This was my garden at about 8am yesterday! Having not seen a proper snowfall since 1986, can you imagine how excited I was?!
Not that I mind running in the cold - in fact, it's my preferred training weather, as I tend to run faster and slack off less because I have to keep running for warmth if nothing else - but it was more my safety that was of concern. The roads were so slippery, even to walk on in steel-capped wellington boots, so I wasn't sure how my desperately-need-replacing-wearing-thin trainers would cope! I have never broken/dislocated any body part and I don't intend to start now. I know I said I wanted to have adventures in 2009 but that's not quite what I meant :P
Not having a car in London, I rely on public transport to get everywhere and yesterday it was in chaos. Nearly every train line was suspended. No buses. Very few cars on the road. It was so weird to hear the streets so silent!
So, having discovered our train station was closed and the remainder of the line suspended, TS and I (quite happily!) went back to our cosy, warm flat where we successfully managed to work from home. We of course took a little break mid-afternoon to enjoy the snow while it was still light:
I had been running in this park on Sunday, and this was what it looked like 24 hours later:
It was like walking around in a black and white photo!
We did an extended lap of the park, taking everything in, the snow continuing to fall heavily all the while (it didn't stop until 8pm!). I tried to build a snowman, but failed (I forgot to bring a carrot for his nose, so considered any effort I made incomplete without that!).
Tramping through the thick snow was certainly a workout for the old thighs, I am actually pretty sore right now! But it's my right arm that's feeling it the most, as I WON in the mother of all snowball fights! We went out again, once we'd finished working, and by then it was dark (although the snow lit up the streets quite eerily!). TS started the fight, but I finished it :P It was extremely energetic, scampering up and down the side streets, hiding behind snow covered cars....I'm a bit embarrassed to say I did fall over, and my tailbone is still whimpering a little (!), but I was magnanimous in victory.
The winner's reward was getting to wear TS's super warm gloves on the way home, as my knitted mittens were by then soaked through :P Actually, he was a true gentleman and offered me his gloves when he saw the very real risk I had of frostbite!
I love walking in fresh snow. It squeaks as you walk!
Once we were home we cuddled up on the couch and watched Masterchef while eating dinner. I made "snowballs" (vegetarian meatballs) with rice. Perfect warming meal for a snowy, wintry night.
This is how I made them, in case you're interested!
[no photo, sorry!]
1 pack meat-free meatballs (ASDA is the best, I think - and you cook them from frozen)
1 onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 jar tomato and vegetable pasta sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes with garlic
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper and walnut pesto (optional, but I think it adds lots of flavour)
1/2 pack baby spinach
Basmati rice, to serve
Coat a saute pan or slow cooker with cooking spray. When hot, saute the onion and carrot until soft - add some water (or white wine if you have it handy) if it's sticking. Add the meatballs, pasta sauce, tomatoes, sweet chilli sauce and pesto. Stir to combine everything and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
5 minutes before the meatballs are done, add the baby spinach (no need to stir in yet) and place the lid on the pot. The spinach will wilt in the heat. When you come back, stir it through - much easier.
Serve with basmati rice (I'm just using the rice cooker as much as I can, it's so easy) and fresh parsley on top.
Haven't worked out the points (as I don't count them anymore) but based on my previous knowledge, I'd say 7 points for 7 meatballs and sauce, plus a small portion of rice? If you left out the pesto it would be a bit less.
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TS and I remarked how lovely and quiet it was walking around our neighbourhood, the roads and roundabouts clear from the usual queues of cars, the bus station empty, the supermarket practically deserted, with the rows of unused trolleys crusted with snow. We saw shops that are normally open until all hours shut, with a handwritten note on the door.
It was a real eye opener, yesterday. Things that normally make life work stopped working. But life went on. People went outside and walked and played and frolicked and smiled, instead of staying inside, glued to computers or television, or worrying about work. Deadlines got missed, but it wasn't the end of the world. So why do we struggle so much? Why do these things have so much importance placed on them? If things don't happen exactly as we want them to, it isn't a disaster. In fact, it can turn out to be rather wonderful. A snow day is a timely reminder that sometimes we just need to go with the flow, and be open to a bit of change.
I hope I don't have to wait another 23 years for the next one!