The snow had a lot to do with it. A whole month, near enough, from before Christmas to well into New Year, practically half way through January and almost up to the end of the month. Heavenly, heavenly, wonderful, deliciously cold and white and most importantly of all, "sticking" snow.
Of course the garden suffered, not having seen snow like this since the 1960's. The older, established trees had within their heartwood memories of hard, prolonged, unrelenting winters. "They stood, and earth's foundations stay." The newly planted trees, those less than a decade out of seed, sprang back and shed days worth of accumulated snow relatively easily, their young and sturdy branches used to bending most of the summer under the weight of too many fruits.
The Merlot vine, perfectly pruned and beautifully tied into the wires against the south facing wall held onto its white coverlet, and just blazed through each day; glaringly white, wonderfully bright. "Here I am, bouncing bright white light into your kitchen, calling you to stand at the windows and admire my brilliance." And stand at the windows I did. And make snowmen. A whole row of them with carrots for noses and very rude/anatomically correct (depends on your point of view and the age of your children making them with you) dangly bits. "Mum, when it snowed last February we all piled out of halls and made huge snowmen just like this, and posted them on YouTube and Facebook. Then some jackass texted (___ the rival halls) and offered them out. Within 15 minutes the place was swarming and they ran straight into our ambush. We nearly killed them."
I love being the mother of children old enough to be away most of the time at uni and beyond. I also love standing at the french windows in my kitchen staring out at the garden. Recently it's been mostly raining. But just this week, and forecast for next week too, a few snow showers and sub-zero temperatures appeared. My beloved safety boots, my fleecy wrap-ups, my pink Derby County woollen hat, my waterproofs and Felcos are calling to me, and I'm ready to start back to gardening. Truly, truly I lead the life of Riley.