I have always had more than a passing interest in manhole covers.
The older Victorian versions are very ornate, proudly proclaiming their manufacturer while the more recent versions are fairly functional and often camouflaged. Most are rectangular, however, this one is triangular. Not only is it triangular, it is sporting a very fine number - today's offering is brought to you by a cast iron triangular manhole cover......23!
We cross the village main road (at this point in the village it is a narrow lane) and take another path through the small corner of sheltered housing, the path winds behind the houses and leads up to the first field. A wet and muddy slip of land. The sun is low and right in our eyes, so with eyes downwards we carefully pick our way upwards to the far end.
The higher we walk, the colder the breeze. It cuts through my hat and straight into my ears making them squeal in pain. I wrap my scarf around my head in an impromptu turban and zip my coat up to my chin. The boys, who's legs have grown beyond all expectation, stride on ahead while I slip and squelch after them as best I can, Himself waits and offers a supporting hand.
We press on, now sheltered by a privately owned mixed woodland, keeping our eyes open for the sculpture hidden in the trees. On reaching the crest of the woods, we re-meet the stream, wider than normal as it slides across the fields. Hopping and splashing across, Himself and I cross carefully as we can while the boys, in wellies, slosh through large puddles and leap a narrow stretch of the stream.
We do not stay long - just long enough to wrap cold fingers around flask mugs and sip scalding hot tea, just long enough to eat home made peanut butter biscuits, just long enough to watch our words and biscuit crumbs fly away on the breeze and just long enough to see the rain clouds building up behind us.
We leave our brief shelter, turning our backs to the wind, setting off higher up on to the moor slopes. Behind us we can hear the turbines turning, chopping at the air with a whop whop whop whop sound.
Finally our path begins to turn downward, towards one of our favourite local forests. 'Our' hill - Boulsworth, looms bull-like to our right. A huge wet heather and reed covered lump, it grows taller as our path goes down and down. We watch out for gouges in the moorland soil, covered by grass and filled with mud and water.
As we near the forest gate we stop amazed at a strange phenomenon. A small section of the fence has taken on the appearance of a hairy waffle, flapping madly in the breeze.
The boys go over to investigate, as do we.
The grass screams at the wind as it is battered and flung around wildly.
Eldest takes a few seconds of footage - it is too cold to stay long. (I have inserted his video - I am hoping it works, if it doesn't I will try again - you do need to see the madness of the grass trapped in the fence).
We slip into the forest gratefully and immediately feel the dramatic effect of calm and stillness. Above us the trees wave around, but at their bases the air is sleeping and we walk undisturbed. Along the way we find a spring - bubbling up through the earth with a woody sound as clear water runs down hill and disappears into moorland grasses.
We come out of the protective darkness of the forest into a glade with hidden streams and puddles of mud, we again skip and hop our way until we reach the fields. Suddenly it is firmer underfoot, years of agricultural draining has made the ground less sodden and our way much easier.
Down, down, into the first farm yard, down, down through another, more houses, then finally landing at the far end of the village road, narrow and bumpy and in need of resurfacing. We turn left and walk up through the older part of the village, small terraced cottages jostling for space with their festive lights singing out in the gloom of a wintery evening.
The houses started to get larger, with modern interlopers squeezing in between. Converted chapels and modernised pig styes now desirable housing. Down we continue until we finally reach our home. It is dark now, we are surprisingly mud-free and ready to end our walk.
Put the kettle on, stoke the fire, feel my cheeks burn as I warm up - it has been a good one.