A freezing mist lays across the paddock and hidden chimneys are already belching smoke. The only sound at this hour is a loud ringing pee-yow from the treetops.
There are neighbours secreted amongst sleepy hollow who remain a mystery to me. People nod from atop a steed when passing and sometimes we exchange pleasantries. I recognise the hounds trailing their mounts but would struggle to identify their children. The men folk are even more of a mystery, presumably leaving before sunrise and returning after dark. Yet having lived in the smoke for twenty-five years I am perfectly comfortable with this relationship: expressing an unhealthy interest in ones neighbours can mark a person out as some sort of nark.