I really do wish that I had learnt to use a camera properly. Sometimes, like last night I could have taken some really beautiful shots with no effort at all. Perfect cloudless sky, a crisp minus two degrees, thigh-high diamond encrusted snow and a huge, icy cold full moon to illuminate it all. With the blue-white of the snow and the blue-white of the moon just stepping outside was like stepping into one of those eighteenth century paintings of winter. Absolutely wonderful. It’s was like a bluer version of daylight out there, the sort of night when you don’t want to stay indoors but instead walk about the woods looking for tracks and animals and owls, just to be there and experience it all. Being out under a full moon is already magical but a full moon over snow is indescribable. But not feeling very energetic after three days of shovelling snow I decided to sleep out instead. I couldn’t be bothered to pitch the hammock so I dragged the camp bed out and slept on that in the courtyard instead. Bliss. Well bliss until the dog wanted to get onto the bed as well. It’s the first time we’ve slept together. I’m not enthusiastic. Every time a fox or a deer or a wild piggie goes by or the scent of one drifts down from somewhere she’s off with a jerk and a bark and all the dogs in northern Italy seem to join in with her. I liked the idea of a bed side table made of snow though. I have never actually had one before. Ikea should market them. You can make them into any shape you want and it keeps your glass of water cool should you need a drink. Tonight though I’m definitely going for a walk.
A lot has been happening this week Though we get bright sunshine during the day the snow is not melting in a hurry. We’re still putting 4 snow chains on and taking them off again each trip down to the village and the tractor is till stuck in the middle of the courtyard as I forgot to put the right diesel mix in it before it jammed up with the cold. This meant we couldn’t clear the snow off the track so for a while had to walk in and out usually with the howler howling to be let out of the baby carrier. Our neighbour’s car port collapsed under the weight of snow onto his car so he had to dismantle that and of course a tree fell onto our telephone line and brought the whole thing down. Fortunately, because bloody telecom as usual will take at least ten days just to come and look at the break we managed to repair it ourselves. I’ve built a six foot high snowman with classic carrot and mandarin features with a black hat and spent an afternoon shooting down the field on a toboggan both things I haven’t done since we were in the old house. I was going to make a show cave and sleep in that but after shovelling snow into a three meter high pile I seemed somehow to loose interest and went inside to do some cooking. I made a pretty successful batch of fudge whilst attempting to make toffee and also made some excellent toffee whilst attempting to make fudge which taught me a lot about the way of the world.
Two unusual bird sightings this year which I have managed to positively identify today. One is an alpine accentor (prunella collaris) which probably because of the unusually heavy snow fall seems to have come down from the mountain tops to forage here. They are totally unafraid and will come quite close. The other is a willow tit (parus montanus) which I have never seen here before either.
We took a walk up to our old house, Sparea, before the snow got too deep. I must admit I felt a bit nostalgic. Life was much harder than it is here but living there was more me I think and I sometimes wish I hadn’t sold it. I put a photo in at the bottom for old time’s sake.
The photo of the dog is the Howler's first ever photo, obviously of the dog.