Yesterday I pruned the vine in sleet and hail, the snow line dropped lower and the cold made the Yorkshire coast seem mild. Today, the rain stopped. It was a dry morning, but with low grey clouds and a bleak wind. Down at the front there were waves rolling in and a sense of desolation unique to seaside towns out of season. I drove to Lafkos, the location of the nearest cash machine. Snow lay on the roofs still, the air was colder and the wind sharper. The church bells were tolling for a funeral. Large white flowered wreaths stood by the door. Sharply dressed undertakers lounged around outside smoking, sheltering from the wind.
The road down from Lafkos provides the best views in the area of the peninsula snaking round hugging the sea protectively; it is always breathtaking. And then the clouds began to lift, the snow on Mount Pelion glowed bright and the sky turned blue. Tonight there will be a frost and tomorrow is forecast to bring some welcome sunshine. The world is turning and that a spring and summer will follow is the only certainty.
Friends will be round soon to share a meal and see in the New Year. I will not be sorry to see the end of 2008, a bad year for me. So at midnight when the neighbours step out on to their doorsteps and blast into the air with their shotguns and the patter of pellets on the patio signify, in this part of the world at least, that Persephone is considering her return, alcohol fuelled hope will swell for another year. I shall raise my glass to my friends and to the readers of this blog to wish you all a Happy New Year.