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Our Natural Home - A country-woman's guide to England's nature - wild animals

Camilla Corkerham.

2 January

At this time of year the ancient pulse of germ and birth is shrunken hard and dry. There is no snuffling in the hedgerows, no tiny tracks trekking through the underbrush to busy nests of youngsters. Even in the skies the few birds seem to circle a long way away. My husband says that January is like nature's coat of whitewash.

And that is how I try to record the background to the animals I paint at this time of year. If you drop in to Nature's Nook on St Benedict's Road, you'll see we've hung the walls with seasonal images in this style. I've just got in a new run of the popular badger mugs as well, and by coincidence they also have a very minimal background - the occasional twig and leaf. I must have been in a winter mood when I painted them. Terry (for those who don't know - he's my husband) says my paintings always reflect mood. I'm sure he's right.

What you can really see in these winter images (and on long walks in the fields around, if you can bear the cold and have waterproof boots) is the determined desperation of the animals. Each one is saying - I've been here before and although I am hungry and there is nothing to eat I know I will survive.

Our wildlife is wonderful. And they are still around, if harder to see at this time of year. If you want to see them don't disturb the Setts though - Brock is asleep and will not be impressed. Just drop down to Nature's Nook for a lovely painting instead.

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