I’m aware that on my FB page and Twitterings, I’ve come across all cranky about the latest snowfall. And in many ways – yes – I’m thoroughly fed up with the whole business. I LOATHE being cold. Not only do I find it physically painful, the sensation of frozen numbness seems to sink into my soul and along with aching fingers, feet and ears, all the joy in my life congeals into misery.
During the infrequent bouts of snow in recent years, I’ve had a couple of incidents where I’ve skidded and/or spun the car. Fortunately, I haven’t hit or bent anything – but the whole business has left me very reluctant to venture out on four wheels. So as the flakes spun in a never-ending stream out of the sky all day yesterday, I was looking out on a slew of broken appointments, missed meetings and gatherings – not to mention my apprehension when my train-driving husband had to leave the house in the wee small hours to turn up for his shift.
But… it was beautiful. And highly unusual. Parked as we are, right on the bottom edge of the UK mainland, we escape most of the snow – and when it does fall, it’s normally a damp, slushy sprinkling that occasionally is bad mannered enough to freeze overnight into an icy covering that throws everything into chaos for 24 hours. This time, though, those ‘occasional flurries’ the Met office promised us, with ‘a depth of 1-2 cm’, in reality mushroomed into nearly continuous snowfall for a whole day and night. The flakes were, admittedly, tiny. But still… this is the south coast of England, for goodness sake! We put up with overcrowded shops, schools and doctors’ surgeries; permanent traffic jams; overpriced everything – especially housing; and the scornful dislike of the rest of the country. What’s the point of living here if the weather isn’t sometimes a bit warmer?
As the snow continued to stack up on the garden furniture, I grabbed my camera and ventured into the garden. I’m not a photographer, lacking the technical skill or knowhow, but I am a very keen snapper. And seeing it through the camera lens, this white stuff was a revelation… Fluffy and sticky, this snow heaped up on leaves, berries and branches in implausibly tall mounds until the wind whirled it away. Gathering it up in your hands, the flakes didn’t immediately thaw like the normal stuff we get, but lingered in a well mannered heap, almost with the same consistency as the fake aerosol version – which I’d always despised as being completely unreal. My garden was transformed into a fairyland of caster sugar hummocks that, this morning, glittered in the amontillado-tinted sunshine.
So I’ll still grumble at the mess it’s making of my life… I’ll still be relieved when I’m no longer trundling along ice-caked roads… However, there’s a glistening perfection to the lining of this particular cloud that has me taking an involuntary breath every time I glance out of the kitchen window.