There is a deep frost this morning and the nude nymph who greets motorists to the village is snuggled up in a colourful hooded coat. The dogs' breath and mine comes out in great clouds as we walk across the fields. They sniff a large frozen cow pat, with three holes in the top. It looks like a giant's discarded button.
On a pheasant shoot across the valley, shotguns retort to one another, echoed by the barking of dogs anxious to be taken out for a walk by their sleepy owners.
It is 2010. The first decade of the 21st century ends with a blue moon. The new year begins with thick heads and the sound of morris dancers in the village square.
What will the next 12 months bring to the village? A period of uncertainty, with the publicans leaving, the shop up for sale and our new vicar trying to manage a scattered group of parishes with the help of retired clergy and laity while the church hunts for a new team rector to run the show.
The primary school will re-open for the new term with staff silently praying for a baby boom to keep up pupil numbers in the years to come. Post office facilities return with an outreach service in the village hall.
Mr and Mrs Loggins will build their new home, a Sheepwashlet will marry on Oak Apple Day and Mr Grigg and I will head Down Under to visit family and friends and delve into family history.
The new year brings new things but the cycle of village life continues. My blog has been an organic process of recording daily happenings in a small community in one of the prettiest parts of the south west. The blog is coming to the end of its natural life, I fear, but I am so pleased to have shared village goings-on with people from all over the world. Thank you to my friends who have, on the whole, been happy to provide the inspiration for my cast list. Thanks too to my followers. I never did make Google's Blogs of Note but I do intend stopping by your places every now and then, maybe to throw in a hand grenade comment or two and then swiftly running away.
In the meantime, here are some real-life photos of my blog characters.
Pelly, Mr Sheepwash, Posh-Totty and MDF Man:
Bobby and Bellows Packman:
Mr and Mrs Champagne-Charlie:
And finally, Mr Grigg:
I forgot to mention our New Year's Eve party was a masked ball.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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