Dawn. January. Newbury. I’m woken by the horn alarum, sounded at the end of the night watch. Huddle muddled under layers and layers of breath blanket sleepingbag sheepskin tarpaulin bender frost.
Have to get up.
Have to get to the trees before the yellowcoats get there. Out the bender. Dawn twilight. Thick frost. Hot kettle is waiting. That lovely bearded man has the water ready for my tea. Then we’re off at a trot at a canter heading for a stand of trees on the other side of a meadow. Canter turns to a gallop as dawn light becomes daylight. The yellowcoats are coming. The tree I’m about to climb stands over a badger’s sett.