I woke at six. it was dark. It was Saturday. Somewhere in the back of my mind a synapse ran in wild happy circles playing a kazoo. I saluted the moment and drifted triumphantly back to sleep.
Two hours later, my eyes were still closed.
They say hearing is the first sense to operate as you drift back to consciousness.
I heard my husband say: “I don’t believe it!”
“What?” I enquired blearily. Clearly speech follows hearing fairly quickly when one emerges from sleep.
With all speed I opted to employ my sense of sight.
It was. It was snowing. at about 7:45 on a Saturday morning in October. It was snowing with big white flakes and it was laying on the sheds in the gardens and the leaves in the forest outside.
When I was a girl you could go a year without seeing snow. In the seventies, alongside the drab brown wallpaper, those dire flare-dungarees and the dismal Biba prints, we had rain and mist, and the occasional sunny day during our winters. Dickensian white snowy days were pure, unadulterated legend.
This has changed.
We have had a few gratifyingly severe winters, just outside London. Those ones where for a day or two you can’t get where you want to go. They have cancelled school, and we pottered about in wellies and we cooked warm stews.
But October. That’s taking the neo-ice age a little too far, don’t you think?
The kitten does not think so. Clive Bond sat on the sofa by the big window in out room and eyes the huge snowflakes with intent. I’m having one of those, he radiated, though he has not as yet launched himself at the window to claim one. But his small head would start as one came into view high above him, and he tracked it with no small measure of obsession down to the patio . If I were the snowflake I would feel hunted.
Clive can’t go out, but the dog can. It is rather early to be considering the matter of his parka. But he needs something. The change in temperature has been so sudden.
A cuddly jumper, perhaps?
The range of jumpers for sale is bewildering. Chunky arrans, sporty track-suit tops, silky cashmeres: and I find that here is a huge range of knitting patterns for our best friends. Macaulay could be rolling happily in designer knits out there in the forest, knitted by my own fair hands.
Except that I can’t knit.
I share this attribute with a lady who owns two hens.
They are hens called, wildly, Sage and Onion. They live in Gloucester with their new owner, Sue Christy. And they arrived with her in a sorry, sorry state.
For they are ex-battery hens. They have lived a rather awful existence. Kept in pens about three quarter of the size of an A4 sheet of paper, they are given an artificial sunrise and sunset. Their beaks are cut to stop them worrying each other. They have fortified foods and, if kept for a year, would yield 338 eggs on average. But after 72 weeks they are deemed useless and- if no-one steps in- slaughtered.
But people step in, and take them and rehome them.
Poor Sage and Onion. They were stressed: and they had lost a huge amount of feathers.
Ms Christy did try knitting jumpers. Honest.
“I did try making the jumpers but it was a complete disaster,” said the Gloucester resident to the London freesheet, The Metro.
“Surprisingly I managed to find some on eBay, it’s amazing what you can find on there. They seem very happy with their jumpers, I think they like being warm again. They seem happy enough.”
Chicken jumpers on EBay.
So it seems we can meet out new ice age confident in the knowledge that there is a one-stop-cuddly-jumper-shop in town. One that even supplies jumpers for chickens.
Now to kit out the Shrewsday clan.
Feature pic source here