"Most of the frost has gone. It looks quite nice out but I think I'll take my gloves."
"Don't open the door until the dog is on his lead."
It is mid morning. The sun is bright and the sky blue. A lovely winter's day. There are still patches of ice on the lane where the direct sunlight has not yet reached."
"Walk on the right, it's not as icey."
"I don't think it's just ice. It's general slippiness of the road with mud and the cows and the damp."
"Our neighbours keep this road pretty clean. If the cows walk up or down they're always very careful to sweep up after them. Some farmers don't bother, but I think they are supposed to. It was one of the points the council raised when we applied for planning permission to start using the yard for liveries."
"I've only seen the cows on the lane in the Summer."
"That might be because you are outside more in the Summer or because they use different fields at different times of the year. There are no cows in that field now but there were a few weeks ago."
"Could be inside for the winter."
As we round the bend at the bottom of the lane the sun blinds us. It is almost impossible to see where we are going. The angle of the sun and the glare of reflected light from the damp road surface are dazzling us.
"I hope nothing comes up behind us. They wont see us."
The Old Dog is on a go slow, stopping every two metres to sniff. I finally move her along at a reasonable trot but she starts wandering from side to side and repeatedly tangles her lead with the Young Dog's lead. It isn't long before they are in formation switching from alternate sides of the road plaiting their leads. The Webmaster gets annoyed.
"Oey dogs. Pack it in," he yells at them, but they ignore him. We untangle and shorten the leads. Now they have to walk at heel. We reach the top of the hill and begin heading down towards the village. It is easier now to avoid the dazzle from the sun. We pass two or three couples with dogs walking up from the village towards the hill, presumably, like us, taking advantage of a holiday and pleasant weather.
"It's warm in the sun. It is a really nice winter's day, blue sky, bright, slight chill to the air but warm in the sun." I take my gloves off.
"Yeah but it is hazy in the distance." The Welsh hills are just about visible through a faint haze.
"It reminds me of camping and early summer mornings."
We turn left into the narrow lane and into the shade. I stop to put my gloves back on and we let the dogs out onto long leads.
The Young Dog bounds up the stones and over the stile. The Old Dog takes two attempts to climb up the stones and we help her over the stile. She doesn't seem to mind us giving her a hand up.
"No horses." The horses in their red and white rugs are no where to be seen.
"Out riding? Or maybe they've got another field or stables."
The next two stiles are no problem for the Old Dog as she easily crawls under them.
"It's a nice place to live. I like it, the country side is nice, it's quiet."
"That sounds a bit 'little England'.
"No, it's only the country side, the views and the walks that keep me cheerful... Oh, and you too of course dearest one."
We reach the road and I've warmed up. The sun is on my back. I take my gloves off again.
"It'll be a new year soon, maybe things will get better."
"Yeah, really? Someone said 2016 will be to 2017 what 1938 was to 1939. Damn well hope they are wrong. But Trump could tweet in the middle of the night and create a diplomatic incident or start a willy waggling competition with other megalomanic, trying to make their country great again, leaders."
"Surely they'll stop him. Close his twitter account or something," the Webmaster is trying to be reasonable.
"Who? And I didn't know about all the hate before, here and in US. How can you un-know it or forget it once you've seen it? And it's scarily close to being condoned by government too. Probably the same everywhere. Why would British or American people be any different from any others?"
"I can't understand the mentality behind the hate. The delight expressed over tragedies when migrants drown or how anyone can wish death to someone just because they're different." Social, or should it be anti-social media, has changed the Webmaster's view of the nation.
"It can only be a small minority. I still like to think most people are decent. They have to be."
"But they are all over Twitter and Facebook. Some of the female politicians get vile messages. I don't know how they cope."
"They ignore it."
"Must do I suppose."
"Until I joined in the Remain campaign on Twitter I didn't know people like that existed, but so far none has been directed at me."
"Not important enough," reassures the Webmaster.
"I think some extremists have tried to provoke me but I try to reply very politely, stick to the thread of the argument and ignore the insults and it bores them. But yes, I guess they don't resent me as much as the female MPs because I'm not in the public eye."
"Yeah, women like Anna Soubry get it pretty bad."
"Yep, Dianne Abbott too. She gets some vile racist abuse. I wonder if politicians have more support to deal with it, hazard of the job as it were, than other high profile women."
"They should do. It can't be easy to just ignore it, maybe they have someone managing their accounts deleting it or blocking it."
"But isn't that the point. People who can't take them on by arguing the point try to abuse and intimidate them into giving up."
"Why would they do that though?"
"Try asking one and see what they say!"
We turn towards the pub. A car whips round the corner at speed.
"Phew. He was going a bit fast, good job we weren't going straight on," exclaimed the Webmaster. "If there had been a group of people standing here they'd have been wiped out."
"I'm disillusioned. Maybe some of the extremist, intolerant xenophobes are right and I am naive, but like I said they can only be a small minority."
"But they seem to be driving the agenda."
"What, you mean Brexit and Trump?"
"Yeah, anti immigrant, close the borders, build a wall."
"Isn't that more likely to be the tabloid newspapers and their owners or editors for stirring up fear of immigrants?"
"Fake news on Facebook. You'd hate it. Until they blocked me I used to see the type of posts that were 'liked' and re-posted by some of your running mates. They can't have stopped to think about what they were doing. They must have thought 'yeah, British jobs for British boys. Friends and family, me and mine' first and clicked. That's all it takes to spread it around. People like them, probably didn't even read the whole article and then eventually some people are persuaded all muslims are rapists, the whole of the Turkish population is about to arrive, foreigners can claim more benefits and jump the housing queues, all the money is going on foreign aid rather than NHS, health tourism is widespread, chid refugees are forty year old terrorists and Brussels is permitting, no mandating, it and banning bananas and vacuum cleaners too."
"I've seem claims that the extreme right are very organised and deliberately seed and orchestrate that type of thing, but then how do I know that isn't a fake story put out by the so called liberal elite?"
There are a lot of cars in the car park and the hill is dotted with people and dogs out for a stroll, taking advantage of the winter sunshine and the Christmas break. We walk up the steps.
"Sometimes I wish I'd stayed in the Netherlands. It was a bit flat and I prefer this countryside, but if Andy hadn't got ill we wouldn't have come back to the UK. He got excellent medical care there and no one complained. No one could do enough for us. We never had anyone tell us to go back to where we came from and stop taking their services."
The cool air hits us as we reach the top of the hill. "Ooh, it's colder than it looks here," I shiver.
"Bracing," replies the Webmaster. I put my gloves on again.
"Anyway, it was horrible when we got back. The health service was awful in comparison and people seemed to have become more selfish and less compassionate, the Dutch had been more welcoming than our own country, so it's embarrassing now to hear some of the comments from the government. They are playing with people's lives and for what? "
"I think my dad probably feels the same after the hospitality he received in France, but I'm pleased they came back before this happened. They could have been in a stressful position now, especially as pensioners."
"I wonder what your mum would have said about it? She wasn't one for not speaking her mind."
Two lose dogs bound up to us, their owner calling them back. The Young Dog is excited, dances around them and wants to play. The Old Dog sniffs a greeting but is otherwise disinterested."
"I wonder whether the years I lived in the Netherlands would still count to qualify for citizenship. If they do I might still have time."
"What about me?" asked the Webmaster, and anyway they have right wing nutters there too, now.