From the depth of darkness into flat light

December travel, eh? Cancelled trains, strikes, traffic jams, white out so bad you can’t see a foot ahead and snow drifts as high as your chest with a sheer 3,000 foot drop below.

We all have our transport issues throughout the festive season. Though when I lived in London, if the train turned up, I got on. I never dithered on the platform, wondering if it might plunge off Blackfriars Bridge into the Thames.

We made one successful trip to town in mid-December, only 5 hours each way with breaks, to pick up a new snowmachine. Since then, we got turned back twice.

We have two routes. A 160 mile round trip, heading away from town downriver for 20 miles and then going up over the mountains.

Or an 80 mile round trip, straight up the river to town. Depending on ice conditions, it is not necessarily faster. And, as it requires more checking of ice depth and bludgeoning through jumbled chunks and slabs, it is often a while before we’ve got that route in.

We had our hearts set on a booze up with …

Alone in the wilderness

Sounds like a gripping adventure movie! Neil went out to work for 10 days and left me at home with the dog.

I did what most people do when their spouse is away. Farted loudly, slept in a star shape and left things lying around in the way.

My only crisis was, I couldn’t open a jar of artichoke hearts. Frustrating, but not a plot for a Hollywood film.

I did have one big scare. I promised Neil not to go beyond the outhouse without bear spray and I only forgot once.
I was collecting some wood in the forest behind the house. I thought about going back for it, but hey, the ground is covered in a duvet of snow. Bears should be asleep by now as they hibernate when they can no longer find food. Plus, I was only 300 yards from the house.

Homer never barks unless there is a large invader. A bear, moose or human. He’s scared to bark at wolves and makes a nervous “uff” sound, as if about to turn tail and scarper.
Suddenly, out of sight and crucially, between me and the house, Homer barked, once “Woof!…