Sue Woodcock: The ice has gone but the thaw has brought sepulchral gloom

I took Boo and McWoof for a walk and picked up the collie, Paddy, from the pub to join them. Paddy and McWoof are the same age and I thought they might enjoy each other's company.

I wasn't wrong. I took them up to Grass Woods and let them off the lead. McWoof is very naughty about coming back, but Paddy set him a good example.

For the first half-hour they charged around after each other and poor Boo couldn't keep up. I returned Paddy to the pub where he made a great show of pretending he wasn't tired at all, but when I got my two home they both crashed out and slept for some time.

I have started to train McWoof to be a proper sheepdog. I took the advice of a dog-training friend of mine and purchased 50 metres of long, strong line and equipped myself with some nice cooked liver treats. He isn't silly. Every time I called him back he came and sat obediently beside me. No treats, and he won't come back. We are progressing, but it will take time and patience.

The lady who rescued him came up to see him and the dog recognised her and was delighted to give her and her husband loving cuddles.

The weather forecast didn't look too promising so I ordered some more coal and animal feed. I had explained there was no urgency but within two hours it had been delivered. That is what I call service.

The week has alternated between rain, thaw, frost and snow, and when a puddle appears, the geese and ducks bathe in it with relish. The rest of the time they drink from the buckets I put out for them. Down in the mire a few snow drifts are lingering, hidden and sheltered by clumps of reeds.

I did the quiz at the pub on Sunday evening and it went rather well. Fortunately, the gold lam jacket has gone and I didn't have to wear it.

The road outside the pub was tricky and a lot of people fell on the ice. Some of my friends have been quite shaken up.

After the snow came the rain. One day it was barely light, just sepulchral gloom, and everything seemed most depressing. I found one of my geese had succumbed and had to dispose of it.

Later in the day, I went down to the knit, stitch and natter group where things cheered up. One of our number had just got back from a spell in hospital and we were so pleased to see her.

The fact that she produced a fine bottle of Madeira and some delicious fruitcake to celebrate was a bonus.

I was delighted to give another member a lift to an isolated embroidery shop where I found a couple of items I needed.

They had the most beautiful cat which initially accepted my admiration and then turned and bit me through the thumb. I bled a bit but wasn't bothered.

Obviously the cat either didn't like the smell of me or I invaded his boundaries in some way. I admired him from a distance after that.

I am finishing a jumper started by my friend who died suddenly. As there is no pattern, I am having to calculate the decreases and increases and this is taking quite a time. It is in jacob wool that I spun for her some time ago. I even have enough wool to finish it.

Some friends of mine who have recently moved to the dale have a fantastic barn conversion but also inherited a goat that came with the property.

He is handsome but they admitted that they didn't have a clue how to trim his feet. So I offered to do it for them.

I drove up there on the first fine day, armed with all I would need as I expected his feet to be in very poor condition.

Far from it. They just needed a good pedicure. He is a large animal and was a perfect gentleman, and it was soon done. I stopped for a cup of tea, admired their house and then drove back.

It had rained very heavily and the water was gushing off the hills and the river was in full flow. There was a large puddle in my hall where it had leaked under the door.

It prompted me to wash the floor. Bring back the ice.

CW 15/1/11