Even the depths of murky south east London are transformed by just an inch or two of snow.
I know those of you who live with, struggle, shovel and shiver through it every day in winter had probably seen enough snow by November, but for us - its a fairly rare occurrence and we love it. Even LG was awake instantly and cheerfully this morning.
No doubt all the transport systems in South East England will be gasping and failing again today, already battered by last weeks gales. And some people will be miserable and moany.
But snow in London can also miraculously effect that war-time bonhomie of adversity, together with the scarcely concealed glee, for some of us, of inner children itching to throw snowballs.
It only lasted half a day and there really wasn't very much of it (though we are promised more) (a threat to some, a promise to me) but I did pop and manage to get just a few pictures.
Here are the instructions - The Rules: Each player of this game starts with "6 weird things about you". Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you're tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means.
So here goes:
1. I have an extensive collection of photos of brick walls. It all started with a textile design project... and the fabulous sixteenth century walls in Charlton Village. I've been known to get strange looks, comments and to embarrass my family by pausing in the street to add to my collection. Its kind of addictive. I'd like to turn them into wallpaper. (if I liked wallpaper)
2. If I'm going to throw away old socks or knickers, I will wash them first.
3. I remember numbers. All sorts of numbers. I probably know your phone number even if you haven't told it to me. Post codes too. But I have trouble remembering all my internet passwords.
4. I put things down (or sometimes drop them) and they slip into alternative dimensions or parallel universes. Then they will pop out again a few days later, when I've stopped looking for them. Once I lost my electric toothbrush for almost a week. I found it half way down the stairs between the banisters.
5. I talk in my sleep a lot, and have been known to sleepwalk. I once had a lengthy discussion with M., while asleep, about the seeds which I was searching for, which I insisted had to be "seedless seeds". But if anyone engages me in sleep-conversation, I get quite cross.
6. I collect armadillos. Some of them have names.
Oooh, this was so hard to get going on. And frighteningly easy once I got started....
After she's had so many many many (really) pajama days lately - first over Christmas, then being off school sick most of last week - I didn't think LG would be too keen to go for a bike ride on Sunday.
She surprised me!
It was a bit chilly and blowy, but also bright and sunny and lovely and smelly and clear and busy and full of birds and cyclists and walkers and quite Spring-like - down there on the Thames cycle path.
I could have taken so many more photographs than I did but I wasn't sure how long LG's keenness would last. I still managed to take quite a few.....
Starting with these startlingly unseasonal catkins
and then going on to lots of pictures of the good old Thames.
I was so happy to see that my ladder is still there. Not mine personally, I just rather like it.
So no apologies to those of you who have seen a picture much like this before on my blog.
But note, the ladder has now been joined by a branch.
I wasn't expecting to post anything for the next few days. Especially as I am in the midst of marking stinky piles of undergraduate essays. Generally a fairly tedious process. The danger is that once I'm sitting at the computer, or in the garden - or even doing housework, yes its a more attractive prospect - I will never return to them.
We discovered on Monday that my mother's cancer is in remission.
Long pause for another bit of a weep there.....
None of us expected this, but her oncologist doesn't want to see her again for a couple of months. She will still need her pain medication - the cancers are still there, this may only be a short-term remission, but she shouldn't need more chemo for some time and is expected to have pretty good quality of life and maybe a bit more energy for a while.
This is a wonderful, amazing, unexpected free gift of more precious time.
I have no other words at the moment, but did want to thank those of you who've expressed sympathy and good wishes, who've prayed for her, and whose words have helped to comfort and support me and make me smile - I know this news will make some of you smile, so didn't want to keep it to myself.
Back to the stinky essays now.....
.... just after I've checked one or two other blogs .... as I'm sitting here ....
In fact, we could be quite a long way off from those signs of new lice life.
BUT - I spent some time in the garden today. Unexpectedly. My garden is quite neglected most winters, its my busiest time at work - and anyway, its cold, wet and dark. Winter is for resting, right? I figure hibernation is the natural way of things.
But, having gone outside to help LG clean out her guinea pigs, I then did some clearing up and reorganised our wood pile. It is only a little log pile. But then this is London, so its only the occasional illicit log which we put on top of the smokeless fuel.
It felt so good being out in the green and the fresh air ("fresh" in that peculiarly London way) that I stayed out for a while clearing and weeding.
The garden looks more than a little dishevelled and neglected.
But its certainly green. I don't have any weeds in my garden - I have "ground cover".
And there were some delights and surprises for me.
Winter jasmine. Not at all surprising. In fact, very common and garden. But I love it, it blooms from November to March and its sunshine-brightness always cheers me up.
I also have a winter-flowering clematis (Clematis balearica) which I think probably had at least a couple of seasons secretly flowering before I even noticed it. Its going wild now, draping itself gracefully through the apple trees and roses.
This is surprising - a salvia still flowering in the middle of winter.
And its a particularly loud and lovely salvia which Lucy (Rambling Woman) gave me for my birthday a few years ago.
This was completely surprising, as I have no idea what it is or how it got there! Presumbly it flowered at some point, but I didn't witness it. Those berries look so good, they must surely be poisonous.
And these berries, don't look so good cos this is a crap photo, but I couldn't go back and take more because I had eaten them.
They are autumn-fruiting, but always surprise me even in October/November because I forget I have them. But in January? I think this raspberry is seasonally challenged.
Borrowing (yes, ok, copying) Donna's good idea, I thought I would also share with you the books I was given for Christmas.
I read the Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine by Marine Lewycka within the first few days of receiving it, and its wonderful. Very funny, absorbing and it left me with a lovely warm fuzzy feeling.
I have of course already mastered (mistress-ed?) ALL these yoga poses since Christmas Day and therefore feel justified in taking time off now to read the Pratchett book.
("as if" mastering Yoga, not "as if" reading Pratchett. I love Terry Pratchett's writing).
Tove Janssen wrote the Moomintroll (click here) stories which are obviously indispensable for any fully rounded life - her Summer Book is a beautiful book about her childhood visits with her grandmother and this Winter Book is a collection of short stories. I'm also immensely looking forward to the Susanna Clarke book - I thought her Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was fabulous, I could hardly put it down.
I'm not too disappointed at being given a mere 5 books this year - not only because they are such very good books, but also because I do have a few books already in the waiting-to-be-read pile at the end of my bed.
I think I need to stop looking at the book shelves in the charity shops......