I'm not doing any of that. It's miserable out. I need the cold wind and the rain to stop before I'll venture out.
I always unearth something or other when I'm digging in the garden, a small ceramic hand from a doll or a Victorian marble to remind you of the generations of children who have lived here.
Now a motley collection of objects sit on the kitchen window cills. There has been a house and garden on this site for hundreds of years so it is not surprising that small objects and fragments are constantly surfacing. By far the most common pieces are bits of old blue and white pottery and the stems and bowls of clay pipes. A few years ago the BBC television 'Time Team' came on a dig nearby and they were interested in anything that we had found on our land. I took along a few pipe bowls and was delighted to learn that one of them had been made by a Joseph Hughes who was born in 1660 in Broasley, Shropshire, who was working from 1680 for fifty years. This type of pipe was in use between 1680 and 1730. The enthusiastic expert, Marek Lewcum, who gave me this information, was able to identify and date even small pieces of stem from the size of the hole. He made me feel rather guilty that up until then I had been just tossing the broken pipe stems away.
All manner of odd things are unearthed when I dig. These two objects are made of bronze, although what their function was I don't know.
Our village was a hunting estate, dating from the 13th century, so perhaps these items are from a bridle?
Until the weather improves there is plenty that I can do inside, why, I could even clean the house! Better than that, I can put another log in the wood burner and bury myself in a book.
I've got quite a number of gardening books and this is the time of year when I enjoy looking through them. Not the ones that identify pests and diseases or how to do things, but the ones that remind you when it is cold and miserable just how wonderful it will be when everything in the garden starts to spring back into life. Hopefully the weather will not have killed off too many old favourites.
I like the books by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix and their rose book is very well thumbed. The photography is so clear that I have been able to identify a number of roses with the help of this book.
Another favourite that I drool over in the winter months is 'Auriculas for Everyone'. I'm like a child in a sweet shop turning over the pages, oh, I'd like that one, or perhaps that one, or.....
Penelope Hobhouse's book is inspirational, with photographs of gardens that are my absolute ideal, Chilcombe in Dorset, walled and hedged, with cobbled paths, rose covered pergolas, lilies and herbs and Mirabel Osler's garden pond in Shropshire a perfect example of a natural garden. I think that this is also one of the best books on the subject of garden colour.