Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Hard Winter

Summer fizzled out and merged into autumn; disappearing without any sign of an Indian summer. The lure of the allotment paled as autumn raspberries became mushy and mouldy; the blooms of the sweet pea faded and the sunflower heads turned brown; the remaining runner beans were too stringy to be desirous of eating and the leafy greens had gone to seed.

The second winter at the allotment arrived overnight with a bang. In October the temperatures plummeted without warning, falling to as low as -16. The world outside my windows was transformed to silent magical Narnia. 

The bright contrast of the snow and ice against the vivid blue of the sky gave the impression of another frozen world.

A winter wonderland!

As the sun set low in the sky, wrapping up warmly we ventured out for an evening walk. In the forest park the lake was frozen solid;

beneath our feet the snow was crisp and icicles sparkled and glistened from the trees above.

The ducks swum miserably in the only little patch of unfrozen water that they could find.

At the allotment the herbs suffered instantly and both the Rosemary and the Bay tree died. The birds struggled to find food in the frozen ground and bird feeders were hung up by many of the plot holders.

Travel to and from the Fairs proved hazardous, especially the event held by Polly Rowan-Hamilton at Killyleagh Castle; although the Castle looked beautiful in all it's winter glory, and could well have been mistaken for the Ice Palace. However the weather didn't deter the visitors and merely added to the festive atmosphere providing us stall holders with a most enjoyable day and the horrendously treacherous journey worthwhile. 

(Unbelievably remiss of me, but with the apprehension of the journey, I forgot to bring my camera, but the castle looks just as impressive in sunshine as well).

As quickly as the temperatures dropped, so they rose and the country was soon awash with burst pipes. Everyone wished for the winter to be over and for Spring to arrive.

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