The recent weather has certainly helped lift the festive mood. It always seems "right" when the garden looks a bit like the myriad of Christmas cards adorning more and more of the horizontal surfaces in the lounge. I hasten to clarify that I'm referring to the snowy scene, rather than the herd of red-nosed reindeer being tended to by the portly gentleman with the white beard.
A cold snap does tend to draw wildlife into the garden. Under the bitter sun, it becomes an oasis in a barren, frozen desert. Over lunch, I spotted a male Bullfinch in one of our rose bushes, his chest incredibly red against the white snow on the branches. Then between these two paragraphs, a male Sparrowhawk has spent a few minutes sitting in the Hawthorn tree attempting to flush a snack from an ivy-covered fence with his icy stare. Several unsuccessful lunges later, he decided to take his custom elsewhere, to terrify some other bird feeder. There will inevitably follow a few nervous minutes until I can confirm the continued existence of the single Coal Tit to grace the environs of Tense Towers. Heck, a male Blackcap, just where the "sprawk" was hunting! But it's chased off by a blinking squirrel before I can bring the camera to bear. Bum.