I love the early mornings. I don't like the getting up but once I am out of bed I always feel a flutter of excitement as I draw back the living room curtains to see what's going on in the valley. It is a bit like unwrapping a present, you are never sure what will be in it but it is usually something good. Dawn and dusk are good times to see wildlife as it is quiet and the animals are usually a bit braver and hugry. This morning there was a young dog fox snuffling for mice in the field which, as he was only a few feet away from my friendly pheasant, was a bit worrying but they seemed to have an understanding as both ignored the other.
I don't wake up easily for these dawn experiences but this is where one of our most important residents comes in useful and that is my cat Lizzy. She is 18 years old and has been with us, from a kitten, for nearly half our married life and most of the children's lives. She has no tail due to an argument with a car when she was two and she has a bald patch round her neck due to an allergic reaction to a flea collar. She always wakes at first light and thinks that I should also be up making her breakfast and over the years she has developed various ways of making me oblige; she meows, she stomps on me, head butts me, gives me horrible wet kisses, combs my hair with a paw that has probably just come out of the cat tray and if that fails she will systematically knock everything off of my bedside table. When she was younger I could happily push her off but now she is so old and stiff I can't do that so I get up and we enjoy the early morning together.
Dusk is also a favourite time of day for me and I usually find myself gazing out of the window instead of watching the TV. It is a good time to spot roe deer as they creep out of the wood to graze and with the warmer weather our bats have usually awoken from their winter sleep in the fir tree but this year I have only seen one so I think the others may have succumbed to the freezing winter weather we had. Very sad.