It’s snowing


It’s the frelling middle of frelling March in the SOUTH OF FRELLING ENGLAND and it’s SNOOOOOOOOOOOWING.  Furthermore, it’s snowing again.   Again as in yesterday, and again as in the day before yesterday.  And it had done this about a fortnight ago already and we were all outraged.  We’re now bored with outrage!  We want to move on!  We had nearly four inches of the blasted stuff last time—other bits of the south of England had it much worse—and a mere two or thereabouts this time BUT THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  What does this weather think it’s doing?  Where does it think it is?  Skarsvag??

I’ve been forcing Chaos into his coat which outrages him.  He rather likes snow, but then he has four feet to keep himself upright on, and a much better centre of gravity arrangement.  My little cul de sac is also the tallest hill in town, and while we’re talking low kindly Hampshire hills, still, when there’s trodden-down snow-ice between me and the main road, I start feeling a trifle aged and vulnerable, and wish that I enforced the whole YOU MAY NOT HIT THE END OF YOUR LEAD WITH CRUDE BODILY FORCE thing during the rest of the year with more vigour.  The hellhounds and I had some Interesting Times when they were young* but they’ve been pretty polite for years.**  The hellterror, not so much.  ‘Polite’ is not really a concept that fits into that little badger head.  I can see her hesitate when I shout ‘CAREFUL!’ but it takes a while for the unwilling neurons to agree to send messages to all four legs and even the long extending leads aren’t that long.***  A fortnight ago we also had an Ice Cliff at the bottom of the cul de sac, because of the way the wind had been blowing%, and because natives of southern England either have instant nervous breakdowns when the white stuff starts drifting down from the sky or can’t take it seriously, and if you drive your big stupid car over a snowdrift a few times you end up with an Ice Cliff arrrrrrrrrgh. 

It’s cold out there, with the snow and all%%.  Pav never seems to feel it%%%, but while she’s short-haired it’s amazingly dense and plushy and this is still southern England.  If I had her in Maine she’d probably have a coat.  Chaos, however, is thin-skinned and silky-furred and while off lead at 90 mph he can keep himself warm, for dull middle-aged strolls around town$ he is wearing his coat.  I do put it on him carefully, the way you put a blanket on a horse, high up on the neck, so you can pull it down and smooth the hair in the right direction.  This is actually harder to do on a small lightweight animal and a small lightweight coat, especially when you have to argue with the too small for purpose hole for the harness catch to fit through.$$  And then he trots down the street ahead of me, tail lashing like a horse whose rider is banging on its kidneys, and, also in horse parlance, inside out, which means trying to touch his ears to his withers, so his top line is concave and his throat line is convex.  Which is opposite to what you want, and a sign of discomfort.  Whippet spines are amazingly flexible however and a hellhound can usually manage to be humpy-backed too.  They may be part boa constrictor.  This would also explain the sensitivity to cold.

At this rate I’m going to have to buy a real snow shovel, like I had in Maine, instead of this silly plastic thing where the handle unscrews so you can keep it under your chest of drawers. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WARM UP AND MELT TODAY.  IT DID NOT DO SO.  WE WANT PALM TREES AND SARONGS.  WE WANT THEM  NOW. 


* * *

* The three of us once rolled down most of the hill below the cricket ground [sic] together, although I’m the only one who did any shouting.  Fortunately we did not roll over any deposits left to trouble the unlucky by EVIL STINKING RATBAG SLIME MOULDS who do not pick up after their dogs. 

** Let them off lead, however, and stand well back.

*** This is one of the problems with having whippets.  They can hit exit velocity in two leaps, and a long extending lead is about three leaps long.  They are the fastest dog on earth, pound for pound, and as sprinters they’re completely in a class of their own.

