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Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

I don’t think we’ve had a bad winter so far. We’ve had a bit of snow at home, but it came and it went. The car has rarely registered anything lower than -1°c and the roads have all been well gritted.

We drove through a completely different world on Saturday!

We are staying in a cottage fairly close to Thetford on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders. The reason for being here is very sad, but suffice to say that we are staying close to Sharon’s sister Joanne and Mike’s place. There are no motorways in East Anglia, unless you include the M11, which skirts around the edge of the region, so our choice of route could include busy ‘normal’ roads, heavily used by all kinds of traffic, or the skirt-around route using the A1 and M11 and Newmarket.

However, we took an in-between route that skirted the north of Peterborough before delving into Fenland, via Wisbech and Downham Market. It was a fabulous fairyland of a journey.

The A47 can be fairly busy but on Saturday, just like the M62 and A1 at the beginning of our journey, it was delightfully quiet. As we got closer to Stamford, the temperature began to drop; -2°c, -3°c and occasionally -4°c, by the time we reached Peterborough and the A47, it was a steady -5°c and not wavering. At this stage we entered a winter wonderland.

The road to Wisbech is fairly scenic at the best of times, but this time the countryside was covered in a beautiful, pristine white.

East Anglia had had a good shuttering of snow last week and it was till there. What’s more, it was exceptionally cold too, reaching a low of -9°c around the centre of Fenland. This meant that everything above ground was covered in hoar frost.

It was a real pleasure to drive along this exceptionally gorgeous display put on for us by nature.

Sadly, there was nowhere to pull over and photograph, so much of what we saw has to be committed to memory, but the picture here gives something of the flavour.

The air-frost itself had begin to disappear by Downham Market, but the fields and surrounding countryside were still a pleasure to behold.

Thank you Mr and Mrs Nature.

Hoar Frost image details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Hoar_Frost_2008-02-07.jpg by http://www.flickr.com/people/7365168@N03

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This week’s Saturday walk didn’t go as planned, which is beginning to be the norm. What’s more, it nearly didn’t go ahead at all. John had told me that he’d seen snow on the forecast, but I’d not expected 3″ on top of my car when I woke.

We’d planned to forego the walk and spend the morning cutting trees in John’s garden – which over time IS part of the norm. We’d also planned (still plan?) to ‘do’ my trees during the week. But the snow, especially its doggedness, put paid to that. we therefore decided to meet in Huddersfield and to just walk wherever our feet took us. John wanted to look at the price (and delivery) of some breeze blocks so B & Q was our first target. As far as possible, we stayed off the main roads, passing through the Galpharm Stadium grounds en route. We then walked over Red Doles Lane to the canal and followed that through to Hillhouse Lane, where we turned up to Birkby. We passed St. John’s Church and walked along the edge of St. Patrick’s cemetery and onto Greenhead Park.

The snow never let up. some of the flakes were the size of saucers (small saucers, but big for snowflakes) but despite this by the time we’d finished the day most of it had gone. This was a good thing because that evening I’d planned a special dinner party to which John and Sandy were invited, along with another John, and Carol.

DinnerThe original plan for the evening had been to organise a games evening, but for that I needed a minimum of eight guests and with this being the beginning of half term, rounding up that many guests had been impossible. So, we’d planned a Theatre Night. The idea was to pretend that we would all be visiting a newly opened theatre where Les Miserables was been performed.

Pre-dinner drinks would be served, along with canapés. (We had smoked salmon and cream cheese roulades, bresaola curls, garlic mushroom, samosa, filo prawns and pate on toast). Then a simple entrée of Hungarian Goulasch would be served immediately before the curtain went up. We then sat and watched the first act before serving cheese and drinks during the intermission. Home made petit fours and more drinks completed the evening’s entertainment.

We’d moved our front room around so that it would accommodate my projection screen, projector and speakers. This took a bit of doing because although we only have a two seater settee (and two matching chairs) the room is fairly long by narrow – but in the end it worked. I’d set up the computer behind the settee, with a dining chair for me to sit on (ouch) and was therefore able to control sound, image and lighting.

We had a cracking evening, very relaxed and very enjoyable. You should try it.

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I know that it’s not Saturday yet but I can’t see us getting out for anything like a decent walk tomorrow. Sharon and I set off for Wales on Wednesday, fully aware of the impending Snowmageddon – but the weather people have been wrong before. Not this time!

We stopped off at Karen and Dave’s on the way. This is always a pleasure and this week’s stay was no different. We ate out at the Poacher’s Pocket, just up the road from Karen’s and then joined the pub quiz down at ‘The Trap’ just on the Welsh – English border. Sadly the quiz master was a little slower than he could have been and subsequently, more alcohol was consumed than would have been good for me to drive the following day. Whoops. Anyway, Sharon had been good – and she drove the rest of the way. We had lunch in Aberaeron, where the wind was bitterly cold. We ate in a cafe above Ambassador’s gift shop and surprisingly, the food was good. I experienced my first Welsh RED Mustard during this meal. Now there’s different.

And today we woke up to real snow. It was worse at home in late November – early December, but we are staying at Steven and Rosie’s, which is one and a half miles away from the main coastal road, as it passes from Aberystwyth on its way to Cardigan. The road is single track and steep! We’re going nowhere today and probably not tomorrow either – although there is (apparently) a craft and Christmas Fayre in Aberystwyth on Saturday.

The snow has brought out all the birds though. Today we have seen Red Kites and Buzzards up above us and smaller birds all around the feeding bags hung on trees. We’ve been visited by Great Tits, Blue Tits, Green Finches, Sparrows, a Robin that looks extremely put out that his territory is being invaded by such a swarm, by a pair of Chaffinch who seem to prefer hunting on the ground below the nut bags, a hugely puffed out Jay and even a Woodpecker. It’s fun for us to watch, but not for them to live in. Even the chickens have stayed in their Ark!

Finally, I bought Liar Liar by Captain Ska, the other day (79p @ http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/liar-liar-single/id408050972?ign-mpt=uo%3D4) it’s the only form of anarchy I can manage from my armchair – but something I thought well worth spending 70p on. Give it a go – don’t them them get away with it. Even if it only affects their conscience, it’s worth 79p.

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