Friday, 18 January 2013

Fifty two names for the white stuff

"The Eskimos had fifty two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many in the English language for love."
(Margaret Atwood)

Photos: Gigi, album

On my fourth day of this miserable and charmingly named Winter Vomiting Bug, I woke to find my little street and back garden glowing with a covering of plump and pristine icing. Insidiously beautiful. I trudged to the local Sainsburys only to find that the fresh milk, among other family staples, had already sold out; hopefully not due to needless bulk-buying by Range Rover drivers. Bad enough news if you're a pedestrian, real tea and proper porridge lover like me; more seriously, a pretty and glistening coating of the white stuff isn't so delightful for the elderly, the ill and the isolated. I know from the experience of a couple of white winters in Brighton that our sensual landscape in the curve of The Downs can very quickly become a treacherous slalom for buses and delivery vans and lorries.
Like many others, I've found myself saying that I wouldn't mind snow around Christmas, but wouldn't particularly welcome the inconvenience of it once the festive season is past. Sadly, I think this also applies to goodwill and open displays of kindness. We drop Christmas cards through letter-boxes in late December, but may not think to call through those same doors a few weeks later when the paths have frozen over and the credit-card bill arrives in the coldest light of January.

I thought I would put some bits out for my feathered friends, but the garden was eerily empty of the usual birdsong; the snow has it's own resonance of white noise. The overgrown kid in me couldn't resist fashioning a snow person: but the even more overgrown spluttering and coughing specimen that I am at the moment could only manage a small but jauntily formed character on my storage bench by the kitchen door. Made up and be-hatted (the snow person, not me), I couldn't decide it's gender initially; not that rare in Brighton. On reflection in the twilight, he looks a little like local comic legend Max Miller. Which is nice. The "Cheeky Chappie" was laid to rest and is commemorated at the Downs Crematorium, just down the highroad from my street. He was very much the dapper southern English comedian, preferring to be booked into theatres in London or the south, so he could return home to Brighton after a show. I can empathise with that, although I'm not sure how long Mini-Max will last on my bench before, like Mae West's Snow White, he shifts a bit.
To anyone necessarily on the move in the white stuff, go safely; for anyone stuck indoors because of it, keep warm. And please do remember your neighbours: at any given time, they are simply those within your reach, wherever and whoever.

"Now there's a funny thing!" Mini-Max

"Black are my steps on silver sod,
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad; 
And tree and house, and hill and lake, 
Are frosted like a wedding-cake." 
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

"There is really no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather."
(John Ruskin)

"Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'."
(Bing Crosby) 

"The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,
The joyless winter day: 
Let others fear, to me more dear 
Than all the pride of May." 
(Robert Burns)

"We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt." 
(Walter Scott) 

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted..."
(Mae West)

"Let every man shovel out his own snow, and the whole city will be passable."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Do not complain about the snow on your neighbour's roof when your own doorstep is unclean."

"Winter Wonderland"  Macy Gray


  1. I miss your garden!!

    1. Aah, my garden misses you girlie! Make sure you get yourself over here at some point when the weather clears and we can sit out there and eat and generally annoy the wildlife! x

  2. Your garden looks lovely Gisele and get better soon hun xx

    1. Thanks Chrissie - I'm sure the snow hides a multitude of gardening faux pas at the mo! And of course you're very welcome to come and have tea in the back yard with me when the weather gets going too! xx

  3. I hope and pray that you are better soon.

    Snow can be beautiful at Christmas when everyone is at home and warm and safe. But at times like now it can be troublesome especially when one HAS to go out. Driving can be really tricky.

    I like your Blog and the variety of items in your posts. Especially the poems. Thank you.

    God bless and love you always.

    1. Thank you Victor! A lot of my own poetry was written about a year or two years ago - I seem to have a a bit of a block there at the moment. But I'm glad you like the ones I've posted on here.
      And may God bless and love you and yours always too VM! x