Snow and sand. And… focus.

Oh Readers,

What a week it has been. I’m glad it’s over, that’s for sure. Fo’sho, if you will.

I now have three days off in which to recuperate and today, being the first, we have done little more than eat, catch up with some television programmes we’ve missed and doze. We’ve not been tempted outside because it started snowing just after 10 this morning and is still snowing as I start writing at quarter past 5. Luckily it hasn’t accumulated too much, although some areas in the country have had loads more than the UK is accustomed to having very often. That’s not to say that we never have heavy snow at this time of year, although to see some of the papers’ headlines you might think no one had ever experienced snow in March before. Weather experts, in attempt to redress the balance of hysterical, apocalyptic-style reporting, have pointed out that it is far more likely to snow at Easter than it is at Christmas and indeed I can remember many years ago, possibly before my brother was born, when my parents took us to stay with family friends in Derbyshire, a county a little further north and about as far inland as you can go in England, or the British mainland altogether, in fact. While we were there it snowed heavily and we went sledging! Somewhere there is photographic proof! Yet several years later we were photographed in our back garden at Easter in our swimming costumes because it was so warm! This time last year the UK was in the grip of a drought following an exceptionally dry winter, although the worries that brought were soon quashed when late spring brought heavy rain and some quite devastating floods.

Last night, for the first time in months, I took some natural sleeping tablets about an hour before going to bed. I did this in the knowledge that I had today off; I wouldn’t dare to do it if I was working because last time I used them I felt hungover for the whole of the next day. However, today I’ve felt okay and even refreshed. I didn’t sleep any longer than usual and I still woke up when I needed the loo (thank goodness) and when the dogs were restless, but I feel as though the sleep I did have was deeper than usual. Maybe I’ll take more tonight.

I’m trying not to think about the coming week when I’ve got more long shifts and instead look ahead to good things. In early May we’ll be making what has become our annual trip to Wales. We stay in a little coastal village called Fairbourne, on an estate of bungalows originally built as holiday homes but which people are now allowed to live in permanently, and to alter them from the rather unprepossessing little boxes that they used to be. Returning on an annual basis is always interesting as the estate develops slowly. Some people have great taste. Some people… notsomuch. 

Drew has been going there on holiday for years. In fact he and his parents would go twice a year! Although they used to rent another bungalow close to the entrance to the estate, and dallied with another, the one we’re going to stay in is where they mostly stayed. Drew’s Mum became very friendly with the woman who owns it so it’s nice that we’re keeping up the tradition. The only change we’ve made is to stay for a whole fortnight rather than two separate weeks. A week is great but having that longer period means we don’t feel so obliged to cram loads of things in. Some days we don’t leave the village and just take the dogs for a long walk around the place. The beach is a few minutes’ walk away from the bungalow.

This part of Wales has spectacularly beautiful beaches. Acres of sand looking out over an expanse of sea, and because we go outside the school holiday period those beaches are virtually deserted. Drive inland and within minutes you are surrounded by wonderful scenery and more places to walk the dogs than seems possible. This is helped by the closing of many railway lines throughout Wales, many of which have become cycling and walking trails stretching for miles. The one we love runs along the Mawddach Estuary and is so flat that last year we were overtaken by a woman in a disabled buggy. (Mind you, we kept catching her up and passing her because she stopped several times to have a ciggie.) We walked the dogs for three hours along part of the trail, an hour and a half one way and then back to the car. The dogs slept like logs that night. I think we did, too.

Sometimes the weather can be a bit dodgy, but that’s the chance you take for going in the springtime. I know I don’t care, really. I quite like walking in the rain, though I’m not sure the dogs do.

So I’m trying to focus on the fact that this is only just over a month away. More than ever it’ll be bliss to be there, far away from work, for a fortnight.

We’re also hoping to get to see the Pompeii exhibition at the British Museum. Hopefully we’ll be able to get up to London again in July, when (I think) I have another week off. 

So focus, focus, focus on the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Snow snaps.

Hello Dear Readers,

It seems that the extreme weather (British Standard) is abating around my neck of the woods. For now, at least, the temperature is peaking above zero during the daylight hours and there has been no more snowfall since a rather pathetic attempt yesterday afternoon when the clouds sprinkled what looked like miniscule polystyrene balls on to the pavements. We were able to take the dogs for a walk for the first time in four days, thank goodness. They were beginning to get a bit naughty with all that pent-up energy bursting out of them. Tonight they are a great deal less boisterous than they have been. 

The pavements range between being completely clear where the sun has got to them, through horribly slippery with nasty grey and brown slush or crunchy with compacted snow. This combination makes walking when you’re being pulled by a small but eager dog rather a challenge at times, particularly on steep slopes. However the four of us, myself, Drew and the dogs, reached home with our limbs and dignity intact and a sense of satisfaction in having some exercise.

I, of course, have been going in to work as usual. It’s an advantage to living so close to work, not having to drive on untreated roads like some of my friends have had to. Quite a few of them live out in the countryside and came in late even after setting off early due to the snow which had built up over night – the main roads were clear and fine, the trouble was in negotiating the streets in the villages in which they live! Because of the century or so of re-surfacing work the camber of the road is now quite extreme, which isn’t a problem in dry conditions, but with several inches of snow on the surface have then been frozen over it’s impossible to manoeuvre a heavy vehicle out of a small space. They gave up in the end and set off on foot. Hopefully they didn’t have to go very far. 

I took these photos above at about 20 to 7 in the morning as I walked to work. This was the morning before it snowed very hard for several hours.

