A Burgundy diary – 1 January 2022

Cloud in the Drée: New Year’s Day

2022: a year ahead in Burgundy now begins. Burgundy is now our home, and will be where we – mostly – work.

It’s colder outside today than it was over Christmas; but only just. Low cloud hangs away below the barn in the Drée valley. The Morvan hills, fifteen kilometres beyond that, rise above the nearer valley. Often after a clear night – even in summer – there is low cloud hangs there, briefly; but normally it clears quickly. Today the cloud has hung there all morning; whilst in the sky above there is only a faint impression of wispy cloud.

Dew has been heavy after the clear cold night. Now the sun has risen a little. Its shadow has slipped down the pear tree below me as it rises slowly over the roof above. Dew evaporates as the winter sun sips the patches of grass it reaches. And the grass stretches greenly away across the fields and on to the forests and hills beyond. Trees and hedges wait for spring (though I’ve a horrible feeling the climate crisis will bring it earlier to no benefit for all of us): this New Year’s Day is one of the warmest ever for many of us.

Sparrows, blue tits, even a nuthatch and a wren, often sport outside my window. They are nowhere to be seen now – midday is just passing – but half a dozen crows and a couple of magpies dived from the trees a few minutes ago. They have disappeared now. A pigeon waits. Close to in the shade the dew stays heavy and wet in the still sunless air beside the house.

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