Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Merits of Hibernation

 Standing at the bus stop waiting to go to St. M's on Wednesday morning, teeth chattering, temperature about -4 degrees at 9.00am, I was discussing the merits of hibernation for humankind with a fellow traveller.

I took my gloves off long enough to grab a swift photo of the frost covered trees across the road and foolishly uttered the immortal words, "at least it's not snowing".

Some of us never learn.  The next morning there were a few flakes of the white stuff and dire warnings on TV of more, much more, to come.

Friday morning saw thin light snow, gradually becoming thicker, heavier flakes, snow-ball size flakes, faster and faster until, going out to fill up the bird feeders I saw a sudden need to grab my wellies from the shed and take them into the kitchen.
Having thrown out a handfull of birdseed I took a shot through the backdoor glass of blackbirds and chaffinches feeding ravenously.

This was followed by ever heavier snow and more food being thrown out at increasingly short intervals.

At one stage there were 10 wood pigeons and a huge variety of small birds scrabbling around trying to get at the seed before it was covered by snow.

When this happens I resort to my standby supplement bird food, namely shredded suet and dried mixed fruit. (the cheapest available).

By mid afternoon there was quite a thick covering of the 'white stuff' and it was becoming necessary to pour hot water on the bird bath to keep a supply of water for the birds.

By now, very thankful that I had done a 'siege shop' the day before I was seriously thinking of taking to my bed to get warm.

The only thing that stopped me was the fact that it was still snowing and the birds were still landing thick and fast looking for extra lagging.

Taking the last shot through the front window I was aware that there was no longer a kerb or a road to be seen and that my front garden, drive and the footpath at the bottom had all disappeared.

Finally, getting dark though only 3.30 I threw out one last lot of food and went up to lie on the bed.
Resisting the temptation to undress  and get in, I lay with eyes closed, aware that there were sounds of activity outside, but too tired to get up and look.

When I finally got up and looked out of the window it was to discover that the 'snow shovel fairy' had been, and I once more had a drive and a visible front step.  The good fairy, though he would not appreciate the title, was my  next-door neighbour a policeman, who had just come off duty and was 'chilling out' in his own inimitable way by clearing a path for himself and for me too.

John and I used to call him Action Man, since he was never still for a second, usually doing something for someone else, and always glad to be able to use his boundless energy in a good cause.

So, on reflection, tempting though it might be, I shall probably not hibernate, since keeping the bird population alive is something I can do in return for all the good things I receive.

That doesn't necessarily mean I'll be in church tomorrow.


  1. You've got a good thick covering there, Ray, and your snowflakes were much bigger than ours. We got the fine wind-blown kind that really stings your face and drifts nicely, so I won't be in church tomorrow either.

    I'm glad the birds have you to look after them and you have your kind Action man neighbour. Keep warm and take care.

  2. It was so tempting this morning, but I did manage to get to church. Sounds similar to where we are, Ray, and more snow is falling now as I type!

    Do take care of yourself.

  3. Hi Perpetua. I did in fact go to church this morning, and though the congregation was small, the choir was almost complete.
    By the time I got home again, (I got a lift), it was snowing quite hard again and at 2.15 pm, still is.
    It looks as though preparing for a siege was the right way to go.
    Let's hope for all our sakes it's a blip in an otherwise reasonable January.

    1. Well done, Ray. It's snowing again here too, but lightly so far, though the Met office says it could get heavier. I think the eastern half of the country is getting the worst of it this time,. Stay snug.

  4. Hallo there Greenpatches, yes we are getting another dose too.

    Just off to feed the birds again (dressed for Arctic conditions).
    You take care also.

  5. I stayed in bed... Make sure you keep warm now!:)

  6. I love the snow. There's loads of it in London. My daughter and I went to the local park and fed the birds. Love your photo of the birds.

  7. Wise woman. I will probably give the parish office a miss tomorrow, since I doubt any buses will be running.
    The only thing that worries me is that if it goes on too long I'll get 'soft' and won't want to brave the chill when it thaws.

  8. Jane, you are very welcome to my share of the snow for the next couple of decades.
    The bird photo looks better if you click on it.
    Keep feeding the park birds if you can, they will need all the help they can get if this continues for long.

  9. We have not had the snow here. Don't want to gloat or anything. Every Blessing. Freda from Dalamory (

  10. Oh yes you do Freda, but I forgive you. until the next snow-fall that is.
    Actually it is almost clear here now, but I fear there may be more to come.
    At least the birds have removed their wellies for now.