% [NEXT BLOG TASK is to import some of my proper footnote symbols again.  It seems to me ABSURD that you don’t even get the dagger on a standard keyboard] And blowing and blowing.  I’m used to the wind that soars over the eight-foot^ garden wall and then eels its way through/around the dubiously-fitting frame of the kitchen/garden door, wailing like a bonkers banshee as it does so.  The hellterror may open one eye if she’s not busy trying to take down the mailperson or other dangerous invader, and then again she may not.  Any hellhound on the premises however will go flatten himself into the most uncomfortable corner in this kitchen—and I’ve already told you it’s nearly all dog bedding—for the single, diamond-bright reason that it’s the farthest corner from the malignly enchanted kitchen door.^^  The wind that’s come with our two blizzards however is the ripping-the-roof-off kind, and my bedroom is on the first floor.^^^  I, however, have no inclination to leave my well-duveted, extra-blankets-for-security bed to crush myself into a corner of the cold, hard bathtub, which would be approximately the farthest point from the bedroom window making that noise.

^ Sic.  Maybe seven.  But tall enough to pass the home check when you’re trying to adopt a dog.  More on this later.  At the moment there is no happy ending in prospect.

^^ Darkness used to be the more bothered.  I regret to relate that in his absence Chaos has decided to take up this mantle alone.

^^^ Second floor, if you’re an American.

%%  And the day before we turned honorary Norwegian I was in the greenhouse frantically potting up all the blasted little plug plants that had arrived in the post that day because it is, after all March, and this is southern England.  The indoor jungle gets a little extreme every winter because I’m stuffing all my geraniums in an insufficiency of windowsills, but I’ve been trying to get away from pot plants all over the tables as well, especially now that most of my office is in the kitchen, and the slow cooker is making stock or soup more days than it isn’t, it throws out almost as much heat as a mini Aga, and roast geranium isn’t on the menu.

And just to add insult to injury, the dahlia tubers in the attic are sprouting.

%%% I tend to go by the Ear Test.  If the ears are warm, the critter is warm.  If the ears are a bit chilly but the critter is obviously having a fabulous time, it’s probably fine.  If the ears are cold, the critter wears a coat, whether it wants to or not.^

^ Although I feel sorry for the West Highland Whites and Scotties and Cairns and so on wrapped up in thick padded jackets the minute the temperature falls below balmy.  Do your homework!  These dogs were bred for Scottish weather!

$ And I am not DRIVING anywhere in this stuff!!!!  Yes, I am from Maine, but they generally speaking have enough snow ploughs to keep the roads in order, which is not the case here, AND the locals generally know HOW to drive in this stuff which is not the case here, AND Ferdinand, my Subaru of radiant memory, had four wheel drive for comfort and reassurance.  And occasional use.

$$  Ooooh.  That was the sound of a lot of snow coming off a steeply-pitched roof and crashing into the garden.  On top of a lot of plants that are already in a bad mood.^  Unless it’s some really astonishingly inept burglars, in which case Chaos can go pee on them.  Chaos, being a middle-aged gentleman, pees a lot.

^ I am so not looking forward to finding out how many things have died, especially having been lulled into a state of gentle temperate anticipation after a lovely mild winter, and were busy putting out tender new shoots and buds and things.  I’ve got hyacinths flowering in the snow, although the bulbs will live to flower another year.

$$$ In southern England.  Have I mentioned IT’S SOUTHERN ENGLAND?

21 thoughts on “It’s snowing”

  1. It’s supposed to snow here, too. If I let my Westie out on the patio and he can’t keep his feet, I stay inside!

  2. Thunder snow at 40 degrees N latitude (Rockies) yesterday. So borked weather is borked everywhere in Northern Hemisphere.

    Arctic currents/jet stream have been odd since 2013 (the first Fimbulwinter in continental North America), but the currents are worse this year.

    I do not like Fimbulwinters. I know what comes after.

