Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Three Weekends. Three Walks.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016


Since the start of the 2016 I have managed to go on three consecutive Sunday walks. When I first moved to England I was determined to become one of those ‘outdoorsy people’ who makes rustling sounds when they walk thanks to their appropriate wet weather attire. It has taken me over two years to get anywhere near this dream and while I have been on various walks over this time, it hasn’t been until the most recent sales that I invested in a “wet weather jacket”. Amazing things! Not only do they keep you warm, they also STOP RAIN. This was particularly useful on

Walk #1

Some of my Yelp mates have decided that regular outdoor exercise is a good way to balance the regular indoor eating that we do. On the first Sunday in January, I headed north with Michael and Lucas (everyone else had dropped like flies as the weather forecast rapidly worsened) to Rivington Pike – a small(ish) hill near Bolton. We left early to avoid the rain and as we pulled into the car park to start the walk it began to sprinkle. It then proceeded to becoming increasingly wetter and windier the higher we climbed.

Rivington Pike

Walking up the hill.

It was all worth it – reaching the top to eat a piece of homemade carrot cake that I had brought along and pretending to be in the Matrix (while facing the wrong direction) in the wind on the top of the hill was great fun. We couldn’t see far as the rain and clouds were covering most of the countryside but hey – we made it. And we didn’t drown.

Plonkers

Posted by Lucas Smith on Sunday, 3 January 2016

Rivington Pike

My cake, Lucas’s hand.

We did get saturated EXCEPT as I removed my rainproof jacket I was delighted to discover that my inner layers were dry! Now all I need are some water proof trousers. I can’t wait to hear the rustle.

Our walk ended with a slightly snooty lunch at a local pub where I had soup that was served with two rocks that were apparently my ‘bread’.

Rivington Pike

Soup and rocks.

Walk #2

The following Sunday, Garden Boy took me to Entwistle reservoir for a good old stroll around the water. The sun was shining and it was a remarkably warm day – surely there’d be no water worries today! WRONG.

Entwistle reservoir

Entwistle Reservoir with giant, man eating bird.

Recent flooding in the Yorkshire region had resulted in the reservoir breaking its banks in a few sections and there were many puddles for us to get through. And by the time we had made our way around the reservoir we had climbed muddy banks and jumped fences in order to not drown. It was definitely wettest walk on a path around a reservoir that I have ever done and even Garden Boy was surprised by the amount of water. Turns out that my second hand walking boots are not so water proof if you walk ankle deep in a puddle.

This walk ended with lunch at another local pub called the Strawbury Duck. Despite the clear spelling mistake, the food was good, the beer was good and the service was great.

We then drove to nearby Summerseat where the recent floods had washed away a 200 year old pub that was sitting on a bridge over the river Irwell. Sad. We also managed to arrive at exactly the time that the Flying Scotsman train, zoomed through. It was only going to happen once. We were there. Awesome.

Summerseat

The Flying Scotsman above. Missing pub below.

Walk #3

The final walk was to Dovestones Reservoir with more Yelp folk. It had snowed the night before so some were nervous about the slippery road situation but we were keen to give it a go. Michael managed to keep the wheels on the road and we walked around the beautiful snow-covered fields and paths around the reservoir.

Dovestones Reservoir

Dovestones Reservoir

Dovestones reservoir

So pretty.

Having discovered my water + shoe = not so good, issue the week before, I had popped into town and bought myself some cheap wellington boots. BEST PURCHASE EVER. I am in love with my wellies even though they’re not stripy like I would ideally like. But they do say Dunlop which I like to believe is vintage cool.

Dunlop wellies

Looking cool.

My boots and I went stomping through snow, puddles and mud and not wet feet were had! On this walk I was warm AND dry. I am almost British!

Dovestones reservoir

Snow in them there hills

The pub this week was the best yet – we headed to a local pub in nearby Greenfield and waited over an hour for our hot Sunday lunches but it was so worth the wait! I had a fantastic beef suet pie with mushy peas (I weirdly like them now. I really am a POM.) and chips and gravy. So so good.

Suet pie

We’re fairly certain there was an entire cow inside that suet pie.

So as you can see, I am getting steadily closer to becoming a local. Soon I will rustle with the best of them.

Sun vs Snow

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Apparently it is cold and snowing/sleeting in Manchester. It isn’t here.

Blue skies in Perth

So sunny. So blue.

