Sunday, 25 January 2015

Seven years of January days

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?

46 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, Loved seeing the compendium of your winter weather.. one thing we share is the variety and I have discovered it is useless to predict.

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    1. Glad you liked it! I enjoyed reminding myself about how different things look from year to year.

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  2. We are having an unusually cloudy day today, and there is a nasty bit of a north wind blowing. Some rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Here in the Arizona desert at 4295 feet elevation the weather can be anything this time of year. If we do have snow, it generally does not last past a day, and we have had days in the 70's already.

    Like you said though, there is still more winter to come and snow around Easter is not that unusual. It is difficult to pace one's self and not get too excited planting the garden. My tomatoes do not go into the ground until late April.

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    1. We sow our tomatoes indoors in February, take them out to the greenhouse in April and never really grow them outside. Interesting to think how different it is for you.

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  3. Hello Elizabeth!

    I love the beautiful pictures and the story of your aunt is amazing, which is a fantastic memory!

    Have a lovely week, Sandra

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  4. Fascinating to see the differences across the years. Variety here too but a bit of an in-betweeny year so far. Colder than last year but no snow to speak of so far. I would prefer snow I think to the interminable grey and wet.

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    1. I veer about a bit about snow. We have some today. It looks fantastic and it is fine today when I am not trying to get anywhere but less fine when all of life becomes much more challenging!

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  5. Lots of frosty mornings for us at the moment - but the last two years no snow at all - the reason for this is that I bought some snow boots and still haven't had a chance to wear them. You have such beautiful scenery surrounding you so I think any weather would be a delight to see through the windows.

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    1. We have bought a landrover on the same sort of premise!

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  6. What a beautiful place you live in, fantastic photos. Fascinating to see the differences through the years,

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    1. It is very beautiful, with or without snow.

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  7. Oh , you do live in the most unbelievably beautiful spot! Down with us in the south east/east anglia border it has been pretty mild really, hardly any ice let alone snow. But there has been plenty of sun and blue skies which makes all the difference for me. On a different subject, I remember a long time ago you spoke of the difficulties of blending those magnificent views into the garden, did you ever decide what to do? I think I would have gardened the bit closest to the house most intensively and sort of let things get progressively more untamed as the garden ran to meet the landscape, but I'd love to hear what you did as I've seen other gardens do the opposite with 'windows' in hedges etc to frame the view and make clear distinctions of spaces.

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    1. I think I have done something similar to the garden to what you describe. I still couldn't say I was at all satisfied with it as a whole, although some bits work better than others! The scale and beauty of the views is and always has been both a powerful advantage and a powerful challenge.

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  8. What beautiful countryside on your doorstep Elizabeth. Here in North Cheshire we had quite a considerable fall of snow on the evening of Boxing Day. It remained on the ground for the best part of a week but so far none in January. Having said that less than two miles away there was snow last week!

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    1. We have a bit of snow today Anna. Looks from the TV as though there is more and worse snow further East which is a bit of a change!

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  9. Elizabeth, it was interesting to see how different January can be in your immediate area.

    Today is Sunday, and New York was also mild and sunny. However...a blizzard with lots of snow accumulation is forecast for Tuesday. My camera is ready.

    xo

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    1. I have never been as cold as I was one year in New York on a work trip. I was dressed for winter in London but winter in New York was degrees colder!

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  10. last year was flirting with forty (and again this year our former neighbours tell us)
    Today we walked along the beach and it's in the mid-twenties.
    Almost chilly, he said.
    We are revelling in crisp fresh sea breezes!

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    1. Mid twenties sounds fabulous. I am not sure I could cope with forty!

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  11. Oh that was a lovely post.. Enjoyed seeing the different years of weather. It is a lot like our weather here in New Brunswick, Canada.. We just never know. smile.. Love your blog and will be your new follower..

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    1. Great to meet you and glad you like the blog.

