silent Christmas


Wales is in there somewhere

Christmas is hard to ignore, as I realised long ago when I tried to ignore it and ended up depressed. And it can be quite a lonely time, if you let it. I was determined not to let it. So I headed off to Wales for the day. Last Christmas I was up on the Skirrid, which was nice, but rather cold and a bit busy (though not as busy as Pen y Fan, a couple of Christmasses earlier, where there was a party atmosphere, everyone basking in a sense of mutual felicity at avoiding the worst excesses of The Family Christmas).

This year, I headed up the Wye valley. I stopped at Redbrook to admire the ice floes that were jostling down the river. They reminded me of the rafts of water crowfoot that liven up this river in the summer time; but these were white blossoms of ice.

People were sauntering over to the Boat Inn at the other side of the railway bridge for a pre-lunch drink, but I had my flask of tea with me and I was heading north.

Above Monmouth I left the main road and slithered up Little Doward. It’s great fun driving in snow, as long as you don’t prang, of course.

on Little Doward


The first things I saw when I got out of the car were deer prints in the snow. In fact, in the woods, I saw no human footprints; just deer, fox and rabbit. Busy places, woods at night, evidently.

A nuthatch piped; a raven cronked as it flew over; occasionally a small cascade of snow powder would fall from the top of a tree. A squirrel made its way through the canopy, leaving a glittering wake behind it.

in the woods

I sat on top of a crag and looked down on the Wye, which was completely frozen over here. Just for now, everything was utterly still.

on the Seven Sisters

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6 Responses to silent Christmas

  1. Delia says:

    I’m afraid I always dread the lengthy build-up, most of the traditional Christmas goings-on and then that desperate week of treading water until January has finally begun and we can find telephones in offices being answered and banks & shops being open when we’re expecting it, – I do so hate to be told when to enjoy myself; in fact, I probably hate to be told to do anything. This year isn’t too bad because we’ve run out of elderly relatives so we’ve been free to stay here and do absolutely nothing except pop out for a snowy drive round Woburn Park and be surprised by Little Owls.

    • Dru says:

      The build-up is odd, isn’t it? People getting into a frenzy of preparation. The people in the family I took on as a job lot once used to lament the foolishness and expense of it all, and agree to have a presents amnesty next year, and then… do exactly the same thing again. On the other hand, I sort of wish I’d made a tiny bit more effort; it’s fun decorating a tree, or at least it can be, but I didn’t even bother to put out the Christmas cards this year.

  2. Delia says:

    One of R’s friends spent the weekend serving Salvation Army Christmas meals this year; he said it was partly selfish to get away from the thing that Christmas has become, but he actually had a fantastic time. The giving part can be so much more rewarding than the receiving – and that doesn’t just apply to Christmas.

    I agree totally about the moaners-about-expense. The times I’ve encouraged them to abandon and do something different or nothing at all and they always say: “Oh but I can’t, really”.

    I didn’t do a tree or put out cards this year, either.

  3. Jenny Alto says:

    Mrs. J is from the Wide Open Spaces, so is far more enthusiastic about the build-up than I am. I try to let her get on with it.

    An enviable outing there Dru. I couldn’t match it, but I did exercise my mother’s dog around sunset, which was extremely beautiful to watch.

  4. Caroline says:

    Not sure why, but my traveller always seemed happy in snow then again I used to enjoy the rear end sliding about. Youth hey.

  5. Caroline says:

    Decorating a tree is the only good thing about christmas.

    Should be a one week maximum build up then it could be a bit special, usually sick of it all by mid November.

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