Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The serious side of this weather.




The farmer has been with me to Tesco again this morning - now that I am not allowed to drive he is marvellous at coming along with me - and I do sincerely thank him for that.

According to the weather forecast we are in for another blast of Arctic weather beginning on Thursday and probably lasting until after Christmas. Yesterday I went with my daughter-in-law to our local nurseries. I have a tradition at Christmas that we fill the house with plants and flowers - cyclamen, hyacinths in bloom, poinsettias and daffodils. The first three I usually buy at our local nurseries.
Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, because the sight which greeted us at the nurseries was a wonder to behold. Thousands (and I mean thousands) of poinsettias in full bloom and in all colours from very deep red through to cream and even some which were red flecked with cream. I bought a large deep pink one and then moved on to the hundreds of cyclamen.
I dithered over which colours to buy until I realised that they were so very cheap - only £1.60 each plant - so I had one of each colour. Hyacinth bulbs now sit on the freezer in the utility room and in addition this morning I put a lovely holly wreath on my previous husband's grave in our local churchyard. These customs are all part of our Christmas and I can mentally tick them off when I have done them.
But really, because of this very bad weather things are getting very serious here (and probably account for the low price of the cyclamen too). The snow has been so bad that people have not been shopping.
Our little local town had a late night opening last week with wine tastings, food tastings, Christmas carols, the local brass band, all the shops open for Christmas shopping. Unfortunately there was deep snow and nobody turned up. They have rescheduled it for this Thursday evening, and again bad weather is forecast. ^This lack of custom for our small shops, which struggle anyway, can mean the difference between making it through the winter and going under.
What happens of course is that shoppers go where they can get everything under one roof, protected from the weather - in our case the local Tesco. I am as guilty as the next in doing this, particularly now that I no longer drive. But in our little town we have two grocers, several butchers, several bakers, two electrical shops, several shops selling fancy goods, two dress shops and countless bistros/cafes. I can't imagine that they are all going to survive this winter and if they don't it will be a sad day for our area.

I have taken a few photographs of the plants I bought - not the same as seeing them en masse but better than nothing. Enjoy.

17 comments:

Gwilym Williams said...

Thank you for sharing your plants. Today two flowers have fallen off the Christmas cactus. And the two remaining ones are not exactly in the pink of health. A cornflower I brought home a month ago is still hanging in there - in it's small jar of water. The rest is history.

maggi said...

Such beautiful plants. Also a timely reminder of the way that the weather can affect small businesses so badly, especially as it is just those businesses that make England so special.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I was going to say how lucky you are to get the cyclamen for such a deal but now I feel so bad for your local shops. Perhaps the weather will hold off for the Thursday shopping push. Will send out a few prayers for them all.

Heather said...

I don't care for the red poinsettias but your pink one is gorgeous, as are the cyclamen. It must have been a wonderful sight to see them en masse. How worrying this winter is for small businesses. I do hope that all those little shops in your town - and all the others throughout the country - will survive this winter and struggle through until times improve for everyone.

Derrick said...

The phrase "Use it or lose it" was never more appropriate, Weaver. We also have a late shopping night for this Thursday and one wonders what the weather will do. Small country towns like Leyburn and Melrose offer a great deal more than the homogenous fare of chain stores! Your flowers look lovely.

angryparsnip said...

We have a "Shop locally" campaign going on in Tucson.
The money that stays in the city is unbelievable compared to what stays from a big box store.
With your bad weather maybe a early start to Christmas for the shops is not such a bad idea !

Hope your weather will have a break for Thursday.
We are hopefully expecting on Thursday some rain in the valley and possible light snow in the mountain... so needed here in Tucson to start our winter.

cheers, parsnip

mrsnesbitt said...

Hi Pat - yes we too are bracing ourselves for the next dose of horrible weather! The weather forecasters have got it so accurate this time haven't they - and thank goodness they did. I do not "do" bad weather driving - following an horrendous crash in 2000 - hubby is a 4x4 fan and indeed before we lived here where a 4x4 is a necessity - he had a landrover and would go "off roading" as a hobby! We were warned of the snow that first Wednesday a few weeks back - I was due to meet a customer on the A1 - thank goodness we postponed - I would have been stranded on the A1 in the van (not 4x4)Keep warm Pat - I'm at the end of the phone xxxx

Titus said...

Lovely Weaver.
And so 'yes' to the shop local - Penpont has a grocers and a tearoom, unusual for such a small village, and we all know that if we don't use them, we'll lose them. So I nip in the tearoom most days...
Won't tell you what I buy at the grocers, as I know you won't approve!

steven said...

weaver i just bought two poinsettia. one survived the journey home in my backpack. the other didn't as the temperature was twenty below celsius. it was in a bag. i thought it was safe. it really wasn't! your flowers are lovely and bring colour and light into our world at a time when both are in short supply! steven

thousandflower said...

We have the same problem in our small island county of people going off to the mainland to shop. I have vowed to get whatever I can for Christmas this year in the county and have been having fun shopping. I have more or less decided that if the local shops don't have it I can learn to do without it. Doesn't always work, of course, but it does a lot if I just stick to my guns. Even if it costs a little more keeping my community functioning pays me back more than the money spent.

thousandflower said...

We have the same problem in our small island county of people going off to the mainland to shop. I have vowed to get whatever I can for Christmas this year in the county and have been having fun shopping. I have more or less decided that if the local shops don't have it I can learn to do without it. Doesn't always work, of course, but it does a lot if I just stick to my guns. Even if it costs a little more keeping my community functioning pays me back more than the money spent.

MorningAJ said...

I completely agree about supporting your local shops and I'd love to - but I work away from the village. We had a new produce store open up last weekend right at the bottom of my road and I'd really like to help - but their opening hours are 8am to 3pm and 9-12 on Saturday.

I leave at 7am and get home around 5.30pm. My only chance to shop there is Saturday morning, but I can't afford to wait till then to find out they don't have the things I need in stock.

I do my shopping (in a supermarket) on a Wednesday or Thursday evening on my way home from work. If the village did a late night just one day I'd be much more supportive.

(Sorry - rant over. The plants look lovely. I try to force daffs or crocuses in time for Christmas. Not sure they'll have managed this year though!)

Gwilym Williams said...

More than a foot of snow in the night so this morning it was out with the snow shovel. A crow and a group of about 30 fieldfares came to watch. Didn't stay long though.
Went for a walk up the nearby hill and at the top saw a lovely snow devil spinning by. Didn't have my camera with me. Arrgh. Grrr. etc..

The Weaver of Grass said...

Poor Gwilym - maybe your fingers are not all that green - but you are a fantastic poet and you can't have everything.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems we are all agreed that we must try and buy local - trouble is, as Morning AJ points out, it is not always practical.

jeannette said...

Your pics of the poinsettia and the cyclamen are lovely, Weaver! Last week I bought a pink poinsettia as the model for my painting of a tower of poinsettias I'm going to post (around Christmas day). Actually love the white one the most.
Your story gives me an insight of how small stores are struggling -hope they'll all make it!

PS Have started on a pastel of your previous header, but with all of these holidays it's easy to get off track!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I bought the pink ones too!