Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More snow in England

Very pithy, wordless email from my big sis today, entitled "England or Alaska" and containing two pics of her (grown-up) children with a fantastic igloo they've constructed in a field. Here is Letty next to her prize-winning design. Eat your heart out, Sarah Palin.

No joke, England is just like Alaska. I've realized what a tough old Norgie my mother is. She hasn't left her house for a week and when I reached her today she was panting from digging out her driveway.

Me: Hi Mamma
Ma: O hello darling (heavy breathing) How are you?
Me: You sound out of breath.
Ma: Sorry, I'm a bit out of breath. I've just been digging out my driveway (deep breath). Sandra was helping me.
Me: You still haven't been out?
Ma: No, and I'm getting a bit bored, watching telly. I mean it's okay, but I should really be doing something else. I talked to Bill, you know, and Norman isn't very well. And I have to go to Keep Fit on Thursday.
Me: Of course
Ma: Well they cancelled last week but this week they won't. Caroline's going skiing. It's half term you know. They're going to a hotel with a swimming pool because she doesn't like having to do all the cooking in the chalet. Phwoo. Some people have a good life, I tell you.
Me: Have you been to Waitrose?
Ma: No but Sandra picked me up some Brussels and carrots so I'm fine but I had to cancel my dinner party because no-one could get here. And I have plenty of venison in the deep freeze. And then David brought me milk and eggs from the village when he brought me the paper.
Me: O good.
Ma: We've made two tracks for the car but it's going to freeze again tonight. I think if I drive into the garage rather than backing in it may be better.
Me: Or maybe somebody from Aldbury Garage could pull you out?

When we were babies, in the 60s, and we had a bad snowstorm (it seems that then the snow came only every ten years) my mother would whip out her langlauf skis and whoosh down to the village, knapsack on her back, for groceries. She was the only person in the village with skis, being the only Norwegian, except for Sir Jim Bottomley, who was an ambassador and a hearty soul. Sometimes, we were pulled behind her on a sledge as she whizzed around the common. No more skiing for her now with her dud leg (she walks with a sick and a pronounced limp) but instead she is in the garden with her dog making snow lanterns, something they did as children in Oslo.

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