The Frost Fair Thaw
the frost fair on the heath has finished, the fires on no 2 pond have been extinguished, the birdmen have put away their costumes for another year and the fieldfares have left to roost deep in the woods having spent days feasting upon apples in the open. no 2 has been frozen since before christmas day and shows no sign of thawing completely. under its sheets of ice the bellies fins of fat carp turn a bright orange and their fins a dark red. shoals of roach bunch up until they are nothing more than an underwater disco orb turning slowly in the depths. in the margins where the water comes back to life in the middle of the day pike stir from under a bed of silt. for two weeks we have done nothing but light fires and go rasputin hunting in the cut off places where the map maker forgot to tread. at night in the glow of flames the fox cub comes to bark and the owl swoops down on frightened rats. all around the heath is come to life and the city that tugs at its fringes is forced to retreat back south towards the river. the river through which we watched the fireworks on new year’s eve from the roof of arcadia through an old pair of army binoculars and drank champagne in the bitter cold. a few more days and the first cast of the year will be made, taking bread downstream to the waiting mouths of the hungry.
cake on the birdtable