  3. I have started to loathe all this snow. It has now destroyed my garden arch. I found it collapsed and bent under a pile of snow, the plants growing up it now in a crumpled snowy heap on the floor, the baskets nearby upturned and scattered about. And this is supposed to be S-p-r-i-n-g? *insert favourite curses here*
    Do you know how much your blog readers missed you saying “frelling”? BTW?!
    Thanks for brightening the day with your dog stories, snow observations and thoughts on how Ukers south of the Scottish border (let alone in the South of England) handle this weather though (no sarcasm. yes I’m a UKer, yes I genuinely enjoyed reading this blog) – yep 1cm of snow and it’s time for a complete meltdown here in the UK as (almost) everyone freaks out and rushes to buy up all bread and milk in sight (why??!!) . Listen and we’ll hear the rest of the northern hemisphere laughing.
    Not attempting to drive is wise!!
    Ooh wait… *re-reads about trying to adopt a dog?*!! Yay!! … the no happy ending in sight yet makes me sad but… I really hope that in the end it does work out for you . You are way overdue for some good things to start happening 🙂

  4. Ah yes, the old “You’re from North America, you must be great at driving in snow!” and I have to explain, no, because we _take the snow off the road_ before we drive through it. And have winter tires.

  5. In southern Michigan I have one crocus blooming and several more poking through, but none of the other 90ish bulbs I planted in the fall have made an appearance yet. Which is odd, because most of my mom’s (about 6 miles north) are through, although not blooming yet.

    It was an odd winter though. We had some VERY cold streaks (sub-zero for well over a week) and we also had some days my kids only wore sweatshirts to school. Today, the first day of spring, is barely supposed to make it above freezing.


  6. Oh thank you! Your return to the blog has made my heart sing and permits me to stop nervously checking your name under Google’s news function. (I am so sorry about Darkness…and everything.)

  7. Norwegian report: the glacier which has taken over our hill of a driveway is showing no signs of retreat. My furry friend runs through over-his-head-snow while I strap spikes on my shoes and wobble down. I shall have a word with the Norwegian weather goddesses about keeping the Arctic weather tighter around the poles.

  8. While traveling in the south of England, my husband who was driving, was delighted to find it was snowing. He is from Seattle and they seldom get snow.
    I (from Wisconsin) wasn’t so pleased.

    We made it to Dover safety, when the car in front of us stopped suddenly on a hill. My husband tried to stop but ended up sliding. Thankfully, we didn’t hit anything.
    Our 1 1/2 yo. son started laughing at us and repeating words we had used while sliding. “Sh*t!!” Luckily, I was louder than my husband. ?

    Snow is the worst when you expect and hope for spring.

  9. Hi, Robin! Glad to see the site back up. Angels are watching over you!

    The vernal equinox could be a bit more, well, vernal here is the US Midwest. High winds of 40mph+ from the NE.

    Of course we don’t have cool names like Beast from the East.

  10. Ooh, I commiserate! We got a thumper of a Nor’Easter here in your old neck of the woods (Penobscot Bay area), and have a foot of icy snow out here on the first day of spring. *sigh* Of course, that’s kind of *expected* in Maine in March, and my UK relatives are all a bit out of sorts at this spring snow. Well, all the adults are. The kids are loving it.

    So good to have your blog voice back, it’s like a little present in my email. 🙂

  11. Here in Central Florida, my jalapeno plants are budding >.> Of course, we get ours in July and August when things die unless watered thrice daily.

  12. Well, down in Oz it’s been quite a mild summer, so I’m hoping for the same as we get into Autumn proper… Spent way too much on cardigans at the shops today in preparation, but hey, I only go clothes shopping once or twice a year. Had the sales lady in giggle fits when I broke into ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’ after trying on one outfit. But unlike Pav, I do like a good coat.

  13. So glad to see you are back and your voice is returning.
    I’m so sorry for all of the losses and frustration you’ve had to face the last few years. One wonders why the hits pile one on another. Grief never truely goes away. It morphs a bit. Then becomes banked like a fire, just requiring some unknown, unexpected stimulus to flame up full blast again.
    Welcome back. Know you were missed and we love you.

