Thursday, 2 December 2010

I think I know where Narnia is!

Snow started falling on Monday - the first time we've had snow in November in the UK since 1993 apparently. That didn't bother the snow - it just kept right on falling...and falling....and falling until it was the heaviest snowfall for 33 years - not that I cared about statistics.

I opened the front door to find a tsunami of snow greeting me - doesn't look so big until you consider there are TWO steps down from the front door to the terrace! I realised that the last time we had snow like this I had ended up in Narnia. Could I do it again? Was it possible now that I was an adult - albeit an adult with an inner eight year old?!

The inner 8 year old wussed out at stepping down into 2 feet of snow so, stopping only long enough to don 3 layers of thermals, 4 pairs of socks, coat, scarf, hat and 2 pairs of gloves, I left swiftly by the back door - a gentler route into the whiteness beyond The House.

The world was quiet and still as I ventured forth and decided to head north to start my search for Narnia. Briefly the sky cleared. I saw tree tops ladened with snow. The snow was deep, but I waded stoically onward.....
I worked my way slowly up steep slopes and passed trees with their boughs bending under the burden of the snow.

Moving yet further north, I paused to gather my strength and, as I did so I spied a fairy ring - a table and seats in the shelter of the trees. Was this Narnia?

I remembered that beyond these trees lay wild animals and I was afraid to go further in case the foxes or badgers jumped me. I couldn't see a lamp post and Mr. Tumnus was conspicuous by his absence so, with a heavy heart (and just a slight sigh of relief) I turned south east.
As I pushed my way through the deepening snow I found one small splash of colour in the overwhelming whiteness of the Acer 'Shin Deshojo' bravely peeking up above the snow and guiding me on my way.

I paused again to consider the beauty of the snow on the gnarled old apple tree (- but actually it was just an excuse to to get my breath back. It's surprisingly hard work wading uphill through snow!)

before resting for a while 'neath the shelter of a conveniently located tea house as I scoured the land around me in hope of finding that flippin' lamp post.

I moved on, but the Ice Queen's grip on the land was strengthening, I was loosing my bearings - I instinctively knew I had to keep heading south/south east, but I vaguely remembered that that involved going down some steps and I no longer knew where they were ... I felt they were somewhere close, but as to where - I could no longer tell. I paused, confused and disorientated....

but then, stepping slowly and cautiously forward, I located the steps and managed to descend unscathed - a tricky business I can tell you, I nearly went base over apex more than once.
I shook in terror as I found myself wandering in the barren wastes of Lawnland, lost until I came upon Bench and Table, buried and unloved yet still hoping for someone to remove the weight of winter from the Ice Queen's grasp.
To my horror I realised that I had veered way too far west in Lawnland and was at risk of arriving in that most terrifying of places - The Herb Patch!
I swiftly took my bearing from the weak winter sun as it all too briefly showed its face. I headed due south once more and soon came across a fellow traveller. We paused to exchange thoughts on the whereabouts of that dratted lamp post and Mr. Tumnus, then I smacked myself firmly round the head - the snow and cold were getting to me. I was talking to a garden sculpture...the Ice Queen was winning!

Altering my course to the south west away from my new found friend, erm *cough*- garden sculpture, I laughed hysterically in relief as I spotted The Bird Feeders. Moving precariously down the now invisible slope between the two posts I knew I was back on the edge of Lawnland (and possibly my sanity) and close to The House - but still no sign of any bloomin' lamp post.

I headed due south down The Drive, keeping close to The House. But wait! My way was blocked - was this the Ice Queen's evil doing? Was I getting too close to the lamp post even though I still couldn't see it???

Popping briefly back into The House, I warmed my toes, ate chocolate (purely for the energy content of course), nipped to the loo, then peered out of The Bay Window, hoping to gain insight into the blockage on The Drive. It was worse than I'd imagined.
The Ice Queen had made the trees bow down before her and surrender to her will.......... I'd have to fight my way through - was I strong enough? Did I care enough?!
But I had no choice if I was ever to find Narnia before the sun went down. I HAD to go back out.
Returning to The Drive, to my surprise and delight a beautiful young woman was waiting to help me in my quest. Was this a sign?
(No, it was Last-Born, armed with a broom!)

