Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snowtime

Phew, looks like the snow's been and gone. However, a couple of years ago it snowed in May so maybe it'll be back sooner rather than later. Hope not. It's rubbish. Couple of weeks ago when we had about a foot of the damned stuff, the woodpile had almost gone. This meant I had to cut back and only light the kitchen stove in the evenings. Spent the daytime either in bed (3 or 4 degrees in the bedroom according to the hi-tech bedside clock) or huddled over the electric oil-filled radiator while shivering away surfing the net. Dread to think what the 'leccy bill's going to be. Anyways, last week-end Christian delivered a tractor trailerful of logs so I'm ready for the next big freeze. Couldn't deliver during the 'big snow' 'cos he was working, the snow was too deep, it was far too cold and I'd told him that I'd be okay for another week.

One of the big problems about snowtime up here in the hills is that cars get snowed in and the road down to the town gets a bit treacherous with ice. Sometimes it even gets blocked with snow and we all have to wait until the snowplough drives up. Which, of course, means you run the risk of running out of grub unless you dig the car out and clear a track to the lane (takes about an hour and you end up with frostbitten fingers) then take it really slowly downhill out of the village down to the town to stock up. Did just that about ten days ago and met the snowplough head-on on the blind corner going out of the village. Had no option but to lightly brake and steer to the right (I was doing about 6mph at the time). Wheels locked up on the ice and I ended up at a jaunty angle in the little roadside ditch. Jock was somewhat miffed at being thrown off his seat and ending up on the floor. Luckily the snowplough lads stopped and pulled me out. Took it very gingerly down to town, stocked up and headed back with a bootful of bread loaves. At snowtime I get through a couple of loaves a day feeding the birds. They queue up in the little apple tree outside the kitchen window waiting for me to shove another load of chopped up crumbs on the window sill. Even had a robin appear in the kitchen looking for bread. Must have crept in under the front door when I'd taken Jock for a snowy trek out back (when we go out, the kitchen carpet roll doesn't block the draught under the door unless I put it in position outside the door). Another thing: the snow limits our options for dogwalks. The only walk we can do is up to the granite cross and back, which gets a bit boring after a time. Still, it's better than nothing, even though it gets a bit slippy when the farmer's tyre tracks ice up.

The only good thing about snowtime is the joy of slobbing out in front of the roaring kitchen stove when it's been lit at suppertime. It's then that I take a medicinal scotch or three while whatever's on the menu is being burnt to a cinder on top of the stove while Jock slumbers and snores on the floor in front. I sometimes switch off the light and just stare at the orange glow and flickering flames while wondering how we survived that first winter without a stove. That was the time when the wind, rain and snow lashed in through broken windows and holed roof. The thing that kept me going was a hatred of Gordon Brown and his inept government and my flat refusal to give in and return to Blighty. Looking back, it really was not only a test of endurance, but also a measure of just how much I despised New Labour for leading the country into decline (some people disagree with my opinion but they're wrong).

Snowtime seems to last forever, but it eventually passes. After what seemed like weeks of greyness, the sun peeped out about a week ago and the snow began melting. Can't begin do describe the joy I felt as I gave Jock his first walk for ages in the evening sunshine. And the evenings are getting longer too. Doesn't get dark 'til about 7.30ish. And it's lighter in the mornings. Up here in the hills, the flowers come out later than down below. I've spotted a single crocus and a couple of snowdrops, but that's all. However, the tulip thingies that Georgie planted in the pot by the front door seem to be growing. Haven't yet budded but give 'em a couple of weeks and they might flower. I hesitate to say that spring is in the air, but it could be just around the corner. I can hardly wait.