In the bleak midwinter…

Wed, 23/12/2009 - 10:22
Submitted by Fergus Collins

Waking up Monday morning with a throat so sore I must have accidentally inhaled a hedgehog overnight, I looked out of the window and discovered a white world. I'd forgotten to watch the forecast Sunday evening so snowfall was a complete surprise.Sore throat was temporarily forgotten.

I got dressed, wrapped up junior Collins and took him into the garden for his first touch of snow. I think he enjoyed the sensation of cold crystals on his tiny fingers. We found fox footprints up and down the garden path – it had had a sniff round the bin, a dart at the birdtable then left through a gap in the fence that I didn't know existed. Junior looked slightly bemused. I took him back into the warmth of his mum's arms.

As I walked to work, I kept catching other people's eyes and smiling. Normally we'd just ignore each other. But the new, fresh snow had made us all just a tad more delighted with the world and relaxed about our fellow human beings.

Those who had made it in to the office – some 150 of us work at BBC Magazines Bristol (although only seven on the editorial side of Countryfile magazine) – were glowing with a sense of achievement. Those living in remoter areas were texting in their excuses about being snowed in, gleefully anticipating a day of plentiful tea, a duvet and perhaps a great film.

Those of us who made it in finished off the February issue, my first as editor. Look out for it in the shops from 12 January.

Of course, not everyone loves snow. There is always a hard element who moan about the dirty slush, the transport delays and the embarassment caused by falling over. And of course, it can be dangerous to travellers – my heart goes out to those caught up in some of accidents reported on the news today or those unable to get home for Christmas because of snow and ice. Although I have some sympathy for Simon Jenkins' view:

But as the world warms in the future, such white days may become a thing of the past. I'm of the opinion that you have to enjoy them when you can, just in case they never happen again.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year


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