Cold Snap and Lunch in Liverpool

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

It’s a wee bit chilly in Manchester. In fact, it’s really bloody cold. Over the weekend Manchester and beyond had a decent amount of snow – enough to be able to say, “It’s snowing!” without looking like an overexcited Australian.

snow

Look at that snow!

On Saturday I headed to Yorkshire with my cousin Les where we took boring motorway routes and extra caution in order to avoid slippery roads and potential death. I really enjoy driving into snow, particularly at night, as the wind and forward movement of the car gives the snow a ‘speed tunnel’ effect and it appears as if you’re driving into some sort of time warp. If the snow was rainbow coloured it would have been particularly swinging 60s-esque.

The last two days have been beautiful – crisp blue skies and sunshine. Of course the lack of cloud coverage means temperatures are hovering around zero and my nose is a constant shade of beetroot. It did present the perfect conditions for a quick visit to Antony Gormley’s Another Place installation at Crosby Beach yesterday.

Antony Gormley statue

Nice view.

Sir Pubert Gladstone’s dad was in town for a weekend visit and the three of us headed to Liverpool for a bit of culture. After a slightly disappointing wander around the Tate (clearly they keep all of the good stuff in London) and a deliciously cheesy lunch at the Docks, we headed to the beach to check out Antony’s Iron Men spread out down the coast. This is one of my favourite places in England and it was nice to be able to visit before I head back to Australia.

Liverpool docks

Liverpool Docks in the sunshine

No Longer Dreaming of a White Christmas

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

The drive home from the Yorkshire Dales on Boxing Day was a tad hairy as the sky let loose a decent downpour of rain. Sir Pubert made us tune the radio to the Boxing Day football commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and continues to assure me that he was listening to it despite his closed eyes, dropped head and occasional snore.

As the commentary skipped from one football ground to the next, we were informed of the weather conditions throughout the country. Most games were being played in very wet conditions, however Manchester City was playing West Brom in the Midlands where it had started snowing.

As we arrived home and sat in comfort and warmth by the fire, I looked out of the lounge room windows and saw that the usual Manchester drizzle was no longer just heavy rain but had turned into big, floaty snow flakes. It was snowing on Boxing Day – I was counting this as a white Christmas! Sure, the snow melted on impact and it was mostly just sludge, but they were definitely snow flakes and it was definitely still the “Christmas season”.

snow

Eat your heart out, Bing Crosby.

 

As far as white Christmases go, it was a bit disappointing and I will continue to seek a better example of it in the future. However, having spent five winters in Europe, it was about time that snow fell on Christmas. What happens in movies, happens in Manchester.

Snow.

Friday, December 19th, 2014

It would seem that I have had actual paid work and responsibilities this week as I haven’t written about the fact that IT SNOWED last Friday. I had been concerned that I had lost my inner child who becomes ridiculously excited by the arrival of falling icicles; so imagine my relief when I giddily screamed “SNOW!!” when I saw the first flakes fall. They melted instantly and turned into slop but for a brief second I was excited.

Ice patterns on Sir Pubert's car

Ice patterns on Sir Pubert’s car

Friday’s blustery snow arrival was more impressive in hilly parts of the North such as the Peaks, the Lake District and Scotland. So on Saturday, Sir Pubert and I packed an impressive lunch and headed along Snake Pass into the Peaks in search of a picnic spot.

Warming soup.

Warming soup.

 

We headed to the highest part of the Snake Road pass where we were surrounded by fog and scatterings of white icy stuff. We parked and walked a very short way along a muddy, icy and therefore slippery path before sitting and scoffing our faces. The sun managed to come out from the behind the clouds and warmed us up nicely. It was great fun but after we’d eaten our delicious cheese sandwiches and warm soup, we threw a few snow balls and hurried back to the car. Sir Pubert was concerned we would get stuck in the Peaks due to ‘the weather’. That’s Brits for you – always concerned about getting lost/stuck in the ‘wilderness’. We managed to escape unscathed.

Snow at the High Peak

Snow at the High Peak

Since the weekend, the weather has changed once again and turned into a constant drizzle. It is much warmer but I have holes in the soles of my shoes and my feet keep getting wet. Everything is wet. It’s quite horrible.

In other news, today I bought my plane ticket home to where the current forecast for tomorrow is 39 degrees. No rain. This ‘going home’ thing is suddenly sounding ok.

Hello, Snow.

