Getting up in the night and looking out of the window was to see a magical world. Snow was falling, it was still and silent and all the fields, walls and hedges were covered with icing.
At day break, as the sun rose it came up into an almost clear blue sky. The temperature was just above freezing so that the roads and footpaths were not slippery and it really was a lovely day.
It is market day in our little town and the Christmas tree stall was doing a roaring trade, as was the greengrocer. Our meeting for coffee (a group of us meet every Friday) was, as usual, a jolly affair.
But by afternoon the sky had gone from that lovely deep blue to a pale, icy blue. The wind has risen and the ice was back. It is really not a nice day at all. The trouble is that after such a mild winter up here in the Yorkshire Dales last year, we are just not accustomed to it. Say this to the farmer and he will tell you tales of when the snow was wall-height and they were having to dig the sheep out.
I have just been into town again and coming back I must say that I looked at the sheep, digging into the covering of snow to get at the grass, and marvelled at how hardy these Swaledale sheep are. This morning they have had a pedicure and antibiotic where necessary and all have had a drench against fluke. They would not survive indoors, however much we feel like bringing them in and keeping them warm; they are bred for wintry conditions.
The weather forecast says it will gradually get warmer over the weekend. Well, it can't come soon enough for me. The only thing that keeps me cheerful is that if I lived in Norway it would be dark as well.