I feel like I have been hibernating. It’s dark when I go to work, it’s dark when I come home, and for two weeks, the pavements have been covered with ice and snow to such an extent that just walking to work or the shops is quite an effort. And the temperatures! It was minus 12 when I walked to work one day last week. I’ve been getting up a few minutes early each day to make sure I can top up all the birdfeeders, and I really worry about how all the birds and animals cope when the ground is frozen hard and covered in snow.
But on Friday, it all started to melt. By the time I went out on Saturday, it had all melted, and there wasn’t even a trace of the snow and ice left anywhere in our garden or on the streets surrounding us. I can now walk around freely, without fear of slipping on the ice and breaking a bone. It feels like it’s the end of a long dark winter, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the end of the start of winter – there is so much more of it to come.
On Saturday, that first snow-free morning, I went into Nottingham to do a tiny bit of Christmas shopping and to visit the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, to see their latest exhibition. I had hardly any shopping to do – I just felt like being amongst the atmosphere of the rush towards Christmas, without actually feeling swept up in it. I don’t know why I wanted to go to the gallery – the current exhibition is of modern art, and it’s not something I tend to get on well with. I was there early, and so for a time in one of the halls it was just me and the guide/assistant person. I decided to be brave and ask her to explain some of the pieces to me, since to my eyes there wasn’t a great deal of art going on. She was polite and helpful, and said there was one piece she would explain to me first, since that would help me understand the others. At this point I knew I was in out of my depth: she led me to what I thought was a blank wall, and started to tell me about the art on it. After a couple of minutes I realised that the wall had a long and very neat line cut into it. This was the ‘art’. And then it got worse: the line had apparently been injected with meat (I’m sparing you the gory details here, it was a lot more graphic than that). I’m sure to some people works like this send a very powerful message, but they are lost on me. I headed off to the safety of John Lewis instead!
This Christmassy photo shows my friend’s new kitten, making a good effort to climb her Christmas tree. I love it when other people’s pets are naughtier than my pet.