously I have forgotten what winter should be like.

up the steep path to Ceres Moor there is a point where the snow is always heavier,

and the path to Ceres, which is well trodden, over the top has icy compressed snow and puddles that are hard to avoid.

the hills around are beautiful with their white coverings, sometimes you can see the Cairngorms.

trees and snow are studies in monochrome

the trees draw lines with their branches and trunks

that are irresistible to me

I have to try drawing with black paint on white cartridge paper

I have to learn to hold back, not do too much, but be bold with the gestures.

there’s never been enough snow to stop everything, just enough to make pedestrians feel insecure. and enough cold to make my secondhand electric car, a Nissan leaf, use more battery for short trips than I would like.

this steep lane to a farm up on the hill where a loop path from Cupar to Ceres takes you higher was an inconveniance to cars as well. luckily for a walker there are wide enough grassy verges.

then we have a few days when the snow disappears from all but the most sheltered spots.

on one of those I spotted this kingfisher, in Cupar itself. the river Eden runs through, like a rushing coldwater tiger, but these backwater pools are the remnants of a mill leat. in the river itself there are otters, a friend saw four yesterday, I think a mother and cubs, the youngsters whistling and tumbling off the bank. There are dippers and herons too.

last Sunday we walked out of the town along the river bank. the river was rushing along as usual, and the ground was frozen hard, ruts full of inch thick ice. we took the path where it gets very close to the water, and the land closes in to make a shallow gorge.

there had been a hoar frost, even the snow had fractal crystals on it.

we had to avoid some very slippery paths and some iced over floods

and clamber about between withered stems of reed and rosebay, amongst these crystalline gardens and under huge alder trees hoary with frost. it’s a beautiful place, and the river noisy, greedy, charging past.

eventually we climbed back up into sunshine and great tit song and green fields and golf course, to walk back into Cupar.

I’ve been taking Bims to Tentsmuir, except when the black ice is bad and the car park too dangerous and they close it.

this was ice on the beach itself, quite slippery.

the weather has been very calm and the waves tiny, which must be what causes these ripples in the sand, with broken shell like ice crystals lodged in between.

pink foot geese are as much a thing here as in Norfolk, they fly over us here in Cupar on their way from or to fields to or from roosts on the Tay estuary.

here is the Cupar heron, a very scruffy bird, under South Bridge in the middle of town.

Looking for kingfishers, another bird inspired painting.