‘Come on then boy, let’s go and stretch our legs!’
Sammy can tell from my tone that we’re going walkies, and the old fellow starts wagging his tail as he lets out a couple of excited barks.
‘Yes, good boy!’ I say as I put on my coat and boots, ‘It hasn’t been much fun being cooped up in here for the last few days, has it? You must be going stir crazy. Come on!’
As soon as I open the door, the cold air hits us – it is absolutely freezing. For a moment even Sammy doesn’t look convinced, but a second later he’s racing out through the doorway and bounding joyously through the snow.
I hesitate for a moment. This is not the sort of weather an old woman like me should be braving. But poor Sammy needs his exercise, so I pull my coat tighter and follow him outside.
It’s breathtaking. Everything is buried under a perfect white blanket of snow, and the landscape looks new and unfamiliar. The garden wall is nothing more than a soft white line a few inches above the snow in the garden, and the apple trees wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a Christmas card.
Everything is beautifully peaceful, and it feels as if Sammy and I are the only two left in the world. For a few minutes I stand there, savouring the savage splendour of it all.
I look up into the cold January sky. It’s full of grey clouds and, although it is clear at the moment, there is no way of telling when the heavy snowfall could start again. I decide I’d better stop gawping at the view, and get us on our way.
Sammy has already started on our usual route along the road in the direction of the reservoir, and I have to whistle for him to wait, while I do my best to catch up.
The snow is almost up to my knees and I don’t so much walk as wade. Sammy watches me struggling towards him until I’m about ten feet away, at which point he turns and races off through the snow. Sammy is in his element, and I smile as I watch him playing. Every now and then he disappears into a particularly deep pile of snow, from which a black and white blur erupts a few moments later. His large spaniel ears are caked in chunks of ice and snow, and even though we’ve only been out for a few minutes, he is already a wet soggy mess.
At fifty-six years old, plodding through the snow is hard work for me, and I’m sweating with the effort. Even so, I’m still bitterly cold, and it feels like my breath is freezing in front of my face.
Looking around me I can see why this is being called the worst winter for over seventy years. According to the news broadcast on the radio, much of the country has ground to a halt with the incessant blizzard conditions, the deep lying snow, and the large number of power lines brought down.