It seems that I have neglected this blog for some time, but the main reason for this is that we haven’t been out photographing stained glass windows since the spring and I had kind of forgotten that I’d originally planned to keep this one going with photo outings of other kinds as well. So in order to try to remedy the situation, I thought that maybe a monthly ‘diary’ entry would be useful. A photographic diary that is.
December began rather startlingly with a downfall of snow. “We don’t get snow on the Isle of Wight”. Well that statement might need to be revised as we’ve had snow twice this year – a heavy fall which lasted over a week in early January, and now this, admittedly shorter-lived, covering – and before Christmas!
When I moved to the island in 1993 my daughter was just two years old and I was looking forward to us making our first snowman together that winter. Everyone laughed at me when I mentioned this and I was told that it never snows here. Well we did get a light dusting three times that winter and everyone blamed me! We made our tiny snowman and that was that for several years.
There must have been another light snowfall after she started school because I remember taking her up the road in less than an inch of the stuff to be surprised at the school gate when I was told the school was shut! I’d never heard anything like it and couldn’t understand it. When I was a child we’d go to school in the snow, or if it was really bad we’d walk up there to get homework. I suppose nowadays teachers don’t live nearby and of course the ‘Elf & Safety’ brigade probably have something to say about it all. Still, considering the number of 4x4s that are apparently necessary to take children to school, a little snow shouldn’t be any trouble at all.
Anyway (before I descend into a rant) the snow this December was what we would call ‘wet snow’ as opposed to what my grandfather used to call ‘Continental snow’. This wet stuff falls loosely and only sticks around because it freezes. It usually provides an even layer and can disappear as quickly as it arrives. ‘Continental snow’ is more ‘powdery’ and it drifts well. The resulting layers are more compact and it stays for ages – this is what we had in January.
So the snow of the night of December 1st surprised a few people as the previous settled-for-more-than-a-day snow here (if memory serves) had been in 1997. It delighted many more people the next day. The park was full of adults and children playing in it that Thursday, but it was not as good as January’s fall for snowballs and snowmen. There was still some of it about on the Friday but that night the rain began and I could hear the icicles breaking off and landing outside my house. The sound of running water and further dripping confirmed that the thaw had begun and by Saturday morning, barring a few patches on fields and on the hills, the snow had gone.
It was still bitterly cold though and there were mutterings that it would snow again. On Sunday afternoon I read reports online of fog in East Cowes, but the skies were clear in Newport. However, by the time it was dark it had reached us and the air was icy. By the end of Sunday night there was an eerie glow everywhere and combined with the very still water of the high tide (it was a new moon), Newport actually looked quite pretty.
Since then the sun has tried its best to peep through the clouds but it’s struggling and it still feels very icy. Portsmouth had some glorious sunshine the other day but on my return I could see that there was still heavy cloud over the island (the fabled “own weather system” clearly visible). However, I did manage to stop on the way back over the downs to take a few shots of the hazy valley below. If we get a clear morning this week I think there are going to be some spectacular sun and mist shots to be had. But probably not to be taken by me. I don’t do mornings.