Snow and Seville

Snow, beautiful, terrible snow.  The day we came back from Seville we lost twenty degrees:  18 and warm in the sun in Seville, a shivering minus 2 at Manchester airport with the wind slicing through clothes and flesh to the bones as we walked across the tarmac in the dark rain.  All the forecasts were full of the snow to come.  Someone had come up with the phrase "The beast from the East" to describe the cold and snow scything in from Eastern Europe and commentators and weather forecasters all over radio and television took a childish delight in the phrase and the rhyme.  We got home late on Monday night before the snow.  It was time to batten down the hatches.

On Tuesday we woke to snow and it snowed all morning and into the afternoon.   We sat by the woodburner and watched it swirl outside the window.  This house with its thick walls and slate roof was built against the weather.  It comes into its own when winter howls at the door.  Being inside by the fire seems like the very meaning of "hunkering down".  By half past four in the afternoon when I took this picture the snow had stopped and Ian had cleared the front path.  It was heartstoppingly beautiful and heartstoppingly cold.  Going out for wood for the stove or food from the freezer in the utility room needed boots and fleeces and a large intake of determined breath.

We were never really snowed in, the Land Rover saw to that, chugging steadily through the drifts on the drive and the ice in the farmyard.  Our neighbours at the farm kept the access road gritted and clear (thank you Peter and Steve!) and it was not the deepest snow we have had since we lived here but it was so so cold that it felt like a spellbound winter, as if we had fallen into another country.  The house is protected from the prevailing winds from the west but this wind was from the east and it crept in under the kitchen door, winter poking at us with fingers of ice.

And now it is going, melting and fading and turning to slush and mud in dirty piles by the side of the road and here I am, remembering Seville and thinking of spring.

How complicated and interesting life is:  so many places, transformed by sunshine or snow or grey skies;  so many people I want to spend time with and oldest grandchild twelve yesterday and how much it matters that a year goes by when you are a child and how little it matters when you are adult; so many things I want to do and Spanish and Welsh to learn and meals to cook and things to make and stories to write and yoga to do and walks to be had, books to read and quiet and silence and colour and fizz.  And only one lifetime to do it in.  Seize the day.


  1. Seize the day indeed. It won't come this way again. Your photos are enjoyable, I loved Seville and miss Spain in general. Thank God for 4-wheel drive; I've used it since moving to my new location. Today Spring with 3 inches of snow; what a laugh Ole Man Winter is having!


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