15 Apr 2016

It’s April, what happened to the weather?

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them:
there ought to be as many for love.
Margaret Atwood

With the longer evenings since the clocks went forward, last Saturday was the first day that we had the opportunity to visit our favourite spot at Beacon Fell in the early evening.  We’d been on a visit to family and thought we could come back the ‘scenic’ route and whilst it was likely to be far too cold for a picnic and the timing might well be wrong, we packed a flask and books, thinking we could at least enjoy the scenery for a while and have a little peaceful interlude.

This little chap and several mates dashed to the fence to see us as we passed and weren't spooked at all. If it hadn't been lashing down, I would have got out of the car and tried for some better photos.
This little chap and several mates dashed to the fence to see us as we passed and weren’t spooked at all. If it hadn’t been lashing down, I would have got out of the car and tried for some better photos.

The weather in the morning had been glorious, despite a frigid wind, but the forecast clearly showed it worsening as the day progressed, but we were determined to get out anyway.  It didn’t give any indication however of just how badly it would worsen.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen weather quite like it before.

It was spotting with rain as we closed the miles to our very favourite spot and the intensity increased to the point that by the time we came to a standstill, we were reduced to a robust negotiation as to who should venture out to the back of the car to fetch the flask and our books.  My husband grabbed the bag he thought everything was in, which thankfully at least included my pocket camera and the flask.

The rain increased still further and we commented on how it was now clearly sleety – from the way it made little bumpy splodges on the car windows.  Then there was a gentle thud on the roof of the car and then another.  We demisted the windscreen, wondering what it was and could clearly see great big dollops of snow in amongst the rain.

It was the oddest phenomena.  Sometimes in summer when it rains very hard, you get a lot of leaves coming down with the rain, torn straight off the trees by the ferocity of the raindrops.  At a glance, this looked similar, but the lumps among the raindrops were big white dollops of snow, big enough to look like leaves and to make a sound when they hit the car.  Normally rain is all of a similar texture, with largely evenly sized droplets, but this was torrential and substantial rain, with visible lumps of snow falling at the same time.  The snow pieces were at least twice the size of a 50p piece and dropping slower than the rain around it, drifting down at a leisurely pace.

The rain that fell that day had great big lumps of snow in it and as the cloud lifted, we could see that more of it had been snow at slightly higher levels. I felt rather sorry for the tiny lambs out in the sudden blast of cold and unpleasant weather.
The rain that fell that day had great big lumps of snow in it and as the cloud lifted, we could see that more of it had been snow at slightly higher levels. I felt rather sorry for the tiny lambs out in the sudden blast of cold and unpleasant weather.

I variously tried photographing and videoing this strange weather experience, but nothing I got could do it justice, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.  We listened to the Grand National horse race on the radio, then concluded that it was at least improving a little, the sky was tangibly brightening and the cloud lifting – at the zenith of this weather, the hillsides adjacent were completely hidden, but as they re-appeared, they were dusted with snow.  Not something I would have put on the list of things I might have expected to see today.

We headed home whilst it was still light, hoping that the better weather to follow would show itself so that we could enjoy the scenery on the way home.  There were at least some new lambs in the fields now, having not yet seen many, so I did manage to snag a couple of photographs and you can see above how wintry and cold the weather had been.  I must admit to being a little concerned at the tiny new lambs shivering away in this unexpected wintry snap.  The following day was thankfully sunny and spring-like, so I’m sure that they enjoyed that much better.

My work this week:

I worked several existing designs for orders and to replenish stock and made one or two variations of ‘classic’ designs that I have in shop that have sold consistently over the years – spiral earrings for example, have always been a favourite and I made a couple of pairs of un-hammered simple spirals.  As with all seemingly ‘simple’ designs, poor workmanship has nowhere to hide, so you have to work with care.


5 Jan 2010

I stole some time to get some fresh air

Some days, whilst you know you have a lot to get done; that persistent and pressing niggle of work that needs your attention – outstanding paperwork, bills to pay, e-mails to answer, you actually get more achieved by actually totally ignoring it and just literally walking away from it. Yesterday was one such day.

After the laziness and over-indulgence of the festive period (which has its own rewards from time to time too) and being house-bound due to weather conditions, expected deliveries and waited-upon phone calls, my son and I were climbing the walls wanting to get out and stretch our legs. As the morning progressed, it was obvious that it was going to be one of those fabulously special winter days when the air is dry, crisp and the sun bright and you just want to be out in it.

I’ve never been afraid of the cold, whilst I don’t do well in it due to suffering with Reynauds, I have good outdoor gear and an extensive collection of hats, gloves and scarves and so we wrapped up and headed out, small camera bag over my shoulder – even on my usual daily walk I always take a camera.

Please click through the photographs below to see larger versions, they end up rather dark on the pages here.

I’ve photographed this scene in many weathers and seasons and this was about as pretty as it gets.

It was treacherous underfoot – snow that fell on 17th December and had been added to several times since, had variously melted, been disturbed and re-frozen several times, to leave an underlying blanket of hard, rutted, very slippery and pretty unpleasant ice. Atop which another couple of inches of snow had fallen – just enough to disguise the underlying ice to keep you fully aware of every step and to ensure the placing of feet most carefully.

Looks can be deceiving, the icy mud under the snow made for an interesting walk here.

A few years ago after getting stranded 3 miles from home in similar conditions underfoot when buses stopped running and getting home totally exhausted from the walk, trying to remain upright without pulling too many muscles, I invested in some Spiky rubber over-soles for my shoes – they’re like large heavy duty, shaped rubber bands impressed with hard wearing metal studs, that you stretch over your shoes or boots and they give a fabulously confidence-boosting level of grip to already good footwear, which may not always be enough on such days. The Spikys are perfect for such conditions and I don’t get to use them to their full advantage very often. I felt that I got my money’s worth in that one session.

A nearby waterfall that looks spectacular in cold weather.

I was most glad of them yesterday, I couldn’t possibly contemplate such a walk without them. I was able to walk pretty normally at a decent speed on terrible surfaces and combined with my walking pole, made good progress.

The sheep were digging through the snow, but seemed to be finding things to eat.

It felt fabulous to get out in the fresh air, blow the cobwebs out and stretch my legs – I hadn’t realised that I was actually getting to like my daily walk as much as I was and that I’d actually reached the stage of missing it. A considerable amount of the pleasure was being in the company of my 22 year old son, something I certainly do miss now he’s away at university most of the time – I didn’t even mind the daft hat he selected. We returned home feeling totally revived – it’s odd how sometimes strenuous exercise and working up a sweat actually invigorates and totally revitalises you. I got more work done once home than I probably would have done without taking that break. The time spent was well-invested.

I find myself drawn to the geometry of fence posts to photograph.

I must remember this on days when I feel jaded and the workload ahead of me feels insurmountable.