We had a lovely New Year's Eve this year, part of which was spent following our sons as they sledged down the mile-long track which separates our house from the road. Here are a few pictures which I took along the way.
The stones in the foreground are the topstones to an eighteen-inch high wall which borders our front lawn. The snowdrift just visible to left of the picture blocks the path to our front door (which is roughly opposite that tree), so when there's snow we have to park a distance away from the house. Oh, and look: there's our wind turbine. It's a 6kW Proven, was one of the first in the Peak Park (and has since been trumpeted as a brilliant installation by the Peak Park, despite several objections to our planning application). It provides us with almost all the electricity we need, and a lot of our heating too: our house is completely off-grid, so when the wind doesn't blow (which isn't often, here) we use a diesel generator to make our own electricity.
Half-way down the track is this cattle-grid, now up to its ears in snow. The good news is that the snow also fills the many potholes in the track: the bad news is that although I drive a Discovery, it isn't entirely dependable on snow as deep as this and I've spent the last few weeks slipping about far more than I'd like.
The trees are pretty, with their skirts all full of snow: but the weight of it hangs heavy on them and brings them down. Just two so far this winter, and we do have a chain-saw and the wood comes in handy: but that's two too many when I have to get the boys to school.
The last third of a mile down to the road is pretty straight, and all downhill. The snow wasn't too deep when this was taken: you can almost see the track breaking through in the bottom of our wheel-ruts. I long to see it again!
On the right here is our neighbour's field, which was home to a trio of guard-geese before the fox got to them in November. Part of me is glad they didn't have to endure these weeks of bitter cold; part of me misses the geese's constant grumbling, their low-slung, swaying behinds, their curious presence. Despite the gander's frequent wide-winged attacks, his his dry-mouthed hissing always delighted me--so long as I was in the car!
A little further on, on the right, we reach our neighbours' houses. Then there is a stretch a few hundred yards long where there's a drystone wall which borders a nasty drop, into water. Every year I worry I'll lose traction in the snow, crash through the wall, down the slope, and into the stream. I've not done it so far. Fingers crossed.
And here we are at the road. On the left of the picture there's usually a reservoir but right now it's drained, while maintenance work is carried out (it's been drained, off and on, for the last three years for this work, but there's been precious little evidence of any work going on). The road is a dead end and luckily, the way out is in the other direction otherwise those giant snowballs which have been made on the road would stop us getting out when we need to. Despite all this snow, people still come up here to have a look at the countryside: on New Year's Day we towed a couple of cars out and ignored a few more. Why do people think their little hatchbacks will cope with snow which is over their axles? I don't understand.
Since New Year we've had more snow, got the car stuck a few times, got the boys to school five miles away when their friends who live within yards have stayed at home, and I've managed to kill my mobile phone by using it when it's far too cold for pretty red phones to be outside: but for now, these few snow pictures will have to do. If I get the time I'll post a few more pictures in a few days: but in the interim you'll have to make do with more of my usual publishing nonsense.