Merry Christmas

Well I’ve never known the like. Of course we get snow early on occasion and we get cold snaps but nothing like this. The other evening we were driving home along the coast road and it was –11.5 C Usually the coast is moderated by the sea, being cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but not at the moment.

We’ve a good foot of snow over the fields but hat’s off to Gwynedd council, the C road at the bottom of the track is passable and gritted. Bit worrying to hear they’re down to 2 days stock of grit now.

This weather is showing us the importance of planning ahead and being prepared. In many ways I’m still thinking like a townie and I’ve got to get my head into gear. I cannot just nip off to shops because I forgot something and I wish I’d thought to stock up on fuel before this snow got really bad.

I popped up to the coal merchant who had run out of logs so I got 4 bags of smokeless fuel for the stove. Now carrying a 20 Kg bag for 80 yards or so might not seem like a big deal, but carrying them up a slope in a foot of snow is somewhat harder. Enough to make me decide to leave the other bags until we’re desperate!

If I’d got stock in earlier, we’d have logs and I’d have been able to get up the track in the car, which is now living in the layby just off the main road. Hindsight is such an exact science.

We’ve had a few people say ‘you ought to get a 4 wheel drive’ but I’m very loathe to do so. I’ve no desire to drive around in a gas-guzzling truck the size of a small lorry and pay enough tax to bring a smile to the chancellor’s face.

So, like some of our neighbours, I’ll stick to leaving the car in the layby and trudging up the track in snowy weather. Talking of neighbours, another one showed up at the door with a Christmas card and a cake. We were so touched and felt really lucky to have landed here where people are so friendly.

I met a local farmer down at the layby a few days ago who asked if I was the writer. I said I was and he then asked if I intended turning all the fields over to vegetables! I had the distinct feeling that there was some air of disapproval at the thought of growing vegetables on pasture. The proper use of fields being sheep, of course.

I explained we would be turning 10 rods over to veg but the rest would stay as they were. I didn’t raise the plans for productive hedges and trees. My permaculture ideas might get me talked about in the pub.

Anyway, we’re learning a lot about rural living, community and Wales.

And now the important bit of this ramble.

We’d like to thank all our readers, forum members and online friends for their help and support over the last year. We’d also like to wish everyone a really Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Have a great time over the holidays and if you’re travelling, be safe.

John & Val

Posted in Rants and Raves
7 comments on “Merry Christmas
  1. MaryCatherine says:

    Hi John, I’ve always had a “little red wagon” to pull around my garden. It has saved my ol’ back from carrying too heavy things. Maybe you could get a little sled to pull your purchases up the slope. You are young and you will be fighting that slope in the winter for many years. And then too the children in your family would have a high time riding it down the front field!!

  2. Steve in Salford says:

    Thank you for the kind words in regard to our support for you over the last year, as for Christmas only have two words for that Bah Humbag.

    All the overflowing niceness that everyone puts on to people they care not two hoots about (yourself excluded) the rest of year, smacks of hypocrisy to me.

    On an up note we are having turkey this year, the first time, I have had turkey at Christmas since 1993 excluding when I was in Mexico. Where I found I had the job of cooking the turkey and no oven….answer pot roast.

    Christmas for me has associations with relatives or at peoples houses being at their whim and victim of their presence. I prefer it alone at Christmas but there has been two of us for the last 6 years. So that has changed.

    As for the association with Christmas it has to do with being in a career that I could not get out of until recently going to university and serving turkey from the end of September. Made me some what loathsome of the whole thing, aside from which I think people go over the top with food, and excess all round and do not really celebrate it for its true meaning.

    Each to their own….Warm gratings and seasonal best washes from this household to you and all!!! Bah humbag!!!

  3. Steve in Salford says:

    On a more serious note, glad you’re settling in ok, you will get the hang of in the end. Be/ing prepared for the worst every year takes time to sort out, for goodness sake you had barely moved in and the snow was upon you.

    As for your last point, are you trying to suggest that your neighbours can not read or do not have access to the internet whereby they can see your ramblings sorry intentions.

    Good luck with the plans for the coming year and your growing project it will take some getting used to the weather for a start and the supply issue when the weather is against you.

  4. John says:

    Thank you Steve (I think!) – I really do mean it about Christmas. Behind all the hype and consumer spendfest, there really is something wonderful about the solstice / Christmas festival. And, as a Jewish friend of mine once said, it’s the spirit of the thing that counts.

  5. John says:

    Mary – I wish I was younger – I’m 55! Did try to spot a sled when we went out with that in mind but no joy. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you just does your back in, to mangle a saying.

  6. Steve in Salford says:

    Surely John you could make one, all you need is some runners and board to form the base.

    Your right about Christmas it is what you make, which is why I have the preference for my own company, at least I do not have to make excuses when I break wind or decide to take my leave.

  7. Colin says:

    Regardless whether you choose wheels or skids/runners, a useful gadget to install at the top of the slope would be a good sized pulley able to take a strong rope.
    Moreover when you car finally needs to be replaced (along with your back) you could look around for an old Land Rover fitted with a winch. Nothing would defeat you then.

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