Off we go…

That’s right. The crocus bulbs are flowering and the weather girl this morning said it would get cold again next week, with a chance of snow.

We’re out of here for a week or two. May it please be sunny by the time we get back?


‘Sno more

I don’t want to jinx things here, but I think that the snow might be over. On Valentine’s Day, we celebrated in typical non-mushy style by having lunch with some friends and their very (very) cute three-month-old. It made such a change to put on waterproofs instead of down parkas and fleeces to go for a walk along the Thames.

In fact, there are little crocus bulbs poking their way up in the garden. They will probably come in to flower just as we leave for our trip to Thailand. That’s right, if the sun won’t come to us, we’re going to have to go and find the sun.

On Stoats and Snow

Oh you have to check out this. It’s fantastic.
Turns out I’m not the only one who’s gone a little crazy with all this bad weather.

On the way back from church on Sunday morning I came back through the little green by the train station. It was really busy; full of buggies and youngsters playing ball. One family caught my attention in particular. The little boy can only have been about three, he was unsteady on his legs and although he kicked the ball nine times out of ten, he was unable in any way to give it a direction.

It was lovely to watch, but then I noticed poor old dad. He stood, head in hands, waiting for the ball to be kicked. Then he watched it trickle away to his left. With a speed which must have seemed excruciatingly slow to the little boy, he shambled over to the ball. Delivering it back to the eager face, wrapped up in plenty of layers; he began the process all over again.

Poor dad flinched every time he was called, and I would make a cliched guess that his slow Sunday morning game was directly related to a Saturday afternoon spent watching the six nations with beer and a bag of crisps in hand.

Luckily, I was feeling fine, although I enjoyed my Saturday afternoon in the pub watching the rugby. It made a change to watch a big sporting match in the afternoon, rather than at 9am. It was always fun to watch football or rugby over breakfast in Chicago, but there is something very comforting about watching after lunch, and about being able to phone people in the same time zone to rehash the match. Not that that would be any comfort to hangover dad.

This bad spell of weather has given me the opportunity to take out my big bad walking boots. I had to dig them out of the hall closet, as there’s not much call for two inch tread patterns when the only terrain is pavements and parks.


As I walked to the shops this afternoon, I realised that these boots are ten years old this month. I bought them in January of 1999 to take with me for a six month spell in the Slovak Republic. I used them there, walking in thick cold snow on pavements in the capital, Bratislava, and wore them on various trains travelling around Central Europe. They were too heavy to pack in my bag, so they had to be worn.

Then they went into hibernation for a while. They just had little trips over the hills in Derbyshire. Occasionally they took some fresh air in rural Devon, or on a beach in Bournemouth.

Three years in Chicago gave them more snow to trudge through. It’s when the initial snow melts and it gets sludgy or icy that they come into their own. And yesterday, when the pavements were resembling sheet ice they were a lot safer than any other footwear. I had a few wobbles, but I got through the day unscathed, if a little cold-footed.

It’s quite nice to recall that my trusty boots have been with me through some pretty interesting travels. This month London, next month…

It's so pretty. Why would no one want to eat here?

It's so pretty. Why would no one want to eat here?

I love to cook, bake, and generally provide food for anyone I can drag in off the street. Monday’s snow-day, for example, resulted in a batch of soup, a dozen fairy-cakes, a fancy salmon fish pie and the beginnings of clementine marmalade. However, all that effort is only partly worth it if there’s no one there to eat and (hopefully) enjoy.

Which is why I was a little bit offended when the fancy breakfast I made on Monday morning wasn’t touched by those invited. In fact, in that cliched nightmare of party-givers everywhere, no one even showed up.

If you stand in the snow, fiddling with bits of string, nut feeders, and expensive-looking fat balls, then someone should at least turn up. If you go out in your boots and fleece to crack the ice and provide water, someone should offer up a song of thanks surely?

No one, not a single sparrow, came to visit the bird table for the next two days.

I listened to an ‘expert’ on the radio last week talking about what you should feed the birds, how, where, and when. His most important point was that once you start you should keep going regularly as the birds start to depend on you. So, we cleared a path across the patio and I brushed several inches of snow off the table. Do you think someone is offering a better choice next door?