They said it would be a cold night so we had been warned. The morning was icy and I was bound for Lord and Lady Mantle’s estate on the edge of Exmoor. As I am by nature a Scaredy Cat I was slightly anxious about this drive. Most of the journey is on decent roads, but the last little bit plummets steeply down a single track lane, across a ford and then up an equally steep hill the other side. Other arrangements were made. I parked my car in the rocky, gorse cleared area that passes for a car park in these parts and His Lordship transported me in his 4 x 4 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow the rest of the way. Of course I needn’t have worried, the road was quite clear.
Any of you thinking that I was feigning fear to avoid getting mud on my new car, can think again.
It was a beautiful day, cold and crisp and sunny. A Disney winter’s day. My only complaint, the low retina-incinerating sun. Much of the day was spent applying and removing layers of clothing as we moved in and out of shadows. The soil in parts was solid, the nasturtiums had taken the demeanour of over-boiled cabbage, the euryops flopped pathetically and the canna’s were blackened. Most however were untroubled and I felt like a milestone had been crossed. There is no turning back now, winter is inevitable.