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Everyone has been talking about the storms that have swept across the UK and caused terrible flooding in the south of England and Wales. Living conditions have been terrible as people’s houses have filled with water, streets have flooded and farm land has become water logged. For the past few weeks as I listen to BBC4 Radio and hear the news in the morning, the stories have focussed on the latest storms to hit England the night before. Not good.

Meanwhile, up in usually-soggy Manchester, it isn’t raining as much. Clearly I was right and everyone who said, ‘Why do you want to live in Manchester?!’ was wrong. Manchester may be wet for the majority of the year, but at least it hasn’t flooded.

We did, however, get a hit of this white stuff.

Yes, sir. I do believe that is snow.

Yes, sir. I do believe that is snow.

It was 5.15pm last Tuesday and I had just left work. From the tenth floor of the Co-Op building I had spotted a very black sky drawing rapidly closer. A snow cloud looks different to a rain cloud – it is a deeper, almost purple black and it looks MEAN. If it had a face it would be smirking, it’s eyes piercing in the corners as it moves confidently towards you, a black cape billowing behind. The wind rapidly increases, picking up girls’ skirts, inverting umbrellas and making people stop and stare at the sky. What is coming? When will it hit? And then it does.

I stood under the eaves of the Next clothing store as the snow started to fall. However, as the wind picked up and blew the snow under the eaves and in through the doors of Next, I hurried inside and watched from the safety of the affordably-priced shop. I watched as a Spanish man insisted on finishing his cigarette, huddled against the outside window, being battered by snow and strong winds before seeking shelter.

I cut through Next and took the back exit that led me into the depths of the Arndale Shopping Centre. Normally a place that I avoid, the Arndale offered me solace from the storm outside. However I had an appointment to make and I had to venture back out into the wild, pushing my umbrella against the overpowering winds, my black jacket becoming speckled with white fluff. I did stop and smile – snow is magical even when it is piercing your eyes with sharp shards of ice. It is so much easier to handle and less annoying than rain, although I have noticed it makes the footpaths particularly slippery. (which, for someone with zero sense of balance such as myself, is not good.)

The storm passed as quickly as it came but patches of white ice were still around the following morning. I am pleased to have seen snow this winter but I won’t be that upset if that was it and Spring now rolls in. I have spotted some crocuses poking theirs heads out of the ground in my local park and there are buds forming on trees. These are good signs but I am keeping my hopes low until it is warm enough for me to get my ridiculously white legs out. So not until I move back to Australia essentially.

It’s All White

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Wow. As I sit at my dining table/writing desk/printing space/dump-stuff-area writing this, I keep having to look up and stare out of the window. Outside Parc de Villemin (aka my backyard) is white. Completely and utterly white. Well there are patches of grey and brown and a little hint of green, but it’s 88 per cent white.

You may or may not have heard that it snowed last night à Paris and this time the snow has stuck around for us to enjoy the next day. It started snowing at about 5.30pm yesterday and continued all night. I returned home from a housewarming party at 1.30am and walked through snow-covered streets, past snow-covered cars and bikes, and dodging snow balls flung by teenage boys. It was astonishingly beautiful. This morning when I woke up, I sat up in bed, looked over my mezzanine wall and out through the window, hoping hoping HOPING for all of my fairy-tale dreams and wishes to come true. Would I wake up to discover Paris covered in snow?

Yes!

Bonjour Paris!

Bonjour Paris!

I am so glad my apartment looks out onto a park because the view into the trees and snow covered garden beds is significantly more attractive than looking out onto Gare de L’Est and the big intersection out of the front which is covered in black slush and just looks soggy and dirty. But not the park! I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw Bambi prancing about in the snow.

One of the greatest things about snow in Paris is that everything slows down – people walk slower (or don’t go outside at all which is even more pleasant), cars drive more carefully and when there’s no traffic about there is that gentle muffled quiet that snow brings. It’s as if Paris is wearing a pair of giant earmuffs. The snow is slowly starting to melt but they expect another front to come through tonight and it should be even whiter tomorrow morning. Apparently I am very lucky to see this as Paris doesn’t usually get this much snow. I’m fairly certain it has been my positive thoughts and extreme obsession with seeing snow in Paris that has created this phenomenon. The citizens of this city can thank me later.

Amazingly pretty by the canal. There was no one in the tourist boat by the way.

Amazingly pretty by the canal. There was no one in the tourist boat by the way.

