Emerging pussy willow, dung spread fields, sodden log piles and a saturated, watercolour sky.
It is half past seven in the morning as I walk the spaniels down through the village. But it might as well be the middle of the night. Curtains are closed, with just the odd light here and there indicating someone is up and having breakfast.
I feel like a benign stalker as I glance around me. Night Nurse is still in bed (as usual), as are Manual and Mrs Regal Bird. There is no sign of life at Tuppence's house as I push a note through the catflap. And the Sheepwashes are still snuggily tucked up when I walk past their cottage at ten past eight.
The Champagne-Charlies are awake, thanks to the morning alarm call of our barking dogs excited at going for a walk. And I see the shapely silhouette of Poshy Totty behind her kitchen window, dishing up something for the children and her husband, MDF Man.
Mr Grigg will be sorry he missed that, I think.
Walking back up through the village, I meet Mr F-Word, a retired chef, walking down the road clutching the Daily Mail he has just picked up from the shop.
'Everyone's still asleep,' I say. 'All the curtains are closed.'
'Ah,' he says, patting the dogs, 'that's because they're all in love.'
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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