It began to snow across the UK the week before Christmas. The country held its collective breath, willing it to "stick" so we could all have a white Christmas. Global warming put paid to routine white Christmases years ago, so you can imagine how everyone hoped this would be the Christmas we really got snow. And we did. It made the most perfect backdrop to Christmas Eve and all the excitement of opening crates of clementines, handing round mulled wine and hot mince pies in the garden with fireworks as we began the traditional Christmas lock-in. The tradition in our family is that no-one comes in or out until Boxing Day; emergency workers excepted, of course. And our farming neighbours on Christmas morning for a glass of cheer and something nibbly and delicious. But apart from that, the lock-in holds.
The snow melted briefly in our part of sunny Derbyshire, I think around last Monday or Tuesday. Then more fireworks and flutes of Bellinis helped bring in the New Year, and on New Year's Day we awoke to blankets of snow. Big fat snowflakes just kept falling, making everyone so happy and smiley as light bounced through every window and sparkled. Some parts of Britain were truly blanketed, with huge snow drifts making headlines;