Last week’s post opened with frost on the beach; well today we have snow. About two inches of it, falling steadily for most of the day and settling in a thick white blanket on the shingle. Mary’s school was closed and there were no trains into London, so the three of us had a glorious extended weekend, venturing out for frequent short bursts of snowy activity such as walking the dogs, visiting neighbours, inspecting the sea and making a small but perfectly formed snowman in the back garden.
I love the way everything is so totally transformed by the snow – the familiar all of a sudden otherworldly. The snow-covered beach was totally extraordinary.
And here is the view looking back from the sea wall to our house – it’s the railway carriage cottage to the right of the picture, the original white carriages now cradled in the yellowish wood (which will weather to silver driftwood grey) of the new-build.
Even the back garden, still somewhat strewn with builders’ debris (or rather, old wood and an unused woodburner flue that are too good to throw away) looked the better for a covering of all-forgiving white.
Looking at this picture, and the house marooned on its concrete plinth, makes me long to get going on the garden – we’re kicking off in spring when the builders will return to make a deep wooden deck outside the back door, shaded by a pergola with uprights made from salvaged beach timbers. But back to today, it was a day to hunker down painting, making fairy cakes and snuggling under blankets when we weren’t outside in the snow.
And for watching the birds flitting to and fro the feeders we have strung along the length of the verandah – mainly great tits and bluetits today, though we also saw robins and wrens in the garden. This is the largest snowfall in the UK for 18 years. And though the rest of the south-east had it much harder – my sister in Surrey reported a full foot of snow in her garden, and friends in London tell tales of impassable streets and almost non-existent public transport – such a lot of snow is unusual so very near the sea. And we’re told there may well be more tomorrow.
Now, all this snow has made for a very WHITE post – and I’m sure Blogland must be a veritable winter wonderland right now with everyone’s snowy snapshots. So here’s a much-needed burst of colour.
Yesterday these fabulously colourful greetings cards arrived in the post from my friend-in-Blogland Jane Brocket, author of “The Gentle Art of Domesticity”. Each one features a collage of photographs from Jane’s original and hugely influential blog, Yarnstorm – and the fact that a major card producer (Woodmansterne) has published her own photographs is a tribute to Jane’s inspired eye for colour and composition, as well as her creativity in producing all the iced cakes, embroidery, knitting, patchwork quilts and fresh flowers that made Yarnstorm so special. Now writing under her own name here, Jane still expounds her fresh spin on matters domestic – and others – and continues to inspire a new generation of bloggers.
From an old-hand to a new arrival. My good friend Ros Badger (co-author with me of the forthcoming book Homemade: Gorgeous Things to Make with Love shown in the right margin above), has recently begun blogging here about the things that inspire her homemade life. A living, walking example of living with real style on a shoestring, Ros is one of the most talented people I know, who can turn her hand to anything from crocheting dolls and knitting fingerless gloves to baking delicious bread and cooking up amazing vegetarian meals from her own allotment produce. I look forward to seeing how her blog develops.
To finish: back to white. Here are those ‘Paperwhite’ narcissi of all those weeks ago, now in their final few days, with several of the flowers beginning to turn brown. I’ve got one more bowl of bulbs to take me through February, and then it will be time to deck the house with daffodils – of the brightest, boldest yellow.
For background on our project to turn these two Victorian railway carriages into an eco-house, for more photographs, articles and information on my existing and forthcoming books, please visit my website.