open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like

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Winter Coat

All winter it hung on the back of the ironing room door, waiting for it to be cold enough outside to justify wearing it.

Christmas came and I travelled the breadth of the country one day before torrential rain flooded huge tracts of railway lines across the Westcountry making train journeys in either direction impossible.

But still it wasn’t cold enough to need the Winter Coat. Continue reading



The Snowmen and other stories

Last Monday it snowed. I thought that might happen if I specifically posted an article about it snowing everywhere else in the UK apart from where I was. I’d like to claim that’s why I did it, but in truth I was so delighted with the sunshine I couldn’t have wished for any other weather there and then. It didn’t snow much, just an inch or two stuck on the roofs, fences and our garden table. A quick walk proved the landscape to be underwhelmingly under-snowed-under, with no frost to rime the trees and little more than a sugar sprinkling left on the fields and farms of the surrounding hills. I came back home and scraped up all the snow in the garden to make the biggest snowman that I possibly could. Ten minutes later he developed a lean and his hat fell off. Before half an hour had gone by he’d broken in the middle. Continue reading

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Effigy of a Country Churchyard




A vignette from the archives on theme of churches.

As it was set in early January I could only connect church with Christmas.

So I wrote about cake, as you do.


Two days until Christmas and the snow is just the icing on the cake.  Literally.  Outside the snow has mostly melted away or compacted to a slippery brown fudge, much less festive than the sugar and egg-white idyll of the traditional family Christmas cake.  The scene is set with a plaster polar bear peeping out from frosty model trees at the foot of a marzipan hill.  The hill is crowned with a two-inch plaster effigy of a church with a red brick square tower and bright stained glass windows in a creamy rendered nave.

A couple of miles away stands the real thing, postcard perfect on its hill-on-a-hill, though thankfully without any bears in the woods.  Continue reading