Friday, February 06, 2009

What a difference a Snow makes (24 hours in Dolberrow)

Yesterday was a washout; limping around indoors using my R leg as a strut because it hurt when I used the muscle, due to falling onto a stone on Tuesday, and also miserable because of reading a flame email from some policy oberstleutnantstormbahnfurhrer who objected to a short discussion of "Green Keynesianism".

It seems rare to be able to hold a constructive discussion on email lists. The scholastics had "disputations" where it was important to understand the other side, and aimed to build a common ground; but it seems that the adversarial system has spread from our courts, via the media, to email discussions. I told myself it was he that had the problem, not me, but it still darkened my yesterday.

Today began at 6 am with a night sky tinged with roseate light seemingly arising from the ground. Looked out, and everything was proper snowy. Six and a half inches of white fluff everywhere - on the ground, on the trees, on the bird bath. And on the road. Line of tail lights on the A38. Stuck.

I took 400mg of Ibuprofen with my breakfast, got my skis, filled my pack with coffee, shovel and saw, and set off up the hill to the traffic jam. White van slewed across the road. Great sense of community effort as we all sorted it out, pulled him clear, helped a few others to get moving. What you have to do is dig a little track in front of the wheels, down to the tarmac. Simple, but not universally known. Took the saw to some branches that were narrowing a carriageway, and soon the traffic was moving, turning the virginal snow into an ugly brown mush. It was a relief to get up the hill again to our house, where all the cars were dressed out like Steiner wedding cakes, all sitting as still as a cat by a mouse hole.

All this time I was totally unaware of my bruised thigh. (Though it still stiffens up after a period of non-use).

Lunch with Joe, friends-and-neighbours Luke & Carole, Nicky and Laurence in the Crown, which is a pub seemingly unchanged in decor since the year 1306. The only one I know like it is the Blue Flame on the moors of North Somerset. (Beware the cider). Great atmosphere, talking with neighbours at the next table, Dunkirk spirit. Everyone agrees that it makes sense for the UK to have a National Holiday every time it snows.

Then back up the hill with toboggans. Joe chooses the Wall of Death slope on the south side of Dolberrow, where rivers in the Ordovician period (I made that up, I like the word Ordovician; anyway, after the Ice Age) carved a channel in the Mendip limestone. We tobogganed off the Iron age ramparts, bounced off the Iron Age first line of defence , then baled out before reaching 180mph on the steep slope. Later Dom and Zena turned up, and we built a snow lip over the Wall of Death and got some pics of Dom and Joe flying off the jump into an Infinite Void, with trees hundreds of feet below.

I ran about on my touring skis, pursued by Joe's dog, who, though naked and unshod, seemed not to notice the coldness of the snow. On the flat I am happy on the Langlauf, but a bit nervous about the negotiating of bends. I know the theory of the telemark turn, but my cerebellum doesn't. I had a teacher who taught me downhill skiing: Always Keep Leaning Forwards, which is excellent advice, but you cannot do that on Nordic skis. So I found myself adopting the English Pose: that of someone who is unwilling to make skin contact with the toilet seat. Anyway, I only fell a few times, and that was mainly the fault of the terrain.

Joe, Dom and Zena went down to the Crown, but we were too knackered to make any further movement, and happily collapsed by the flames of the fire, me pondering what Keynes would have done in 2009.I am pretty sure he would have insisted that any quantitative easing should be invested into renewable energy, and if not, so much the worse for Keynes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"flame email"

I have every sympathy, it's all too prevalent on blogs, and Indymedia has become virtually unusable because of it, imo. Such online bullies are a serious menace to free speech and debate, and I just cannot understand why anyone tolerates intimidatory tactics like abusing people as "mad" but which we see too often.

Surely those who use it only damage whatever cause they are espousing, and we must resist falling in with such intimidation.