Snow

A little bit of snow. It does change the feel of the landscape.

We don’t often get lots of snow here. Not talking about a dusting, I mean really deep stuff. The last time that happened we were a family of 3. My partner would be out with her wooden ruler to measure the snow depth. She would do that before we could go out and wreck the snow with sledging, snow angels and snowmen. 2010 was a really good year for that. Yes a good year. Relatively healthy partner, a bouncy toddler and lots of snow. Too deep for the ruler. Well over 30cm and it stayed around for about 5 weeks. Good times.

So much has happened since then. It’s such a different world. It’s a much smaller family now.

Maybe deep snow will arrive again. That wooden ruler is still here. Measuring the depth will then pass to Hawklad.

Life moves on.

White Christmas

Well not quite…..

Can you spot someone practising to be either Cyclops from the X-Men or Vision from The Avengers.

This was 7.20pm on Christmas Eve. It’s as white as it’s going to get. Thought I had better take a photo while it’s at its DEEPEST…..

So as we fight to survive this mega blizzard I want to send you warm winter wishes your way. ❤️

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a much needed bit of alpine heaven. A dream destination. A place which is so special to our little family. Yes we haven’t been able to visit since 2015. But one day…

It’s time for Switzerland.

We always wanted to visit this beautiful land over Christmas but sadly never managed it. The weather is most certainly not very festive here. But let’s try to imagine what it feels like by going back to some of those visits where it snowed. Happy times

South of France

It’s Monday. It’s grey. It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s getting really boring…..

Hawklad summed it up perfectly

What on earth where you thinking. Why didn’t you and mum move to the South of France. Somewhere warm… this weather is nothing short of torture. Think of the money you would have saved on jumpers and heating bills. I actually wouldn’t be now wearing two coats, a mega jumper and three T-shirt’s

He does have a point. Our winters are usually not much fun. Cold, windy and wet. But we don’t tend to get snow. So we don’t get the upside of winter. Just the downside stuff.

Warm I can handle.

Snow I would love.

But just not our weather. Week after week of this.

Dad what are you doing?”

I am putting the solar powered Christmas lights up outside.

What’s the point I bet they don’t work. It’s too dark. I bet they would work brilliantly in the a South of France. Oh wait. You never moved there….”

The shape of bread to come

See the sun does shine in Yorkshire – occasionally.

How can baking be so hard. Everything seemed to be going so well and then you end up with very odd shape bread. One day, one day.

Maybe I can blame these baking woes on a lack of sleep. At least it ended up tasting ok. So it’s kind of a result.

I was sat drinking my herbal tea and having my misshapen bread with some hummus. Really, is this what life has become….. sudden urge for proper coffee and a sausage roll. But that is life currently for me. I might wish for something else but circumstances dictate otherwise. Wow that feeling could cover so many things. But at that precise moment my eyes wandered to a book on the table. A book about Ski Jumping. One small dream is remembered.

I have always wanted to go to and see just one Ski Jumping competition. Have never got round to doing that. Circumstances have repeatedly prevented that. Now as a single parent with a son who struggles to get to the front gate of the house, those circumstances seem to be even more insurmountable. Another winter will pass. It’s definitely not happening this season. Maybe not for a number of years.

Yes it’s a little deflating but don’t get me wrong. That dream hasn’t died. It’s still there. Still cherished. The future still offers hope. Just have to deal with the here and now. In all likelihood autumn and winter will see no real change in our circumstances. The next 6 months will be largely restricted to our house and garden. Very few social encounters. Single parenting day in day out. More days of dodgy bread and hummus lunches. But it is what it is. Will just deal with that. But I won’t forget those special dreams. That what keeps me going.

