Friday, 9 February 2018

Let it Snow!

On Tuesday morning I was awake early. I haven't been sleeping well this week so at 5.30am I crept downstairs, being careful not to disturb anyone. I remembered the overnight weather forecast had been for snow, so I excitedly peered through the blinds in anticipation of at least seeing a light covering of the white stuff over the garden, only to be bitterly disappointed - nothing, not one flake! Complaining and grumbling to myself (a bit like a small child) about it not being fair, I tip-toed into the kitchen to make coffee. Not quite resigned to having a snow free day I kept checking through the window - still nothing. Thinking back now, I'm surprised I wasn't stamping my feet in indignation, that's how let down I felt.
I finished my drink and set about my usual morning routine, when I happened to glance towards the outside light, and there they were, a few very light flakes, but yes, it was definitely snowing! I tried to contain my excitement as I have been here so many times before, a few promising flakes which come to nothing. It wasn't settling on the path, only on the grass, so as the  forecast had been for light snow maybe this was all we could expect, and I was at least grateful the roads were OK for the morning school run.
It wasn't long before Lily was awake and we busied ourselves with breakfast, making up lunch and school preparations, although once Lily realised it was snowing her nose was firmly pushed up against the window. It was still dark outside so it was difficult to see what the weather had in store. At times it looked as though the snow had stopped, only for it to then start falling even thicker and faster than before.
It was definitely a hat, scarf and gloves morning, and in the light of day, as we set off for school the heavy grey sky gave a clear indication that the snow would be falling for a good while longer. The children were buzzing with excitement and with the promise of going out to play immediately after morning assembly, it promised to be a fun day for them.

Determined not to miss out myself, as soon as I returned home I put on my waterproof trousers and boots and set off for a walk. The housework would wait, not knowing how long it would be sticking around for I was instead going to indulge my love of snow. The roads and lanes were quiet - the snowfall muffling any sound and there was very little in the way of traffic, except for some quad bikes delivering hay to the sheep and the creaking of the snow beneath my boots. The snow was still falling and I had to keep shaking it from my hat and jacket. There is something quite magical about a snow covered landscape and while I took some photographs on the narrow lane, the world suddenly became silent and still.

If there is one thing I love more than wintry tree silhouettes against the sky, then it's wintry trees with snow covered branches. So pretty!

At around midday the snowfall dwindled, then eventually stopped, and the heavy grey sky gave way to a brighter afternoon. The following day the sun came out once  again and the magical landscape gently melted away. It was possibly the last snowfall we will see this Winter, which makes me a little sad, but the seasons are moving on and I am beginning to look ahead towards some warmer Spring days.  
J. X


Friday, 2 February 2018

A Good Start

January, you have been kind.
In contrast to the beginning of the previous few years (which, quite truthfully, have been pretty rotten for me) this last month has been really quite lovely. Never usually a fan of cold, dark days anyway, I had also begun to dread the start of each year by dwelling on past events.
This time, as I've mentioned previously, I was determined it would be different and I am happy to say it has been.

In January I often feel dictated to by the weather, and yes, there have been some miserable, wet and windy days, but the sunny ones have been glorious. Even when it has been raining, when I would usually have dismissed the idea of going outside, I have put on my waterproofs and made an effort. I may have needed a bit of arm twisting now and again but have been thankful for it, returning home feeling all the better for a good walk and some fresh air. I am being mindful to eat well  and fit in more time to exercise and I am beginning to really notice a difference in how I feel. Going to bed early and reading my book, fresh flowers on the mantel, taking a bit of time for myself (still working on not feeling guilty about this one) and not quite putting myself first (Lily might have something to say about that one!) but somewhere 'up there' at least,  are all helping me to maintain a positive state of mind.
The lighter mornings and evenings, and seeing the signs of Spring all around are a gentle reminder that the dark days are starting to lessen, although, for once,  I'm in no hurry to see the back of them, instead I am still enjoying the cosy evenings at home. All in good time.

Last week we bunked off school! Not really, but it felt a little bit naughty. Poor Lily had been  unwell the previous day so rather than send her to spend the day in a stuffy classroom with the strong possibility of having to collect her early, I thought it would be better spent getting some fresh air followed by a proper rest. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and cold, but we wrapped up well and traipsed through the fields to the woods which we were delighted to find full of snowdrops. It felt a little indulgent, but I also felt a lot better myself, having had a restless night with little sleep. An unscheduled day of togetherness was also a treat.

On Sunday we went for a walk down by the sea. Something we've not done for a while. It was a dull, overcast day and everything just looked grey. The wind was bracing and, of course, I had left my gloves at home, so my hands were icy cold. But then not much beats the pleasure of returning home to a toasty warm house and a mug of steaming hot tea, and as the weather looks like it's going to be staying cold for a while longer I'm happy to keep making the most of it.
A good start to the year. Long may it last.
J. X

Monday, 22 January 2018


Just as Mother Nature is beginning to hint at all things 'Spring', Winter is reminding us we are still firmly within its grasp. During this last week we've had wind, rain, hail, snow, ice and sunshine. The one constant is that is has been bitterly cold. We are now  approaching the end of the first month of the year and so far it's been all good. Quiet and uneventful, but I like that. No plans or commitments, it's quite liberating. We've settled back into the Monday-Friday routine again and at the weekend, when Lily isn't attending yet another birthday party (seriously, how many invitations!?) we've been out walking. It has been really quite lovely, a little bit like an extended New Year break.
You see, this whole weekend business is quite new to us. Previous employment in retail and healthcare have meant weekends weren't really a thing, just the same with Bank Holidays. But since the end of last year it has all changed and we're making the most of it. Initially, strange as it may seem, it actually took a bit of getting used to but I think we've found our feet and settled into this new work/life balance pretty well.

Usually in January I have found myself wishing my time away, longing for Spring and some warmer weather. The lull after Christmas and the often dark, dreary days can lend themselves to me feeling low and inactive. More recently, however, I'm trying much harder to enjoy these chilly days and making a positive effort to look after my wellbeing. Thankfully, it seems to be working, although unfortunately, due to the weather conditions the running group hasn't been on for the last two weeks, but I've managed to get out on my own when it has been safe to do so. I've been for a gentle run along the lanes this morning which felt good.  It is my mission to finally get fit this year and some health problems within my family have reinforced my need to be more proactive about this.

Last weekend we went to Keswick. The snowy landscape was beautiful and the still air meant that we didn't feel too cold. We walked up Walla Crag on the eastern shores of Derwent Water and following a gentle climb to the top, the sun came out and we were met with some gorgeous views. After a picnic lunch at the summit (along with a hopeful crow), we carefully made our descent down at the steep  southern end of the Crag and meandered our way along the lake shore back towards the town, stopping briefly to take in the views and throw a few stones into the lake (as you do).

I'm finding that as long as I am wrapped up nice and warm, there is so much joy to be had in these cold Winter days. A joy, which previously in my yearning for some warm Spring air, I have been too stubborn to appreciate until now.
J. X