Nature has unfolded its wonders over the last day or so, in an essentially everyday way . Yesterday afternoon brought the highest tide we have ever seen – terribly exciting! Though the boats could easily manage the swell as they pursued their course for the islands, there being comparatively little wind, the waves powered up the beach, pushing up their sleeves as they sought us out and forcing us up on to the dunes to find some space for our walk. What fun to ramble through the fields for a change! I used all my spaniel skills to the full as I wove in and out of the grass and scrub, catching on burrs and carrying them off on my tail; whirring past me as I wheeled along, I could detect the bated breath of the creatures crouching low in the undergrowth, sniffing and studying the possibilities. Newman was beside himself, gathering speed once released from the temptation of seaweed and careering around in ever-decreasing circles – always the sign of joy having become unconfined – chasing Barnaby and me hither and yon. My nose was full of the scent of fur and feather: it was what I was born to and for a moment I longed to follow the gun and leave everything else behind.
When the day was over and before I lay down for a good rest on Boggis, I gazed up into a dark blue sky glittering with a million million diamonds, some of them shooting past. Outside the ice was already forming, the lid lifted from the earth in anticipation of the wintry windscreen – as brittle as a toffee apple – we would discover first thing the following morning. Visions in the welkin are a common enough sight round here but always miraculous, for all that. The odd aeroplane merely skims majestically across the surface of this deep and dark blue ocean, unable to transcend the glory of the night. Inside the kitchen, I lay at long last in peaceful contemplation on my dearest of beds, my back legs stretched out endearingly straight behind me, my nose attuned to the rich fruit cake gently baking in the slow oven overnight. What a wonderful world it can be when we take it on its own terms.