Beads of snow bounce off windowsills, grauples ricochet. Snowflakes light as air float through sunlit branches, all ways. Fat white snowflakes go on quests, avoiding touch-down. The ways of snow, all ways and always.
‘‘ Light icing in white,’ said weatherman Tomasz Shafernaker. Icing in white, naturally. Kew Gardens – 5, -6 , -7 on the night of February 10th. The coldest night for 25 years.
Sunrise at Shap, on 11 February, the temperature is -9.1 degrees.
Snow-clouds sweep in from the east, engulfing sunlit fells. Temperatures hover around freezing point, with wind-chill making it feel far colder. Turn to face east and the wind howls in my hood.
Tuesday 9th February is so bitterly cold there are few walkers on Scout Scar. Each day the snow-clad fells are sunlit and shadowed.
White clouds hugs the fells to the north, with a glimpse of sunlit snow below the cloud.
Cloud gathers. The Band, the ridge descending Bowfell is sunlit, for a while. Snow gleams in gullies. Patches of blue sky appear amidst dark cloud. Beauty and danger. There are points of light in the Lyth Valley, the gleaming white-washed farmhouses that seem a haven in winter darkness and chill.
Childhood memories of comfort food come crowding in - treacle pudding, dumplings, rabbit stew. No vegetarian fads in ages past. Hot and hearty, simple fare and an open fire. Larders and pantries with bottled fruit and pickles, cakes and joint of meat. All home made. Not the anonymity of the freezer.
This winter spell is an enchantment for our times. Something deep in our genetic memory is stirred by snowfall in all its guises.
I glimpse a robin out of the corner of my eye. The bird means to be seen, hopping close by. So next time I take a bag of oats and scatter them on the top-stones of the wall. Another robin behaves in the same confiding, food-begging way. It happens sometimes in bitterly cold weather.