Last night we got snow. It started at around 6pm and is actually still going now, at 11am the next day. We got about 2 inches in the first two hours and the weather forecast was for a possible 16 inches of snow overnight. How exciting!
Text messages between myself and my brother, who lives in Wokingham, tracked the progress of the snow and Facebook conversations were all about how the supermarkets had been rammed to the gunwales with people panic-buying provisions. I'd made sure I'd done my own personal panic-buying (otherwise known as the normal weekly shop) on Monday this week and didn't notice there being more people than usual but yesterday I'd decided to walk into the nearby town to the bank (which is 1.5 miles away), pop into the wool shop to get more colours for the baby blanket I'm crocheting and swing by Waitrose to pick up some nice bread for lunch (I love Waitrose's bread, but I could quite happily take a machete to its customers in my local store - a more self-centered, ill mannered bunch of poshos I've yet to find....). The streets didn't look particularly more busy than usual, I did what I needed to do at the Bank, then spent a very pleasant 20 mins choosing beautifully coloured balls of wool in an extraordinarily old-fashioned wool shop, that doesn't take debit cards, credit cards or cheques - only cash. I can't decide if that makes them archaic or cutting edge, as many shops these days won't take credit cards or cheques. Plus 'needle crafts' (as I believe they're called), i.e., knitting and crochet, have become desperately hip these days as people rediscover the joy of making things for themselves rather than buying straight off the shelf, so this little dowdy-looking shop might just be at the forefront of modern life. Or perhaps not.
Anyway, I sauntered into Waitrose to get bread and Welsh cakes and couldn't believe the amount of people in there - more than for the pre-christmas rush! Took at least half an hour to get through the checkout and start on my way home.
At the very least I'd hoped that a 3+ mile, 90 minute walk would give me enough exercise to allow me to have a full unbroken night's sleep but, to be honest, I think my stupid subconscious had got all excited about the snow and kept making me want to get up and look at it. Stupid subconscious. It does the same thing to me the night before every single bloody craft fair, even those I'm not bothered about.
So I'm lying there at about 2.30am this morning, listening to the bonging and wheezing of cat and husband and decide it was pointless, I might as well get up, go downstairs and look at the snow, to get it out of my system. It all looked rather alien outside, white ground and dark orange sky from the street lights, so I took some pictures, a couple with flash:
In the second picture you can see something very reddy-orange in the distance (click on the pictures to make them bigger), so I zoomed in on it, it was a snow covered tree lit by a street light and looking very unearthly:
I was up for about an hour or so, eventually heading off to the spare bedroom at about 3.30am or so where I proceeded not to fall asleep. I've managed to train myself over the years not to get angry or frustrated about being unable to sleep as that's counterproductive - even if you just lie there and close your eyes and try to relax, you'll gain some benefit and may just drop off. It got to about 4.15am when I heard a loud scraping and a 'crump' outside - sounded like a load of snow falling off the roof. I managed to drift off finally but woke again just before 7am and I decided to rejoin TLH. There was no more sleeping then but only because he decided to talk to me and then get up, not what you were thinking, eh?
I got up as well and came downstairs to find it a proper snowy, wintery wonderland out there so whipped out the camera to take more shots before it got spoiled.
It took me a while to realise something was missing from the bottom picture. Here's a photo of the same scene, taken in February 2009 when we last had a big snowfall - see if you can spot what's missing:
I hadn't noticed that the Forsythia had gone! The weight of snow had caused it to keel over, and that was the noise I'd heard just after 4am this morning:
Unfortunately it's lying right on top of my very expensive Dicksonia Antartica Tree Fern. The fronds have been pushed down but hopefully the crown hasn't been damaged, but we have to wait until it's stopped snowing to see what's happened because the Forsythia was large, very heavy and will need cutting up. This is quite a major job and more than a bit of a nuisance.
I then brushed the 10 inch deep snow from the bridge and cleared a pathway through to the bird feeders - nothing starves on my watch. I dunno what the cats are going to do, as far as I know they've not been out of the house since the snow started so their little bladders must be fit to burst by now.
Anyway, I think I'm going to try and get a couple hours kip now....