the Advent of winter
The first Sunday of Advent has brought us truly exceptional weather. I know it’s a cliche that Brits talk about the weather all the time but really, this is extraordinary. The snow began on Wednesday and has continued on and off ever since. Yesterday was beautiful: powdery snow under blue sunny skies, with some of the trees still clinging to their autumn colours. We had a lovely time toboganning in the garden (or ‘tobobbing’ as younger son called it).
Last night, though, things frankly began to get a little weird. We were out for dinner with friends and, in a half-hour drive along icy roads, the temperature plummeted from -3 to -10C. What atmospheric conditions would cause such a rapid temperature drop, we wondered? Anyway, we arrived safely, had a lovely evening and, by the time we started for home again at midnight, it had warmed up to a balmy -2C and was snowing. And it kept snowing all night. And has kept snowing all day today. Heavily, incessantly, all day. In November! This is not normal for Scotland. This morning we went out to the fields to do some proper sledging in the deeper snow: while we were out, there was a flash of lighting and a couple of long rumbles of thunder. I’ve never experienced a snowy thunderstorm in this country before.
This evening the snow continues to fall along with the temperature, the long drive to the castle is barely passable even with four-wheel drive and the roads to the north and south of us are closed. There is no possibility of returning our elder son to school in Edinburgh after his weekend at home, and it’s looking unlikely that younger son’s local school will be open tomorrow. We are officially snowed in! An adventure at any time of year, but quite a memorable event for November. Hmm, I wonder what the boys will be doing tomorrow…?
Postscript: I was just about to publish this when the power went off, and we were left sitting in the dark with only the firelight from the stove. Heavy snow on the trees often affects the power supply here, so we were half expecting it. In the past hour we have been playing games and singing advent carols around the piano by candlelight. A power cut is also an adventure for a little while, but I am very relieved that we have light and heat back on now! Three cheers for the indomitable engineers, who always manage to reach us so quickly in their Land Rovers to restore the supply to us and the surrounding houses on the estate.
See also: winter solstice