The long-awaited for snow did appear last Friday night and, although it wasn’t as heavy as forecast, it had a rather miraculous effect: two of my children came with us to walk the dog early on Saturday morning before it all melted away! My eldest usually doesn’t appear before late morning at the weekends so this is highly unusual. (The middle one is still recovering from glandular fever and extremely tired, so we let him off.)
We agreed it was more than a sprinkling of snow but less than a satisfying blanket – there was probably about 1cm, not much at all, but enough to look pretty and make that pleasing squeak-crunch under foot. The dog had a lovely time, running around and around making us laugh and it was a good start to the weekend.
We’ve had a good half term week. I’ve been to London twice, once with my daughter to see friends and again with all three children for a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. All of them are now at an age when they’re properly interested in the world (and two of my eldest son’s A’levels are History and Government & Politics) so this turned out to be a fascinating, enlightening and thoroughly interesting trip for all of us. We had a couple of hours to kill before the tour of Parliament so we decided to look around the National Portrait Gallery. The boys went off to look at the Stuarts and Tudors while my daughter and I strolled past the women’s portraits. We were particularly taken with those of Mary Wollstonecraft and Christabel Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline) and we talked about the campaign for women’s rights in the UK. She’s 12 and can’t imagine a world where women were treated so differently to men (some would argue it’s still happening but let’s not go there..!). Later on, during the H of P tour, we admired and learnt about the contemporary light sculpture displayed in the Palace of Westminster, ‘New Dawn’, which commemorates women’s suffrage. It’s a fascinating piece, the colours change with the rise and fall of the Thames; you can read all about it here.
The tour of Parliament totally impressed us. Our guide was an incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable and funny young man who obviously loved his job. He brought the history of the place to life, roping in some of the younger children in the group to demonstrate the falling-out between Charles I and Parliament, explaining some of the finer points of our constitution, the respective roles of the Lords and the Commons, while making it all so relevant to our daily lives – we came away inspired and feeling mighty lucky to be living in a country with such a robust system of government. Whatever your political leanings, you can’t fail to be impressed by the place. Do go if you’ve never been and get the chance.
Anyway, enough of all that. It’s gone 5pm and it’s still light outside! It was about 10 degrees warmer today than this time last week and I spent a lovely hour or so pottering outside taking the close-up photos above. There’s a surprising amount going on out there. The snowdrops are nearing their peak and looking gorgeous in the sunshine (I missed the sun, though, so the flowers are closed up in the pic), tulip and daffodil spears are growing taller and the birds are singing their heads off (I heard my first skylark earlier in the week which gladdened my heart). I called in at a plant nursery earlier, you know, just for a look – I was passing; spring is coming… I bought some seeds (sweet peas, beetroot and purple-sprouting broccoli) and three little pots of Anemone blanda to plant under a tree by the path. They were such good value, I couldn’t resist them.
I’m planning to do some tidying in the garden this weekend, cut back the raspberry canes and Miscanthus, and maybe sow some seeds. I hope you have a good one, whatever you have planned.