For nearly three weeks now winter has held a tight grip on the Moorlands. There was just one day when the ground wasn't white but it most definitely is again. I love the snow. Its a total nuisance but there's nothing like the magic, beauty, fun and peacefulness that the snow brings. I was small in the late 70s and early 80s and have brilliant memories (and lots of photos so honestly I didn't imagine it) of waist deep snow, three foot long icicles, drifts up to the windows, building igloos and cresta runs and sledging to school.
Really I should be a lot more organised for it but apart from putting a spade in the boot and wearing an thermal vest (oh the glamour!) I'm a bit hopeless. The locks on my car actually froze while I was driving to work on Monday can you believe. But I've been at home since then. We've had a foot of snow and the village school is shut so I'm at home with my boys and working in the evenings.
So you can imagine its lots of fun (snowballing, snowman making and sledging) but not all that peaceful. But on Sunday morning I got a pass out and before breakfast I went for a walk - ALL ON MY OWN! I cannot remember the last time I walked on my own, (well unless you count shopping or walking to the office from the car park). We like to get out and about as a family a lot which I love but this was such a special treat. No arguing over which wellies are being worn, whether a hat has to be put on, endless hunts for gloves etc, etc.... I just went.
And it was beautiful. Fancy coming? Bitterly cold but absolutley still. Grab the woolies and we're off.
Down the lane a bit, we pass the old railway workers cottages and cross over the little canal bridge where the barges are frozen into the water.
We've turned off the road now and walk along towpath a while and the river Churnet comes along with us on the left, the canal on the right. The light's amazing, so bright and crisp that the camera can't cope with it, and all the shadows are a curious shade of blue.
A little further on we follow the riverside path and walk across the water meadows that act as a flood plain between the river and the canal. There are a few people about, walkers like me, but there's hardly a sound. Occassionally I disturb a pheasant that flies up in a clattering panic. There is time to think today before gearing up for the world of work and routines that comes tomorrow. For today though I'm revelling in stillness, peace and calm in this wintery world.
The ponds and watery lagoons that are home to wintering geese, gulls and other waterfowl have frozen into skating rinks. I feel sorry for my feathered friends and wonder where they will find food and fresh water on these icy days. The day is waking up and I remember the birds who visit our garden and decide its time to head home and give them breakfast.
There's even more snow now and we're at home again today for more sledging and snowballing and plenty of hot chocolate to keep us cosy. These are special days, times to treasure. Peace and quiet.