It is a cold, grey day with fine drizzle. We set of down the lane with the dogs.
"My hands are numb already," complains the Webmaster after less than 200 metres.
"I've pulled my sleeves down over mine. I should have brought gloves but it didn't feel this cold when I went for a run this morning and I didn't think I'd need them."
"The wind is cold, you might have been more sheltered down there."
"There was a strong breeze. It seemed to be from the North. All the ducks and seagulls on the lake were in their V formation, all pointing the same way, into the wind."
"Really, I would have thought they would huddle together. Can you feel the air getting cooler as we go down?"
"Yes, suddenly much cooler, and no, they were quite spread out, bobbing up and down on the little waves, but they were definitely in that V formation, you know, the formation they fly in."
"Never seen that."
"There was a fight too. As I was parking I could see three male duck chasing around, the one in front was chasing a female and the two behind had grabbed his tail feathers in their beaks and were trying to pull him back. They were on the grass right in front of my parking space."
"Haha, they are fighting for the females already."
"Yep, I thought it was early. When we lived opposite a duck pond the duck wars didn't start until about March. Must be the mild winters. Anyway, by the time I'd parked and got out of the car it had turned into a fall blown brawl between two of them. They were biting at each other and rolling around. A real fight. And they were making a lot of noise. I stopped to watch for a while. At one point they rolled under the fence on the edge of the embankment and I thought they were about to fall into the water."
"They disappeared behind a tree and so I set off on my run. I did two laps. About 4 miles, 6.4K."
"No walking opportunities?"
"No. That's why I chose that route. Don't know how long it took me though. I didn't take a watch. Slow I guess."
We round the bend at the bottom of the lane, the air is still cold but it is more sheltered.
"As I finished I saw a man with a dog that looked like a short stocky version of the Young Dog. I asked him what it was and he said a Japanese Husky. I said we had a similar looking dog, same colour and features, but it was a bit taller and less stocky and he said it could be a Siberian husky."
"We haven't had much snow yet?"
"Has there been any?"
"Yes, thin covering a few weeks back. Not enough to excite the dog. He does like snow."
"I heard the end of that radio programme, you know the one where they were reading the book on snow."
"Oh yer, the bloke in Switzerland, or was it Austria?"
"At the end he was describing watching the snow slowly melt. I was busy in and out and didn't hear it all but I think he was contemplating what it would be like when the last snowflake ever melts to become just a small, unremarkable drip of water. Would anyone realise it was the last ever?"
"That won't be for a long time," prophesied the Webmaster.
"Might not be as long as you think. I heard a discussion on another programme where they were investigating if Winters really were more snowy and Summers sunnier when they were kids or whether it was just the way they remembered their childhoods and they found out from weather records there really had been more snowy winters when they were kids. A couple of generations isn't a long time really."
"Now 'snowflake' is used as a term of derision on social media, and when I heard the end of the story an analogy flashed into my head. If all the 'snowflake' people are silenced it will be as bad for society as no snow will be for the environment."
"My hands are still cold. I can't feel them at all now."
"Mine too. Usually pulling them up into my sleeves helps, but not today."
We reach the top of the hill and begin heading down towards the village. We pass several couples, some with dogs, who are walking in the opposite direction.
"Blowing the cobwebs away after last night," suggested the Webmaster, "like us."
"Haha, one glass of wine for me and you sat watching two Harry Potter films."
"I didn't even see Jools until it was after midnight."
"Well, don't blame me."
"I will. You kept calling to me to come and look at this or that."
We turn into the narrow lane. "I've still not warmed up. Usually by the time we get here I'm warm whatever the weather. This is unpleasant."
"What time are we expecting the Student back and how many more episodes of Man in the High Castle have we got left to see?"
"Probably about four and I think two of the first series and then ten in the second series. We'll have to binge watch to get them all in before she goes back."
"You're intending to watch the second series as well?" asked the Webmaster, sounding surprised.
"Yes, why not? I don't know why the Lawyer and her boyfriend gave up watching, they can't really have thought it was slow and boring. By coincidence I saw two women on Twitter exchanging comments. One said she though it was worth watching to see what could happen when intolerance becomes persecution and only select few have human rights and the other said she couldn't watch it because it was too scary in the context of current events."
We help the Old Dog up the stones and over the stile and hurry through the field back to the road. We turn left, into the wind.
"I wasn't equipped for this cold wind. This is very unpleasant. Definitely needed gloves."
"It's the combination of the cold wind and the damp drizzle," said the Webmaster. We urge the dogs along, not keen on letting them dawdle and sniff. We walk in silence for a while.
"We could start jogging to get back quicker," I suggest, but the Webmaster isn't impressed. We walk faster and turn left again, hurry past the pub and into the car park. "It's going to be even colder when we are up on the hill."
"Come on dog, stop arsing around." The Webmaster scolds the Young Dog which is scrabbling at something in the grass.
"Have you finished rebuilding the website?"
"More or less. It works but there are still some refinements to do." We are on the top of the hill, walking quickly. The view is partially obscured by the mist and drizzle. We are walking straight into the wind. This isn't the time to stop and admire the surroundings. At the track we turn down to the lane, where it is more sheltered.
"I'm not sure how people make money out of developing templates."
"Businesses are expert in content so anything out of the box which helps with the technology is worth something."
"But how do you design a web site for a small business? Most people I've spoken to from small businesses don't really have a clue and don't want to pay anything. But then you hear about companies paying hundreds of thousands."
"Marketing and PR people design commercial websites, not the techies. Some will want bespoke but if you just run a local on-line newsletter you can use a ready made template and just add your own logo and styles and select which sections you want. Media companies may be different but you do see a lot of similarities. I didn't actually build a new template. I just customised the default, but I've got the full framework, so I could if I learned how to do it."
"Could be something to do after you retire."
"Yep, why not, but I'm not any good at marketing."
"Oh, brr. My hands have nearly dropped off. I just want this to be over now."
"I'm going to keep a pair of gloves in my pocket. Gloves and hat make all the difference."
The dogs pull us up the lane. They seem as eager as we are to get home.