Where there is cyber snow, there is real snow…

After coming to the end of a mental week where a lot I was concerned would go wrong did go wrong, then a very difficult long conversation with my Dad, I went to bed exhausted.

I woke up in the early hours freezing.

And then when I actually got out of bed, I realised why.

The real snow has begun to arrive in Edinburgh…

It’s hardly anything compared to this time last year though…

Poor Ophelia…

This post is dedicated to my friend Fran (who took this photo that I have totally stolen from her facebook page) and also to Scott because I know he loves it when bloggers keep blogging about the snow (coughcough). ;)

Poor Ophelia the Kaa…buried under a good few feet of snow.

This is when I’m thankful I no longer live in a farmhouse in Kirknewton (and I think Cassie the Corsa is thankful too)

The last 7 days in pictures

If you are in Scotland or North East England, you have no interest in this post. You’ve experienced it yourself, and maybe more if you live in West Lothian where they got 3 feet of snow.

After 3 days of snow & a teeny bit of thaw…this is the view outside our front door this time last week!

The beginnings of the gutter icicles – they grew & grew but the plumber took down the gutter before I got a chance to snap the final icicle product…

These guys are usually under the Christmas tree, but this year they’ve got a place on the windowsill.

My blog-famous Christmas tree – it’s 6th year. I only got 3 new hats from the Big Knit campaign this year.

A while ago someone on twitter advised me what advice I’d give to my 16 year old self. My reply was ‘GET A PHYSIO!’ – I hurt my back when I was 15 but with my last chance for student membership exams (Modern, Tap & Ballet), I kept silent & continued on for several months anyway. All was fine until after the summer when I went back into training & my back had healed squint.

The old injury flared up when I did the dance workshop at our Summer Holiday Club & again when I was ill 2 weeks ago. A trip back up through the snow/ice from Tesco made me best friends with this heat pack thing of my Mum’s as I almost fell a few times carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Oops.

Hopefully Santa is going to bring me my own one, and bring my Mum her own pair of wellies.

On Friday I was getting worried for my Mum as the snow was turning icy & my wellies have no grip. So I bravely ventured into town despite the back issue. I managed to snap a few photos of Edinburgh Castle in the snow. Prettyful!

The snow began to thaw at the weekend, we rejoiced as we managed to excavate Cassie the Corsa from the snow…and then we woke up to total chaos on Monday morning! Usually you’d be able to see all of South West Edinburgh & the Pentlands in this photo…but the snow came down thick & fast for 6 hours straight over the thawing old snow turned to ice.

View from the bus on North Bridge … 15-20 minutes before Lothian buses decided to suspend all their services…!

Doug came to visit the centre after leaving work early when the buses got stopped. We ate bagels and we decorated the centre in between trying to pay all our bills that came in last week & came up with a contingency plan for how things would go if the sucky weather continues… (this involved a lot of phone calls & e-mails!)

After getting stranded for several hours (thankfully Doug & I were able to walk back to his – but it hurt!!) and catching the last bus before they stopped the route going to where I live, I woke up this morning to find the bus I would have gotten to Interact wasn’t running in our area. However with blue skies & sunshine, the view a few hours later from my bathroom window was pretty rockin’.

I did bravely venture down to the bank later in the afternoon – I needed to put my wage cheque for November in the bank! Plus, I went over to PC World and just bought a power adaptor since my laptop is now a necessity with the centre being shut – I’m unlikely to get to the Apple Store in Glasgow anytime soon. While there the staff had no clue which adaptor was the right one, but did think I needed to see a doctor because apparently I looked like I was in pain (thanks for that dude!). I thankfully guessed correctly…phew!

The snow and I are no longer friends

Right now, we are having something I described today as the ‘Snow Apocalypse’ in Scotland. Seriously folks, Edinburgh does NOT usually get this amount of snow. We’re urban, east coast (ie away from the Atlantic ocean) and next to the sea. We’ll get snow, but not snow days. It usually turns to slush pretty quickly after it falls.

We thought we had it back with 3-5 weeks we got Christmas last year. Well we got about 3-5 weeks worth in one night last week. Most of the schools were closed – officially in the space of one week Edinburgh kids & teens got more snow days than I ever had in my 14 years of state school education (I include nursery in that).

