Chili is the new carrot

If you’ve got snow, and a toddler in tow, you’ve got to have a snowman. If the day is cold, and the snow hard and crisp, best make it a small one.

Tom made William a mini-snowman on Sunday. How to finish him off though? Beech mast for eyes, sticks for arms, with the almost-final touch of William’s spurned mittens – so far so good.

But our dwarf snowman was far too diminutive to have a stonking great carrot for a nose. We used a chili instead.

Which lasted exactly two minutes. Poppy, the dog next door, came to remove it. Dog lovers everywhere will be relieved to read that she decided not to eat it.

Later that day, the rain came and washed everything away. By then, William and his mum and dad were back in London. Our snowman hadn’t lasted long enough to set a trend.

Supplementary Snapshot Saturday: First snow

The weekly photo challenge posed by WordPress is taking a week off.  I don’t have to.  I thought I’d add to the piles of photos clogging up the internet showing snow.  Snow in the garden, out by the lake, up a mountain, shutting down the motorways, whitening city streets ….

We woke up this morning to bitter cold.  Minus One Celsius.  This will make my American and Canadian readers laugh.  Look at this post from my blogging friend Kerry.  Where she wakes up it’s  -32, and steam is rising from the frozen lake.  She’d better not read this.  Where she is, nobody ventures out, not even – especially not even – the cats.

This is snowy weather British style.  Just a couple of inches.  Just enough to snarl up the transport system and fill the airwaves with ‘Is your journey really necessary?’ type warnings.  It’ll probably be gone tomorrow.

 

 

Click on any image to view full size.

PS.  Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Winter: for one day only

Winter’s not been around in recent years, not really.  Those crisp snowy days we all seem to remember from our childhood, those snowball fights, those Jack Frost patterns etched our bedroom windows, those chilblains – all seem to be ancient history.

This week in London, where we had an early unofficial Christmas with William and family, winter arrived for one day only before becoming sunny and mild again.  Look at these ducks and gulls in the local park, standing in puzzled uncertainty or ineptly skating on a frozen pond.  One day only was quite enough for them.

Whether the weather be hot…..

I don’t expect any sympathy for this post. I’m sitting around in a t-shirt in a Spanish square, with a clara and a snack.  It’s 20 degrees, sunny, bright.

So why should you care that when I get up in the morning it’s a mere 4 degrees, and hardly better as I set off for school? Why should you be bothered that I never thought to pack any gloves? Why should you mind about the biting winds that whistle round street corners when the sun isn’t around?

This is a café at 9.00 in the morning. Everyone is inside, nursing a hot drink. It makes the mid-day sun seem even brighter.

Snapshot Saturday: The Sahara Desert comes to south east London

For once, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – ‘glow’ – demanded no lateral thinking on my part.  The image that came to me was one that many Brits shared on Tuesday.

Hurricane Ophelia was doing its worst over in Ireland and on England’s west coast.  In London, William and I weren’t feeling even a gentle breeze.  But as morning became afternoon; as afternoon changed into evening then night long before the appointed time, the sky turned sepia, and the sun glowed.

Ophelia was sucking sand from the Sahara and throwing it to the English heavens.  This was the result, at round about half past one in the afternoon:

Dogger, Fisher, German Bight ….

I’m  a reluctant and easily sea-sick sailor.  Yet a backdrop to my life has been the hypnotic daily rhythms of the shipping forecast on Radio 4.  I love to listen to those poetic names of the areas round the British coast where seamen find themselves as they tune in to hear what the weather will bring.

Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Trafalgar, FitzRoy, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes and Southeast Iceland.

Shipping zones round the British Isles (Wikipedia)

Yesterday, the Shipping Forecast was 150 years old.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p04l37bw/41030909

A public service since 1867, it’s been broadcast since the 1920s, with a break during World War II.  Never more than 380 words long, it always follows the same strict format.  The late night broadcast, preceded by ‘Sailing by’ is a bedtime story, a soporific sleeping pill to many land-based listeners.  We couldn’t do without it.

Look!  We even have a cushion, and a breakfast mug dedicated to our beloved shipping forecast.