Looking at my Christmas tag, I note that back in 2004 I was amazed by the arrival of snow. A few years on and it's starting to seem quite normal. Where was all this snow during the Christmases of my youth when I desperately wanted snow and it never came???
It's still very pretty, though it's starting to turn to ice now. Fortunately, Chilsworthy, remembering last year's Terrible Ice, has rallied against the snow, and after much heroic volunteer work with spades and grit, the village is pretty clear now: we got out with no great difficulty on Christmas morning, even though Helga's thermometer was showing -5.
In Menheniot, the village where philmophlegm 's parents live, where they didn't have much ice last year, people had been much less active about digging out the snow and gritting everything before it went solid, so we drove along gritted roads to get there, but then had to spend about half an hour when we arrived digging our way through compacted snow so we could park. I bet they will be quicker with the grit and snow shovels next year, if we get snow again, once they have spent this year all coming down on their bums...
Remembering last year's ice, we had decided to have the day at my mother's house in Mary Tavy rather than risk our parents all going bumpity bumpity down the slippery hill again.
On the way there, we stopped by the Tamar to walk the hounds. It was -6 and the river was frozen! I've never seen such a large river frozen before. It was frozen right across at the bridge, then further up where it goes shallow over rapids, the surface was mostly clear but you could see ice floating downstream - as it hit and joined the main area of ice, it made interesting patterns on the surface of the river. There are many little streams that come out of the hillside and flow into the river there, and presumably because they had come from deep inside the hill, they were warm enough that they were steaming in the cold air. We saw some spectacular icicles too.
My mother had made a lovely meal, including cooking a turkey breast - above and beyond the call of duty given that she is mostly a vegetarian, but I suppose if you are going to cook a big lump of meat, Christmas day is the day of all days...
Lots of lovely presents - mostly books - but I also got a little Bagpuss that sings the Bagpuss waking up noise, then yawns. And some Welly Socks - just what I need if we are going to have any more of this weather. We got my Mum a Kindle - I hope she finds it useable! The screen is nice and readable and it seemed pretty easy to use.
I was impressed to find that she has recently acquired a second hand keyboard, and a 'learn to play' book, so she can accompany the little Mary Tavy choir which practices at her house sometimes. By coincidence, philmophlegm has also acquired a keyboard recently - a Rock Band one. It remains to be seen whether either or both of them will master the art!
In the evening we took all 6 dogs out across the edge of Dartmoor in the snow and watched the sun go down behind Kit Hill in the distance, with the pink evening light shining off the snow. It was a beautiful evening, skies absolutely clear apart from a fringe of cloud hiding the sea just on the horizon.
All of us but Smudge were well wrapped up in coats - Smudge has a very thick coat of her own, but even nudist Mollydog needed insulation, it was very still, but very cold.