Last Wednesday it reached a purely baltic antarctic temperature of -13 C (that’s 8 F American friends).

At the weekend we all cheered as the temperature reached a couple of degrees above freezing. My friend considered wearng a pair of shorts in the comparative ‘heat’. Our gutter came off the roof. We had avalanche warnings on places in the middle of our city. Snow cascaded off of roofs. 3 days of digging, and we got our cars out of snowdrifts. We rejoiced at the sight of loaves of bread in our supermarkets & our ability to get more than one bag of shopping. I took a week of annual leave as most of our volunteers got snowed in so we could open our centre anyway.

We planned that things would go ‘back to normal’ on Monday.

Cue 9 .15 a.m. when my Mum runs up the stair (I’m groggily trying to wake up) to tell me it’s snowing heavily.

Sure enough, our path is covered in several inches of snow (again). Despite salt, a sheet of thick ice lays outside our back door. Last week’s snow looks like snow but is actually ice.

As I walk down the hill, I notice a lack of buses. And see several cars turning into side streets and immediately having to reverse back onto the main road again.

I catch a bus to work (having told a volunteer to turn around and head home…). I watch cars skidding as we crawl along the A8 into the city centre. Our double decker bus skids outside Haymarket Station. I’m texting Ruth (mainly because I’m bored – my 35 min bus journey is um…getting longer). A watch a bus reverse down the Mound onto Princes Street. I see police vans and ambulances. I eventually made it to the centre (almost 2 hours later), only to discover 5 minutes after my arrival that all the bus services across Edinburgh had stopped.

8O

The centre is officially closed until further notice, and I’m having to try and re route calls and e-mails to my house. And I’m still minus a power adaptor for my laptop, and this one doesn’t have Microsoft Office. And the wi-fi doesn’t seem to work on it either (sigh). I also hurt my back last week, and church + cold + trying not to fall on snow & ice is not letting it get better.

Things to be thankful for:

- Elephants & Bagels was still open

- My bus did not crash

- Hot water bottles & heat packs are helping the back issue lots.

- My friend Doug works round the corner, and he came to visit with his bagel just as the bus services stopped.

- Doug’s family are awesome and did not bat an eyelid when I arrived at their home at teatime because the buses were still not running. And Doug pointed out that on a normal non-snow day, it takes 30 mins to drive to my house so attempting to walk home would not be a smart idea.

- Doug is a great cook and made me tea! And we watched Ghostbusters. And Cleo the spaniel decided to lie on my feet. And my head. And my legs.

- The buses got running again, and I caught a bus (eventually) which went to my house – the last one in fact before they decided that they needed to stop running buses in my area because of the icy roads (we’re on a steep hill) and badly parked cars.

- The lovely Emsy who chatted to me while I was waiting in the freezing cold for the bus.

- I have my wage cheque finally!

- I have mince pies, skooshy cream, clementines and many baking ingredients.

- We managed to get our Christmas tree up at the centre while we were in today.

Things I’ve learned from the snow…

1. It’s great to have lived in North East Scotland so you have all the gear prepared to venture out in 1ft+ of snow. (Thank you sale at Craigdon Mountain Sports of Winter 2002/3)

2. Snow brings community amongst your neighbours. Even if the elderly lady next door thinks your name is Moira now.

3. Snow can bring a real selfish side to people. Like drivers who can’t be arsed to remove snow from their car roofs (frickin’ dangerous to the drivers behind them especially). Or people who dig out their drives/paths and chuck it all onto the pavement or road

4. I need to be more careful walking (read: wading, climbing & trying not to slip across mounds of snow, ice & great puddles of slush) up a hill with a heavy bag of groceries. I think I must be a 26 year old stuck in the body of an OAP.

5. You should clear your gutters of snow before they fall down with the weight of snow falling from roof.

6. Icicles look really cool, but could potentally impale you.

7.  Burst pipes really do build up the water pressure…and I wish I’d given our temporary garden ‘water feature’ a wider berth so my pyjamas hadn’t got soaked when I’d yet to do my laundry.

