One of the great pleasures of walking the estate in the early hours, apart from watching Pakka take on the odd fox, and listening to the early morning calls of the birds, whether the dawn chorus or a late owl, is the weather and the various different types that we have. On the whole, I am like most people, aware that it is sunny or raining as I try to get from one place to another, and it is really only in the quiet of the mornings that I really appreciate what is happening.

This morning’s walk was one such. I noticed the ice first, as my Muck Boots (positively the best Wellington Boot for comfort), slipped a bit on the paving stone by our back gate. The short Muck Boots are not the best for traction, but are superb for pure comfort and I’m afraid I will probably never go back to the old rubber variety of Wellington. The longer Muck Boot (that my sister bought me for Christmas last year) I use for going out on long walks and at the Bird of Prey Centre have better support and grip, but are a bit much for Pakka’s and my walks around the estate in the early hours. I highly recommend both. I digress.

I was relieved to find the padlock at the gate hadn’t frozen over, (I have been known to spend some time trying to get out, while Pakka waits on the other side getting impatient), and walked carefully though the gate. The path by the river had black ice, so I walked on the verge, my feet crunching through the grass. We turned at the end, away from the river and the weir and came across the first ‘frozen’ car.

I have over the years noticed the superb William Morris like effects the ice has on many car roofs; beautiful leaves depicted in the frost, coloured by the paintwork beneath.

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There are also those that look not unlike the skin of some 

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strange, but beautiful dragon and others

that remind me of the sea, dark and swollen.

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It seems (unless I am really confused) that this is not ice. The Meteorological Society (otherwise known as The Met Office, since 2000), state on their Internet site, that this is frost – actually something called Rime:

‘Rime, is a rough white ice deposit which forms on vertical surfaces exposed to the wind. It is formed by supercooled water droplets of fog freezing on contact with a surface it drifts past.’

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That description really doesn’t describe what is really a very beautiful and quite extraordinary natural phenomenon. Last year I used some as postcards around Christmas time. I thought though I would put some pictures of this morning’s artwork on my blog.

Not all the cars have frost (or rime). Some don’t seem to be affected at all. Some are covered in a dull sheath of frost, with no pattern at all, and others are quite extraordinary. One blue car this morning was particularly interesting.

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Half the roof was covered in a dull pattern, which suddenly changed to form the beautiful William Morris design till the far edge of the roof. One had one sort of design on the roof and a gorgeous swirl effect over the door 

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handles where the shape of the car curved. It seems to depend on the direction of the wind in relation to the surface of the cars.