Daily Archives: January 6, 2010

Winter light

We have real snow!  Not the usual english feeble apology for snow, but the real thing.  Several inches of soft crunchy stuff, more where it’s drifted.

Last time I saw real snow in England was when I lived in Sheffield in 1990-92, and I think even that was primarily on the higher ground of the Peak District (I walked further back then – a normal Sunday was 20+ miles, which is more cycling distance in my old age).  I’ve certainly not seen it here in the southwest before: even on the higher parts of Dartmoor it’s only ever been a light covering.

Down in town it’s been heavily treated with grit and salt, making a nightmare of slush (and liable to freeze into an ice rink if the ground temperature drops a bit more, as happened in the cold snap before christmas when we had a taster of the snow followed by real ice).  But as soon as you’re off the treated roads it’s lovely fairytale stuff.  The kiddies are out in force on toboggans and variants: I don’t think I’ve ever seen such crowds on the pimple (a mound featuring good child-size slopes) as today, and everyone having fun.  On the downside, looks like delivery of my new toy has been delayed.  And more seriously, the whole street’s rubbish is sitting uncollected outside: we put it out on Monday evening for collection on Tuesday morning.

Best of all is the snowy winter sky, and a winter light which I find inspirational.  I think this particular light play of gold and a paler shade of blue – something I have seen before but which is beautifully complemented by the picture-postcard snow-covered trees – might indeed be a feature of our ever-changing Atlantic weather.  Must try and get out into the higher moors for a full day’s walking, if we get another similarly-mixed day short of full snow-blindness sunshine.

Is this something like what folks from our great flat areas in the east of England mean when they talk of “big skies”?