8. My Mum is seriously underprepared for snow. And she is a Leither girl at heart after all – she nicked my wellies! She also likes to take it out on the messenger – you’d think I’d burst the pipe, caused it to snow, got people to buy Tesco’s entire supply of bread & told the council not to clear our road & cancel this week’s refuse collection. Or got her car stuck halfway between the road & the drive.

9. You should always have your freezer well stocked – because you just never know when your car might get trapped for several days due to heavy snow.

10. Increased snowfall = decreased working = decreased ability to socialise = increased baking & cooking.

Because of snow, I’ve not been able to get a new power adaptor (and have nicked my Mum’s laptop for a bit in response to the nicking of my wellies) as I need to go to Glasgow to get my macbook seen to at the Apple Store. So I do have photos, but can’t upload them yet. Or put my Christmas playlist on my iPod. Boo!

It’s December

And since we’re getting a white advent (never mind Christmas), I guess it is time now to put the tree up. More than ever does that little tree need those woollen innocent smoothie hats!

My laptop is still out of action (using my Mum’s PC one, and it’s driving me mental) and it is still snowing in Scotland. Normally we don’t get that much sticking around in Edinburgh, but this time  the airport has been shut most of the last 3-4 days and schools in Midlothian have been closed for the week. Some Edinburgh schools are still shut as well. The Forth Road Bridge even got closed this morning – the first time ever this has happened due to snow.

My visits to Ayshire and Dundee been cancelled for the moment, and most of volunteers are snowed in so our centre is shut probably until Monday.

I have got a snow video so you can see what it’s been like over last few days at our house, but it may be a while before I get it uploaded.

Meanwhile here’s a picture taken yesterday of Edinburgh Castle (on St Andrew’s Day no less) I nicked off of Neil Costley’s facebook wall.

British Summertime begins

At the weekend I got a gift – some backpay from work. So as I head into birthday weekend (where 3 of my friends plus me turn 26) I thought maybe I’d replace some of my clothes, and I popped into H&M and saw a summer dress which I bought for £10 (well, £9.99). I thought: “perfect! I’ll buy that to wear to Kate’s birthday night out on Saturday!”

Because our birthday weekend is always the first day I wear ‘summer’ clothes. I tried it on today…


Yes folks, that’s my nice new floaty summer dress. And my festival wellies. And some snow.

Do you not think Mother Nature, is just soooo hilarious?!

Last night there was much texting and tweeting from Edinburgh tweeples, and when I told Ruth about my purchase I’d made on Day 2 of British Summertime, as now we were on Day 4 of ‘British Summertime’, and we had both got to our homes having battled 30mph winds, rain and sleet.

And now this is what people in Edinburgh could see out their windows…

Yes, my friends in the southern hemisphere are having to get the ‘winter’ pyjamas out now that it’s ‘cooling’ off as Autumn begins heading into winter. I have NO sympathy if this is what ‘heading into summer’ looks like for us.

At least I’d bought a cardigan (£10) and some leggings (£6) in the sale at H&M and I still have my fluffy earmuffs. Even if the combo of leggings, summer dress, knitwear, ear muffs & wellies is a little bit strange…and not all that warm…

My pale ‘cantrememberthelasttimeitsawsunshine’ Scottish skin just sets off this interesting outfit so nicely too.

:(

Travelling Tuesday: Snowy Aberdeenshire

Last time I remember snow like we’ve been experiencing, was freak batch of snow – the most I’d ever remembered seeing – in March 2006 in Aberdeen. Despite much digging my poor little Corsa was stuck in our residents car park for several days until it began to thaw enough for the grit to work. I had to fly down to London during that week (they luckily reopened the airport the day I was due to fly!)

Not my car, but you can perhaps see the predicament of getting the cars out!

From the plane flying from Aberdeen to London Heathrow

Here you can see the River Don estuary

This one is just North of Aberdeen as we were turning, and apparently Aberdeenshire had turned into a Zebra print land!

Tell me why I just love Sundays!

snow angel

For the majority of my 6 years living in Aberdeen, Sundays were by far my favourite day of the week. I just loved going to church with my friends (who I consider my ‘Aberdeen family’ – they were and still are!) 

When I came to Edinburgh – not so much. Especially as I started to hate Sundays. So often I would drive home from church sniffing back the tears, park outside and have a good cry in my car before heading inside, blog out or journal my frustration, or sometimes phone a friend to pour out my heart to them (ok, have a moan). 

