Although the whole of the British Isles is suffering from snow this winter, here in Portishead on the Bristol Channel, it is a rare and entirely delightful presence. I have lived here for over 20 years and this is only the 3rd fall of snow which has stayed for more than 1 day. When I looked out of the bedroom window this morning this is the view I saw.
So at just past 8 o’clock we went out to see the woods – I walk in the ancient local East Wood almost every day, this time Steve came with me – no hope of getting the car up the hill and off to work in Bristol just yet. The dogs behaved like mad things, running, eating, dancing around in the snow.
Looking above me I could see the different patterns that branches made against the sky, laden with snow they look like lace – heavy crude needle made lace (my favourite lace). I had noticed this last winter, on the second time it had snowed here. Walking in these woods the rhythm of the branches are starkly shown; swooping ash trees against nubbly oaks, spiky thorns and elegant maples with still some leaves left on the branches. I couldn’t help thinking of the different qualities of lace patterns, the flowing loopy patterns of Ash trees remind me of early Brussels lace
whilst the stubby oak trees with their short branches
remind me of 17th century needle lace with picots and wonky patterns – maybe I will find an animal shape in the trees if I look hard enough.
the snow laden trees overlapping as we looked down on them are rich and varied in their patterns
I am being very fanciful but I did think of the wonderful old Venetian needle-lace with their heavily encrusted stitched worms and wiggles.
Turning the corner of the woods we headed back home, down hill all the way and getting slippy underfoot – by now the sun was out and the sky bright blue, the snow was thawing. One last look across the Severn estuary to Denny Island, a tiny outcrop in the middle of the channel, home for a big boys’ breakfast.