The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Memories of snow


Photo: Snow January 2010

Photo: Snow January 2010

As long as I don’t have to drive in it, I love the snow. I still get excited when I see the first flakes falling. Snow conjures up so many memories, like the time ‘a bigger boy’ put a snow ball down my neck. I can still feel the dreadful chill as it slowly slid down beneath my vest and lodged in my waistband. Longing to rip off my snow suit and remove the chilly block but not wanting to look foolish I let it thaw against my skin.

At boarding school as a teenager when we got up at dawn to make a huge snowball. We blocked the drive so the teachers had to tramp up the mile to school. It took ten of us to roll it and they never discovered who was behind the dastardly plot.

And years ago when I went tobogganing on The Gallops with some friends who had an ancient traditional wooden toboggan that gradually fell to pieces over the course of the afternoon. We crammed on board – two adults and a child and Fly zipped into my jacket. The sun on the snow and the rush of air and the pleasure of being totally caught up in the moment.

The romance of a surprise fall of snow in London at the start of a new love affair.  We‘d gone to the movies just to be able to kiss and whisper in the dark and stepped out of the dark to a white bright world.

And driving back from London to my first country cottage on snowy nights when the flakes turned into white ribbons streaming out of the darkness towards my car.

Most of all snow reminds me of the scene in Doctor Zhivago where they escape to the house in the woods and everything inside is frosted and quite beautiful. Like a secret place in a timeless dream.

This afternoon it snowed heavily again. I put on my aunt’s old winter jacket pulled on some blue hand knitted gloves and opened the back door.  Feeling just five years old again I stepped into the snow silence of the garden.

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  1. raenbow

    I am so jealous of you all, much as the snow is a blight to travelling, I can’t help resorting to my 5 year old self when I see it, Snowballs, and snow angels!! My 5 year old said this morning he was going to marry an English woman and go and live in England when he grows up so he can play in the snow, he has never really seen snow ( or cant remember, as he was only 1 when we moved here!)Really pulled my heartstrings!!

    I just ate the first 3 tangerines from my tree though, so there are some compensations to a warmer clime!! Keep warm all!

  2. kate (uk)

    John-I’m in Marlow, usually High Wycombe gets the snow and we are spared, but this winter we have even more than they do! Friends from Wycombe who made it over here on Christmas Eve were astonished to discover we were more icy and snowy than they were. It is very beautiful, particularly in the sunshine this morning. Turquoise and gold,hardly white at all.Not venturing beyond the bird feeders, watching people sliding past ( we are on a steep slope) from a warm chair with the cat.

  3. eileen doody

    very pretty here in the Charente under a blanket of snow too – bti difficult to get out & about so time for warming food and the log burner going full blast. Have just fried up our first rasher of bacon made as per your instructions and it was MAGNIFICENT. Thankyou so much


  4. It seems the snow has everyone in a very romantic mood! I love reading all these blog posts around about their snowy encounters, thanks for yours 🙂

  5. I just adore reading your posts..

    The snow is thick here in Kent and I have some homemade soup on the stove and bread baking..

    I can see the river from my window and everyday the colour changes and its mood.

    Today it is sullen grey with swams in a huddle as the snow falls on its surface.


  6. John Westward

    Thanks FN and Danny for the e-card.

    Despite the terrible trouble this winter is causing me (my elderly mother lives in High Wycombe, the hills are cut off again, just as they were just before xmas…) just watching the snow fall and lay here in London was ‘mesmerising’. Last Sunday there was still pre-xmas snow all about around Mother’s.

    Where I am in London, the traffic today has been noticable by its absence (although major road works started Monday just down the road may also be responsible!).

  7. Isn’t it just wonderful?! It’s like a bit of magic, that muffles the noise of everyday business. When I put my hiking boots on yesterday morning to make my way to the shop (there was no way I was able to get on my bike as we had been hit over night, before the South got it), everyone seemed to be affected by the magic. Strangers seemed to be looking at each other and smiling, which doesn’t happen all that often in the anonymity of the big city as you probably know. It probably helped that a lot of them had an extra holiday due to not being able to get to work or businesses remaining closed, I like to think it was all just because of the beauty of the snow though.

  8. “enormous mesmerising flakes” – what a lovely turn of phrase, danast. So true.
    I cannot ever remember such a prolonged period of icy weather here in the east of England. Snowfall is usually melted and washed away with a few days. It is said that a cold snap kills off bugs and nasties in the soil. Let’s hope that is true of the evil black slugs that demolished half my potato crop this year!
    The warming effect of the Gulf Stream that washes up on the south west coast of Ireland meant that I am struggling to remember snow stories. Maybe if mys sis AG reads this from her “recovery suite” in Killarney she can jog my memory!

  9. I remember snowy years as a child too but my poor kids don’t remember that many and they hardly ever lasted more than a few days. It was really funny to see them when we were in Colorado with three foot of snow and them playing like little kids in it. It is magical, there is a an area outside our house that is so flat and crisp and looks so inviting to walk though it but then that would spoil it too.

  10. What a beatifully evocative and heart warming post. You have brought back countless memories, but it is essentially the peace that descends on the earth that is so wonderful.. I also remember one winter’s day in school showing a class of children “The Snowman” on video. When it was over, we opened the blinds to reveal heavy snow with enormous mesmerising flakes. The atmosphere and excitement in the classroom was unforgettable.

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