21st Feb.2010. My first tentative outing on foot since my knees went five weeks ago. To see how they stand up. Because, after a dismal, wet, snowy morning, the air has cleared, the sun is out and it’s a sparkling afternoon. I’ll walk it though, a couple of miles perhaps. Dozens of redwings are in the horse pasture, not bunched together at all, but spaced out evenly over the ground, the sun catching their cream and chestnut-striped breasts and smudge of red beneath their folded wings. White cloud-scribbles and criss-crossed contrails bleed into the high blue sky. Low above the eastern horizon the warmed air is blooming into cumulus pillows, precocious, presaging spring. Beck Brook is still brown and swollen within its deep-set banks, flowing quietly towards the North Sea. Not a trace of snow survives across the land. 200 yards away in the middle of a field, green with sprouting blades of wheat, two hares clock me and make for the shelter of the hedgerow, running smooth and strong. Cuckoo Lane is muddy and slippery – it would be difficult if not impossible to run on I think. Meanwhile my legs seem OK, twingeing here and there, and ankle-aching, but good enough for a walk like this. Back through the yard of Lamb’s Cross Farm as sun is close to setting. As usual, the tinny sound of a radio leaks from the dark cavern of the barn – Lady Ga-Ga this time – cold comfort for the tractors and the captive cows.