Z drifts

The thing is, a good snowfall cuts us off completely. It’s marvellous. We have a long drive with fields on both sides and a bank and hedge on the northwestern side. If there is any wind at all when it snows, the snow hits the hedge and falls on the drive. Always. Sometimes, there is an inch or so of snow on the road and a foot or more in our drive. Indeed, on occasion, a drift can be higher than my head. On one occasion, five or six years ago, the wind blew so strongly that the roads and even the gardens were completely clear. Not our drive. I have a memory of our friends Stuart and Caroline walking down the road, stopping at the end of the drive and falling about with laughter at the sight of us shovelling three feet of snow to the side. They literally had to hold each other up.

Now, you might think that this would put me off snow, but it’s exactly the opposite. I love it. I enjoy knowing that, until we get out shovels and dig our way down 100 yards to the road, we are stuck with Shanks’ Pony. We fetch out the sledge and trudge into town, load up our shopping onto the sledge and plod home again. One year, we delivered Meals on Wheels by sledge – although the council-run old people’s home in the village was still open then and provided the meals; we couldn’t have brought them back from Yagnub as they would have got cold. We wrapped, in any case, the insulated box in blankets to keep it as warm as we could.

My late lamented red setter, Chester, loved snow. He used to dig tunnels and almost disappear in them. When he emerged, the hair between his toes and the feathers on his legs were clagged with balls of ice and I had to tease them out, so that he wouldn’t pull them off himself to melt on the fireside rug or the sofa.

Our garden is almost entirely flat, but there is one large dip on one field, where gravel was extracted some time in the past. This is quite satisfactory for sledging if you don’t know better, and we find it vastly entertaining. And then, of course, there’s the snowman. No winter can be complete if I have not built a snowman. Sometimes, there’s a whole snowfamily, including the snowdog, but usually it’s just one chap, his height determined by the depth of snow to call on. For we rarely receive much, and it usually only stays a day or two, nowadays. For the last two years I haven’t built a snowman at all.

There is another reason to enjoy snow, and that is the extra light it gives on a winter’s day. I don’t suffer from SAD, I don’t think – that is, I don’t become depressed or exhausted. But I do want a lot more sleep when the days are short: since I don’t go to bed any earlier, this means that I tend to get up a bit late if I can get away with it. However, when it has snowed all night and the sun is shining on a clear cold morning, I’m full of energy. Those of you accustomed to seeing me with my feet up, or at least leaning on the nearest wall would hardly know me. I run around, pinkly vigorous in my woolly layers, chortling happily at my lack of aim with snowballs, energetically scooping up shovelfuls of snow to clear a track for the postman to call, not heeding the twinges of a startled back as I heave a great armful of snow for the snowman’s head.

20 comments on “Z drifts

  1. Z

    I appreciate, of course, that most people have more pressing concerns, like getting places, and that my take on it is extremely childish – but there we go.

  2. Jayne

    Hey, your take is my take. Plus who cares about not getting places? That’s a bonus in my book.

    We didn’t get a single flake.


  3. Z

    It’s great, being snowed in with nothing to do except read by the fire, when you’re tired of playing in the snow. It’s such a rarity, one should just relax and enjoy it.

    Maybe next week?

  4. Gledwood

    Hello Me Dear

    I used to live in Norwich for about 4 years.

    It was a wonderful Town

    sorry “City”

    you said you are outside… you’re not in Beccles and Bungay are you?

    I used to work at ECN newspapers (you know the big building on the top of that hill that has the temp in degrees centigrade displayed in bright orange… near an entrance to Castle Mall…)

    Yeah Norwich rocks

    I love your eye btw

    is it your real eye?

    my eyes look a bit like that

    which means I have to say your eye is specially pretty



    take it easy and have a great 2008

  5. Z

    Good evening, Gledwood, and welcome to the Razor-blade.

    Yes, it is my actual left eye and it is green edged in grey. People have been known to stare. Together, we could stop traffic.

    Norwich is indeed a ‘Fine’ city and you are right, I live on the Norfolk side of Bungay.

  6. martina

    A photograph of your house with all the snow about would be very nice to see. It sounds so cozy and comfortable!

  7. Dave

    Here on the coast we haven’t had snow enough for sledging (so the toyshop owner says, as he optimistically puts sledges in his winter window every year) for ten years now. That’s global warming for you.

    And the coastal climate, of course.

    I suspect things may be more productive, snow-wise, when I move to Derbyshire.

  8. Z

    Of course, I set my standards by 1963. You wouldn’t remember the winter of ’63, of course.

    I remember, also, 22 years ago, when we lived in Lowestoft and there was snow all down the cliff and the beach. My husband let my children sledge down the steep cliff and I was appalled when I found out.

  9. Dave

    Having read my blog this morning, you will know that I do indeed remember 1963.

    I was in Lincolnshire 22 years ago. I remember walking to work (in full outdoor gear, including my ice-axe). I was one of two people (out of 30+) to make it in to our office.

  10. How do we know

    Z, you do make me think of snow as a nice thing. Here, in this tropical country, snow is not like that.. but the way u put it, hmm… only u can draw such wonderfully warm pictures out of cold snow!

    I do have SAD, i think, because every Jan-March, i m totally depressed in life. It usually gets better later.

  11. Cinn

    Sounds like you have some great memories with snow. I lived where it snowed for two years during high school and loved it. I miss the mountains and the snow. Here, it’s in the mid-50’s during wintertime. Doesn’t quite make for those lovely wintertime memories.

  12. Z

    Yes, Dave – I can’t help thinking of you as in your thirties, but you just appear that much younger than I, of course.

    HDWK, I remember when I was in Dehradun (six years ago next month) for a wedding reception and word came through that there was snow locally. All the guests from Chennai hurried off to see it, for many of them it was the first time.

    Hello, Cinn, and welcome. When I read your post saying it’s unseasonably cold at 35 F, I misread it as 35 C and thought you were being ironic!

  13. sablonneuse

    Oh yes, you’ve brought back memories of real snow – like the time the car did a 180degree turn in the (quiet, country) road on the way back from school. The children were thrilled.
    “Oh, can you do that again Mum?” asked my son.
    Then there was the time we were sliding carefully down the hill towards Shotesham, with me praying another vehicle wouldn’t come towards us. Of course, one did and we had a very near miss. Those were the days . . . . .

  14. The Boy

    Back when I lived in Calgary I had a place out in the country and would get snowed in a couple times a year (not as much as you might think, but that’s because it takes a *whole* lot of snow to snow in a Canadian). I always felt quite cozy and snug burried in my home (literally buried).

  15. Z

    We have no idea, here, do we?

    Everything sounds different when there’s deep snow, doesn’t it? It muffles sounds, but there are new sounds too, the creaking of laden branches and the shifting of ice on the water.


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