She battled heroically against the snow, wielding her trusty broom with gay abandon and releasing the trees from its icy grasp whilst I stood well back out of range of avalanching snow - I'm not daft!
As the trees shuddered back vaguely upright leaving the path clear-ish for us, I though I heard a distant scream of rage from the Ice Queen ...but it turned out to be a very angry magpie who'd been de-treed by Last-Born's broom attack!

Free now to move forward, sure that Narnia lay before us and feeling that success was within our grasp, we surged south - well, when I say 'surged', it was more of a sluggish waddle, but then! Lo!
We'd found's at the bottom of my garden!

Last-Born gazed around in wonder at the beauty of it all.
I gazed around in frustration...where the heck was that flamin' lamp post?

And then I spied it ....the modern equivalent. The guiding light to get me home.......
My Land Rover!

Now I know where Narnia is I can come back any time, so sod the lamp post - I'll buy one
in spring!


Liz said...

Hi Liz,

You're mental. Honestly.

Better to have fun in the snow than grump, eh?

Now snowmen? I assume your snow is as powdery as ours making it impossible.

Btw, it's the first widespread snow in November in 17 years, not the first snow. When living up in Crookes we often used to get snow at the end of November, but just a sprinkling which lasted a day or two. Not quite the 17+ inches this time!

My ex manager is stuck in Holymoorside, no buses for them... Mind, there were no buses here for a while either...

Patsi said...

Fun in the refreshing !!!
Think I could use that now to get the cobwebs out of my head.
You sure have tons of snow...have fun kiddo !

Pondside said...

So glad you made it back safely - a quest for Narnia can lead anywhere - not always safe and pleasant!
I hope you're surviving that huge dump of snow we're hearing about....

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

You certainly had fun! It's written on your face! I am a bit jealous. Send some snow our way, Liz!

Andrea said...

That is a funny and beautiful post. I am smiling all the way. Even if i cannot relate to snow as i havent seen one, i feel like so cold as well. I wonder with you guys, since you cover your body wiht lots of covers but not your face, how does it cope with that cold?!!! i really wonder. So the forecast about climate change is now proving right, colder climates become more cold and hot-dry climates become more so! Our last dry months were extended till many of our fruit trees died, also our wet season got so harsh rains that gave us lots of deadly floods. And there, you are getting this much in so many decades. Its scary for the years ahead!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz - yes, I think it's far better to enjoy the snow than to moan about it! :)
Last-Born and 3 of her mates did manage to make a small snowman on Tuesday, but it was hard work.
Ah - Crookes microclimate! Should have remembered about that! I stand corrected :)
Buses did start running to outlying villages yesterday, but it's very cold and icy this morning so I'm glad we're all at home .....and that our decorator (who's doing our bedroom) only lives round the corner, so he's been walking down to us and carrying on! What a star!
Himself only got back from Rotherham on Tuesday because he'd gone in my land rover and could get up the side roads to avoid the blockage on Prince of Wales Rd!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Patsi - the snow is wonderful, but it is VERY cold this morning. It all looks so stunning with the clear blue skies we've got just now. I've had a stinking, streaming cold for the past few days and being outside has helped ...well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! :)

Hi Pondside. My Narnian quest was fun - it's YEARS since we've had snow this deep!
We were told by the weathermen that we'd be in for a bad winter this year because the Arctic Swans arrived 3 weeks early from Russia to overwinter here this year and apparently that's one of the indicators they use!
We're surviving very well - I could feed an army for a month on my food stocks! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Tatyana - you're so right, it was fun. I love the snow!Last-Born and I were having a great time together :)
I've instructed the weather to send some your way.......!

Hi Andrea. I'm glad you enjoyed my post - it was a bit different from my usual stuff, bit I did enjoy writing it.
Gosh, of course- you won't have had snow in the Phillipines will you?
How to describe snow? Snow is made up of tiny individual ice flakes, each with a unique pattern, but the whole lot sticks together to create this wonderland! The world turns VERY quiet and still.
I did have several layers of clothes on, but our faces are used to the cold - it was around -3* when I took these photos, although when it's colder we do cover our faces. It's a very dry cold, which doesn't seem as bad as when it's a bit warmer but damper!

I think we are moving into a time of climate chaos and it does worry me - mainly because many governments and huge multi-national companies don't seem to care as long as they can continue to make a profit! :(

gypsyrose said...

I really enjoyed reading about your quest to find Narnia, I wish I could make things sound so exciting.
the photos are gorgeous, everywhere looks so pretty,
have a good weekend

Liz said...

