There’s something enchanting about a ramble in the snow. Fresh and bright, it stirs sentiments of wonder seeing it layered over our English landscape like pale glitter.
As I turned the bend of a rural lane recently, the words of an old song, ‘A Winter’s Tale’, sung by David Essex, rang in my head. The lyrics poignant, and a reminder of a family farewell, while the rime-coated tree branches thawing and glistening in the sun were reminiscent of those in the record’s 1982 music video.
Exhilarated by freezing air stinging my cheeks, the thermals I wore kept my body toasty warm as we slid on packed ice until we reached untrodden verges. The snowfall wasn’t particularly deep, but we still met numerous snowmen along the way bearing pebble smiles and waving twiggy arms.
I was ready to duck behind the stone wall of one field to avoid icy missiles where older boys exuberantly hurled snowballs. Their voices and laughter echoed joyfully while they chased and aimed at each other, totally unaware of the cautious but smiling passers-by.
On a slope, a family tobogganing was an endearing and more relaxing spectacle. Two round-eyed toddlers, wearing colourful aviator-style hats, with legs stretched out in front of them on their sledge were glided towards drifts by grownups. The group then trundled back up to the ridge top dragging their vehicle behind them before setting off again in an outburst of loud giggles.
Horses and sheep glanced up unperturbed, their eyes expressing. “What’s all the fuss about, humans?” as they carried on munching vegetation nonchalantly when we trudged by.
In the wider countryside, we occasionally came across other footprints in the snow, some fresh, others translucent and glassy. Each representing a kindred spirit, maybe sharing the same thoughts, as they appreciated the surroundings listening to birdsong and trickling brooks.
The West Country rarely experiences snowy weather conditions, but when they occur, locals make the most of them. It’s a great feeling to be in the open, especially when nature has bejewelled the scenery so beautifully.
Until next time.