This morning we woke to a winter wonderland.

the ravine this morning

Today I feel peaceful and contemplative. In honour of that, and the fact that yesterday was my 300th blog post–in this incarnation, anyway. In other incarnations (Ask Nicola at and, before that, at and before that at I’ve been going since the mid-1990s–I forget the exact date, but 1996 or thereabouts, a dozen years at least. To celebrate, I’m going to do only what I want today.

I love days like this. We are completely snowed in, at the bottom of a hill, on the edge of a ravine. The neighbourhood is quiet and very, very still. Snow is folded over everything (including the abadoned Domino’s pizza delivery van, the abandoned heating oil truck and the pickup-in-the-ditch); it looks as though a giant poured meringue over the world. And it sparkles. White, white, sparkling white wherever you look. All pristine. Except for the animal tracks. Here’s some raccoon:

raccoon tracks in the back garden

Raccoons leave weird tracks, neat but lopsided pairs: they bring their rear paw level with the opposite front paw; they’re different sizes. Quite peculiar. This photo doesn’t capture that but we found some perfect raccoon-wandering-in-the-snow prints the other day. I didn’t take a picture because it was way (way) below freezing. Today, though, it’s warming up. And besides, K took it :)

Last night, when the snow turned the whole world white, and all the vehicle drivers gave up and walked away, we drew the curtains, turned on the fire, and opened the last bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. Here’s a picture of our house (including the there-has-been-wine blur–yeah, I took this one).

Flossie, tree, Kelley in the kitchen getting almonds

For dinner we had lamb braised with British bangers, onions and carrots, with steamed cabbage and mashed potato. It’s a perfectly English meal for winter.

Today, while a chicken roasts quietly on a bed of root vegetables (turnip, carrot, parsnip, fennel, shallots, potato), I’ll be deep in the world of Hild (she’s currently learning how to use a sword; it is not going well–that is, the writing is, but Hild doesn’t enjoy bruises). Every now and again I’ll wander into the living room, breathe deep of the roasting scent, admire the pretty tree, and feel happy and warm and snug. I hope life is treating you well. I hope you’re all planning something truly delicious for dinner.

Oh, and before I forget, here’s the at-an-angle photo of Petalville I promised, to show the texture.

texture of Petalville, a collage by Vicki Platts-Brown