An off-white Christmas

December 24th, 2010

In our part of Dorset it looks as if it is going to be an off-white Christmas. No more snow is likely but the four or five inches already here irs far more than we are used to. The locals were saying in the pub that the Christmas Day swim should be cancelled because Lower Sea Lane, now a sheet of ice, is a death trap.

Higher Sea Lane has had a bit of grit. Emphasis on the bit. This afternoon it was a mix of snow, brown slush and black ice.

When I went around to return the giant lamp to my neighboor this morning it was still below freezing. I slipped on a chunk of ice, saved my by grabbing the nearest bush, which happened to have thorns, drawing blood. Even on this short journey my were fingers were frozen by the time I got back.

Other places are used to it. But Charmouth is on the English Riviera. We often don’t get any snow at all.

By mid-day the sun was shining, inspiring several of my neighbours to come out with their spades, and chip away at the mixture of snow and ice on our street, which is not gritted because it is private. The thermometer on our terrace rose to 4 degrees, and the sun, with a bit of thelp from the central heating rocketed the study temperature to 22 degrees, which felt like the tropics.

But then I was brought up in an age when us Brits thought it wass only the sissy Americans who thought it necessary to heat their houses to 15 degrees.

Even at 4 degrees the sea, though not frozen, was pretty colld. But my younger daughter decided to practice for tomorrow’s swim, braving the ice on Lower Sea Lane. She is on a health kick and has become used to breaking the ice to swim in Hampstead Heath ponds.

So even if the organisers decide to cancel the official Charmouth fancy dress swim, the Jones family will be running into the waves, with me taking the pics.

Hope to post some tomorrow, if my fingers are not too frozen to press the shutter button.

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