When I was a child I longed to live in New England. I had a beloved aunt who lived in Rye in New Hampshire who visited us every year, bearing books and telling stories of snowy winters and hot summers. I loved the idea of such different seasons. They sang out for me vividly in comparison with the grey green summers and the grey black winters of home. But one thing that we do have in the United Kingdom, and very much so here in Wales, is a real variety. Summer can be hot, or not. Winter can be snowy, or mild. I have come to love that unpredictability so I thought I would look back on seven Januaries to see what it has been like up here.
Here is January 2009, the hills white and the snow drifted up against the hawthorn hedge in the kitchen garden.
More snow in 2010 with the outdoor furniture under the yew tree cushioned in snow. Ian usually puts it away but the snow must have beaten him to it! I love the dome of snow on the table.
No snow in 2011 but bright skies and a hard frost. We often avoid frost here as it rolls down into the valley, leaving us sitting above it. This must have been something special to have lingered in the shadows in such bright sunshine.
A cold and beautiful dawn in January 2012 with frost on the hillsides.
In January 2013 we had serious snow and were snowed in for a couple of days. We don't mind that too much these days when we don't have to get out for work! We hunker down by the stove with books and knitting although it does make life much harder work whenever we need to go outside to feed the hens or replenish the log baskets.
January 2014 was much milder with the faintest dusting of snow right on the top of the Clwydian hills.
And here we are in January 2015 with the hills still green. There is plenty of time for hard winter to strike. The deepest snow we have ever had was in March of 2013 when farmers all over North Wales lost thousands of lambs in drifts. So there is still some winter to come, but today the sun shines and the snowdrops are up. How is it where you are?