Thaw Point

December 30, 2009

The snow is melting, sort of. We woke up to the sound of dripping water, which was welcome but somehow depressing all the same. Enough cars have passed on our road to wear the ice away in ruts down to the bare tarmac, although there are still enough icy spots to make cycling, um, interesting. All those people complaining about how the councils ‘didn’t put enough grit down’ should try living out here, where our road has had none, except at a few tricky junctions where the nearest householder has done the deed themselves (see also: unblocking culverts and trimming verges, oh yes, we’re self-sufficient all right out here in the country).

There is still significant snow and ice around, though. The pictures show the walled garden a couple of days ago (too depressing to post pictures of the actual thaw – I may welcome it, but it doesn’t mean it actually makes for pleasant viewing) and it hasn’t much changed. Our courtyard is cobbled which – coupled with plenty of moisture-trapping moss – makes for an almost perfectly treacherous icy surface. Now that we’ve had enough thaw to get everything evenly wet, the temperature is dropping again and more freezing weather is predicted so I was out with my little trowel chipping off a centimetre of solid ice in a path from the front door to where we park our car. This may mean we can get in and out of the house without breaking either of our necks, or it may mean that I have merely laid the foundation for an even slicker surface than the crusted, half-melted trodden snow would have been; only time will tell. But think of the blogging material of a trip to A&E and besides, it kept me warm and exercised this afternoon – a bonus when I can’t get out and ride, especially as I’m on self-appointed eating-up-Christmas-cake duty for the rest of the time (the other half, being American and therefore excused fruitcake, is nobly ridding the house of the biscuit menace, one bourbon at a time).

Meanwhile, in a triumph of lazy gardening, I forgot to remove the bottle cloches from my overwintering self-planted garlic cloves – indeed, I had forgotten all about them – and they have therefore been snug (I hope) and protected in their own little snow caves all Christmas long.