A walk in the snow…why does it take so long?

I hate snow. No news there, everyone knows that I want to hibernate from October to March. But this year is so desperately awful all round that a few flakes of the horrid white stuff don’t make much difference one way or the other. And I have to go out every day or go mad, so it’s time to embrace it. Perhaps not literally.

So, today, it snowed, and I set off for a walk. Oh, that it were so simple! I put on so many layers that I could barely move towards the front door where I fitted the new Yaktrax to my boots, stepped outside, and decided that, perhaps, I didn’t actually need them, so stepped back inside, took them off, put in a dry bag, packed them away in rucksack, then re-fit the previously-unworn gaiters that I’d found in the cupboard.

Left house, decided to go back for walking poles, returned to house. Set off again and before reaching the front gate my nose was running, so I took off mittens to find a hanky, dropped mittens in the slush, returned to the house to find the elastic clip things with which to attach mittens to cuffs of coat.

Left house, realised it was impossible to hold walking poles in mittens, returned to house to exchange mittens for thick gloves, which involved unclipping said mittens and re-clipping said gloves. Left house, thinking longingly of summer when you go to the front door, put on trainers, tie a windproof round your middle, and set off. Just like that.

At the bottom of the road, I was feeling like a wally for walking with poles on the pavement, especially as it had stopped snowing by now. And realised that the gaiters were slipping round, as I’d removed their straps to accommodate the Yaktrax which I was no longer wearing. Stopped to adjust gaiters, which involved removing gloves, dropped poles in the slush, swore quietly.

Met friend as arranged and apologised for being late, and noted that she was wearing Yaktrax, but not gloves or a hat. Life would be dull if we were all the same. We walked to the head of the lake and decided to do some birdwatching, which involved removing rucksack to find binoculars. Now – and this is NOT a rhetorical question – what do you do with walking poles when you need both hands to get something out of a rucksack? Answers on a plain postcard please…

Mine had, meanwhile, dropped into the mud, from where I retrieved them with bare hands. Swore loudly. Same bare hands also seemed necessary to focus the binoculars (YOU try it, with thick gloves on.) We tried to walk across some frozen mud to the lake-shore, but it wasn’t QUITE frozen enough. So let’s just call it mud.

We saw a golden eye, perhaps, and a little grebe, maybe, and then walked up the hill to visit our owl who, sensibly, was hunkered down asleep in his tree hole. That’s why they call them wise owls.

It was, nevertheless, a very pleasant walk with very good company, and took slightly longer than the time spent getting ready to leave the house. Though maybe not, when added to the time spent unpeeling all the layers back at home, and wondering where to store the muddy poles, and Yaktrax and gaiters and overtrousers and gloves and unworn mittens and hat and puffer jacket, and it is precisely 51 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes till the first day of spring.


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