A low sun following a frosty morning streams in through the large glass gable of my loft bedroom.The view captures everything of a rural agricultural landscape in winter. The nearby town will be full of crazed sale shoppers on this first day of 2013. The super king sized bed in the middle of the room carries the scent of new love and the beautiful lady lying next to me, we have been there most of the day absorbing the warmth of rays and the feeling we have for one another.

My body, although beginning to spread a little, is not in bad shape for its sixty six years.It is relaxed and totally in tune with this new years day and what the the future has to offer. I feel truly fortunate to be alive, as my friends and colleagues begin to exit this planet.  I stroke and massage the soft skin of the woman beside me. We have been together for a little over a year, she has brought to me a new pace in my heart and revived those feelings, a new love brings to your life.  Bringing with them thoughts and plans for the future. My brain however becomes reflective as I view the magnificent oak through the window, now bare of leaves as it stands alone, majestic in the middle of the field.  Little altered by the passing of time since we became acquainted. To its left and towards the church on the hill a pollarded willow has fared less well, with a large split and broken bow touching the ground. The process of reflecting on their progress, along with my own through the changing seasons and the passing years, cause me to ponder on their positions in the centre of their respective fields. They were probably planted in the heavy grey clay to shade and give a little protection from the sun to the cattle and sheep, residing temporarily beneath them. During the worst of the winter months the clay make up of the soil becomes waterlogged, causing foot rot to the animals, forcing  the tenant farmer to find them a more favourable condition for their cloven hooves. There were a number of elms on my eastern boundrey before disease overcame them and they had to be felled and consigned to the greedy wood burning boiler during the late seventies. A useful energy source at the time but it was tragic to see these tall strong creations become skeletons, irritated to death by a beatle beneath their bark, disappear one by one, changing the english and my countryside for centuries to come.