I have to shield my eyes from the low winter sun and its intensity as I walk up the lane.As I adjust my eyes I see in the green of the ivy covered trees along the lane a glow of ginger, a red squirrel. With the sun behind him he looks fluffed out and huge. The squirrel stops. I don’t know who’s more surprised he or I. Before I can photograph him he is away, his beautifully elegant tail behind him, through the field of camouflaging bracken and up a tree. There are still some ripe hazelnuts to be had on the lane – where Rosie, the hazelnut dog has not searched them out. It is a good crop, much better than last year. The holly berries are also becoming more numerous and there should be a good amount for making Christmas wreaths and decorations as well as feeding any birds and animals that want the glossy red berries. I love this time of year when the colours change to deep reds and greens, strong colours, ready to battle with the cold and frost. Even just seeing the bright pink fruit and orange seeds makes me feel warm.
The spindle trees on the lane have their bright, almost luminous fruit on display. Poisonous to humans but the wood used to be used to make spindles for spinning and butterflies and moths, magpies and other birds like its leaves and fruit. The ivy plants are losing their flowers in preparation for the berries but at every stage of their life cycle they are important to insects, birds and small mammals. It’s good that there is so much ivy on the lane.