The Beetley Blizzard

I had to write this post whilst the snow was still falling.

Venturing out on a miserable afternoon with Ollie, I took the umbrella. It had been raining since lunchtime, and looked pretty dismal. The Meadows and Hoe Rough were muddy once again, a result of the recent rain on the ground that had hardly dried from constant downpours. It was hard going; skidding about, lurching into deeper mud, feet sucked into unseen pools a foot deep.

After one circuit of the Rough, Ollie was still going strong. I had to put the umbrella up again as the rain got heavier, and decided that thirty minutes more would have to do. On the main path, in the open, we were suddenly battered by an unexpected hail shower. Tiny pellets of ice, hammering down in the north wind. The temperature had fallen considerably, and my cheeks were icy to touch, hands cold even in gloves. Ollie uncurled his tail, a sure sign that he was no longer enjoying his romp.

I turned for home, and was relieved that the hail stopped as I did so. I thought that I might be able to dispense with my umbrella, but as I considered this, it began to snow. Not gentle flakes, fluttering down from above. No, real snow, blizzard snow, huge chunks of the stuff coming in sideways, whirling around in the strong wind. Even with the umbrella, I was soon covered, and wet through. Ollie’s back was white with snowflakes, and I could hardly see the path to get to the exit. It didn’t let up as I fought my way back across the bridge, speeding up for the short journey back to the house. It had settled on the cars, on the tops of hedges, and in front gardens too. And it’s still coming down.

I thought of two expressions about the weather that are often used here. “It’s too cold for snow.” How stupid is that? Ask the Russians or Norwegians, Canadians, or Inuit. It snows when it’s cold. That’s an end to it. The other old saying is, “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.” Well, the first part is true today, let’s hope the last part is accurate too.

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23 thoughts on “The Beetley Blizzard

  1. Sounds great, Pete. Snow that sticks to your eyebrows! We had a bit here too, but a massive fire on the same day so the sky over Stafford went black then grey then white….

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  2. How are you feeling Pete? This is a nice post and I bet you were glad that Ollie stopped enjoying his walk too. I LOVE your last paragraph about it being “too cold for snow” OMG you are so right!!! I never thought about it before, just accepted those random words from friends, acquaintances, work colleagues (you’re right, being British you hear that sentence pretty much every day during Winter) and never questioned it. You changed my life today! 🙂 xx

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    1. Always happy to change a life, Em.
      It was a hell of an afternoon in that snow yesterday, but today was bright and sunny by contrast. They do talk a lot of rubbish about weather. We need to challenge it! (Meldrew moment…)
      I’m not too bad, at least the vertigo is becoming bearable, but my right eye has gone ‘cloudy’, so I expect I will need an operation sooner rather than later.
      I might get a black eye patch, and try to look ‘enigmatic’! xxx (Bonus x)

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      1. “Norm Clarke is one of Las Vegas’s most notable and recognizable celebrities. This eye-patched man-about-town knows it all about this vibrant city in the desert — where to go, what to do, and most importantly, where to see and be seen.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

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        1. I ordered an identical one from Amazon today, David. Perhaps less hair than Norm, (or maybe the same amount of ‘real’ hair) but I might be the eye-patched-man-about-Beetley by next week!
          Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. We woke up to snow yesterday and by the afternoon we were basking in 7c and sunshine, which was a pleasant change from all the rain we have had….it seems we are running very similar weather forcasts at the moment Pete, which is wrong. I want my -10c back so the ground is hard so I can drive to the house!
    I derided the idea that it was too cold to snow the other day to an expat, who then began to explain that if it’s cold down here then it’s probably warmer up there and that’s why it snows…..I always keep the salt to hand when we chat!

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  4. Well, that sounds like an experience.
    We had a very mild winter here in Italy… and now the weather seems to have reconsidered and it’s colder than December. What’s the sense of it????

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  5. weather-wise, we’re not on a good start this month, too, with bone-chilling temperature. but long-term forecast promises balmy days ahead. i hope the quote about march is true. 🙂 keep warm.

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  6. Yesterday, we walked a segment of the 34-mile River Mountains Loop Trail down between Boulder City and Lake Mead. If you zoom on the map here, we left from the trailhead at Pacifica Way (mileage marker 28) and turned around for the return trip at the junction with the Historic Railroad Trail near the visitor center. However, upon leaving the truck in the parking lot, we cut off the paved trail’s huge northern horseshoe and walked directly to our destination by cutting a path parallel to 93 Highway through raw desert. On the return trip, though, we did stay on the paved trail, taking the long way but also sparing our shoes additional wear and tear. Had we stayed on the paved trail in both directions, the total distance walked would have been 7.2 miles (according to a trail guide at the parking lot). But since we took the shortcut in one direction, we probably walked somewhere between 5 and 6 miles.

    Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed this familiar walk. I didn’t take a jacket (just wore a short sleeve shirt, as usual), and even though the sun had already set behind the River Mountains by the time we returned to the parking lot, it was still pleasantly warm. The recorded high yesterday was 81 F (27 C), so the mercury had dropped just a bit from that. There were yellow and lavender wildflowers everywhere, and a few white ones, too. The cactus was preparing to flower (give them another week or two). There was a thin veil of clouds in the sky for much of the trip, filtering the sunlight. On our way back to the trailhead, the sun dipped beneath the veil of clouds and shone brightly for only a few minute before it sank out of view.There was also a very gentle breeze during our walk. All in all, perfect weather, and a wonderful walk. As a bonus, we came across jackrabbits on three separate occasions, and had the trail to ourselves—except for two friendly bicycle riders who whisked by in high gear..

    In short, we were a long way from Norfolk—and snow.

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    1. Indeed you were, David, that is indisputable! Glad to read of a more pleasant walk than I managed today. Your description at least managed to whisk me away for a moment of Nevada reverie.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. At least Ollie didn’t give you ‘the look’ 🙂

    I grew up with a West Highland White Terrier who was a proper wimp when it came to the weather. On one memorable occasion, when he was getting older, I was out for a walk with him when I saw a storm coming. I did everything in my power to try and persuade him to walk a little faster on the way home (he always slowed down then) – all to no avail. A few hundred yards from home, down came the hail, stinging on my face and hair, whilst he sullenly gave me ‘the look’, his coat thick with hail stones. All my fault, naturally…

    But you know the most galling thing? When I finally got him home, he was as dry as a bone underneath the outer layer of his coat! The hail had totally failed to penetrate through all his hair, whereas I was thoroughly cold and wet!

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    1. Very true, Ros. They never seem to get as wet as their owners. Ollie rarely gives me a look. He generally prefers to stay out, whatever the conditions. But when his tail uncurled, I knew that he had endured enough for today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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