Yesterday I got up bright and early for a run along one of my usual routes: the long way into the village, past the millpond and the stopping to buy milk and a paper on my way back. It was the kind of crisp cold that freezes your tongue if you make the mistake of running with your mouth open. There was just a thin covering of cloud in the sky; otherwise, as I said, it was bright and it was early.
As the day went on it grew duller and, of course, later. The thin covering of cloud in the sky became progressively thicker and eventually a thin sleety snow started to fall. Those people who had greeted my cheery, “Lovely day, isn’t it?” with, “Enjoy it now; it’s going to snow later” were being proved right. And, indeed, the snow went on and on and on, quite relentlessly, for the rest of the day. Well, the weathermen had predicted it so I suppose we can’t complain.
So there was nothing for it but to light the fire and sit down and read the paper. My Phil had already been round the house draught-proofing every possible place. It’s quite difficult to do that in a house that’s well over a hundred years old; none of the walls are quite straight and consequently doors and windows need extra attention.
I spent some time looking at photos in online newspapers of other bits of Europe suffering under the cold spell. My favourite is probably this frozen fountain in Palencia in Spain.
By late evening the road was white over. It’s a good job we had invited friends round for a meal on Friday evening and not Saturday. They might not have got home at the end of Saturday evening.
My Phil and his chess-playing cronies were due to go off in a minibus this morning for a chess congress. There was some doubt about then going anywhere. In the end the minibus remained snowed-up in its car park but the intrepid chessmen set of in a number of cars. After they had gone I decided to go stomping around in the snow, taking yet more pictures of Saddleworth looking picturesque under the white stuff.
So I donned my cold weather gear: multi-layers of tights, socks, trousers, several sweaters, coat, hat and scarf – the usual routine. And, camera round my neck ,off I went. I love the squeak of fresh snow under your boots as you tramp along but walking uphill through it is a little like walking up sand hills: rather hard work! But it was worth the effort.
Toboggans abounded, as did small dogs with multicoloured coats on. The canal was frozen but something did appear to have walked on it, which seemed rather strange to me. Barges were frozen into the water, looking strangely marooned and abandoned. Now, I know for a fact that at least oneof these is occupied as I have seen smoke coming from its chimney.
In the park, just next to the children's playgrounds, some brave souls had rolled a huge snowball, standing nearly as tall as I am. No doubt it will still be there, slowly dwindling, for days, if not weeks, after the rest of the snow has gone.
Just near the museum, someone had built a very impressive snowman or possibly, looking at the face of it, a snowbear or snowcat. Now, I saw this at about 10.30 this morning. So who was out very early this morning making impressive snow creatures.
Maybe it was keeping on the move that did it but it didn’t seem as colquite d as the weathermen had predicted and there was a certain amount of thawing going on. I took a detour to see how a little cottage by the river looked in the snow. Very pretty was the answer. Not far from there I met an old chap who also commented on it being, as he put it, unseasonably mild. Mind you, he was shovelling snow off his path so that probably explains it.
During our chat he asked what my route had been and remarked on the views I would have seen before going on to say, “So long as they don’t manage to put up that ****** wind turbine!!” I’d been enjoying our chat so I chickened out of telling him that in fact I am pretty much in favour of wind farms. I know they’re rather noisy but, in their somewhat futuristic way, they look quite majestic to me.
There didn’t seem any point in upsetting the old chap though and so I kept quiet about that and said my goodbyes and returned home for a cup of tea and a bun.