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  12. I grew up in the Conwy valley so I understand about unpredictable weather. Here next to the Med in the south of France it is usually sunny but not warm. Today it is 5°C outside but we have winds of 90km/h so I will need 2 pairs of socks, plenty of layers and my ski jacket when I venture out to do some pruning (vines). I probably won't manage more than a couple of hours but we have high winds forecast all week so I can't put it off.

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    1. I know that wind! What a co-incidence that you grew up not far from here. We have good friends in Provence so visit the south of France quite frequently. I have always thought if I didn't live here I could live there.

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  13. I enjoy the variety of weather here in Wales very much too. I very much enjoyed your lovely photographs which illustrated the post so beautifully.

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    1. I think I would struggle to live anywhere without variety in the climate now. It is part of the fabric of the days.

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  14. As we are so close, your pictures reflect what we have experienced too. We lamb in April as a direct response to the poor weather two years ago. We hear that this year, provided we don't get late snow, should be good for lambing and plenty of ewes should be carrying triplets. (getting my bottles ready now!) Gorgeous to drop in on you.

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    1. I remember reading about your lambing adventures last year. Hope it all goes well this year. Triplets sound a bit of a challenge!

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  15. what fabulous scenes -so carried way with the fabulous scenes -with and without the winter whites - and almost forgot to read your text. London has been grey, warmish and wet most days - or so it seems in my bones!

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    1. I am not a lover of winter grey and wet and it always seems greyer and wetter here than it ever does in London. I like a good vivid sky!

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    2. A vivid sky MAKES the day. I will always remember the first time I flew overseas and saw all these layers of clouds endlessly stretched out below us yet above it was brilliantly blue. It taught that on a bad day or on a week of depressing heavy grey skies there will always be sunshine again.

      Alexa-asimplelife from Sydney, Australia

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  16. In our Italian garden (Piemonte) which is in a skiing area, there has been very little snow and virtually no winter. That makes 2 years running. The locals, especially the old ones, are completely astonished. You used to be able to count on deep snow in January - the predictability was fundamental to the way of life. Lovely pictures, I feel I know your place much better now.

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    1. It does seem very wrong that a skiing area like yours should get no snow. That's not our winter variability, that's just not right!

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  17. I grew up in New Hampshire and am back living here now, at least for another year. Right now, we're in the middle of a Northeaster, which thankfully is bringing less snow than predicted. I visited North Wales once and thought it was beautiful! Always enjoy your postings even when I don't comment.

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    1. I loved New Hampshire and am hoping to visit again later this year. Funny how these connections play out between bloggers and readers.

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  18. I love seeing comparisons like this. How varied the seasons are. I wonder what the next week or so will bring. Cold, they say...

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    1. We have some cold and snow now although the snow is not deep and will be gone by morning I should think. It is the deep drifting stuff that makes things hard up here!

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  19. A little milder always than it is where you are, but not so different here in the river valley not so many miles from you. We keep saying we want to move up into the hills.

    Lovely post Elizabeth :o)

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  20. Beautiful , whatever the weather !
    I'm just remembering 2013 ... and 2012 ... with horror ( the year the back door froze shut for weeks ) .

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    1. 2013 was very bad indeed for us up here and all over north east Wales. Hope we avoid that this year, especially at lambing time.

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  21. My, but you live in beauty! Just glorious, these views -- thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. It is a very lovely place and we do love to share it with people!

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  22. What a wonderful idea to compare the seven years. I remember seeing the snow lay for a very long time on the Clwydians in the spring of 2013. It lasted quite some time in our low-lying Cheshire garden. Of course, it looked pretty from a distance, but the effect on the farmers must have been terrible.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

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    1. It was good to remind myself about quite how different it has been up here from year to year. Easy to forget snow when you don't have any!

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  23. I am so glad that I stumbled on your blog. It is beautiful. Many thanks for sharing.

    Alexa-asimplelife from Sydney, Australia

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