Thursday, 24 December 2009


On Wednesday night last week, I posted on facebook that it was hailing really badly. The hailstones were bouncing off the ground outside. I was glad to be inside, in the warm, not needing to go anywhere.

That was the start.

On Thursday I went into town (for a dentists appointment, nothing festive). As I stood at the bus stop, waiting for my bus home, I updated my facebook status to say that the sky looked like snow. It had that yellowy cast that often means snow is on the way. Sure enough, just after I sent that message, white flakes started to fall, getting heavy by the time I got home.

It kept on snowing. On Friday I went to Jesmond for a christmas meal. The snow was still powdery and dry, mostly, but in places it was compact and icy, scary to walk on.

On Saturday it stopped. I went into town in the afternoon, desperate to get some last few things for Christmas (or so I thought... I still was buying yesterday). When I was in one shop in Eldon Square, one of the assistants turned to another and said 'I hope it's still snowing outside!'. I considered telling her that it wasn't snowing when I'd come in. That it was quite bad enough, anyway. But when I came out and walked along Blackett Bridge, I saw that outside it was snowing again. Heavily.

I'd never seen snow lying on Northumberland Street before then. It normally has so many people walking along that any snow gets trodden away sharpish.

Not that evening.

On Sunday, I think, it did not snow. But the snow was still lying on the ground. On roads that are normally gritted, too. All along the pavements, still powdery. Still dry. Not like snow is normally in this country once it's lying for the fourth day.

On Sunday night, the temperature in Newcastle fell to -6C.

On Monday morning, I got up for the winter solstice sunrise at the coast. The snow was still powdery in the early morning dark. It sparkled in the street lights as I walked.

It wasn't forecast to snow that day, but as I left the house the first few flakes were falling once more. It snowed constantly for at least an hour and a half. Then the sun shone, for the rest of the day. Bright white, reflecting a blinding glare from the snow.

That night the temperature was -6C again.

Tuesday it didn't snow. We weren't forecast any more snow, but the temperature wasn't forecast to rise high enough for it all to melt yet, either. In the main shopping streets in Newcastle there wasn't a trace, but round the edges, it was still there. If you looked.

Yesterday it didn't snow. The air was still bitter, the snow on the ground still thick and slippery in places, so I stayed at home, in the warm.

I've never known snow last this long in populated areas. No, not even here in the frozen wastes* of the North East. It's always been gone in a day or two, except maybe in a few isolated places. But this time, although the main roads might be clear, many of the minor ones that would normally have no trace of snow still have snow compacted under the weight of hundreds of cars. The pavements, dry and powdery for days - nothing like the grey slush snow in England turns to almost immediately - are still treacherous, still covered in frozen snow.
*Yes, I'm being ironic. It's not that bad here!

Today. Christmas Eve. The car wasn't iced up when I left to give D a lift to work first thing; just a thin layer of frost, easily scraped away. The snow on the ground had started to look thinner. I was sad. I didn't want a huge amount of snow, but it would be nice to have some on the ground on Christmas Day. But as I left the house to come into town on the bus, an hour or so later, it was raining. Cold, stinging rain, but rain none the less.

That's that, I thought.

It rained at the bus stop. It rained as I was ferried into town. But then, half way in, it started to look whiter. More like sleet.

Then the sleet turned to snow.

It turned back a couple of times. Just to keep me on my toes. But it snowed for a good 45 minutes or so. It was snowing as I started to type, sitting in Starbucks (...where else?). It's turning back to sleet right now. But I still hope that our garden will be white tomorrow morning.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and I thank you all for reading and for your support in this difficult time. It means the world.


Lane said...

Merry Christmas B.

pierre l said...

And a Merry Christmas from me as well.
Also with hugs.

trousers said...

Best wishes to you too (I'm late to reciprocate the Christmas wishes, but do accept my best for the New Year). I loved reading this post about the snow, it captured just how eventful the weather has been.

B said...

thank you all xx