After several months of lethargy I finally quit smoking a couple of days ago. Today, to my surprise, I discovered a keen wish to go out in the fields - so out I went (at about 2.00pm).
I zero'd for about half an hour and then thought, 'Well, it's a wee bit chilly, but maybe I'll just stay out - since it's such a nice day - and wait around till dusk, at about four-ish, when the rabbits come out?'
So I did just that: I sat around, looked up into the sparkling, leafless trees, took pictures of the landscapes around me, sipped coffee from a tiny flask and squeezed my little lighter-fuel-powered hand-warmer in order to try and keep my fingers from freezing.
Then I walked across the snowy, rabbit-track-covered field...
...to the orchard...
...where I sat on a log while I peered out at a motionless, snow-crowned hedgerow. Half-a-dozen little grey wagtails dipped and flitted along it towards me. A flash of red above me - a woodpecker? Black, white and red? I must look that up when I get home, I thought.
All very pleasant and interesting; but I got colder and colder.
A pigeon landed above my head; I tried to raise the rifle silently and slowly - but it saw me and clattered off into the frosty sky.
More time passed by; the coffee ran out, my hand warmer went out and it was still nowhere near to going dark. I was beginning to think that, willing as the spirit was, my poor shivering flesh might well petrify before dusk.
A while longer and I though, 'actually, I'm so cold that I'm starting to not even feel cold any more'. Spooked by this, I creaked to my feet and started for home.
Walking back, my hands began to hurt so much that I was emitting misty blue clouds of earnest cursing as I padded across the fields; it was certainly the coldest I've ever managed to get when out hunting - but, swearing aside, I enjoyed it: it was a great relief to be out in the air again after months of fags and fug.