Lost in the snow

I found this old photo just randomly lying in the bottom of a box of all junk. I don’t know why I kept it. I’m thankful now as it reminds me of a long forgotten memory. I can’t remember which mountain it was. Not sure even which country it is in. Anyway it’s from over 20 years ago. I had been solo climbing . Not a difficult climb but it took a few hours of hard work. Definitely needed ropes and was very definitely vertical. Best described as a 200ft cliff. At the top of the climb it immediately opened up onto the summit top. A large and very gentle dome. As I scrambled over the edge I saw a figure stood in the distance. No idea why but I took a photo. He turned and watched me slowly walk towards him. I must have been a sight. Full winter climbing gear, ropes, ice axes. Completely sodden with all the wet snow. Steam rising off me. I had some blood dripping onto the snow from an encounter with a particularly sharp rock. I felt bad about staining the snow.

Next followed one of those conversations that just stay with you.

********

“Hello, it looks like you have had fun”

It was hard work but fun. It’s very, very steep.

“Your bleeding”

It’s ok, looks worse than it is.

“I’m lost, I’m trying to work out which way it is back down”

Where are you trying to get to.

“I want to get back to my car. Is the way down your way?”

No, no, no, no, no. Most definitely not that way.

“Oh I wonder which way it is then.”

At a guess with the position of the sun, the time and the atmospheric conditions. It’s that way behind you.

“Wow you good, how can you tell from that”.

I really can’t but I can clearly see your footprints in the snow. I’m guessing you just need to follow them all the way down.

*********

And a few seconds later he was off retracing his footprints. Now I could go on about the risks of winter hillwalking when your clearly not properly prepared. But actually how often do we all find ourselves in that position. Rapidly out of our depths, lost, confused, unprepared and probably very tired. Not forgetting how close we are to potentially walking off the cliff edge. I certainly feel that way quite often.

Yes I’m glad I kept that photo.

Saturn 5

We live on a hill. A not very big hill. But a nice one. This is the slope dropping down into the flat Vale of York. The Vale stretches for mile after mile. This gentle grassy slope is also our sledging run during winter. It’s not very steep but it’s long enough to generate enough speed. Enough to send this Dad flying through the air. That takes lots of momentum. Even those massive NASA Saturn 5 rockets would struggle to lift my butt into the air.

We don’t get much snow. But when we do it’s time to get to our hill slope.

What could possibly go wrong. The first time we tried sledging here Hawklad asked if I would safety test the run first. I reassured him that it was perfectly safe. I set off from the top and a few seconds later smashed into the tree at the bottom. I was like a precision guided missile. A missile with a large butt carrying much momentum. At least the padding helped protect me.

So when the snow comes again – what could possibly go wrong.

Swiss Sunday

Now that’s a view from a train station. It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland.

Some wonderful news. Switzerland is now open again to most of the world. Hopefully soon the good people from the US will be able to get there as well.

We have not been back to this Alpine Heaven since the summer of 2015. It seems like an absolute lifetime. So much has happened.

Yes we have so many obstacles to overcome but one day WE will return.

Switzerland is just part of us now. Feels more like Home than England. That feeling gets stronger each day.

We still have my partners ashes to spread here. The view across Lake Thun with the snow covered mountains in the background is one of the places she wants to become a part of. Her Home. Our Home.

So yes these virtual trips feel like a return to what should be our home. One day just maybe that will happen.

Good to see someone maintains a balanced diet when he visits his future home…..

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so in these challenging times, I think it’s time for a virtual tour of beautiful Switzerland.

One of the best times we to found to visit Switzerland as a family was over Easter.

In my country Easter, like most holidays has become over commercialised. Not in Switzerland. The atmosphere is just perfect.

The weather was frequently glorious for our visits. Snow still falling on the high mountains and yet beautifully warm at lower levels. The morning trains would find people in summer shorts sat next to skiers in full snow gear.

The weather was perfect for sitting outside and just watching the world slowly walk by.

Spring alpine flowers coming to life.

The snow line slowly retreating in the hot sunshine. Deep blue skies.

The yachts and small boats emerging from winter hibernation.

The colours constantly changing.

And after an exhausting day on the piste for a young one….

Nothing better than returning to the hotel to find the owners have left a little Easter gift. Thank you Switzerland for lifting the spirits again.