The strange thing, for me at least, is that Parisians don’t seem to know what to do with snow. They certainly weren’t prepared for its arrival and now that it is here, there isn’t the instant cleanup that I would have expected. Instead I have seen a lot of men in green uniforms, who would usually be hosing dog poo off footpaths with a high-pressure water sprayer, walking around with wheelbarrows full of salt and unidentifiable black stones and scattering them on the ground. This morning an overweight man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth was attempting to push a salt-scatterer along the paths in the park and was having great difficulty controlling the machine in the few centimetres of snow on the ground. Canadians must find this very amusing.

The lack of clean up has meant that I couldn’t do my 20 kilometre training run this morning (quel domage!) Actually it was weirdly upsetting and so I decided to postpone it until tomorrow morning but the current forecast suggests I will just be disappointed again. I am discovering my brain is very messed up in that it gets upset that I can’t go for a run because there is TOO MUCH SNOW on the ground. Right… Ok, time to go and throw snow balls.

My friend Chuck taught me how to make snow balls of death. Now that I think about it, maybe it was Chuck Norris...

My friend Chuck taught me how to make snow balls of death. Now that I think about it, maybe it was Chuck Norris…

Snow Keeps Falling on My Head

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I have an announcement to make. I, Jessica Davies, after two years of patient waiting, a few tears and much disappointment, can finally say that I have danced in the snow in Paris. Well, maybe not danced, but jumped up and down excitedly with a HUGE grin on my face. It has been one of my strange obsessive dreams to see snow falling in Paris, and while a few weeks ago it apparently did snow, I didn’t see it happening and it was pathetic snow that I decided not to count it. Last year I missed the snow completely as I had returned to Perth to renew my visa and was in 40 degree heat while it was snowing here. This year I refused to let this happen again and waited like a stubborn mule for the snow to arrive.

And arrive it did! In big fluffy white flakes that turned my black winter jacket into leopard print. It was a bit soggy and I did get quite wet standing outside staring happily up into the sky, watching the snow fall in the street light. But I felt like a five year old waking up on Christmas morning – I was so ridiculously happy.

The snow has melted but yesterday there were more brief appearance of snow and twice I had snow randomly fall on my head whilst walking outside. Now THAT is exciting stuff!

Snow by the canal

Snow by the canal

YAY! SNOW!

YAY! SNOW!

La Neige

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Friday morning saw scatterings of white stuff on car windows, roof tops and lawned areas. It had apparently snowed earlier that morning, although it was a typical Parisian attempt – just enough effort to say it was done, but nothing more. I went for a run through the centre of Paris and learnt a lot about what road surfaces are more slippery than others and that my concept of large bodies of water maintaining a higher heat level and therefore bridges being not slippery is COMPLETELY WRONG. In fact, it is the complete opposite! All of the bridges across the Seine were covered in a solid block of ice and I had to use my exceptional ice-skating skills to get to the other side. Luckily, my ice-skating skills = sticking as close to the edge as possible so that I can grab hold of something before I fall over, which is exactly what needed to be done in the bridge crossing attempts.

My other interesting discovery was when I reached the Tuileries and thought, “Oh, it’s that sandy limestone stuff. It will be soggy but not slippery.” Again, WRONG! The ground was covered in puddles of water that had frozen and so the garden was a giant ice rink. I had to get across one large section of icy sand near the Louvre and I must have looked like a duck-footed camel, loping across while avoiding puddles.

Having spent the last two years asking the weather Gods to send me snow in Paris, they finally did and I was extremely disappointed. So I am asking again. Only this time do it properly please.

Snow in Paris

It had melted a bit when I took this photo but still. That doesn’t count as snow.

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Snow

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Easter crept up on me this year – perhaps it was the lack of dried-fruit-filled-dough-balls, although I think I had enough of the Dutch fried version of these over New Years. Tom and I spent our Easter weekend (it was clearly stated as a ‘weekend’ in France and definitely not a holiday) with our friends Louise and Marcelo in the Alps. We stayed in Louise’s aunt’s cottage in a tiny village called Boudin. I felt like we had said farewell to civilisation and had run away to join a hippie cult in the middle of the French mountains. Boudin consisted of less than 15 wooden chalets that were inaccessible by road. You had to park your car in the car park at the base of the village and walk up.

Boudin

Boudin

It took us approximately eight hours to drive to Boudin from Paris – this was largely due to some bad advice from the GPS, and then a few misguided decisions as we worked out the best way to get to the mountains. By the time we arrived, it was dark, it was raining, the clouds were settling low and we had to drive up a one-lane, twisty road with some particularly useless windscreen wipers. Oh, did I mention the lightning?

