Sunday, 17 January 2010
At last the snow has just about gone, but for a few grubby clumps in the Glebe field and the sad lopsided remains of a once-proud snowmen and a ruined igloo... And not before time. Snow can do strange things to a person – enforced confinement compels us to fill our time with things we wouldn’t think of doing under normal circumstances, and it’s all too easy to lose track of what day it is.
I’ve spent a good few hours gazing at a Farrow & Ball colour chart this week, idly wondering how on earth they came up with names like Savage Ground, Dead Salmon and Mouse’s Back, speculating on the likelihood of getting away with repainting the kitchen in Elephant’s Breath without my husband realizing, doubtless to the detriment of more pressing tasks. I’ve done an awful lot of rummaging through old recipe books and tidying out cupboards – I’ve sorted out my sock drawer, scrubbed the grout in the shower… Desperation for a change of scene has propelled me over the field in my wellies for a shopping spree at Debbie’s shop, where I spent a good 20 minutes perusing the magazine racks and came home with the second issue of Crochet Art, which is absolutely no use at all without a crochet hook or the first issue if, like me, you’ve never succumbed to the urge to learn to crochet before. I blame Gizzy. “It can’t be that difficult,” she told me as she rearranged the Duchy Originals behind me while I dithered between that and Country Living.
Although it was lovely while it was fresh and white and new, snow does begin to get on your nerves after a while. I no longer find it surprising that the Inuits have 64 different words for snow – I think I may have come up with one or two new ones myself. The children enjoyed it, though, both the small ones and the big ones – an abiding memory of this winter will surely be the image of our wonderful blacksmith, Hector – a grandfather himself – all six foot something of him, whizzing down on a sledge through the powdery snow from the top of the hill behind his forge with a great big smile on his face.
By the weekend, the snow had vanished, almost as quickly as it had arrived. The river now is full of snowmelt, brimming and lapping over the banks, eddying and swirling over the wiers, sending the watervoles scurrying from their bankside holes and transforming the willows where the kingfisher lives into something that looks like a mangrove swamp.