Sunday, January 10, 2010
Snow is not a usual feature of Britain's winters. Sure, it can be found in the Highlands of Scotland and on the peaks in Wales and Northern England, and we have the occasional flurry which may hang around for a day or two, but nothing like this. This is snow that means business. It's several inches thick and it's here to stay at least for the time being. The big kid in me loves the snow even if it made it a little more inconvenient to go to work at first. What I can't stand is the perpetual whining from the majority of my fellow countrymen. I continually hear the chorus of 'Someone should do something about this'. Indeed, the Government should legislate against winter and ban the snow, except in areas where it is pretty and can be used to make snowmen, no?
The shelves in many supermarkets have been stripped bare from panic buyers. There is no salt or kitty litter to be had as people are using to grit their paths, something they say, the council should be responsible for. The call for more cat litter and salt is putting additional demands on an already strained supply chain trying to cope with the panic buying of food. Hello?! Your home is your own responsibility and if we all go out there are cleared our drives and the path in front of our homes then these would be clear! This is all symptomatic of how the welfare state has enfeebled the country. Meanwhile, the same people whining about not being able to go to work are outside playing in the snow and building snowmen rather than going to work. If you travel a few miles to a hill to slide down it on a tea tray then you sure as hell can get to work. Not exactly the blitz spirit that our grandparents would recognise.
Having been in work all week, I took the weekend as an opportunity to go out and see the snow and get some fresh (and freezing) air. I ventured over to Tintern to photograph the Abbey in the snow. The clouds were threatening more snow, but the sun kept breaking through to reveal a blue sky and make the snow glisten.
After a while my hands were so cold that I needed to get warm. We decided to retire to a local hostelry to thaw out and for sustenance. The Anchor, was beautifully warm and cosy inside. I had the most delicious burger I have ever tasted and soon felt the feeling come back to my numb fingers and cold cheeks.
Tintern is among the earliest of Cistercian settlements in Wales and was founded in 1131 by monks sent directly from Normandy at the behest of Walter fitz Richard de Clare, the Earl of Chepstow, on the banks of the river Wye. Tintern, as with all monastic institutions, was suppressed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, between 1536/9. The nearby Anchor Inn was probably the abbey's watergate and a 13th century arch links it with the slipway.
The Abbey is situated on the River Wye in Monmouthshire and the ruins have inspired the Wordsworth poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" and Tennysons's poem "Tears, Idle Tears" and more than one painting by Turner. It also featured in Prince of Thieves and in the video for Iron Maiden's "Can I Play With Madness".
Once we had warmed up,we ventured out again and walked along the river before heading back along the main road towards the Abbey again and the warmth of the car. It was cold, but beautiful and although we saw a few other stalwart souls, the place was quiet and still in the blanket of snow.