The lily-pond has been a sheet of ice for the past three days, although we haven't been having noticeable frosts - so I suppose the temperature must be all to do with the famous 'windchill factor'. It's enough for even the junior four-footed (who's choice normally would be to live outdoors, if he could) to come back inside, after only about three minutes' commmuning with nature - while his senior compadre merely peers doubtfully at 'outside', before politely looking up to indicate that No, he doesn't really think so, thank you.
I agree, and gardening has been put on hold for the time being. The locals, whipped by the media into a frenzy of concern, have been wrapping plants and shrubs in fleecy shrouds...and although I pondered doing it for some of the more tender plants, in the end I decided not to, since there were far more than I could wrap up that would be vulnerable if it got really cold (so, how to choose?)...and I wasn't entirely convinced about the threat, anyway. And in the end, I don't think it's been any colder than it normally is at this time of year, and already all those alarmingly low 'minus' figures have largely evaporated from the forecast - as I suspected they would - so it looks as though the panic should be over. The fleece-sellers will have done well from it, though!
The one thing we did decide to protect was the Madagascan Traveller's Palm in the courtyard - which isn't supposed to be this far north, at all - and the Technical Dept constructed an enormous bobble hat for it out of bubble wrap, inside which he rigged up a garden light , to keep the air slightly warm. And because the light is on 24/7, it washes upwards and casts a ghostly glow at night over the facade of the church behind, and catches the sculptural lines of the gothic windows. Rather splendid and mysterious...
Lasagne of Green Pasta & Guinea Fowl Ragu.
Apple and Orange crumble.