Snow memories

Hello and welcome to the latest blog from The Olivia Rose Diaries on January 20th 2023.

We have snow at Le Shack! The ground was so sodden after several days of heavy rainfall that we didn’t expect it to settle, but it came down thicker and thicker and eventually won the battle.

Snow is a magical thing. It changes our world, bleaching it to a black and white landscape, turning trees into living sculptures and deadening sound until all is quiet. It turns us into children again, with thoughts of snowmen and toboggans and playing just for the sake of it. As I walk across our field all I can hear is the scrunch of my boots on the snow and the cawing of our resident pair of crows as they dive-bomb each other, hurtling towards the earth and then soaring up and the game begins again. Perhaps they too have been caught up in the joy of the moment.

A silent video, just the sound of the falling snow.

Our white world didn’t last for long. Within 24 hours it had almost disappeared but in a way I was glad. There was no time for it to lose its pristine splendour, turning grey and gritty by the side of the road, or for me to tire of it, irritated because I couldn’t get out and about.

Perhaps more than any other weather phenomenon, snow is a memory-maker. I can remember going out with my mother as a young child to help my brother with his paper round in Suffolk. We’d had a massive amount of snow, far more than we seem to get these days, and the village roads were blocked. There was no way he could do it on his bike so the three of us did it on foot. More recently I can remember a winter back in Wales on our smallholding when the temperature dropped to minus 10 and I had to break a thick sheet of ice on the water buckets for the animals every morning, sliding my way down the lane on a solid bed of snow that had iced over, every step a battle to stay upright. Another memory is of our cottage in Snowdonia, high on the hill, when the snow completely filled the single- track lane that was our only access, the wind blowing it into drifts between the high banks. It took a tractor three days to open it up again.

Now, for most of the time, snow is in short supply. The ski resorts in Europe will be delighted with the change in the weather, as many of them have not been able to open. Each year their seasons become shorter, each year the lower slopes in particular struggle to have enough snow. It is rare for us to get snow at Le Shack. We can see the Pyrenees on a clear day but we are still a fair distance away and at a much lower altitude, which means our weather is less severe.

By coincidence I am reading two books about snow at the moment: the first is ‘The Seige’ a novel by Helen Dunmore which is set in Leningrad during the winter of 1941, when the city was encircled and besieged by German troops. The story is told through the eyes of a family and explores what it takes to survive against all the odds. Powerful, harrowing and beautifully written. The second book, of which I have only read the free sample but which is definitely on my ‘to buy’ list is ‘The Snow Tourist’ by Charlie English. The author has an obsession with snow and embarks upon a journey around the world to discover how people live with snow and how the frozen landscapes are changing around us. I am itching to press the ‘buy now’ button on this one, but have to limit myself. I already have four books on the go and that is enough.

And that is it for now. We are here for two more weeks before heading off to the Med for another house-sit. If something exciting happens in the next fortnight, I shall share it on the blog. If it doesn’t, you might have to wait until we are heading for the coast!

Hope you are all keeping warm and dry and see you soon.

MJ

10 thoughts on “Snow memories

  1. You have certainly ‘painted a picture with words’. Watching your video, I doubt your solar panel was being very effective!

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  2. Hi Antony. No, the solar panels not doing much under all that snow. Happily the sun is out today and M is just wiring in another pair of panels to give us lots of extra wigglies – our technical term for amps! MJ

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  3. Snow does feel magical. I love the silence and the way it lines all the branches in white. So beautiful. It’s been snowing here for the past 24 hours, but with temps above freezing today, little has accumulated. Our weather has been extremely off average this year. It’s felt more like March than January.
    A trip to the Med sounds wonderful!

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  4. I’m using the new Jetpack app, so I hope my comment shows. As a child, I loved snow, especially when it meant no school! I remember the hard winter of 1963, when my father and brother dug for hours to make a path from the house to the gate. I imagine the Pyrénées must be a wonder sight, when it’s clear enough to see them. They are visible occasionally from a place not far from us. Keep warm!

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    1. Yes Vanessa, jet pack is working! They sent details to me but I haven’t summoned the enthusiasm to find out what it is and whether I need it yet. Keeping warm, apart from in the morning when the fire has gone out and then it’s freezing. Roll on warmer weather ☺️ MJ

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  5. The Siege is an amazing book. People’s endurance was just amazing; I’m sure we would be too ‘soft’ to cope with such adverse conditions. In S Wales we have a cover of snow but not enough to transform the landscape. Today was just cold and very foggy, a white world with very little visibility. Roll on Spring, the bulbs poking through the soil are promises of Spring. Your word descriptions are very realistic and help us to imagine what you are seeing.

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  6. Beautiful footage of your snow scene. We also had snow Tuesday and Wednesday 17th/18th and it has stayed with us. You know where we live in Wales so can imagine our difficulties in trying to get out! Today Gareth is scraping the road with his machine to enable us to get out by this coming Thursday 26th for our hair cut appointments. We are always ready for bad weather after living here for 38 years so don’t need any goods or anything, but it still would be nice to get out and about now. It seems to have stayed around longer this time around which doesn’t bode well!! The Med sounds lovely. Hopefully you don’t get any more snow before then to stop you travelling. Enjoy and stay warm. Best wishes Ann and Gareth

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