This is a desert. Sun glitter moorland and waste-tips like sleeping polar bears. No tracks discernible except the birds.
Icicles forming on your nose. Icicles like transparent stalactites, swords ready to skewer. A new game of knocking them off with a brush.
Silence of the Close only broken by someone caught at the turning-point, like a fly in an icy web. No grit and spades are useless as they rev, burn rubber and skid.
Almost a week without the car and I join the other hunter-gatherers every day on the trek down to town, rucksacks ready ; lists as long as those icicles. Impossible lists you know you're never going to bring back home.
Throw off the turkey as ballast on the long trudge uphill. A trail of groceries left along the roadside, the heaviest first (except the booze,of course).
The best and worst of a sense of community. Few come out to dig their patch, though two men make sure their own drives are free of the white stuff. A Post Office van gets stuck and one young fella come to its aid armed with a penknife (not even a Swiss one!).
Yet, a few weeks back our engine didn't start and we were rescued by neighbours ; one with a tow rope and the other a Land Rover.
Two snowmen, ours and a rival family's, face each other in a stand off. Theirs leans precariously like he is drunk, while ours has weirdly got shells for eyes. I imagine them meeting at midnight half way along the Close, duelling with their carrot noses.
4 by 4's rule the roads, but I walk along them defiantly. A non-driver , I imagine a world without cars, but really need to learn to ski instead. One day I'm at the Retail Park and it's snowing fast : I'm the only one there and a buy a bath plug to celebrate.
For somebody into solidarity and sharing , I become a survivalist come snowfall. I gloat in my mountain boots as betrainered and stilletoed crazies slip and slide and stumble. I am a hunter-scavenger seeking out the early bread and avoiding the Christmas queues.
People suddenly discover they can communicate at bus-stops and on treacherous walks along ice-packed pavements. The topic of conversation is invariably the snow and how it is universally loathed.
This week, after the great thaw, I shall retrace my steps and try to find those discarded groceries. The turkey might still be hanging in that privet hedge. As a veggie, I don't really want to find it, though the container for the cake may be useful for storing the long icicle my young daughter has adopted and stuffed in the freezer.
The Bloody Snow
I ate the bloody snow
t me its jest a nuisance now,
slike God’s dandruff,
wish ee’d stop shakin is locks.
It’s orright on cards
or when it comes an goes,
but stickin dayz on end,
ands an feet never bin s cold.
Pavements like slidy glass:
angin onto walls an fences,
my ol rag n bone body
worryin down t the bus-stop.
In-a soopermarket mad panic
ev’ryone’s buyin undreds o loaves,
they mus be off theyer trolleys,
I on’y bought ten t freeze.
Tha’s all ‘ey talk about in-a queues,
yew’d swear we woz Eskimos,
it’s snow this an ice that
an ow it’s warmer in Vladi-bloody-vostock!
All very well f kids doin angels
an snowmen an sledgin down ev’ry slope,
but f me it’s getting my repeat
so’s I don’ ave a nasty turn.
I ate the bloody snow,
no matter ow many blankets at night
an wha will-a gas bill be like,
even-a sun carn make it go.
Fair play, some neighbours do ask :
‘Need anythin? Milk or bread?’
Others dig theyr own paths,
eads down whenever I pass.