Ice topped…

…making cold weather puns. Sorry!

The snow was still there this morning so it was off again to grab Rufus and head up to the river. I expected to find some snow and, more importantly, icicles by the river. The combination of slow shutter speed, flowing water and static icicles was tempting. I also expected a few slippery patches on the road alongside the river.

But when we turned off the main road and on to the lane, it was white with compacted snow. A few places had darker patches which at first looked like melted tracks, but as I went over them, they were clearly ice by the way the car shimmied. It was great. The car gave me the confidence to keep going. In fact, the hardest part was not getting over confident. Despite the traction, I had to be able to stop again, and so I kept the speed down and stayed in 2nd gear, using the engine to brake on the downhill bits. Soon we reached the layby and parked.

As soon as Rufus was out of the car, he was bounding through the snow. It was deep and untouched and so he’d take a few strides then sink to his body, leap up and carry on. He managed to get tot he river before I’d had a chance to take more than a few steps. We wandered along the bank, careful of the overhanging snow and icy rocks. I set the camera up to take the first photo and suddenly there was a bark! I’d forgotten the rules. There were no stones to hand, so I threw Rufus a snowball, which he chased off until it stopped rolling. Puzzled at why he couldn’t see it, he started digging, I looked back to see his head under the snow.

I managed to take a few snaps before it was time to throw another snowball. He chased and dug for this one, too. This routine carried on for a while until it was time to move on. Rufus lead the way, breaking through the deep snow and showing me the path to take. In the distance, on the hill, a big black blob slowly split apart as a herd of cows grazed as best they could on any grass they could find.

It wasn’t particularly cold; there was no wind blowing, but mu fingers were getting chilly from all the snowballs, and Rufus was collecting snow on every part of his fur that touched it. He didn’t see too bothered and I checked a few times to make sure it wasn’t getting between his toes. We carried of for a bit, watching a line of 4x4s go by and then a couple of 2x4s struggling along. They were braver than me in these conditions.

I stopped to take some more waterfalls shots and looked down to find Rufus lying down, giving himself a manicure. I decided that it wasn’t fair to let him get coated like this so after a brief discussion, we reluctantly turned back for the car. We walked along the road, as the compacted snow made it easier and it didn’t clog Rufus’ paws. We’d gone further up the valley than I had realised and the view back down to the dot that was my car was beautiful. Everything was white apart from the trees, which stood out starkly. We strolled down the road, and finally made it to the car. By now most of the snow had fallen off Rufus and I cleared as much as I could of the rest of it. As soon as he got in, he lay down and started getting rid of the rest of it.

The journey down the road was as easy as coming up. I kept the speed low and only met one vehicle coming up. The main road was clear and we were home in no time.

When I got home, I went straight out into the garden to try some more macro shots. The wind that had thwarted me on Friday was non-existent today. And the thaw that was slowly setting in created some lovely, tiny icicles on leaves and twigs.

I love the snow. If we only realised that we get it regularly, and were suitably prepared in attitude as well as with supplies, there would be fewer problems and a lot less stress. If the corner shops didn’t hike their prices as the first flakes fall, if people only bought what they really needed (how much bread and milk will go to waste this week as the hoarders throw it away?) and more importantly, if people accepted that there would be a bit of disruption and adjusted their expectations accordingly, it would be a much better experience.

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