This photo was taken at about 3.15 in the afternoon on my way home. It was snowing very lightly, which doesn’t really show up. (This isn’t my street, although it’s not far away. These are rather nice, big Victorian villas which look rather attractive in the snow.)

I’ve done nothing but eat during this cold spell. Not good for my diet and my attempt to shift the weight gained over the run up to Christmas. I crave bread, potatoes and all sorts of carb-heavy things and I assume this is my animal instinct to bulk up the layers of fat in case the cold is here to stay or a while. Bread products are my downfall and I love nothing more than a thicl slice of white bread which has been toasted and covered in butter. Well, we don’t have butter anymore now that I have to watch my cholestrol levels, but we do have a very nice buttery margarine which does very nicely as a substitute. Perhaps when the thaw comes I’ll suddenly crave fruit and salad. Hope so. And hopefully the effort it takes to walk on the snow burns more calories off than usual.

I’m back to work tomorrow on the early shift having had today off, then again on Thursday and finally on Friday I’m doing a “pool” shift to fill a space, but that only lasts until 1 o’clock (extra money though.) From Saturday onwards I’ve got a week’s holiday!! Much as I like snow it would be nice to have weather good enough to be able to go out and about a bit.

Right, time for bed. Got to be up at 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow In The Afternoon

Hello, Dear Readers.

Well, yesterday afternoon we finally had the snow that the weather forecasters have been warning us about for a week or so. Parts of the country have had at least ONE WHOLE FOOT of snow and we got…. about one centimetre, if that.

Boo.

I like snow, you see.

In fact I like extreme weather conditions (extreme by British standards, that is) because you cannot help but be reminded how no matter how thoroughly humans might surround themselves with technology there is no escaping the machinations of Mother Nature. My parents were always amused by the way my usual reluctance to leave the house would vanish if there was a thunderstorm, gale force winds, fog or snow. And I’m still like that; I love nothing more than leaving the house at 6.30 in the morning when the fog has come down or if it’s belting down with rain or when a ton of snow has been deposited overnight. I should point out here that I’m equally as happy to walk to work of a morning during the summer when the sun is already out and the air has yet to be tinged with the smell of petrol from the morning traffic.

By mid-morning yesterday’s snow had vanished where the sun had hit it, just clinging to the roofs of the houses opposite and the bonnets, roofs and boots of the cars still in the shade. What an anti-climax. I felt sorry for the child I heard yesterday saying to her Mum that she was going to use left-over Christmas wishes to wish for there to lots and lots of snow while she was asleep so that she could make a snowman. She must have gone eagerly to her window this morning hoping to see a winter wonderland and instead been confronted with a damp, slushy disappointment. However at about half two this afternoon I looked up and noticed that it was snowing quite hard and this time it was laying. I found my camera and took some photos out of the windows. Lola followed me upstairs and sat on the bed looking at the snow falling through the blind.

Our car (it’s actually more of a terracotta colour than this photograph shows.)

The view down the street.

Our cold car, Fennella the Ford Fusion.

Lola watches the snow intently.

 

There is a video of her grumbling away and eventually barking at the snow, but I can’t get Xanga to upload it, which is really annoying.

There will probably be more snow overnight although I’m not sure how much. I’m on the early shift tomorrow which means I shall be up at 5am and leaving the house at 6.30 when it will still be cold and icy! By then there will be frost and freezing fog as well as the new snowfall. I’d better attach the crampon thingies to my trainers before setting off (and hope I get to work still wearing both of them, unlike last year when I arrived at work walking rather lop-sidedly.) It could be an eventful trek.

 

 

 

 

Bashing The Beeb.

Hello.

At the time of writing the BBC has received over 10,000 complaints over the Jonathon Ross/Russell Brand
hoo-ha. I’m not what you consider a fan of either man by any means,
although I used to watch Ross on Channel 4 back in the Eighties and
Brand has made me laugh on occasion, and I do consider what
they did puerile (and the fact that it was sanctioned as fit for
broadcast is at best questionable) but it annoys me that the usual
subjects have taken the
opportunity to leap on the “let’s bash the Beeb” bandwagon.

Naturally
the Daily Mail, the daily tabloid which keeps the ill-informed of
Britain gnashing their teeth over immigrants, gays, terrorists and
over-paid BBC presenters, took the story to their hearts and ran with
it. In particular the columnist Melanie Phillips,
someone I personally find objectionable whenever I hear her on the
radio, wrote a piece ripping into Ross and Brand and went on to rip the
BBC to shreds. Naturally this got under my skin, so I took the
opportunity to remark in the comments section that I presumed she would
no longer wish to receive payment from the “Boorish Broadcasting
Company” (her words) that she detested so much since surely to do so
would be hypocritical. Sadly for me any comments submitted are vetted
before appearing on the website. Surprise, surprise – mine didn’t
appear, although some that didn’t agree with her stance did make it.

I didn’t really expect that my words would see the light of day. The Mail is preaching to the paranoid
converted after all (isn’t any paper of whatever political hue?) so
they were hardly likely to let some faceless left-winger have a public
voice.

In other news it was bloody cold yesterday – even I
wore a coat on the way to and from work and asked to put the heaters on
at work, something I hardly ever do. I’d have liked it to snow, but
while some parts of the eastern region did get quite a bit of the white
stuff we remained dry and mostly sunny. Today looks like it’s going to
be much the same.

I keep having dreams about not being able
to find Drew; although I can glimpse him in the distance he is never
there when I reach that place. Anxiety about his forthcoming prolonged
absence, methinks. I also dreamed very vividly about a friend who moved
to Australia in the 70s and whom I have only seen once since. That was
unexpected.

A quick blast of ABBA to cheer me up, shower and then work.