But I’ve come to love Sundays now. So I’d like to give you a wee example of why I’m going to sleep with a smile on my face tonight…

1. Start the day with a text  – sometimes BOTJ text me first to coax me out my bed (blueberry pancakes were a major inspiration) or I’ll text her either simply ‘Good morning, are you awake yet?’ or something more random.

2. Tumble out of bed, shower, pull clothes on (taking into account the subarctic temperatures of Braid)

3. Drive to Chez Smallgroup.

4. Usually greeted by Miss Sweetroot, who usually has something to tell me – either what’s happening on CBeebies, or something breakfast-related. Like showing me which brioche in the packet she’s picked for me! (yum)

5. Breakfast, while chatting, and generally faffing about getting ready for church but not being too altogether focused on the task in hand. Let’s face it. Our smallgroup is all about the food. Find it hilarious that our smallgroup gets quoted by church leaders as examples of things giving the impression we’re all very spiritual! 

6. TSTIAI leaves early to pick up some other folks who don’t have a car. Miss Sweetroot and I hide from BOTJ. She acts suitably surprised even though I’m usually a bit too big to hide properly and can be blatantly seen, and Miss S of course has silently told me to ‘Sshh’ and then let out a giggle or shouted completely giving away our hiding position.

7. Go in car. Chat is had. See if we can beat Daddy and Family A to church. Mwa ha ha!

8. Usually see the ‘Balcony’ section of smallgroup as we walk from car to Braid. They never seem to see us though. :( Chasing ensues. I get told off for walking on road instead of pavement (I should really know better).

9. Church is waaaay more fun and thought provoking when surrounded by preschoolers. And Worshipping God through singing is waaaaay more fun when your bangles jangle in time (ish) to the music. And they look waaaaay more funkier than holding a tambourine!

10. Especially funny if students start reenacting parts of High School Musical and the 4yo sitting next to you taps you to ask ‘Laurie, why is Daddy not up there dancing too?‘ hee hee.

11. I feel really privileged, honoured and encouraged by the young people in our church. I’m always so happy if any of them come to chat or ask me to pray for them, because it’s great to know they feel able to do that. I was really taken aback by the encouragement I got from one of the them today whose class I’d be visiting to do a lesson on unplanned pregnancy.

12. Church service ends. More hiding. And chasing. Stop to chat to our friend who is normally waiting outside. Chat about what went on in church today in car home.

13. Sometimes confusion is because of response to things like ‘How come Gavin didn’t speak to us? I shouted to him, and we waved but he was too busy talking to his friend‘ and I reply ‘Well, you know, he’s getting old so his hearing and eyesight aren’t as good as they used to be‘. 

14. Return home. If not on music team, have the obligatory Sunday afternoon nap after eating lunch and reading the blogs. 

15. Ahh…music practice – sometimes fun, sometimes just really frustrating! lol. I always get a burp attack though.

16. Evening service. Usually a bit of a blur, but I can’t remember a week where someone hasn’t said something that makes us laugh. Like tonight’s ‘sofa time’ comment.

17. Sometimes chat to Mr and Mrs Fourth Space and other smallgroupers.

18. Sometimes give a few people a lift home. 

But this Sunday was extra special BOTJ’s sister and sort-of BIL were visiting so we had breakfast AND lunch together. It was a family service this morning and a healing service in the evening. Music stuff went really well. Chatted with my friend J about getting things sorted for South Africa trip (and training day in Watford next month). 

And….it’s been snowing in Edinburgh!!!!  One of our pastors (who shall remain nameless) chucked a snowball at my car. Me, drawing from my inner ‘Leither girl’ decided justice for Cassie should be done for such a heinous act. So I stopped my car, got out grabbed snow, made a snowball which I chucked at said pastor (who ran for cover) and surprisingly nailed the pastor on the head with snowball. Much to the amusement of Cassie’s passengers! All done with grace, peace and love of course ;) I assume the retaliatory attack of snowballs as we drove away was done with the ‘turning the other cheek’ attitude too… Lol.

Anyway, came home, and despite the late hour, thought just in case the snow disappears quickly (as it tends to do in Edinburgh) I had better make a snow angel and a wee snowman.

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