You would have thought that being trapped in the village by over a foot of snow would have meant that I would have plenty of time to write my blog, but this has not been the case. So here I am, finally drawing breath on Boxing Day and able to think about the blog for the first time since just after the snow started.
First of all, there has been a strong Dunkirk spirit, clearing pavements and communal snowball throwing, whether or not you knew the person you were aiming at. That in itself has been quite time-consuming, not to mention energetic. Chloe would be proud of me! She hasn’t been able to get into our village at all, though whether that’s by choice and she’s taking a safer, less slippery, route, or if she’s just trapped in her own cul-de-sac, I’m not sure. I did send her a text telling her that I’d been out helping with the snow-clearing, but texts seem to be travelling as slowly as some cars at the moment, so she may not have received it yet.
Secondly, and rather more time-consuming, is the festive spirit that seems to have overcome most of us. It began the night after I last wrote this blog, when a telephone cascade of some sort went round the village, trying to bail out the Unfortunate Case of the Cancelled Works Do. My phone call was from Delyth.
“Are you doing anything this evening?”
“Writing Christmas cards and washing some jumpers that have suffered from the snow-clearing exertions.”
“Leave them. There’s a party at Celia and Paul’s.”
I don’t mind parties when I know people, but I don’t think I’d ever clapped eyes on Paul, and I’d only seen Celia in the distance, through the smoked-glass of her 4x4, though Verity talks about her sometimes. I explained to Delyth but she was not to be deterred.
“Doesn’t matter. There’ll be loads of people there that don’t really know them. A kind of six degrees thing. But Paul has had to cancel his works do, and all the food has already been ordered and prepared by Lucy and Jessica Frobisher, so Celia and Paul have decided to have a party at home instead, use the food up that way. Seven-thirty onwards. I’ll pick you and your chap up, so you can’t wriggle out of it.”
I did some fairly inept wriggling down the phone but it had no effect. After instructing me to phone and tell anyone else in the village that I knew, Delyth rang off.
Although I was a bit anxious about going to a party where I didn’t know anyone, especially one catered by Jessica Frobisher who was apparently not pleased with me as it was, once I got there and had a glass of champagne, I started to enjoy myself. One huge advantage of a party in the village, as I may have mentioned before, is that you don’t need to worry about drinking and driving. In this weather, more of us should probably have worried about drinking and falling over on the ice, but I heard the following morning that only two sprained wrists had been reported on the grapevine.
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the week. Paul is not the only one in the village with a vehicle that can cope with the ungritted roads, but there are very few. There have been occasional mass-runs to the supermarkets, and there’s been a lot of walking. Getting over the hump-backed bridge on an icy pavement with gripless wellies has been challenging but it’s at times like that, a walking stick comes into its own. I’ve seen a couple of people with walking poles, the sort that are very popular in Scandinavia and very expensive in Dartmoor, but in this weather I expect they help. The real difficulty, assuming one manages to reach the town, is that either the shopping has to be carried home again, in which case one is limited in how much one can buy, or one has to persuade a taxi to attempt the journey. Fortunately, I have a well-stocked freezer and have seen Edith on several occasions for sandwich fillings. In the evenings, there has been a succession of parties, as people make the most of being unable to go to more exotic destinations. Of course, it means that it’s largely the same people at each event, unless the hangover has been so long-lasting that they haven’t managed it.
Then, just in time for Christmas, the temperature went up ever so slightly, Celeste quit her job after being paid a pittance for struggling in through the snow every day, George got home, and we were able to visit the OH’s brother for a Christmas Eve lunch before heading home and starting to trim sprouts and peel potatoes for our own Christmas lunch.
On Christmas Day itself, Paul had invited a few people round for drinks, and since the OH had been chatting with him at the non-works do at some length, that included us. It felt a little odd, leaving the turkey on the side to rest while we walked down the road for a drink, but with fewer people there and a cheery glass of champagne from Paul the moment I entered the house, I stopped worrying about it. I don’t know how many bottles of champagne Paul must have got through in the last week, but I think he must buy it by the case! Lunch was, unsurprisingly, a little late. Which meant that we ended up watching the recorded version of Dr Who since we were still eating Christmas pudding when it started. In our defence, we had paused between the turkey and the pudding to exchange gifts. Celeste has bought me a speaker for my iPhone and put some more music on it when she realised that otherwise we would be listening to about three tracks over and over again. I must say, it is quite nice, being able to listen to all my music on a shuffled setting, though it’s a little weird switching from a Mozart slow movement to Christina Aguilera’s latest offering.
So, happy Christmas to everyone out there, or whichever festival, if any, you celebrate. I hope the snow has added to your enjoyment of the season rather than detracted from it. My New Year’s resolution, made early, is to keep my blog more up-to-date. And Verity has also asked me to write more about what actually happens in the village, so I’ll try to satisfy her too. After all, she knows where I live...