Back from the Frozen North, after a very enjoyable but over-indulgent Christmas, I just thought I’d pop on line to say hello to the blogosphere again.
I flew up to Newcastle in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve from Cardiff airport via an airline called Eastern Airways which operates the only direct flight on that route. I booked the flight some time ago, as I was a bit nervous it might fill up given the annual chaos on the railways over the holiday. As it turned out, the outbound flight on Christmas Eve had only five passengers on it; the return, yesterday, just six. Obviously they’re not making a lot of money on this route!
The plane was a small propeller-driven affair which can seat a maximum of 29 passengers. I thought I’d get a nice picture of the sunset at Cardiff as we took off, but unfortunately the vibration of the engines made that quite difficult, as you can see from the blurry effort shown above. Despite the inclement weather and the snow and ice at both airports, outward and return flights kept immaculately to schedule.
Newcastle was cold and snowbound so me and my folks stayed in, ate and drank a lot, lounged around watching a bit of telly here and there, warmed by news of the cricket from Melbourne (of which more, hopefully, tomorrow!) and were otherwise entertained by their cats Tilly, Daisy and Lucy. It was very pleasant but the combination of eating and drinking too much and not taking much exercise has no doubt left me quite a few pounds heavier. I haven’t plucked up courage to weigh myself yet.
Anyway, I got back safely yesterday evening and said hello to Columbo (who, incidentally, is doing fine). Pretty much as soon as I got into the house it started raining, which it did most of the night. The thaw is definitely in full swing, and soon quite a few of my neighbours will no doubt be out doing repairs. Several lengths of guttering have fallen off various houses on my street, pulled down by the weight of accumulated snow and ice. There’s now also much less danger of me falling over on the slippery pavements like I did just before Christmas. Why can’t that happen when there’s nobody watching? It’s so embarrassing…
I’m not so foolish as to think that the melting of this lot of snow means that winter is over, but the thaw did remind me of this nice little poem by Edward Thomas, yet another Welsh poet and yet another killed during the First World War, in his case in 1917 at the Battle of Arras.
OVER the land half freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed,
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as a flower of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.