Weather 2

While I’m writing this letter I’m lying on the lounge settee under a sheepskin rug trying to keep my blood circulating. We are having another one of ‘our’ weekend power cuts. It wouldn’t be so bad if the weather wasn’t so unusually shocking. The wind is in the south and blowing a tremendous gale. Luckily it has stopped raining. For at least a week or so it’s just been bucketing down.

Here we have snow – winter came early this year. The woods are so beautiful when there is a fresh fall, (to speak a true cliche: it is like living in the middle of a Christmas card!) It thaws, and rains an incredible amount and gets very cold and snows again.

The whole family is now contemplating a move for a minimum of a year to Lagos – 35 degree all the year round with a constant 95% humidity – not my cup of tea (though remarkably like it, when you come to think of it).

We were amused with the radio report that traffic police, fed up with having to rescue people who ventured on the motorways against all warnings that they were impassable, had blocked the access roads with snowballs – presumably made with the aid of of front end loaders to push them along.

snowball block

It’s been bitterly cold here yesterday and rained in buckets all day – I froze but sun out today again.

X gave me an umbrella, a truly magnificent structure when erected with about as much steel work as the Eiffel Tower. If I ever have the effrontery to put it up in town I shall expect the draught between all our new tower blocks to carry me smartly to the top of the parliament building. Cheaper than hang-gliding!

The further east we went the rain got heavier and the forecast got worse. We moved into a cabin on the coast. It poured solidly on the first 3 days, was dull on the fourth and absolutely glorious on the fifth day. Despite all that we had a very good time. We went to see the kiwi at Napier, looked at a very good model village and boated between the rains. We went to a flick and swam in the rain and had a lovely day on the beach on the Saturday.

In high summer we are sitting in all our winter clothes huddled over the fire – full on. It’s been THE lousiest summer of all time – I think we had the only vaguely reasonable weather for holidaying of anyone I know.

I’ve just realised that I have been sitting here most of the morning without having the fire on, so spring really has sprung in a small way already. The oak is on the point of bursting to leaf, which is pretty prompt of it only a fortnight late in spite of the bad winter we have had and the magnolia has been blooming away for days. I’ve managed to get the strawberry beds more or less sorted out but it is difficult to believe we shall get any plums this year as the blossom has all gone now, and not a bee to be seen anywhere so far!

Our house is on a steep rise on an unmade road and in the last downpour two deep channels were cut either side – we couldn’t get out as it was a foot deep and a foot wide. So they came along with dump trucks and graders and 7 men and filled in the holes. Alas, it rained again and all their cosmetic work was washed down the hill and filled up the drains in the road that crosses ours causing it to flood one foot deep at the edges, over to the playcentre on one side and to the park on the other.


…it snowed – and snowed and snowed. None of the children had ever seen snow falling so this was a real treat. It took me all of 5 minutes to tire of the novelty, as memories of the slipping and sliding and slushy mud came flooding back!

We’ve had a stifling hot month – I spent the whole time with my hair soaking and dripping face, impossible to do anything vaguely energetic until after 5 p.m. The ground got absolutely dried out, and now we can’t have the hose on untended at all, and only water by hand alternate days. I swear you imported those blasted little ants, I’ve never seen them before! There’s not a lot but enough.

Spring is under way, though rudely interrupted today by a howling gale with many showers of rain and lowering clouds. X says rain makes the ewes produce their lambs – but our last three are showing no signs at all and look as though they are going to give it a miss this year. But the egg yield seems to be going up again, just when I have been expecting the hens all to go broody. They have overheard my remarks about the deep freeze and be laying for their lives! – though a more prosaic suggestion is that the days are getting longer!

The hens are threatened

Officially the last day of winter here, and I must say it has been looking and feeling like it. Driving hard drizzle all the morning, and I lit the sitting room fire after breakfast and have been very glad to keep it going this afternoon while I have been writing letters.

There are some vague signs of spring, including cherry blossom in the orchard and plum very nearly ready to come out too, though it is wettish and a cold wind today. The grass is growing a little, but I have taken to giving the sheep a ration of nuts daily, as well as some of the hay I made last year, which they eat to a certain extent though a good deal just gets pulled out of my improvised hayrack and trodden about. Still quite a triumph that they eat it at all. It reduces the sheepnut expense a bit. Lambs are due any time after the 23rd. I haven’t managed to get anything into the veg garden yet.

6.30 p.m. and another day vanished away like morning frost in the sun.

Then to look out of the window, knowing it is cold enough to kill you if you stayed out for only a short while, but seeing those fantastic mountains.

We have had a good winter here. It was hard before Christmas; very very icy-snow-bitter-cold. We were working like maniacs to finish all building, insulating etc.

We had our first snow here last week. This place is so incredibly beautiful when it snows. I have a love of this land where we live that gets deeper all the time.