February 3rd

Astonishingly January has gone. I have always tried to hold onto the idea of February as the very beginning of spring, partly because I begin to long for warmer weather, for bulbs and lambs and catkins on the trees. However both Karen and Weaver tell me that Candlemas, which was yesterday, 2nd February, is the halfway point between the winter and the spring solstice and so, in truth, the dead of winter.

That is certainly how it feels today. The snow was deep enough to make getting up our track look an impossibility this morning even for the 4x4. We did manage to get in last night, leaving our other car in the village and making our way home through dark and driving snow, tentatively nudging up our icy hill in the Suburu. The house was cold but sprang to life with a fire in the stove, the oven on, the old oil boiler noisily churning out heat. Arriving home in the dark it was impossible to tell anything other than that the hill and the hedges, just seen in the headlamps, were heavy with snow. We woke this morning to a white world, beautiful, cruelly cold in the wind, immaculate.

Ian saw to the stunned and umimpressed chickens whose water was frozen solid. They were not interested in being out in this white world and hurried back into the house to squabble on the perch. I filled the birdfeeders in the little quince tree. My footsteps were hard and clear an hour or two ago but the wind is whirling and eddying the fallen snow, softening the outline like meringue which is not yet ready to hold its shape. Perhaps by tomorrow the footprints will have gone.
Last week I had been inspecting the snowdrops down by the bottom of the wall, growing in clumps of glaucous green leaves amongst tiny primroses. Today most have disappeared under the snow. The primroses are completely hidden but here and there one or two snowdrops droop, no longer the whitest thing in the garden.
The hedges in the cottage garden have hats of snow. I know you are supposed to knock snow off trees and shrubs and hedges so that the weight doesn't cause branches to bow and break but I don't think this is enough to give these hedges a problem.


So today feels like a strange stolen day. I have not gone to London, Ian has not been able to go to work. Cities and roads seem like another world, everything shrunk down not even to the valley but to this old house, tucked under the hill, doing its age old job of providing shelter against the worst of the weather. It is strange to think that this has been happening here for four hundred years. I wonder if it will stand for another four hundred.

Comments

  1. Lovely post Elizabeth. Your house is gorgeous as are your snowy photos.

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  2. What a lovely home. I'm sure you'll get the rest of the land sorted soon.Stay warm.

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  3. Lovely prose and beautiful photos; always a soothing combination at your blog, Elizabeth. it's strange this sense of time out that the snowbound world has created.

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  4. Snow does change the whole landscape and we appreciate it more because it doesn't last long here. I like the way the outside world becomes almost unreal. Even sound is deadened. Even mundane items become more interesting.

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  5. Your house looks so secure and safe, tucked into its blanket of snow.
    I love the look of fresh snow. Sadly we havent had any ..yet.

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  6. I'm glad that you're enjoying your snowbound day. It's really a gift isn't it? Your house looks beautiful in the snow - gorgeous photos.

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  7. You certainly got a lot more snow that we did. It seems so strange that normally this part of Wales gets a lot of bad weather - yet this snow has passed us by. Your pictures are beautiful, although we are at that mid point of winter - its all good from here (fingers crossed)
    K
    Thank you for the link

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  8. I'm not sure what else I can say, others have already said much how I feel about these beautiful photographs. I enjoyed a cup of tea while admiring them! thanks!

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  9. I'm sitting here in my 100 year old American farmhouse, enjoying a fire in my woodstove and thinking about my English roots. My ancestors came here from your island in about 1630, and your house was probably already a generation or two old!

    Beautiful post on a beautiful blog.

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  10. Loved the pictures of your house and garden Elizabeth. As for Spring, I find I get cross with people who say on 21st March "First Day of Spring." I respond, so when's the first day of summer. 'Dunno' they reply, realising that 21st June is Midsummer. These first days have to be arbitrary and my personal calendar of first days is 1 March - Spring; 1 June - Summer; 1 September - Autumn; 1 December - Winter. So we have another three and a half weeks of winter left. Time enough for another sprinkling of snow.

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  11. Such beautiful pictures. I hope you enjoyed your stolen day.

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  12. Beautiful pictures Elizabeth. The snow hit my part of Cornwall in the late afternoon and was lovely yesterday. Today is horrible - wet and grim. Ah well xx

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  13. great blog, Eliz, agree with ChrisH. I'm with Fennie on the beginning of Spring - my birthday's March 2 and it HAS to be spring by then. ANd the days are getting so much longer. YES what a cruel cruel wind there was on Mon and Tues. Out walking the dog it felt like someone had mitten off my ear.

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  14. I am sure it will - those old Welsh houses were built to last as were ours in the Dales.
    Yes, elizabeth, the snow is lovely when viewed from inside a warm room isn't it. I always think that Spring starts in March and February is such a short month that it goes quickly. My husband, who is a Dalesman, reminds me that some of the worst winters ever only began in February!!

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  15. Blissful. I used to love the excuse of being snowed in just to stop, sit back and enjoy the moment. No rushing. As you say so beautifully, just you and the house and the soft white blanket enveloping you in calm and silence and stillness....But unfortunately my clever-clogs snow tyres have rather put paid to that!

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  16. We stole a day as well - I was so disappointed when it thawed on Tuesday but I'll not forget the giggles and laughter and of course the snowball fight!
    Apologies I have tagged you for your beautiful photos...

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  17. Beautiful photos, Elizabeth, especially the one of the hills at the top of your blog. I bet it was cold up there! We haven't had as much snow as that, we are just tucked under the lee of the Peaks, though there is quite enough to make driving difficult and the paths a death trap! Hope your road clears soon, its hard to get anywhere it seems to me, reading the news!

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  18. Beautiful post and photos. Enjoying sharing your snowy world for a few minutes.

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  19. Lovely images - in both words and pictures of your snowy sojourn.

    Being snowed in brings out that 'pioneer spirit' - it's us against the odds and the elements. We'll shut the door and stack up the fires, eat winter-warm soups and cheese with summer's pickles.

    I love the idea of your old cottage protecting you. Those old builders knew how to build to keep the weather at bay. I'm sure it has many more years ahead of it.

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  20. Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures, Elizabeth. Gosh - four hundred years? That's one heck of a lot of winters. Hope you stayed tucked up warm and had lots of cake.

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  21. I'm catching up...as always, posts that are a treasure to read and to lose oneself in - thank you elizabeth.

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