{04/02/2012}   Snow, The Joy of

Sledges, snowmen, attempts at making an igloo, enormous snow balls, laughing, snow angels … I absolutely love snow.  Of course, in my ideal snowy world I wouldn’t have to go anywhere non-play, I wouldn’t have to deal with wet boots/wellies and there would be no slush/brown snow.   There’s not enough snow this morning for full-on snow action, but who knows what tomorrow will bring!

My dad grew up in Latvia and in winter would skate to school across a lake or ski.  When he came to the UK, he would ski in the Alps and in his one box of pre-mum belongings, he had photos of him on ski slopes and ski medals.  I grew up believing I would inherit my dad’s ability to skate and ski.  Naturally, intuitively.  So did I?  Did I heck!

Skiing disappointed me.  I went twice in Japan, no lessons.  I had two of the most hilarious, Carry On esque holidays imaginable and I loved being outside surrounded by mountains and snow.  But I can’t ski and it scares me.

Four years ago I went to Finnish Lapland for a week’s snowy adventures.  I tried snowmobiling (a tad too much of an adrenaline rush, in fact downright lethal, but largely fun), reindeer and sleigh riding (-20 that day, eyes almost froze shut, reindeer are blatantly wild and very fast), husky sledding (very, very fast, it made me retch when they pooed -think about it – and challenging; something I would love to do again), snow shoe, er, walking (unbelievably hard to get anywhere and incredibly dull), ice fishing (bitterly, excruciatingly cold activity, but the reward of Heather catching a fish we then ate after it was cooked on a fire made it worthwhile) and cross-country skiing (the best sporting activity ever: snow, full-on cardio exercise, challenging on the flat, nearly impossible up hill and un-stoppable going down hill when your skis are in the grooves, ie crouch-down-whippet-fast).

On a less adventurous level, snow covers otherwise ugly or bland things in a beautiful sparkly blanket and creates a wonderland, the stuff of favourite children’s stories, the stuff of magic.

Two years ago, I was living in a house on the beach in Seasalter near Whitstable, from where the photo was taken.  It snowed so much that a friend and I got snowed in.  We took lots of snow jumping photos and made a snowman with seaweed, pebble and shell accessories (seaweed is great for dreadlocks!).  Without doubt, those few days will remain as favourite memories.

Many, many years ago, a friend and I who lived opposite each other (maybe aged 11ish) met up to play in the exceptionally deep snow that year.  As I remember it, we made a snowball half my height, which we couldn’t roll once it got too big and heavy, we tried to make an igloo but the building of snow bricks was just too laborious when we began to realise the enormity of the undertaking.  We then went sledding.  In a blizzard.  I remember my parents having been very worried while we were out.  I remember it being painfully cold but we were children of the Antarctic and carried on taking it in turns to pull the sledge (I wonder if this is how Carolyn remembers this?!) in a most heroic fashion.

I also remember the hill at the back of The Landway.  And the palings fence at the bottom.  And the stream beyond that.  Crash carnage!

While studying at Ol’ Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, there was a freak snow storm whereby the thick snow froze so we went sledging on ice, except we had trays rather than sleds so it was all very exciting.

These are just a tiny number of happy snow memories.  Another great thing about them is that they were all made even better by the presence of friends.  So, in no particular order, thank you Heather, Carolyn, Fiona, Nicky, Catherine P, Angela, Carla and my parents, and everyone else who doesn’t feature in these snowy tales but still have a place in my beloved snowy memories!


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