A misty mid winter morning. A faint but pungent smell fills the damp air – a hint of wood smoke, a dash of diesel fumes, low notes of rotting leaves. The black tarmac, wet with overnight rain, shines darkly. Up the lane, the view disappears into a veil of moisture; a pigeon takes flight, its wings flapping muted with damp.

In the orchard all is still. Drops of moisture hang from the fruiting spurs, each suspended precariously between gravity and its own coherence, each a luminous glow that cuts through the diffuse mistiness of the morning. To say that they are like jewels would be both clichéd ...


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