I am still immature enough, and my children young enough, to get very excited about the winters first significant snow fall. This year, after breakfast we were straight outside to begin our constructions and, like many a father of young children, having watched the Snowman and the Snowdog on Christmas Eve, a floppy eared companion was also requested. Over the following days more snow arrived and a small community of snow folk established themselves in our garden.
That was nearly two weeks ago. By the start of this weekend our snowman was showing his age. His waist had thickened from the previous weekend’s accumulations, while Friday’s partial thaw had stooped his once straight body. Hollows marked his face where stoney eyes once gazed and his bright orange carrot nose had aged to a mottled brown.
Our climate presents a very narrow Goldilocks Zone for snowmen. Prolonged sub zero temperatures are not the norm and a chilly winters day for us soon becomes too warm for their delicate anatomy. So, 12 days for an East Anglian snowman is, I think, an impressive innings! However, overnight rain had hastened the snowman’s decline. He had shrunk to an icy husk, almost unrecognisable from his former self, while the snowdog had been washed away. My daughter’s mourned the passing of their snowman and the snow. Mud and rain just isn’t as much fun.
Riding out for the Sunday morning club run and I witnessed a transformed landscape. The rapid thaw and heavy rain had returned the countryside back from the previous fortnight’s black and white to more familiar drab winter browns . The sense of déjà vu was completed by the River Kym once again bursting its banks and closing the Kimbolton road.
The ride had planned to head north west to Oundle, but repeated flood dictated route changes soon started to cast doubts on that idea. We decided to press on as far as Hammerton, but Alconbury Brook had inundated the village, forcing us to start heading back a mile or two early. Still it was a good, if breezy ride and a far cry from the previous weekends snowy off roading.
This time last year, in the depths of another dry winter, we were starting to be warned of summer droughts and hosepipe bans, but since last April the rain rarely seems to have paused. The earth is now so saturated that anything greater than a light shower and the waters once again start rising over the fields and roads and into unfortunate homes. At least we enjoy a chat about the weather…