Fear not, we made it and were all overwhelmingly happy to get our things into the house and sit down to some food and some good wine. The next day as the sun came up, the rooster started crowing outside my bedroom window and I finally dared to peak outside, I realised why an eight hour drive is really ok. WOW. WHAT A VIEW.

Boudin

Good morning, mountains.

Perhaps it is the Australian in me and my complete foreignness to all things mountainous, but geez those lumps of land are just spectacular! Particularly when coated in white snow. I think I have only stayed in one other place in the world that had such an inspirational view – Crete and our view of Plakias bay. I could have sat and stared at the mountains all day, watching the clouds roll through, the passages of rain and then light snow. Beautiful.

Boudin mountains

Fluffy.

Saturday we had a quiet day as the weather wasn’t great and we were all feeling very lazy. We bought a truck load of local produce – cheese (Beaufort is one of the towns nearby), fromage blanc, blueberry coulis, saucisson, and blueberry tarts. Then we essentially just ate all day. For dinner we made cheese fondu with locally produced cheeses. It is fantastic – you can go to the local fromagerie, buy the fondu cheese and they will lend you a fondu pot, the sticks to hold the bread and the little heating element to keep the cheese warm. All you have to do is bring it back the next day. Now that’s small town trust. I like it.

Fondu

They eat this every day in the mountains

On Sunday we celebrated Easter by walking up a snow covered hill. The idea sounded great – we would hire ‘raquettes’ (or giant tennis rackets that you attach to your feet), take the chair lift to the top of the first part of a mountain and then walk up to a restaurant where we would eat good food in the sunshine while surrounded by snow. Louise was the only person who a. was French and had been to the mountains before and b. had skis so she left the two Australians and one Brazilian in the middle of a field of snow, lost, lonely and cold. Not really, there were very obvious ski-routes to follow but still. So cold.

Raquettes

These shoes are made for snow walking

So we started walking and immediately discovered that walking with tennis rackets attached to your feet is really quite tricky. You turn into a transformer and your feet suddenly weigh a lot more than you ever thought they could. We set off completely unsure about what direction we were supposed to be going but eventually figured that as long as we were heading uphill we were probably on the right track.

Mountain edge

I think I'll avoid walking over that hill

The second thing I learnt is that despite it being cold, snowy and probably some sort of minus-temperature, if you are wearing lots of layers of clothing and are trudging up a hill with tennis rackets on your feet then you get very, very sweaty very, very quickly. I was soon stripping off my beanie, scarf and gloves and turning bright red and complaining a lot. I wasn’t the only one. It was really hard! Walking uphill in snow is worse than running 30km and I almost threw my walking sticks down into the snow in frustration. But the food! We were walking towards food! Onwards we went, meeting up with Louise once as she glided past on her skis, the wind in her hair, a smile on her face. She, of course, felt dreadful but everyone just laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation and how much we really wanted to get to the restaurant. Louise informed us we were almost half way. Great.

Raquette

Up we go

Two hours later we arrived at the restaurant, removed as many clothes as possible while attempting to remain decent and flopped into our chairs demanding water, water, water. My tshirt was saturated and I’m fairly certain the table behind me left due to my stench. But after a slice of beaufort cheese tart, a huge plate of chips (yes, delicious, salty, deep-fried chips… something I usually avoid but at this moment they were the best things ever), and salad followed by a Nutella crêpe, I was happy. And ready to walk back down the hill.

Beaufort tart

Tarte au Beaufort

Nutella crepe

Nutella-full

The walk back was AMAZING. I have to admit that the walk up the hill was completely worth it once I started going back down. There is something so wonderful about standing still on a snow covered mountain and listening to the silence. It is one of the most beautiful sounds on the earth.

Snow on pine tree

Snowy

The snow was such a pure white and everything looked like a movie. The three raquetteers were in much jollier moods walking back to the chair lift and we stopped at a patch of gloriously white, soft snow, threw ourselves back onto it and made snow angels. My first snow angel! It was heavenly to lie in the snow! It is so soft and luxurious – sure, I got a bit wet, but I was already drenched so who cares?

Snow angel

Don't I look angelic?

It was hard to drive back to Paris the next day as the sun was shining in the mountains and it would have been a great day to sit on the chalet balcony in the sunshine and read a book. Unfortunately work and responsibilities called and we repacked the car and drove another seven hours to get home. This time we had the joy of Parisian traffic jams as everyone returned home from their Easter holidays. Next time we’re all taking an extra day off work.