Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snowed in

We're ending the weekend in the wrong house.  We should be with my family in Oxford, but the snow has kept us in East London, and here we are staying.  We hope to be able to try again next week, after Christmas, but we are all bitterly disappointed.  C's eyes welled up when he heard that my mother had been baking mince pies especially for him, and O is desperately sad to be missing her cousin's 7th birthday party.

But these things happen.  We are all safe and warm and there is an undeniable romance to being snow-bound.  Particularly in London where snow is more usually grey and slushy than thick, white and crunchy.

We have been consoling ourselves in some very good ways.
  • We made a batch of snow toffee.  O remembered it from reading Little House in the Big Woods, and I remembered that Jane Brocket wrote more detailed instructions in Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer.  It was a roaring success, and we learnt that enamel pie tins were the best dishes to make it in, and that it works really well with golden syrup, as well as with maple syrup.

  • I soothed myself by cooking - banana bread, a roast chicken, cheese scones, two loaves of bread, and a very large pan of minestrone soup.
  • I am not a fan of the Christmas tree.  The principal benefit as far as I can see, is to make the house seem gloriously spacious and airy once it is taken down and packed away (of course I have a fake one - the only thing worse than a Christmas tree cluttering up the house for days on end, is one that I have to hoover up after as well).  But we put it up on Saturday, and I just could not remain unmoved when the children unwrapped the decorations with such excitement and cries of "oh, I love this one!" and "this is the one Granny knit for us!".  I concede it does look rather pretty now it is up.
  • In between episodes of cooking, I've curled up on the sofa, under my quilt, with a good book and a cup of tea.  I am working my way through the Barbara Vine novels, and loving every minute of them.  I have a couple of Penelope Lively books lined up next, which are also good for gobbling up greedily over a summer or winter holiday when there is idling to be done.
  • Inspired by Calvin and Hobbes, the children built a murdered snowman and his killer - a long and fearsome snow crocodile - in the garden.  The chickens are peering at it rather warily from their run.


  1. I'd forgotten about snow toffee. And I even have JB's book. Must remember for next time.

    And my feelings about the tree echo yours exactly. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

    And really must see a picture of that snowman!

    K x

  2. We too are sad that you are in London and we are in Oxford - both with snow. But - I have created space in my freezer for the mince pies, so Cam will have them sooner or later!

  3. I am with you on the Christmas tree. Last year it was fine; this year Eldest has a new, massive piece of disability equipment, which now has to live somewhere completely in the way in order for the tree to have a home.

  4. i used to love the idea of snow toffee when reading those books, and it's a complete fluke that I currently have Jane Brocketts book on loan from the library! you made my day when you said it works with golden syrup as well.
    Please let your Mother know that I am more than happy to look after some of those mince pies in my freezer, if she needs the space. No trouble at all!
    You know my feelings on the tree already....Grrrr.....

  5. Sorry you got snowed in, I felt really sad when I read how upset the children were :-( Here's hoping you get there next week.

  6. Sorry you're stuck in London, but the visit next week will be extra special no doubt! I love A Fatal Inversion and Dark Adapted Eye. Must re-read them sometime. I do love my Christmas tree but am glad when it goes away and I relish the rediscovered space it makes! Happy Christmas xxxx

  7. oh what a shame you didn't get away. xxx

    off to look up that toffee recipe, we have the first ingredient - again...........


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