Another beautiful snow day
Naoise giggles in his sleep and he is hot as a water bottle. I leave the comfort and warmth of a womb bed two duvets high. Outside the half moominland still exists, there is an inch of snow on the cars and slush on the roads.
The snow fell. It fell first as a blizzard of medium flakes, later smaller balls of hail, later still a greying ominous sky and more snow. Snow perfectly timed for the weekend. Mum said when she was a child she liked it to fall thick and big first then small and light. The big flakes would make it stick the small flakes would make it stay.
Syd is a bit annoyed that it is snowing and that he won’t get to play in it today as he is going to his dad’s house. Its warmer in Manchester and flat and the snow rarely falls or sticks.” If its there on Monday can we go and sledge after school” he asks.” Of cause”, I reply.
Snow curls up, slumps down and forms and forms scrolling blankets on the windscreen of the car.
I am reading Tove Jansson’s A winter book. Its beautifully simply written prose of life in Finland, I pass it to my mum, she would like it, a good one to read in the North of Scotland I say. Its her birthday coming up, she loved the wade jug present but its good to line up a present that can be carried in the post to arrive on her actual birthday. She loves it. She loves the words. She wants to borrow it. It will become her gift.
The snow is thick. It is good to be inside and warm and sitting on the sofa and relaxing. My mum makes me feel more relaxed. I can take things easy. A house with three adults and two children, more than enough care and attention to go around. I make my mum some porridge with cinnamon. I don’t burn the porridge. She likes it, but she is not impressed with almond butter on corn crackers. Its the texture that is upsetting her, the nut butter tends to stick on the roof of your mouth. Its just so nice to have her here sat at the table eating breakfast with me. She does’nt have to say anything to please me, though I love her conversation, its just her presence that I enjoy.
I question her about what she did when they were without electricity for four days in their house on the far north of Scotland. “It was so so cold”, she said and “so so dark, there were candles and more candles, there was a fire and it took forty five minutes to heat up enough water to make tea. Tea is necessary. Tea is important. I cooked fish and chicken on the fire. All the food had defrosted, it was awful to have to throw it away. The roof at the back of the house is damaged. I need to sought that. All we did with our time all we did was survive. When it was too cold we just went to bed”.
There are no street lights, no other houses within sight of my parents home. There is nothing, but heather and gorse and bog grass and water and mud and birds, sheep, cattle and deer, weasels, and maybe a wild cat somewhere. There is a ridge of mountains and then the sound of the sea. You cannot see the sea but you can hear it crashing on the rocks. When the wind blows, it blows fierce and strong. It is better to stay inside. Clothes dry in the wind rather than the warmth of the sun. Clothes flap and dance and tangle on the line.
It is dark. It is so dark at night. When I slept in the upstairs room over the summer, I woke and had a panic attack. It was so dark, I thought that I had died. A black hole of darkness. I needed the loo and I stumbled and cried and found myself in the corner of the room trapped in the clothes rack battling my way out.
After Syd and Mum have departed I leave for my daily walk up the Pexwood Road. I am delighted to be walking out in the snow. It feels so lovely under my feet. In places I am the first to tread. I climb the hill, I stop at the black clothes pegs hanging on a line. The lights from Naoise school are all off. The snow picks out the buildings and houses in the valley below. The cat who usually greets me is not here. Perhaps her paws don’t like the cold of the snow.
Up and up and around and around the road bends. The town looks like a toy below. The cars are quieter as I reach higher. I pass the house where the dog sits in the garage next to the washing machine. A black labrador. It must be getting used to me passing as it no longer barks.
One jeep vehicle passes me on the road. There is no grit and the road is slippery. Where the tires meet the snow and the tarmac it becomes compacted. I take care with my steps.
I listen to the wit ooh wit ooh, eeep, eeep, eeep, wit ooh wit ooh, eeep, eeep, deep. Despite the cold and the snow the birds seem happy and chatty and active.
Back at the breakfast table, me and my mum watched a flock of starlings pass. All black. There little darting bodies, sweeping fast, past and past, hundreds of them swarming and sweeping. Starlings stay for the winter.
A couple of mountain bikers pass, a father and his son, they are friendly and say hello. After I filmed the two swings a couple, a man and a woman, walkers with maps in plastic cases tied around their necks pass me, they are not friendly and even when I say hello, they do not answer back. How rude and arrogant. Just off the train from the city, I am pleased when they choose a different path from myself. I stop at the gate, all the grass is covered in snow, and the sheep look hungry, they will have to wait on the farmer and his hay.
All is white and all is lovely, but it is cold. I stop again to film myself and the track. The snow and the sun is blinding. The snow falls and I struggle to see the time passing on the camera. I am glad that I am done and return quickly home down hill. No herron in the pond.
We eat yesterdays carrot soup for lunch. Naoise is not interested in healthy food he just wants to eat chocolate. Seems as if the christmas diet is extending into the new year. I bought a bargain box of chocolates for the boys on Friday and they have been working there way steadily through each delight ever since. Chocolate for breakfast, dinner and tea. It is torturous to have in the house whilst I am trying to refine and reduce my eating habits. I can smell the chocolate and my mouth waters.
Patrick goes out for his walk.
I play with Naoise. We play marble run and spinning tops and hide and seek. Hide and seek is the best. So exciting. My heart races when I hide. After a play we just lie down for a while and look out of the window.
Later I cook vegetable casserole with cheesy dumplings. I had been wanting to make this for days, ever since G had mentioned she had made one when we were talking in the playground after school. Such a warm of a glow of a comfort food. I love how the dumplings soak up all the yummiest of the sauce.
Later still we watch a film called Love about a lonesome man trapped in the international space station. He has lost all communications with ground control. The most moving scene is watching him, watching the earth and all the lights go out and all the lights never come on again. All is dark.
A thud and small feet, Naoise awake and so I have to stop. The buzzer on the oven is soon to sound.