Sunday, January 03, 2010

On What It Is To Be British: Snow, Free Beer And A Siege Mentality

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;

"Elsewhere wintry conditions continued to catch people out unawares. New Year's revellers at England's highest pub were continuing their celebrations after getting stuck in a three-day lock-in. Drifting snow, which was 7ft deep in some places, meant that party-goers at the Tan Hill Inn on the Yorkshire Dales had been unable to leave. Members of Leeds University Cross Country Club, who had organised their New Year's Eve party at the pub, said they had been making the best of their situation thanks to free beer and a siege mentality."
Martin Evans


April said...

Sounds just wonderful. We had a white Christmas, too, though it's not too unusual for us. It started snowing around noon on Christmas day and by evening, the lane to my parents' farm was threatening to drift us in. It was lovely.

Merry Christmas and happiest of new years, Amalee!

Anne Higgins said...

Dear Amalee - After I read this entry, I went alll the way back to your 2007 entry quoting Shakespeare's "This England" verses... wonderful photos with it as well. I've been to England 3 times: in 1970, 1972, and 1976... dying to get back.

I haven't written and said how much I delight in your blog entries and photos. But I do!

Happy New Year from Anne

Steve said...

Your life sounds so wonderful. We have much snow and low temperatures of -26C with wind chills of -40C and we are just miserable. Fortunately I am taking a week off work and think I will copy your "glass of cheer and something nibbly and delicious" to see if that makes things better.

Your writing is perfection itself.

Nutty Gnome said...

Mulled wine in Chessi in a warm house on a snow day! Does it get any better than this?! :)