Strawberry Singh’s Memes: The Winter Season Challenge!

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Apparently Kitty has been VERY Naughty this year! 

Time for another Meme courtesy of Ms. Singh! This one was a lot of fun to  write because it took me back and helped me remember some snow-related events!

Of course, I’m writing about real life here, but hey, I do have one of those you know..(Admittedly not as fun as my Second Life, but still…) Why not have a go at one of Berry’s Memes?

They’re always an enjoyable challenge! Thanks Berrycakes!

1. What is the December/Winter season like where you live? I live in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. We’re practically bang smack in the middle of England, so we’re well insulated against the kinds of nasty storms that they get along the coast.  However, just because we’re in the middle doesn’t mean we get mild weather.  We’re a hilly county, and Chesterfield is right on the cusp of the Peak District National Park, so when it snows here boy does it snow! I can recall a really bad Winter when I was a Saturday girl in a store in town.  The weather was so bad the store had to shut early, and to make matters worse all the buses had been taken off the road meaning  I had to walk home.  The trek was  a good three miles in deep snow, snow that was so bad the telephone lines were swooping down onto the ground, they were so laden with the stuff.  It was exhausting. It was also really dark because there had been power cuts, and I remember being a little scared as I walked home. The only light was that which was reflected off the snow, an almost dull glow to navigate by.  I recall that I was most perturbed by how incredibly silent it was; my walk home meant I walked alongside a road that would normally be busy with traffic, but there were no cars or vehicles of any kind  to make a sound. The only sound was the crunching of my feet as I crunched home through the snow. We haven’t had bad winters like that for at least 20 years, and honestly I never thought I would see the like again, but then in 2010 *WHUMP* we had a massive snowstorm. I live on the very top of a hill at the end of a long winding street, and the snowfall meant that we became a little island, completely cut off from the main roads. It was pretty inconvenient, but it was so beautiful, and the snow was deep and crisp. We had a few power cuts but I seem to recall that I  managed to do LOTS of serious Second Life-ing during those snow-bound days! One of the more charming occurrences was the sound of school-children playing in the snow on the nearby school fields. The schools had to close because of the weather obviously, but that didn’t stop the children from making the most of it, and listening to their laughs and gleeful giggles was really lovely. The sound carried over to my house so that it became a soundtrack to my snow days. Those excited squeals would start in the early morning and only end when it was dark. (I’m hoping for a repeat of that this Winter actually:)

2.When you think of winter, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? When I think of Winter I immediately thing of playing in the snow as a little girl. Growing up there was some wild, rambling woodland opposite the street where I grew up. It extended along the side of a hill, and it was nicknamed by the local kids ‘The Gorse’, because it was full of Gorse bushes. In summer it was great for hiding out, picking blackberries and basically doing all the things that young children are supposed to. In Winter it turned into a paradise for sledging. The best bit was the long, steep, winding driveway that led up to a house that was hidden in the middle of the wood at the top. One winter all the kids off the street, myself included, trekked over the road to The Gorse and made our very own version of The Cresta Run!   The path that led up to the house became black ice, encouraged by the constant presence of at least thirty local kids continually sliding up and down it on whatever we could get our hands on; proper sleds, plastic NCB coal bags, bin lids…anything and everything. Those poor people that lived in that house, they couldn’t have used a car on their driveway because we’d made it so slippery, yet they never complained  and we spent days walking up and sliding down this long, winding and incredibly exhilarating path. The only problem was at the very bottom of it there was a cattle grid, and then the main road. This meant that you had to be a little careful on downhill slalom runs, because you had to try and stop yourself in case you flew over the grid and into the main road. The worst possible outcome would be gaining so much speed on the descent that you couldn’t stop, so you would have to throw yourself into the snow before you hit the grid. It was like being a stunt-man, and I note we had some near misses! Hitting the grid at speed was pretty uncomfortable and it really hurt our bums, I wore through a number of coal sacks that week and I don’t think I have ever had so much fun in my life! (It wasn’t without accidents though; one lad, Craig, didn’t follow the path properly, and instead of turning he went flying into a Gorse bush. He emerge with a Gorse barb sticking out of his ear, and on closer inspection we all realised that it had completely pierced it! Cool huh? (I wanted to share a picture of the area with you so you got an idea of how awesome it was skidding down the track. THIS shot is from Google; alas, the cattle grid is no more (it’s been filled in!) but can you see what I meant about having to stop before you hit the road?! Also, the gorse bushes have all gone, which is a bit pants. Still, happy times!) 

3. Have you ever played any extreme winter sports?  Extreme sledding on coal sacks has to count, right? I’ve also gone downhill on a sled at a local country park called Rother Valley. This was way back in the 1990’s. I went downhill with my then-partner, his brother, his brother’s girlfriend AND their dog on a massive sled down one of the ski-slopes in the park. We all wore wet-suits under our clothes so we could stay dry, and also in case we ended up in the lake at the end of the slope! That was unlikely though, because we were hell bent on stopping, not least of all because of the barbed wire fence at the bottom of the hill!  It was certainly an exhilarating experience,  but it was also VERY scary because we gained so much speed on the descent. (Incidentally, such activity in that spot has been banned in recent years because unfortunately a young lady lost her life in an accident on that exact same slope a few years ago)

4.What do you like most about this season? Snow makes everything look beautiful doesn’t it? I also like to see how my pets interact with the weather. My cats look incredibly funny when they are trying to navigate deep snow, and my dog is always very unsure if she actually likes it or not! I really love Winter clothing too, and covering myself in soft, woolly jumpers and thick socks and cuddling a hot water bottle on a cold Winter’s afternoon is one of my absolute favourite things. Even better if I am drinking steaming hot Cocoa, or better still Mulled Wine, which is definitely one of the best things about this time of year!

5.Do you celebrate Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday during this time of year?  I celebrate two holidays, GREEDY KITTY!  As a practising Witch I celebrate Yule, on December 21st. This is a celebration that is believed to have laid the foundations for modern Christmas festivities, which I also enjoy with my loved ones on December 25th (because they aren’t Pagan).  I consider myself lucky that I have two celebrations to enjoy, and this year I’m looking forward to celebrating Yule after a slap-up meal at the best restaurant in town. Christmas Day will be different for me and my partner this year because I’m actually working nights and technically I will be asleep on December 25th,  so because of my working hours we’re not actually seeing our parents on the day this year, as is our tradition. (One year we spend Christmas with Philip’s parents, the following year we spend it with my parents, and so on.) But I’m sure our Christmas this year will be just as lovely, even if it’s a much quieter affair.

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