March: in like a lion.

Current view.

What a week. It's finally stopped snowing for now (a little more is expected later today and tomorrow but I gather it's not going to be as much as we've had) but it is bitterly cold. A few days ago the inevitable drama happened - I knew something was coming - our neighbour broke her leg and kneecap. My boyfriend found her lying in the snow attempting to crawl home. We went over (we tried to run but that was impossible when the snow's so deep) and couldn't move her, so I went back to ring for an ambulance. The road was closed with police blocks in place but the first ambulance, a Land Rover, got through after less an hour or so, and by this point neighbours had come out with blankets, cushions, hot water bottles, and whatnot, but then when it was obvious she couldn't be moved a big ambulance had to come. I'd already waited on the road for the first ambulance (there's less shelter there so it was a pretty cold experience), but when we knew the second one was on the way a few of us had to go back to the road and clear the entrance of snow so the ambulance could get in. All this took about three hours, but they finally arrived (and they did their best in dire conditions, it wasn't their fault it took so long) and off she went. I don't believe I've ever felt exhaustion like that before, but I'm so happy she's doing ok, though she needed an operation, and everyone pulled together - the village, and even those who didn't know us and had been stranded on the hill overnight (I was surprised to learn that people had been up there!). It was all so very difficult - just getting to her, getting to the road, all of that in three feet of snow. I've had dreams like that, when there's an emergency or I need to run somewhere but I can't, everything's in slow motion - that's what it was like. It could have been a great deal worse however and had it not been for everyone pulling together she could have had hyperthermia. Everyone did really well, in short.

As for this coming week: I know most of the roads are open, it hasn't snowed for a few hours, and the temperature's starting to creep up to a little above freezing (when I go outside all I can hear is dripping!). I don't know when we're going to get out but I'm hoping tomorrow. It's a funny thing - being snowed in sounds so lovely, I always imagine it to be all pretty, sitting reading in front of a warm fire with a gentle fall of snowflakes, but the reality has been far from that. Going anywhere has required digging - I even had to dig my way to the bin before. It's worrying too, and I've been so restless and busy and tired I haven't had much time for reading let alone blogging. The hens are not happy, in fact they're distinctly unhappy, Megan most of all. As for reading: first reading goal of the month is to get up to date with the Deal Me In Challenge: I've read Ovid's Art of Love,  and I need another title for next week too to catch up. I'm also planning four mini reviews for next week rather than four separate posts for the books I've read (Such, Such Were the Joys by Orwell, Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne). What I'd like to do before any of it, however, is to settle down and read for a decent period instead of brief snatches here and there. It would be so nice just to sit

One thing I am excited about is the Classics Club Spin, so I shall put my list up now. First, here are the guidelines:
You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the year (details to follow). Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
On Friday, March 9th, we’ll post a umber from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by April 30, 2018.
I've decided to divided my list into four categories: Medieval, Early Modern, Victorian, and 20th Century:
1. The Journey Through Wales and the Description of Wales by Gerald of Wales.
2. Njáls saga.
3. Arthurian Romances by Chrétien de Troyes.
4. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by John Mandeville.
5. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams.
Early Modern
6. The Shepheardes Calender by Edmund Spenser.
7. Sonnets by William Shakespeare.
8. Elizabethan Love Stories.
9. Characters by Jean de la Bruyère.
10. Selected Fables by Jean de la Fontaine.
11. Romola by George Eliot
12. The Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo.
13. Oblomov by Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov.
14. Against Sainte-Beuve by Marcel Proust.
15. Fruitfulness by Émile Zola.
20th Century
16. From Primitives to Zen by Mircea Eliade.
17. The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz.
18. The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells.
19. Tarr by Wyndham Lewis.
20. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham.

Other than that I've not that many reading plans because it's been so hard finding time to read! I do fancy making a start on the first volume of Virginia Woolf's Complete Letters, but my primary feeling at present is one of great tiredness. The sad fact is, I'm not really in the mood to read or blog. I just want things to go back to normal. I'm tired of worrying about how low we are on coal and food and bird food, whether or not it'll flood when it does melt, wondering whether my plants will survive outdoors, and having to struggle about when every part of me aches. I hope very much March will go out like a lamb.

Until I get round to blogging again properly (mid-week hopefully), here's some bleak pictures (none of which, by the way, are in black and white however much they look it!):


  1. Last night I was wondering how you all were doing over there in the snow -- I'm glad you found your neighbor and got her help! It sounds kind of like "The Dark is Rising", which indeed ends with a flood as all the snow melts.

    In other news, your list is a great one. I read Sir John Mandeville some years ago and was hugely entertained; it is a really fun book.

    1. Well hopefully there won't be a flood, hope that's not a sign :S

      I came across Sir John Mandeville in a secondhand book shop - definitely looks intriguing :)

  2. i'm glad you may get a chance to rest up a bit; i know very well what it's like dealing with a lot of snow: one forgets about all the conveniences that are taken for granite... i can't forget shoveling out the driveway, about 120 yards long, and covered with 3 feet of the nasty stuff... a laudable effort getting your neighbor to the hospital and it's great that everyone pulled together... i've read 7 on your list; been meaning to get to Gerald for a long time; maybe this is it... take it easy; it's not a race...

    1. I sympathise with that driveway - I just spent three hours this morning shovelling snow to get the bin out. The roads are all open, so bin men came, happily. No chance to rest yet though, had an emergency appointment at the vets - Meg has peritonitis. She had her abdomen drained and various injections. Vet is not wildly hopeful for her but says there's a chance.

  3. Wow, snow can be lovely but when you're not used to it or prepared for it, it can be overwhelming even with half of what it looks like dumped on you! I can hardly believe it. Good to hear that you're at least part-way through the troubles. Hoping for a gentle melt and that the ground is not too frozen to absorb all the water. Glad to hear your neighbour is okay as well. Take care of yourself and I hope your reading and blogging desire returns soon!

    1. Thank you :) I know I still owe you an email - I was in full hibernation mode and then this madness. It's an arse of a week, this. It is melting though and I can just about make out some daffodils peaking through. Trying to find some joy somewhere (though poor Meg is very ill now and to top it off the sparrowhawk killed one of my blackbirds). Total arse of a week. But the roads are open, so that's good. Going shopping tomorrow at last :)

  4. To begin with, I hope things get better soon. It is so good to hear your neighbor is doing well and everyone came together, and these kind of things makes me feel good about mankind, though of course, it would have been good not to be in the situation. I know what you mean that theoretically it sounds lovely to be snowed in, but in practical terms, it is anything but! Been there that too on a vacation, up in the Himalayas and did NOT enjoy it! Here is hoping for better and warmer March!

    1. Thank you, I do hope it perks up soon! And yes, it was nice everyone came together. No matter what they say, when stuff like this happens people invariably *do* come together, which is a heartening thought :)


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