Friday, 9 March 2018

Notes on a snow Berkshire England snow Beast from the East sledge The Ridges
Outside our gaslight house, a snow
angel found her way home.
I was born and raised in a tropical country but my first taste of life abroad was in Norway and Finland (not to mention one semester in sunny Portugal to complete the joint scholarship degree), so even after nearly 11 years living in England it still shocks me how unprepared we are for snow. It's a bit embarrassing sometimes, but then mostly understandable. The rubbish bins weren't collected on the day because the same bin men were driving the gritting lorries. As we hardly have any snow, it would be funny to employ people to grit the roads and have them wait around till there is snow (once every four years in these parts, if they're lucky). If we invested on snowploughs, they'll just probably rust from disuse. But on those few days when snow comes, something that's nothing in countries that are used to it, here, schools and offices are closed, motorists get stranded, there is chaos everywhere.

In the news, I saw children skating on what was probably a frozen lake. It was black ice. If I recall, that's dangerous, you're not supposed to do that as black means the ice can break anytime. I guess they didn't know?! I remember my private tea and chat with the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and how he urged me to ski in Sognsvann as that lake freezes during winter. As a newbie in Oslo back then, I asked him, wouldn't that be dangerous? He assured me that it was safe to ski on Sognsvann. When I told a Brazilian classmate about this, she said, "this is Norway, if it's dangerous to do anything, you'll see a sign telling you so."

*** Berkshire England snow Beast from the East sledge The Ridges
M had so much fun sledging at The Ridges,
where her dad went sledging as a child.

I remember when we bought this traditional wooden sledge for M in 2013 after a snowy walk at The Ridges, when we saw the kids having so much fun on their sledges. And then it didn't snow the following year. I was having a chat with M's nursery teacher and complained about it. She said that her husband bought 10,000 sledges the previous winter to sell, and now they were all stored in some warehouse. Me and my one sledge, that shut me up. 

So the little girl had lots of fun sledging for the first time at The Ridges, where her dad went sledging as a child. There were steeper and more fun paths around the woods, but she was quite happy with this one that had a little bit of slope and a few bumps. 

We haven't had proper snow since 2013 so it was the first time we had used the wooden sledge! We'd just about gone out at the right time, by afternoon the sun had shone and most of the snow had melted. We didn't dare go out the previous day as there was still a snow storm. The snow was gone in places when we finally ventured out, but at least it was pleasant and not a cold, windy and horrible outing. Berkshire England snow Beast from the East sledge The RidgesI love the calmness in the woods after a snowfall. But for the first time I wasn't sad about snow ending, those few days were enough! It was time to get on with our lives.
Can't believe this photo (on the right) was from last Saturday, we had snow when all the supposedly colder places are already experiencing the first bout of spring. More worrying are the floods/rivers overflowing in some parts of the country as the snow thaws. That the climate is all messed up is not good, and worse that it isn't something new. My husband's birthday is towards the end of March and it also snowed on the day he was born.
*** Berkshire England snow Beast from the East Tod's Audrey Hepburn Mothering Sunday Berkshire England snow Beast from the East Tod's Audrey Hepburn Mothering Sunday
There were a few of these Audrey
Hepburn Tod's print ads that came
out in the 1990s, the one above was
the one I'd posted on my wall.
Our friendly neighbourhood UPS guy didn't fail me on a snowy day. Came by delivering my Mothering Sunday present straight from lovely Italy. Since Mothering Sunday was still days away, I told my husband, "Received the kids' present for me. Where is yours??" Tod's always makes me think of Audrey Hepburn on a bicycle with her dog - that picture was on my wall growing up (right photo).
Mike was away on those three snowy days for a
training/conference in good old (all together now) Birmingham, a two-hour drive away from our place (sorry, in my mind I'm trying so hard to pronounce the place as the locals do). I thought he'd be stranded. When he returned on Friday, the kids and I watched in horror from our window as he struggled to get the car up our snowy drive until he just gave up and left it parked on the street for the night.

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