Monday, 2 February 2009


With the south east at a virtual standstill with over a foot (that’s halfway between heel and knee in old money) or around 31cm of snow and East Anglia with just a sprinkling, I started to think of some ‘memorable snow that I have known’.

One of my first memories of snow was the winter of 1947/48 which was the year my youngest brother was born – December 23 to be precise. I can remember staying with my grandparents who lived down the road from us in Bournemouth and my father struggling through the snow with me and my other brother to the nursing home to visit our mother and new brother. I can remember the small wooden painted soldiers my new brother brought with him as a present for me (I must have been a bit of a tomboy!).

The next memorable snow was the winter of 1962/63 which was the year my eldest daughter was born (November). We were visiting parents in Bournemouth for Christmas and the snow started on Boxing Day. We had to get from one parents’ house to the other late in the evening in our Morris Minor car, up a steep hill, with a tiny baby in a carrycot on the back seat – scary to think there were no car seats or seat belts in those days, but there again there wasn’t too much traffic or fast cars either.

We got stuck halfway up the hill and our friends, who had gone ahead of us and managed to make it to the top in their Hillman, had to tie a rope to the front of our car and pull us up the hill, using a lamp post as leverage!

I also remember in March of 1963 being driven to Wiltshire by my father and the snow was piled 10ft (around 9 metres?) at the roadsides. He stopped and took a photo of the car (a two- tone black and white Triumph Herald!) in between the huge piles of snow each side of the road.

I remember walking 3-4 miles cross country in wellies, carrying party shoes, in February 1979 to go to a Valentine’s Day party and coming back in the early hours to a magical world of deep, glistening snow and complete silence. Travellers were being stranded in their cars all over Norfolk and local people were out with their shovels and opening up their homes to complete strangers for bed and breakfast. A real community spirit!

Norwich in early 1983 (I think) was brought to a standstill by heavy snow one evening, and I recall walking through the spellbinding grounds of Norwich cathedral, with the snow highlighting the wonderful architecture of the cathedral and the lovely old buildings surrounding it. Cars were abandoned everywhere and a great sense of camaraderie was felt as masses of people struggled to get home. I can remember walking into the city centre that night to eat at a favourite, family run restaurant, the only people there, and sitting down with the family for our evening meal. The silence of the city that night has stayed with me all these years.


  1. Yes, the silence. Before I opened the curtains this morning I knew the promised snow had indeed made it to here (a rare event, the Thames Valley tends more towards dank drizzle). No trains, no planes, hardly any cars down the Avenue.

    I too remember those snows of yesteryear ('les nieges d'antan'), though obviously from different perspectives. Interesting to hear what youngest brother recalls of the first one!

  2. I dropped by here via Tim's blog. Your writing is very evocative. It made me think of sledging down a hillside in Scotland. If you were lucky you bounced off a sheep fence at the bottom. If not you smashed into the ice covering the burn. The whole village flooded a local field which became a giant ice rink and everybody went there to skate. Even Mrs (her family did well in America) Carnegie. It doesn't seem to snow like that anymore.