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Real Snow

I have been so pleased with the weather for the past few days. It has provided me with real amounts of snow, perhaps four inches, and it hasn't since warmed up so much so as to destroy the beauty and insulation of it. It's the best snow I've ever seen in England.

In the forest yesterday, I made a snow angel in the local bronze age camp under near-blue skies. The bare branches towering cathedral-like above were limned in snow. It picked out each branch and limb of every tree and bush with a precision and clarity which the motley camouflage browns and greens of it never approach on their own.

Today, at Kew Gardens, the whitened grounds were largely empty. I had the entire length of grand walks to myself, and, often enough, the warmth of the larger greenhouses as well. It was soothing to stand in the midst of the Temperate House, alone, small beside the vastness of the Chilean wine palm, while outside, it started to flake for a bit. In one capacious greenhouse room, I was disturbed only by a single large bird tramping up and down the ridge on the roof high above me. At the east end of the park, a carousel pumped out a chirpy, uptempo, music-only cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday". I couldn't find the Winter Garden, presumably because it was not designed to be snowed on.

Are children trained to talk to robins in this country? An alert boy noticed a British robin hopping about the floor of the house imported from Japan that we were all in. "Happy Christmas, Robin!" or "Happy New Year, Robin!" exclaimed the three or four children, each in turn.



Dec. 20th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I've never heard of talking to robins specifically, although it's considered good luck to greet magpies.

Several years back, I was visiting some colleagues in Berkeley, and I showed them some photographs I had on my computer. One of them featured a robin, a cheerful, round little bird sat on a fence post. "What's that?" they asked. "It's a robin," I replied. "I don't think it is," they said. "Erm... I'm pretty sure it is," I asserted. So we had a little look round on the internet and it turns out that we were both right: the American robin is a different species of bird entirely to the European robin, although both have distinctive orange plumage.

(Are you and Colin going to be in Lancashire at some point over Christmas, and if so would you like to meet up for lunch?)
Dec. 21st, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
Yes, they are entirely different birds! The European robin is the cuter of the two. (Not that it was a competition.)

(Yes, and yes!)