Hi Liz,

I enjoyed it when it first arrived, it's always pretty and with a landrover then I guess you don't get that sense of being trapped. I'm just going stir crazy now, think I'll sweep the snow away just for something to do.

I'm glad Himself got home safely, I think all the roads were pretty much blocked to be honest.
I assume you've heard about the A57 at Anston, honestly I don't understand people who tried to get out and about in it all. I've friends from home who all got stuck around there, plain madness to me. It was going to happen, so why risk it??

Yep Crookes was a great place... I'll never move back up that end because it's compared to the rest of the city.
When we go see my brother who has now moved to Crosspool instead, there's always a marked difference in temperature, I think once it was 2 degrees difference according to the thermometer on the car.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Gypsyrose - I did enjoy writing this post. The idea came to me and then the whole thing just flowed!

I'm lucky that our garden is fairly photogenic anyway, but in snow it is just gloriously pretty!

Hi Liz.
Actually this morning is the first time I've been out in the land rover - had to take Ceefer to the vet, but just knowing it's there and can get through just about anything is reassuring.
The roads through town are still very icy and there were really only 4x4s out.
The path we've trodden down to the road (about 90 yards!) is now very icy and I don't think we've got a hope of getting the cars back up near the house for some time yet!

Yes, Anston was a mess. One of Andy's staff lives in Kiveton Park, but he stayed at his In-Laws rather than try to get home, but there are always some idiots who think they'll be able to get through!

That end of Sheffield is always cold - and windy!

It was minus 10 here at 9.30 this morning - and that was in the sun!

Woody Wilbury said...

Had a bit of snow then, have we?

Too right, matey. Like you we've got it by the shedload. Bet you're glad of the Land Rover!

Nutty Gnome said...

Ey up Woody - just a covering!!!

I ventured out in the Land Rover this morning onto the ice rinks that make up the roads of Chesterfield at the moment and, yes, I was VERY glad I was in the Landy!

Don't fall in a snow drift!

Phoenix C. said...

Brilliant!! Really enjoyed this!

It's good to have fun in the snow - round here it seems to have brought out a great sense of camaraderie and humour too.

Diana (Di) said...

Liz, you are quite the story teller and adventurer; I am so pleased that in your quest to Narnia you found your way back home safely. If anyone could, I knew you would do it. ;)

We've been socked in all day with fog and near freezing temperature... not sure if I prefer this or your beautiful snow.

Shady Gardener said...

Liz, I laughed my way through your entire post! Can I come over and play??? :-)

Record snowfall... it's amazing and amazingly beautiful! You are too much fun!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I can't believe how much snow you have! That's amazing. Looks like so much fun, even if you never did find Mr. Tumnus.

joey said...

Oh my, I laughed then envied the child within you, dear friend. And not only impressed with the fairytale but your awesome photos! But do tell me ... when you warmed my toes, ate chocolate (purely for the energy content of course) ... what was ... 'nipped to the loo' before peering out of the Bay Window :) You're 'the bestest' storyteller!

Britta said...

Dear Liz,
what a beautiful post with absolute stunning pictures!! In England you have so much snow now (we had it last year) that compared to it Berlin's snow is only a little ice cake frosting :-) (But minus 13° Celsius - that is cold!). "Narnia" I read to our son when he was 8 - we loved it. And maybe you know Tove Jansson's "Winter in Moomin Valley" (Title might also be Troll's Winter?). It's a real, real treat - go for it, it is definitely not "only" a children's book. Thank you for your comment - and enjoy the snow! Britta

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Phoenix C. I know you've had far deeper snow up where you are, so I'm glad everyone has kept their sense of humour too! I noticed when walking to the local shop just how much more people were talking to one another, buying milk etc for eldery neighbours and helping each other dig out cars and drives. It was really nice to feel that sense of community.

Hi Di - and thank you for your lovely words. It was a bit of a leap to do such a different post, but I did enjoy it and I'm glad you did too!
Given a choice between fog and snow, I'd go for snow every time! I really don't like that sense of disorientaion that I get in fog.
It was minus 8 overnight and will warm up to around minus 2-1 today, so quite warm compared to the last few days! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Shady my friend you can come over and play any time!!! :D

Further north than us they've got even more snow - even more fun!

Hi Catherine - I think Mr. Tumnus kept hiding behind the trees. I think he's a bit shy!
It's forecast to stay like this for at least another week - but I have seen tarmac on the road this morning for the first time in 5 days!
I love it!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Joey - and thank you so much for your lovely comments about my storytelling. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I suspect it's quite hard to take a bad photo when there's this much snow and everything looks so stunning!

