T H E B E A S T F R O M T H E E A S T
Last Wednesday, I woke up to a world that looked exactly the same. There’d been a forecast for snow, but of course, I thought, it never (and I mean n-e-v-e-r) snows in Cornwall. The closest thing we get is a light icy dusting, especially this far south. And so my mind turned to other things. I got up, I got dressed and I went to get breakfast.
That same morning Matt had gone into town to go to the bank. And by midmorning, I thought he might be living in Lloyds for a few days, as in a matter of minutes the world turned white. Literally. I could just about make out the trees as a storm of snow descended. Forty mph winds blew snowflakes horizontally, I’d not seen anything like it before.
As it turned out, this became the general state of affairs for the next few days. Winds blew hard and fast; harsh and unrelenting. Gusts of snowflakes rolled across the landscape and snow drifts built up between hedgerows. We’d wrap up and nip out for walks – for sledging or snowman building – before heading home to wrap up in blankets and eat cheese toasties in front of the fire. It has to be said, this old house did not hold its heat well! And for a few days we all lived around the fire; congregating and passing comment on how much snow had now fallen and just how many cars were now abandoned along the lane.
I thought of my years in Birmingham. Of the many days off school due to icy roads and the sad mornings when you had to return and walk through the now-brown-slush in black buckled Clarks. I reckon it must’ve snowed almost every year, but I didn’t think I’d ever seen snow like this before. Such mountainous piles soft powdery snow, brought by storm-force blizzards – and so much in such a short space of time! I’d certainly never been snowed-in and housebound before. (Besides in Birmingham a Tesco Express is but a two-minute walk from my family’s red brick home!) Yet being snowed-in here felt mildly marvellous. Like a film; what we get up to when we cannot leave our lane.
Normal, nine-to-five life was suspended. Work went out the window and one afternoon we wandered to Trelowarren. Its pond completely had frozen over. Its woods now magical and Christmasy and at least a little reminiscent of Narnia. It was also somewhat more hilly and sheltered than the rest of Garras and Mawgan, which made it one of the better local spots for sledging!
On Thursday we thought (expecting the snow to be gone by Friday) we’d finally make snowmen and ruin the beautiful white blanket in the back garden. Only we soon found this powdery snow wasn’t sticking together. And more than that, a blizzard had whipped up around us, so much so the footsteps we’d left coming out were now gone. And the snow-crocodile I was making (because the snow couldn’t compact upwards) was quickly getting buried in the snowfall. What’s more the blizzard had made waves (like so) in the snow and at the deepest parts, the drifts came up to the tops of my wellies. After a few hours we abandoned ship
By Friday there’d been enough snowmelt for us to drive into town for milk and coffee and other such essentials. And so by Friday, we were no longer snowed in and the fun was pretty much over. Still now able to leave our lane again, we headed to the coast to marvel at the snowy beaches – a truly bizarre scene! And even as I’m writing this, there are some patchy remains in the garden; a few muddy mounds, a sorry looking lizard and two lumps of coal that were intended for his eyes.