There’s nothing predictable about the weather, or the seasons. A glance back through this year’s UK weather patterns provides abundant proof of that statement. December is no exception. This past week the wildest storms for a decade swept the far north of the UK. Middle England where I live was spared this onslaught.
This time a year ago the whole of the UK was gripped, not by severe gales but by a lengthy deep freeze that started early in December and lasted way beyond Christmas. For a few days we were treated to a spectacular display of Hoar Frost – one of Nature’s marvels when the ordinary is rendered extraordinary by the deposition of delicate ice feathering, the riming of leaves and the formation of ice arrows down wind. And in that scenario (sadly rare), when the sun shines, Winter becomes Wonderland.
Unsurprisingly I was out with my camera. It was a cold, windless day, and the sun – low in the sky – added the required contrast and drama when it was needed. Finding images was not difficult.
In our garden, the leaves of shrubs were decorated with icy spikes and feathering.
I went for a walk that I’ve walked many times around the edge of our village – the countryside was transformed. The woods had been dusted with ice crystals.
The remains of embellifers like Cow Parsley were transformed into beautiful iced flowers. Leaves in the undergrowth regained their beauty.
By the time I was walking home, the sun was about to set and a Stand of Poplars looked magical. Days like that lift one’s spirit. Let’s hope we have more of them this winter – but in short bursts, not a month long freeze!