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Walking down the garden drops of melted hoarfrost are falling from the trees, and for the first time in three weeks, there is water on my pond.

It’s still three-quarters frozen, and all pond-life is suspended just beneath the surface like a snapshot of the moment before the cold snap began: this water soldier (Stratiodes aloides) is meant to have sunk to the bottom for its winter sleep but it obviously didn’t get away in time.

My pond is a little shallow so I’m hoping all the newts are still OK in there.

I may be getting optimistic here but who knows – I may even get gardening again soon!