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Snow expected & snow unexpected



Ben

Charlie and I went skiing last week for a few days, to France. It was the first time I’d been in years, and it’s always reassuring to realise I’m not much  worse today than I was six years ago. We arrived on Saturday to find, unexpectedly, that it was raining. Even at the top of the mountains.  Hmmmm. The next couple of days were good, with lots of snow, but I can’t say I love skiing in a blizzard. So we had been eyeing the weather forecast which predicted a perfect day of blue skies and sunshine on Wednesday.

A shame, therefore, that we had planned our flights to leave early on Wednesday morning. Hmm.  How frustrating.  There was only one thing for it.

Change our flights.  Instead of having a last day in a cold snowy white out, we woke to this:

Clear skies and warm sunshine all day.  Heaven.   I’m not a huge one for taking photos of mountains; there’s something curious that happens when you frame vast panoramas – the meaning of the space changes.  But it was very beautiful in the still silent empty places with the feeling of spring bursting around us. 

And no people.

A long, long lunch at a perfect restaurant and we skied away that afternoon, only slightly wobbly, and eventually made our way back to London on the last flight out of Geneva, happy and tired, blinking as we arrived back home.

As Brandon says, you can ski for ten years and not have a day quite like that.  Worth the change.

On Thursday, we got down to Dorset. I had site visits on Friday up in North Dorset. The beautiful Baroque house I’ve been working on is nearing completion – always an exciting moment after years, now, of anticipation: installation of furniture in just a few weeks. And then we are working on another wonderful site just up the road. I must admit just how much I love working on houses here, and being able to start and finish each day here.

On Friday evening our friends Veere, and James, were arriving. We had a happy supper and talked long and loud into the evening. I suspect everyone was a little shocked to be woken at 7.30am for the early trip to Bridport Market, but as I’ve said a dozen times, the early bird catches the worm at the Market.  The famous £1 china lady did not disappoint.  Breakfast at Soulshine; a huge haul of superb books from Rose & Caroline at Bridport Old Books, a stash of 1960s and 70s royal memorabilia found on another stand, for Charlie, and we were still home before 11.

We had tea with Mum and Dad that afternoon, and then a magical dinner in the dining room, lit by candlelight, with some of our valley neighbours.  When people left, it had begun to snow. We rolled into bed, tired as the dogs, fell fast asleep, and woke to this:

Sibyl was very happy: The snow was intensely beautiful, although for a second I wondered if I’d rather be looking at bunches of Eastery daffodils than at Christmas cards at this particular time of year.

We went for coffee with our friends the Goodwins.  Kate’s dresser is of course famous in the world of china-laden dressers.

The snow was bright outside the windows.

Dream house:

On the drive out of the village;

And after a wonderful, filling roast lunch at Brassica, in Beaminster, we headed out to a snowy Bettiscombe, perhaps the most beautiful house in Dorset, for tea with our friends Jasper and Oisin. 

Several bottles of bubbly later (how did that happen, again?) we left, by the light of the gloaming, and crept home through deserted, snow-laden lanes. 

James and Veere left for London. We are all in bed, Mavis and Sibyl fast asleep after their day’s adventures, and I think Charlie and I are about the turn off the lights too.  Outside, it’s completely still and silent.  Spring has been frozen away for another week; the daffodils will be confused beyond imagination, but on balance, I can’t say I mind. I just love the snow.  And its rather nice, just for once, that it suddenly doesn’t quite feel like the year is rushing by quite so fast.

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