Things deteriorated. The wind swirled relentlessly day and night and heavy snow continued to fall, whipping itself into drifts of 10 to 15 feet in some areas. Bizarrely, other areas had almost no snow at all. It was surreal.
The drive looked like a frozen sea with huge waves coming over the hedge and the walker and turn-out arena were barely visible. Snow found it’s way into every building underneath the doors, through joins between the walls and rooves and every other nook and cranny. Nothing escaped. The buildings on both side of the yard had snow drifts inside and a considerable covering of the white stuff on the floor.
Talisman was covered in snow each morning and half his stable had several inches on the floor as well as the bedding. Fortunately, he couldn’t feel a thing under four layers of rugs. Poor Elizabeth though (yard cat), sported a blanket of snow as she slept in her bed. It was useless sweeping it out of the buildings as it blew straight back in so, reluctantly, I admitted defeat.
It got me thinking how an ice age completely obliterates all evidence of life – talking of which, as I have mentioned in a previous blog, there is a growing body of thought that we are heading towards a mini-ice age in the next 15 years. If that happens we will need the right coping strategies, wherever we live. The next few years will tell.
Digging paths continued several times a day, to get the horses out of their stables and into a large shared stable for a change of scenery and company during the day and back into their stables at night. There was absolutely no other option for them, they were well and truly grounded. In fairness, both have coped really well. Talisman can’t believe his luck that he hasn’t been on the walker for over a week!
Feeding the feral cats in the barn up the drive was challenging and required a ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ impression from me. The drive was impassable, so I took a shovel and dug steps, one at a time, up the bank past the turn-out arena and through the field. I was up to my thighs in snow but the girls were pleased to see me, so the daily expedition was worthwhile.
Unfortunately, during this whole testing episode, I have endured a lot of pain with a raw toe which was the result of a chilblain in the last cold spell, so I have been hobbling and this has been the hardest part of it all. It has also added to the degree of hazard both inside and out. Balancing on one leg in the house, for example, whilst hoovering resulted in a classic home goal. The hoover pipe got suctioned onto the rug in front of the wood burner and as I pulled it off, I lost my balance and tipped backwards a little and ‘smack’, the pipe hit the stove glass with great force and shattered it. It would have been quite funny had I caught it on camera but I was gutted. It’s the room I live in next to the kitchen and the stove is on every day for most of the year. Bryngwyn and I are now marooned in the one heated area of the house, the kitchen, until it is fixed. Local hero Pete (pictured in a previous blog standing on my roof) is on his way!
Another incident I could have done without during this arctic period, was the rotting corpse of something hairy under the floorboards in my bedroom. The smell was utterly vile and it’s taken weeks to go. This meant sleeping with the window open (yes, in minus 10 and more) or moving to the spare room which I did for a few of the worst nights. The joys of country living are endless!
Today, I decided I had better check my remaining rations and figured I had enough food to last until the weekend at a push. As the drive was still a long way from being useable, despite recent rain and rising temperatures which have started the big thaw, I phoned some farming neighbours to see if they could pick up provisions for me in town when they went out but most were busy lambing – ironic considering the weather!
So I was quietly pondering another plan when I heard a rumbling close by. I went out to investigate and to my utter amazement, I was greeted by Geraint, a farmer neighbour on his tractor, at the bottom of my drive. I had spoken to his wife earlier about shopping and he had taken a break from lambing to dig me out. I was overjoyed to see him and to set eyes on ‘the path to freedom’. Extreme weather is a catalyst which builds community and ‘community’ just came to my rescue. Turns out, I was the last in the area to be reconnected with the rest of the world. Thank you, thank you!
So for now, I am euphoric! We (the boys, girls and me) have survived the worst of conditions. I kept my composure (mostly) in the belief that I am safe and that my instinct will nudge me when I need to act ensuring I have enough fuel, food and horse essentials, doing repairs to buildings and having back up plans for all eventualities (plus some) and that I will be in the right place at the right time if things are dangerous.
My growing connection with nature and the elements is part of this. I am increasingly attuned to the weather and have a feeling as to what’s coming (as do many who live on the land). I also the have confidence from having dealt with many and varied crises in my life, that somehow I will come out smiling and I apply a bigger version of this philosophy to the increasingly crazy world we live in.
Despite what seems, I see humanity heading in a new direction through a growing global consciousness which recognises that, fundamentally, most of us want the same things – safety, health, peace, prosperity and happiness. I see disasters and systems failures leading to massive innovative change and new beginnings from the strangest of sources sometimes. Of course, the when and the how of it will remain a mystery as ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. But expectation of good outcomes is a powerful catalyst and I look on with excitement about where we are going and compassion for those experiencing pain in the process.
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Pics: Talisman behind a wall of snow and after digging a path to his stable, the horse walker, the turn-out arena, the drive (looking up and down), the solarium, the feed room, Talisman and Pip in their shared stable, Geraint arriving on his tractor.
Micro blogs and photos are published on Facebook daily, if you would like to keep up with my life and times between blogs which are published several times a month. Videos are also available on my YouTube channel (some though not all are on the Vlogs page here). Since my last blog I have published the following new video: Harrowing Times. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive notifications of videos when they are published.