The world has disappeared

My world has shrunk to a whirl of white. This morning the hawthorn hedge was a sculpture, the stone walls grey and white, the valley had disappeared and the view from the gate was a soft grey smudge.  This afternoon even the hedge and the bakehouse are disappearing into a whirl of falling snow and these pictures seem clear and sharp, when the world now is a blur of falling white.  A tiny wren has taken refuge under the eaves of the house by the unused front door.  I can see the peacock's tracks silting up with snow, gently being obliterated.

This is true silence.  When the cat miaowed at me suddenly in the quiet kitchen I leapt out of my skin.  As I close the door again against the relentless soft fall I feel sharply and thankfully what a refuge this old house has been against the snow and the rain for hundreds of years.  Outside is beautiful but cruel and alien.  Inside the lights glow and the fire burns.  I am here by myself and making bread . The familiar weighing out and kneading is a reassurance against the snow steadily building and piling against the house. Ian has borrowed a landrover. I hope he can get home.


  1. Making bread seems a good idea as therapy against the snow - I shall go an do that now!

  2. I love your photos which are always so well composed

  3. I was just over reading about the snow on Weaver's blog and commented that I loved the silence of a snowy morning - and then here you are writing about that very silence. I hope everybody makes it home to your firelit sanctuary this evening. I imagine that coming in to the smell of fresh bread will be a treat!

  4. Kneading bread sounds like a comforting thing to do when there's " a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow" as the song says.

    There's no more snow here, but it's so very very cold.

    Keep warm

  5. It's really been that sort of day. Time for nesting under a solid roof and inside strong walls. White-out this morning, a brief respite this afternoon and now? I don't know; too alien out there to go and look.

  6. I hope he gets home too. What an odd business is snow - so pretty yet so dangerous.

  7. This may (or may not the weather forecast can't make up its mind) be us tomorrow. The world shrinks into monochrome. We have travelled back in time among the sepia and the fading images of long ago. A blanket of calm descends. And with it sensibility: a renewed sense of perspective. Yes, the world does shrink, meditating in its white coat.

    I have baked a Galette des Rois for tonight's Twelfth Night Party.

  8. It's weather like this that always makes me think with awe of pioneers and explorers.... How fortunate we are to have warm homes and to never really be cut off from the rest of the world.

    I laughed at the image of a cat's miaow startling you so much!

  9. Glorious images Elizabeth - I was thinking about you to-day and wondering how the snow was in your neck of the woods.

    I hope Ian is home safe and sound.
    Happy New Year and see you quite soon - well when we have a big thaw :)

  10. It's amazing how snow muffles noise even on the busy main road we live off. The traffic was almost silent today - bliss! Your house sounds like a sanctuary on a real bleak winter day. Hope that Iain gets home safely and that you can both stay snug indoors for a while.

  11. Ending on a note of suspense there, Elizabeth - I hope Ian is safely home.

  12. Mark - the only problem with breadmaking as therapy is quite how much of it I eat!
    EH - thank you. The beauty of the digital camera - you should see how much I throw away.
    Pondside - It has felt very like a sanctuary today.
    MC- I love the rhythm of bread making. Funnily enough you can tell by the slightly odd shapes of today's batch that I was a bit spooked by the snow.

    Mountainear - I know just what you mean by "alien". I am torn between loving its beauty and wanting to hide!
    Sue - yes it is a strange double edged experience isn't it.
    Fennie - you have it exactly. I do feel to have travelled back in time. It is always at times like this that the sense of how long my house has been lived in presses very close.
    Rachel - I am in awe of the early pioneers too and of the every day people who lived generations ago without our easy heat and light.
    Karen - Ian is home safe thank you. Wouldn't have made it without the borrowed landrover though!
    Anna - the silence is one of the things I love about living here at the best of times, totally quiet under snow.
    Chris - he is back home. It is so much nicer to be snowed up with company!

  13. A lovely post - and as you saw from my post, I am convinced of the therapeutic effect of kneading!

    Pomona x

  14. Beautiful descriptions and how lovely to be a safe haven for a wren. Bread baking is a great idea - I bet it made the house warm, welcoming and smelling gorgeous. Our snow is now up to the dog's armpits (four to five inches!)

  15. It all looks incredibley beautiful!

  16. I shall be making pizza today from scratch

  17. You and I seem to be in a similar position of snow bound silence. I have just started my bread making.... Hope Ian made it home ok.

  18. Now we have some proper snow, the silence is perhaps the most noticeable thing of all.

    Funny how we all start cooking food with comforting smells at times like this - I've been busy soup making!


  19. Pomona - I agree, kneading is wonderful, second only to eating the bread.
    PM - I love the smell of bread too. Even on those occasions when I decide I won't have any fresh bread I always succumb because of the smell.
    Michelle - it is beautiful!

  20. AA - I love proper home made pizza! I might have to emulate you now you have put the idea into my head.
    Welsh Girl - now that I have read your blog I see that we are both immured in snow. Ian did get home ok and I might get out tomorrow!
    Johnson - it was interesting reading the comments to see how many other were also responding by cooking. It must be a very deepseated response to bad weather to get on with the preparing and eating of food!

  21. Wonderful, we can all play at being ancient hill folk. As long as the provisions last and the energy companies keep up with demand we're fine.
    And then there are computers and we can all instantly show each other our pictures and tell of out adventures in the snow. Storytelling by the fire, as of old, maybe not. I'd be far too soft to get down to the village elder's hut anyway.

  22. I don't think there is any chance of my playing at being ancient hill folk. I have been reading a book about a woman who lived for a year as an eighteenth century woman in Scotland and been thoroughly chastened by the cold and the hardness of her life. I think we live in a much more demanding way than most up here (chop and bring in wood, make bread etc) but I have light and warmth and, as you say, the ever present computer. Not sure how I would manage with true dark and cold and lack of company!

  23. What a blessing to be able to stay at home in those conditions; I hope Ian made it home!

  24. i just spent some time reading here and then found the link to the time of your illness and surgery. your writing is lovely and engaging and thoughtful. i loved reading it all. it has actually been hard to stop but if i do not then i will not fold the laundry at the end of my bed and that is not a good thing, it has already been there a few days and the husband is looking askance at me.

    i also wanted to say i read your post on the birth of your grandson (congratulations :) and the way you felt when your first was born and how you wanted it to be different for her. i understood that post so well. i have twins that re just over 2.5 and the beginning was the hardest and darkest i have ever felt in my life. of course, it got better and i became the mama i had hoped for (um, some of the time, anyways) but it was so hard at first. and i remember when my sister became pregnant, the very real fear i had for her as she stepped into the world of motherhood. i am happy to say, her experience was not like mine, it was her own and she is doing it well. `

    i am so looking forward to adding you my roster of reads, 2010 is a year i want to find new words and this is starting it off just right.

  25. Hi - I've just come across your blog and wanted to "fave" it on blotanical, but can't find it on the map they have.... any ideas how I can ? I have to say Blotanical doesn't strike me as the most intuitive of things!


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