  14. As for me, I’m waiting for another nor’easter to dump snow on me. Because I have no driveway, part of the shoveling job is also to unearth the car from what what the plow has deposited. Last week’s 16 inches (40 cm) of cement heavy snow apparently wasn’t enough for the weather gods. It was more than enough for me, but I don’t get a vote in this race.

  15. Although I understand the desire on the part of my Northern fellow citizens, I hope the weather continues to come Souther from the Arctic because here in California we’re starting to careen back into a drought – despite a lovely wet 2016/2017, we had not really come out of our 5+ year drought and we had precious little rain during our Fall/Winter rainy season. But we’re getting a bit of ‘water-falls-from-sky’ right now – Yay! If our governors could get themselves together, the Midwest and East could ship their extra snow out West…ah well.

    I hope the adoption thing has a happy ending sooner rather than later (why oh why do the rescue and shelter people make adopting a pet so difficult for obviously good owners when they randomly hand animals out to people who should never have an animal? Another unanswerable question I suppose).

    As for your garden, I can only cringe in sympathy. The damaging atmospheric thing in my neck of the woods is dry hot sustained winds, aka Santa Ana winds. They blow things over, tear limbs off things, detach creepers from their supports, spread rose petals all over the yard, even fairly newly unfurled roses, sigh. So I understand battening down the hatches and fearing what one will find upon re-emergence. I hope your plants laugh off all the snow.

    Looking forward to the next update.

  16. OK, so I’d been checking the old blog and forum every so often in the hopes it would come back online. I gave up in despair last week, and lo, today I caved and allowed myself to peek. And there you were, with a lovely shiny new blog! Like many others, I was trying (unsuccessfully) not to worry about you, given the ugliness of things before your blog went silent. I’m so sorry to hear about Darkness. My sweet boy Strider went up to doggie heaven last October. But it IS wonderful to hear from you again!

  17. Here in Colorado, we have all four seasons… Sometimes in one day. It appears to be spring at the moment. It was winter on Sunday and summer last Thursday. Natives know how to drive in the snow, but we’ve recently had A LOT of people move here and many of them see a single bashful flake and PANIC. (The effectiveness of our snow ploughs varies from city to city. In bad enough weather, you can see where one town stops and the next starts by the vastly different levels of ploghed-ness on either side of the line. In deep winter, usually arrived at in March, it’s best not to live here in Aurora.)

    I’m so happy to see the blog back up! And so sorry for your terrible year.

  18. Thank you for this, Robin! We just had our fourth Nor’easter in three weeks here in the Hudson Valley of NY. I love the beauty of a snowy landscape, but I’m getting just a bit testy about the continued onslaught. My English Shepherd, on the other hand, is reveling in it. She is a dog-snow angel ‘artiste’.

    Hang in there!

  19. We had snow the same day … The weathermen were utterly hysterical the night before talking about totals of 6-12″ throughout the state (Connecticut), OMG OMG white-out conditions OMG … and in the end we got barely enough to cover the roof of my car. Then they did it again this week. In other words, “WOLF! WOLF!” And next time I might not believe them, and will end up in a snowdrift.

  20. I’d send you my Taun Taun but he’s a little bit under the weather lately. Last year during our coastal snow season, some guy on Vancouver Island, (About the same size as England is) bought himself a used zamboni and when it snowed he decided to use it to clear his driveway, his elderly next door neighbour’s and his mom’s driveway. The police stopped him while he was doing his mom’s driveway. Although the machine is road worthy its not authorized for snow removal on the streets. 🙂

  21. Just thought I’d let you know I’m enjoying being able to read your blog entries again. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed them until they started showing up in my feed. Welcome back.

    I have a number of displaced Canadian friends living in the southern US states who make similar comments about driving in snow. They know how to but nobody else does so they stay off the roads if there is any snow. Sounds very much like your comments about Southern England.

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