My inner child is always very near the surface, but especially when it comes to bad jokes and snow! :)

Ha ha - 'nipped to the loo' translates as 'went to the ladies room/bathroom'! :D
To 'nip' somewhere is to go quickly or to intend to be brief.
Loo comes from the old French phrase 'Regardes au-dessous', meaning 'Look out below' and stems from the Middle Ages when people emptied their 'night soil' out of the upstairs windows into the street or the toilets in castles were holes in the floor that emptied directly onto the ground some distance below! The phrase got shorted to 'Gardes l'ous', then 'loo' gradually came into common usage to mean toilet.
Bet you're right glad you asked now?!!! :D

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Britta - we've only had it at -10 here, but some parts of Scotland got to -18! Too cold for me! We've got much more snow than many places. Our eldest daughter is at uni in Nottingham - about 45 minutes away and she is SO cross that they only have about 8" of snow and she's missing out on ours!

Narnia was a favourite of both girls when they were growing up but we also read many of the Moomin books - Laura (at 17) still has a very soft spot for The Moomins and has a cartoon of Moominpappa on her bedroom wall! I think we may have to re-read all the books!
Have a great weekend and I hope Berlin warms up a bit for you :)

Stone Art said...

Looks fab, everything just looks magical in the snow. We have snow here in Ireland at the moment, but not as impressive as that!

Jude said...

Brilliant...I so enjoyed this post!!
I much prefer reading about adventures in the snow..rather than being in the snow!!
Take care

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Sunny and welcome to my blog. Thank you for visiting.
It has been an impressive snow dump - with more forecast these next few days too. It makes the garden look so much prettier when it hides all the weeds and stuff!
A bit of a thaw has set in and we finally managed to clear a spade's width path down our drive (90 yards - it was hard work!) and I'm about to go and dig out the other car .....I may be some time! :)

Hi Jude, nice to see you. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm quite happy to do the adventuring in the snow and let you live vicariously through me if you like?! :D

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

You made the journey, and you brought us with you along the way.

What a beautiful snowfall, I had no idea that you got so much.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Jen - thanks for visiting and I'm glad you enjoyed taking the Narnian journey with me :)

It is beautiful but we'd don't usually get anywhere near this much snow - only about once every 30+ years or so!
It's making for interesting times .....I had to sledge my shopping up our very long drive today because we still can't get the cars up to the top (or even half way!)

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Incredibly early for such a dumping of the white stuff. I love it too, hope we get some this year.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Rob. Yes, it's very unusual to get snow this early in winter and to get this much is about a once in 30+ year event! Sadly, most of it's gone now but I'm holding out hope on the forecast for another big dump of snow by the weekend!

I hope you get snow too - I'll think of you and Karen building snowmen on the lawn and skating on the swimming pool!

Kathryn said...

Hi, Liz! This is the most marvelous story! Your spirit is so nurtured by this winter wonderland! I grinned from ear to ear the whole telling! ENJOY! And thank you for the wonderful share! Kathryn xoxoo

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Kathryn - thank you so much for your lovely comments, it means a lot coming from you with your writing background! I really enjoyed writing it as the whole thing just flowed! :) xoxoo

O.I.M said...

so much snow and such lovely photos. your snow is big news here in Canada. I know it has been a terrible headache for so many but it's also very pretty. stay safe and enjoy it.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Irena. I'm loving the snow (as you can probably tell!) just as long as it lets us get to my brother's house on the Isle of Wight -very south of England, about 5 hours away from us, on Christmas Eve!
I didn't realise that we'd made the Canadian news! Your snow is nice and predictable each year. Ours is VERY unpredictable - this is the heaviest in 30+ years and many people have NO idea how to drive in snow. Mind you, it has built up lovely community spirit with everyone helping each other dig out or going shopping for elderly neighbours -erm, to buy things for them, not to buy neighbours! :)

A Novel Woman said...

Hee hee, you're too funny. This is pretty much the scene here in Montreal from November until April. If you come here, you'll have all the snow you could ever wish for.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hello there Novel Woman - welcome to my world! Thank you so much - I'm glad you enjoyed it.
I spent some time in Montreal many, many years ago and loved it -even in high summer. I'd love a winter there with all that wonderful snow! :)