Wednesday, January 06, 2010

More snow - and an account from 1815.

Woke yesterday to a village covered in snow. This is the longest cold spell I can remember here. It is very beautiful, but causing vast problems throughout the UK. It is also hugely expensive in terms of fuel and cancelled journeys - and it has been going on for weeks now. However, while the man made global warming sceptics vie with the man made global warming enthusiasts over reasons why (and this is not the place to go into arguments for and against in any detail, nor am I qualified to do so) - there is something to be said for the historical perspective. Some years ago, an elderly lady in the village showed me a copy of the old village schoolmaster's 'Commonplace Book' which she had rescued from a bonfire. You can read about it in more detail here.

I remembered this yesterday, because when I first read it, it crossed my mind that I had never seen such weather in December, in this village - the most we normally see is the odd snow shower in January or February, which quickly melts. So here's what our 'dominie' wrote in his account of the Great Snow, in 1815.

“December 15th Stormy day, wind from the west and sleet showers in the forenoon and hail showers towards the evening making the ground gray immediately after the shower but almost melted before next shower.

16th The ground covered with snow about 4 inches deep, snow showers frequently during the day which covered the earth about 7 inches deep. I shovelled the doors twice this day. Wind NW

17th More snow during last night. I shovelled the doors a third time, also Sunday morning, the snow this day about 10 inches deep, in general the weather being always since the snow fell at first, quite calm. Some blades of snow in the evening, hard frost, wind North.

20th I rose about 9 o’clock this morning. There is a strong wind from NE with a very thick snow and drift which continued until the evening incessantly when the snow ceased but the wind continued to drift only what snow fell during the day and the preceding night as the snow that had fallen previous to that was saddened with the nature of the thaw, the hares were only beginning to look out as yet but plenty of partridges this evening is just to my mind. (
Not sure what he meant by that last paragraph but I quote it verbatim!)

21st Beautiful day, keen frost, wind NE I never saw so deep a snow in general though I have seen much greater weather.

22nd Keen frost in the evening and during night, strong sound from the linn but clear sky and hard frost and wind NE.

23rd Windy with sleet and rain from the south, rained this whole day incessantly. Wind South.

Not a pleasant December then - much like last month, and I'll bet it continued into January. No central heating to temper the frosts either. This was a time when outdoor curling was a regular occurrence in South West Scotland - again, something that we haven't seen for years - but are certainly seeing now.

All of which is interesting, isn't it?


eric bradford said...

IV just came across an old Sheldon blanket

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Hard to say what they are worth now. Somewhere in the region of £20. Unused pairs are worth more.