One morning last week I looked out of my bedroom window into the dark, slumbering Mill Hill street to find that Jack Frost and his elfin helpers had been tripping hither and yon during the night, flicking their fairy brushes to paint trees, pavements and car windows with a dainty crystal dusting. That’s enough of the overwritten stuff, I recently did an online course about fairy stories and I’m stuck like that. By the way, if “Frozen” is based on “The Snow Queen”, I can’t really see much similarity. Except for the snow.

Like the Eskimos, I too have many words for snow.  Theirs (however many they really have) are probably unpronounceable, but mine are unrepeatable.  I don’t like the cold, the transport disruption or what results from it – so often postal deliveries are disrupted, there are fears that shops could run out of stock and garages out of petrol. It wasn’t that long ago that we got company in the garden, wearing a scarf I knitted out of 100% alpaca yarn (eek) and a sun hat (attempted sympathetic magic).

snow 1This is wintertime, and the living is tricky. It’s prompted memories for my husband (aka Mother Nature’s Son, the man who can identify most British birds by their song, including Rihanna). It takes him back to his early life on a farm, of having to go out in the morning and break the ice on the cattle trough. Our townie version of this is scraping the ice off the car windows – where’s the de-icer? Fill a jug with warm water, don’t slip where it falls on the ground and freezes. And with it comes the battle of the sexes we have over the central heating thermostat.  He turns it down again and reminds me that he was brought up in Kent, where the wind came straight from the North Pole without stopping. I turn it up again and point out that I am from a desert tribe, have Spanish ancestry and that this warmer ambient heritage is not changed by later eastern European influence or by being born a tough Northerner.

I’m glad that the Government hasn’t done away with the winter fuel allowance, but I’m disappointed that they haven’t introduced one for winter cruises, as at this time of year, I wish more than ever that I could be somewhere hot. Cold weather could also raise your risk of having a heart attack. Low temperatures are known to raise blood pressure and also increase levels of proteins that could increase the risk for blood clots.  Certain activities more commonly performed during cold weather, such as clearing snow, might also contribute to the risk. So there are more dangers to it than being sued by people slipping thanks to your inexpert shoveling.

If it snows again, I might try this recipe I found for “snow cream”, made from fresh snow mixed with condensed milk and berries. It carries a warning that the yellow stuff is not lemon sorbet. Perhaps I should get out more. So, I’ve dug out my scarf, gloves, hat and winter coat and, if we get more cold weather, I’m ready to go exploring on foot. Talk about “the hero’s journey” I hope to report back next time that I’ve found the northwest passage to the library. That’s known, in the fairy story trade, as “home-away-home”. But if there’s just a blank space, please send out a team of huskies, or better still a St Bernard – and don’t forget the barrel of brandy. That’s known as “happy-ever-after”.

Written by Judith Field
Judith Field was born in Liverpool, England and lives in London. She is the daughter of writers, and learned how to agonise over fiction submissions at her mother's (and father's) knee. She has two daughters, a son, a granddaughter and a grandson. Her fiction, mainly speculative, has appeared in a variety of publications in the USA and UK. She speaks five languages and can say, "Please publish this story" in all of them. She is also a pharmacist, freelance journalist, editor, medical writer, and indexer.