Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Let it snow, let it snow . . . let it snow . . .
"The cold air was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn . . . "
Last night we noticed as we put Jess out for the last time before we went to bed that the snow had begun to fall. Big fluffy white flakes, softly falling down from the sky like goosedown. Very, very pretty. This morning it is still falling and our world is blanketed in a huge silent swath of white . . . it lays in the back garden, virginal and pristine, untouched by man and beast. It will be so beautiful once the sun is up and we can look at it in more detail. I am charging the camera now folks, so be forwarned!! Lots of pictures to follow!!
"A fragile hush of flakes, brushing the earth
As lightly as a diffident caress.
Softness more tenous than drifting thoughts,
Harsh outlines blurred to phantom loveliness.
Petrified magic, movement held in thrall,
Tangible stillness pressed against the hills,
Casting blue shadows where the sleeping soil
Tenderly nurtures April's daffodils."
It is very beautiful to look at. Soft and silent, but it is a very harsh climate for this green and beautiful country that does not know how to deal with it, and lacks the equipment to do so in any serious manner. Yesterday morning, when I went into the Grocery Store, you would have thought a hurricane was coming. The shelves were emptying faster than I have ever seen them do so, and although the staff was hurriedly trying to fill them, they were fighting a losing battle. Todd had had a really difficult time finding a parking space in the parking lot. He had to drive around it about half a dozen times until a space emptied for him. We have never seen it like this. I asked the cashier what was up, and she said that bad weather was coming our way, so people were stocking up.
Thankfully, because of my church, I am already stocked up . . . but still . . . worries remain.
Apparently there is a shortage of gas, and suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand. I only hope our calor gas supply, which is what heats this house and our water, lasts and does not run out. It has been very cold. They say the coldest winter in 100 years, although I seriously doubt that. Todd says he remembers icicles when he was a child and I don't see any of those . . . yet. But they do say we are facing Arctic conditions. This may be one yet for the history books.
I have never seen a snow plow over here. I don't know if such a thing exists. Back home in Canada we are well used to winter conditions, and the snow plows would have been working throughout the night to clear the roads. Today the roads here will be impassable, and could be for quite some time if my experience is correct. There is also an apparent shortage of sand and grit.
I shall be alone at work today. Just me and the dogs, and perhaps the Estate Manager trying to clear what he can with the tractor. No one else will be able to get in, nor should they try. There will be no post for sure. It was days before it could get through when we had the last big snowfall here, just before Christmas . . . and I expect it will be days again. Of course, there will be the inevitable person that goes out anyways, despite the warnings not to, and whatever passable roads there are, will be jammed with accidents as foolish people try to get about in the manner they usually do . . . without altering their driving skills or habits to meet the road conditions.
This cold snap is expected to last until at least the end of the week. Is this the mild winter that was forecast by the Met Office??? I expect so, and it goes right along with the Barbeque Summer they had forecast for last summer. It is not easy for them though, as the weather here is very changeable, and I would imagine very difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy.
My heart does go out to those who have to try to get about it this though . . . the care workers that still need to try to get through to their patients that need them desperately. Emergency service workers that need to get to the hospitals and police stations and fire stations. My prayers go with them all today. And to those who are shut in and in need, my heart goes out to them as well. I hope and pray that all their needs will be met.
This has been a horrible year weatherwise in the UK for a great many people, what with the rain and floods up in Cumbria just a few months back, and now all this snow, which is creating havoc throughout the whole country. I would not be surprised to see a state of Emergency declared. Now is the time that the "Stiff Upper Lip" shall come in very handy. Times like these are when this country really begins to shine, as we all pull together as one.
My ear syringing did not go very well yesterday. The Nurse did manage to clear one, but I have to go back and have the other one done again next week. My goodness but it did make me feel very ill. I have a very sensitive inner ear and so was really laid out with this! I could hardly walk after, I felt so very giddy and very, very nauseous. I did try to go back to work, but had to finally leave and come home as I was so ill. I hope next week is not a repeat performance! I can hear on one side now though, so I expect that is good!
This is truly comfort food weather. I made us a tasty little chicken simmer last evening for our supper, which we enjoyed with some rice and purple sprouting broccoli. It really was tasty. Expect we'll have the leftovers today, and I am quite sure it will be even tastier!
*Honey and Lemon Simmered Chicken Thighs*
Tender and tasty with the flavours of honey, ginger and lemon, the perfect trilogy of flavours. The carrots and peppers lend a tasty contrast in flavours. It's not only delicious but quite pretty. You can also add some chopped parsnips if you wish for another wonderful flavour layer.
2 TBS olive oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into strips
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 TBS honey
the juice and zest of one lemon
4 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet with a lid. Add the chicken and then brown it quickly on all sides, turning it frequently until lightly coloured. Add the onion, pepper and ginger. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then pour over all 1/3 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle some tumeric over top. Add the carrots and peppers, and lemon zest, stirring in well. If you are using parsnips, add them now. Drizzle the honey over top and squeeze the juice of the lemon over all. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and pop on the lid. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and is tender. Scoop out the chicken and keep warm. Increase the heat and bring to the boil and reduce the sauce a bit until it thickens. Add the chicken back to the pan, making sure it is heated through. Adjust the seasoning as required and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immedately.
Over on The English Kitchen this morning, there are Eccles Cake Baked Apples, just in case you are interested and I don't know why you wouldn't be. These are fabulous! Perfect cold weather food!