Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's such a beautiful day today. The sky is a bright pastel blue with fluffy white clouds, just like the beginning of the Simpsons. The snowdrops are out, the crocus are through and shiny green leaves are growing in our terracotta pots. It looks as though it may be the calm before the storm, however, with storms and snowfall predicted for the end of the week.

Apart from a brief flurry last year, my children have begun to suspect that all predictions of snow are lying or mistaken, at least for our part of London. For years they brought out our two sledges and polished the runners when there were forecasts of snow... and for years the sledges went back into storage, their runners still pristine and shiny.

We see the snowfalls in other parts of the country, watch the news bulletins with roads clogged by skidding cars, or lorries stuck in snowdrifts, but generally the most we can expect are a few flurries and then wet pavements underfoot. I'm sure I am going to get to the age where this is a blessing... but they aren't ready for that yet.

It's the reason why, having promised my daughter faithfully that I would wake her up if there ever looked like a chance of snow settling, I found myself on a walk through Uxbridge at about 4am on the one day last February when, for a short while, snow settled in any quantity. If the snow settles here over the weekend, I shall no doubt find myself on a similar walk.

It's easy to moan and complain about the cold and the snow, but there is something very special about going out into a world made new by the white covering, making new footprints, and having those disappear as new snow falls on old.

There is something magical about the way that the sound is deadened, and things seem quiet and still under new snowfall. I still remember the winter of 62/63 with the heavy snowfall, and I have pictures of myself returning from a walk with my grandmother after particularly heavy snow. I remember going for a walk around the Green at Croxley Green, and falling into ditches where the snow was deeper than me. I had a wonderful time, aged about four, though I remember getting very cold and wishing that I could be warm and out in the snow.