Vita, Bertie and I crunch our way through the thick tussocks of frosted grass that border the field down to the stream. The frozen water droplets trapped in the whirls of the young thistles gleam in the torchlight.
The internet is full of photos of snow elsewhere in France and Europe and there are dire warnings of the bitter winter weather driving down from Siberia over the next few days.
And yet in the dark, we hear the promise of the tipping of the seasons - high above us, the cries of cranes heading east and north.
According to the pagan calendar the first of February is Imbolc. The first day of spring.