Since moving to this tiny, beautiful and very weather-affected village Ms M, Badger, Ruby and I have become somewhat obsessed with the weather and how best to be able to enjoy our wonderful surroundings without being distracted by being cold and wet.
The only clothing we have purchased since November is an assortment of high-performance thermals and wet weather gear. In my Smartwool socks, Jack Wolfskin base layers, 2 layers of microfleece and Paramo 'analogy' trousers and jacket, I am invincible. For the first time in my life I know how superman feels when he steps out of that phone box with his knickers on the outside.
Dressing like a superhero doesn't come cheap though. I'm ballparking my outfit at £400. Probably well over £500 once I add boots, rucksack, walking poles ... ouch ... but I'm reassured that not only will my Paramo last a life time, it is made under the most incredibly ethical conditions in Bogota, Columbia, where the factory provides an alternative to prostitution for vulnerable women with children. When I say my Paramo makes me feel warm it's a little more holistic than just body temperature :)
It's not just the humans in our family who need kitting out. Or even the Badgers for that matter. Little Roo feels the cold. She shivers and sniffles in the wind or the wet. Boxer dogs look depressed enough at the best of times; the guilt factor when they're genuinely suffering is quite unbearable - so much so that we actually cancelled a camping trip last summer with Ruby's best boxer mate Jess and her family due to rain ... because we couldn't bear the thought of how miserable the dogs would look.
So - here's a run down of Ruby's kit.
In the pic at the top she is sporting her high-vis Equafleece coat, perfect for snowy afternoons.
And because her energy level is more than ours combined, she now carries her own toys and picnic (and our spare fleeces) in her Ruff Wear 18 litre Palisades pack. The blue line is a Ruff Wear bungie lead - which we strap around our hips for hands-free-sheep-chasing-prevention. Sunday was the first time we've used the bungie lead and whilst Ms M and I did each end up on our bums on one occasion it was much nicer coming down steep hills than her normal lead. We've even got grand ideas about using it for a spot of jogging.
So far we have walked in snow storms, torrential rain and freezing mist, and my only fear is that the difference in temperature between my clothed and unclothed parts might cause my nose to break off.