Ipple-Pen Diary. Snow Time

Snow in Ipplepen

A statement of facts that In England we love snow.

Well what I mean by that is we love snow providing it remains picturesque and preferably on a Christmas card with perhaps a plump red-breasted robin as its centre piece.

Ipplepen before 2018 had experienced five consecutive winters without snow which all changed when we had two snowfalls in excess of 10 inches in depth each that not surprisingly brought the village to a standstill.

After all the lightest fall of snow in the United Kingdom has a tendency to bring the whole communication and transport system to not so much a grinding but a sudden halt.

Besides which a winter without snowfall seems to be contrary to the natural order of things and the oldies go on and on about the snow being deeper and the winters colder when they were young.

The biggest problem for those who live in and on these isolated rocks that lie between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is that at this time of year we can go days without the sun making even a cursory appearance which drives everyone into a deep melancholy state.

Winter is a time when occasionally and without the slightest warning we wake up to Ipplepen and the surrounding landscape covered in a white blanket of virgin snow.

It may even be the day is one of those very rare winter days where the sky having been washed by the falling snow during the night is almost hypnotically clear and blue and the view is so clear you can see across to the horizon of Dartmoor.

The air is very cold and still so that there is nothing but the sound of boots crunching through the thin ice surface of the snow as people venture out looking I suspect for an unlicensed and impromptu snow ball fight.

For the time being traffic through the village is completely absent – but not for long – because being a rural village there is still a need for farmers to get about to check and feed their livestock.

Tractors make short work of the main roads through the village and help to churn in the salt that the parish Councillors and helpers had spread before the snow arrived.

There is also the sound of the genuine 4 X 4 (usually the ever dependable Land Rover) moving through the village collecting members of the blue light services who need to get to work.

Not for nurses, doctors, police, firefighters or those who work in prisons a day off because of the snow.

There is also the unmistakable sound of an obstinate engine that will resist all attempts to start until the battery is well and truly drained at which point residents scurry around looking for the jump leads that last winter they are sure they put somewhere safe.

Safe is the operative word because it is so safe they have forgotten where it is.

People are coming out to clear the paths in front of the old folks homes, the school is closed so the children are out building a snowman – well they’re out until they get iPad/iPhone withdrawal symptom when they succumb to the desire to rush inside to see if they’ve missed anything posted on line leaving the adults to finish the snowman off.

Rooks line the tops of the snow covered hedgerows and sea gulls sit precariously on roofs all over the village screaming out,

“Oi! People have you seen the weather? feed us – feed us now – or else”

And then as suddenly as it appears it is gone and the heavy grey overbearing winter skies return.

Oh! but while it lasted it was brilliant which is why we love snow.

Just as long as it doesn’t hang around too long.