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Blue sky thinking

January 14, 2016

What a relief: the snow which I was expecting in early December has finally reached us! I know that snow is seen by plenty of people as an inconvenience but honestly, after the last month, anything other than torrential, interminable, relentless rain is a pleasure. Particularly exhilarating was today’s crisp cold, feathery snow, and clear, cloudless sky.


Clematis seed heads wearing snowy caps

We had almost forgotten what blue sky looked like. The rain has truly been phenomenal this winter. The river burst its banks here three, or was it four, times in three weeks. The access road to the fishing hut has been scoured away by the floods. Some fields (not ours) have been under flood water since the first week of December: wild geese and swans seem to have taken up semi-permanent residence. Part of a railway embankment near here was washed away, bringing the main north-south train route to a halt. Sheep have drowned. Floods and landslips have blocked roads. Homes have been inundated, some several times over: I can hardly imagine the misery for those poor people. And our little bit of the country has not even had the worst of the flooding.

So you can imagine the silly grins on our faces this morning when, in place of the usual murk, we woke to a cloudless sky and bright snow. At long last, a ‘proper’ winter’s day! The dogs and I were actually eager to get out for our morning walk. Even our elderly, stone-deaf Westie volunteered to come for once, cosy in his old gentleman’s Harris tweed jacket.


The clematis heads remind me a lot of bedraggled Westie fur…


Just a smattering of snow had sifted down in the night, each snowflake settling featherlight against its neighbours, so that you could make out individual crystals in the puffs decorating each twig, each rosehip.


Snowflakes on rosehips – right up there with whiskers on kittens.


The white page of the ground was scribbled with hoof- and paw-prints, each line hinting at a nocturnal story. Here was a busy rabbit crossroads:


rabbit crossroads


and here there seems, unmistakably, to have been an encounter between a rabbit and a roe deer, who each turned aside to sniff the other. How I’d love to have seen that!

rabbit & deer encounter

Bambi meets Thumper?


Against the garden wall there are always one or two roses which struggle on through the winter. In the snow, this red bloom is a bittersweet tale in itself.


Perhaps the rose of Oscar Wilde’s nightingale, which as a child I could hardly read for weeping.


I couldn’t be melancholy in such weather, however. Through this landscape of marvels we sauntered homewards, filled with clean air and frosty sunshine. Apparently we are getting another few days of the same: winter at last!


The road home.


You might enjoy Winter colours: red, russet and grey

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2016 1:50 am

    I’m sure you and many others are very relieved to have escaped the rain. I absolutely love that photo of the evidence of the deer and rabbit encounter. That really would have been cool to see. Your wee Westie is adorable.

    • January 15, 2016 11:16 pm

      Thanks, Laura. Yes, you didn’t miss much being out of Scotland this past month or two! I think even the animals are enjoying the cold snap at the moment.

  2. January 15, 2016 2:03 am

    OH, sun glorious sun ( we’ve had 3 days…but the fog has returned by this afternoon. Sigh)
    I love the pattern animal tracks make. You are right there are some stories to see there.
    Westies are such serious dogs. “Gentleman” is exactly the right description. He looks quite dapper.

    • January 15, 2016 11:20 pm

      Fog is nice for a change, but any ‘stuck’ weather pattern is dreary, isn’t it? Hope you get more sunshine soon!

      Our Westie is a real character. You’re quite right, they are serious – which makes their occasional bursts of undignified levity all the more endearing. He loves to have a good scrub in fresh snow, grunting with pleasure as he slides his cheeks along the crystals. 🙂

  3. hmunro permalink
    January 15, 2016 3:28 pm

    HOORAY! I’m grateful by proxy for those bright blue skies and the soft blanket of snow that preceded them. Poring over your beautiful photos, it’s hard to believe that so many people nearby have lost property recently to those dreadful floods (oh, how your description of the drowned sheep broke my heart!). I do hope the sun’s return is a harbinger of a milder pattern and a better year ahead for all of those affected. And for you, too! May 2016 bring many more happy strolls with the dogs, DB. xx

  4. January 15, 2016 5:01 pm

    I couldn’t agree more – I was smiling to myself yesterday, all the way up on the train to Perth, through a magical wonderland of white. Such a huge relief to see blue sky and sunshine, and the stars too. I really feel as if I’ve lived in darkness for months! Your rose is doing well – what an unusual winter so far! Let’s hope this fine weather lasts.

    • January 15, 2016 11:26 pm

      Yes indeed! I feel as if we have been living in the dark too, and are just now emerging, blinking, from semi-hibernation. I hope all the green shoots, and the red squirrels I’ve seen dashing around, won’t be too badly affected by this sudden reminder of winter. I don’t think we could bear a return to the rain and murk!

  5. January 15, 2016 10:46 pm

    I felt that same lift when we had snow yesterday – it didn’t last, but it’s rained almost every day since the start of the year (and before), so it was a lovely change.

    • January 15, 2016 11:31 pm

      I’m glad you caught a little of it too. The relentless wet has affected everyone’s spirits, I think: what elemental creatures we are!

  6. Perpetua permalink
    January 17, 2016 7:52 pm

    Such lovely photos. No wonder you felt so good on your walk. The constant rain and greyness has been getting on everyone’s nerves, even when we’ve been lucky enough to escape serious flooding. Here’s to more snow and less rain. 🙂

    • January 19, 2016 11:09 am

      Yes, I hope you get a little snow too to brighten the winter. (Although all things in moderation – I’ll never forget your tales of being snowed in!)

  7. Erika W. permalink
    January 24, 2016 10:08 am

    Doing my monthly check on very quiet blogs,–four very nice persons, including yourself, It is wonderful to read you once again. Here in Delaware we are in the centre of a blizzard–2 feet plus of snow and still falling very early this morning. The birds and squirrels nearly forming an orderly queue when I put out peelings, crumbs and oddments whenever there is a break in the snow. Then later I retrieve the already nearly buried tin trays that I use.

    It is always good to hear that life goes on in your castle and all my best wishes to you and your family for good health and happiness in this new year.

    • February 1, 2016 7:10 pm

      I’m so glad that you still check in on Dancing Beastie, Erika. You have been a faithful reader, which I really appreciate. The muse still strikes here occasionally!

      We heard about the blizzard down the east coast of the U.S. In fact, given that the same storm system brought us nothing but yet more rain and gales a few days later, I was even a little envious! Your wildlife is fortunate to have you for a neighbour.

      All the very best to you, too, for this year of grace.

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