Snow on the solstice

Odds are ever-shortening on a white Christmas, but I wonder how many people bet on a snowy solstice? The days are now officially lengthening, the nights are shortening, the temperatures will rise and spring will soon spring upon us.

But in the meantime, the winter solstice, marker of the middle of winter, is one of my favourite days.

We had our flat Christmas – salmon and cream cheese on lovely bagels and a sherry to start, followed by roast rolled shoulder of lamb with pork and chestnut stuffing, roast parsnips, carrots and potatoes, garlicky leeks, bacon, mushrooms, courgettes, all smothered in onion gravy, with champagne. A short breather, and then Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and vanilla ice cream.

In the afternoon, the clear skies had turned to a dense pale grey, the temperature plummeted and all of a sudden, through the blinds, the air went thick with snow, covering everything with a feather down duvet of white, which sat reflecting the yellow tungsten light for the rest of the evening.

G and B and I, ate and ate and ate and laughed and then sat, slightly slumped on our sofas, watching a film, slowly digesting, feeling fat and full and snowily satisfied.

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