Woke up to a dusting of snow and more crumbling out of the sky like pieces of bread. Outside it's bone-achingly cold; well below freezing. I took a photograph of the snow on the tree trunk that was delivered to the river-bank by last week's floods. It makes an interesting addition to the garden seat!
The days are very short now - I took this photograph about 1.30pm but the sun is already below the tree-tops and only about 2 hours away from setting. In another 3 weeks it won't get above the tree line at all and the days will be very short and dark. This is one of the drawbacks of living so far north.
Meanwhile - a fifteen hundred miles or more further south, Neil is knocking olives out of the trees in sunshine and showers and temperatures of 16 degrees. Just as I was doing this time last year. So, feeling a bit sad. Sad too for the families of the lost miners in New Zealand. Greymouth is such a beautiful place and such a small, close-knit commmunity. It's had more than its fair share of disasters, including an earthquake in 1968 which did a lot of damage. I do wonder whether the seismic shifting that's been going on underground due to the 2010 Canterbury quake (not that far away) had anything to do with the catastrophic gas leak in the mine.
Tonight I'm off over the Pennines, weather permitting, for the book launch of The Romancer by my good friend Wendy Roberston. If the snow gates are open I'll be driving across Stainmore Pass - a name that strikes fear into the hearts of winter travellers, but there's no other way and I'm nothing if not intrepid! Even so, I'll be taking a shovel, some mountain gear and a flask of hot coffee.