Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Current work: revisions to Penhally book
Listening to: John Garth, cello concerti
Reading: Paul Doherty, The Field of Blood (part of his Brother Athelstan series, which I’ve enjoyed over the years and thought he’d stopped, but then discovered the two new ones and my lovely best mate bought them for me for Christmas – thank you, Fi, enjoyed this one)

Currently we’re having one of the coldest snaps in the UK for more than ten years; it’s certainly the coldest winter my children have ever known. Minus six degrees C, yesterday, on the way to school at ten past eight. Stayed at that level all the way home and didn’t get above freezing all day. However, the Met Office has pointed out that back in 1982 it was minus 27.2 degrees C in part of the UK. (Though not Norfolk – our coldest temperature recorded was minus 18.9 degrees C in 1963, before I was born; and I don’t actually remember it being that cold back in 1982. The years I remember being cold were when we had deep snow in 1978/9 and 1986/7 – the latter made worse by BT engineers being on strike, in the years before we had mobile phones, so I had to walk miles in the snow to find a working phone box to check that Dad was OK. I remember that January very well, as that was the winter my mum died.) Madam didn’t have swimming last night as the boiler broke and the pool was too cold for the littlies to go swimming.

Apparently the cold snap is going to last all week, and in London the fountains in Trafalgar Square have frozen. Though this is NOTHING compared to the weather our ancestors faced. In 1827 it was cold enough freeze the mere (lake) at Diss to the point where they actually played a cricket match on the ice. Then we have the winters of 1683-4 and 1739-40, which were the coldest on record. And the Thames frost fairs… I still can’t get my head around the fact that a tidal river would freeze so deeply that people could put up stalls on the ice. (Ooh, lightbulb… No. Bad me. I’m on deadline.)

It’s been a very pretty drive through the back roads to school, with spiky white verges, zebra-striped ridge-and-furrowed fields and a huge primrose-yellow sun; though the roads haven’t been nice. Lots of black ice. Visiting Dad (which I should have done this morning) means driving three miles down ungritted, single-track roads. As I’m still feeling a bit wiped by the virus, I’m not up to facing what would be a vile drive. I feel horrible about disappointing him by not visiting, but he’s been very understanding about it. I’ve sent him a couple of surprises in the post, so hopefully that will cheer him up. (Better ring the home to tell them what I’ve done, so one of the carers can point out the message for him and he doesn’t panic that he’s been sent stuff and doesn’t know why!)

Oh, and some excellent news: my floor is going to be fixed, at last, on Monday and Tuesday. Have shifted guitar to accommodate it – but not cancelled, mind. This year, I want to improve my playing, which took a bit of a backslide last year. Great lesson, yesterday. I suggested that I went back to basics, as I haven’t practised for ages, and while Jim was making me a coffee I started messing about and playing variations on the melody of the simple piece I was supposed to be doing. So then he made me look at the bass and see how and why I’d change that. I really enjoy lessons where we do tecchy stuff, because it helps me lift my game.

Thanks to everyone who’s left me a message here or emailed me privately about the RNA Romance Prize shortlisting. I’m still chuffed to bits about it.

Righty. Time to brave my revisions...


Liz Fielding said...

You make me feel so old, Kate! I was commuting to the city in 1963 and the icicles at the underground station in Paddington were six feet long for what felt like months. Then came the summer and we fried on the Tube...

The kids were sent home from school in 82 and 87.

Jan Jones said...

YAY on the floor!

Kate Hardy said...

Liz, you were a child bride :o) You're not old at all.

I still can't remember 82, but we were sent home in 78/9 (actually, we were snowed in!). And 87... nope, not let off uni. Still had to go in.

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - when I put the phone down, I was cheering all the way to my guitar lesson!