Sunday, April 21, 2013

Christina Hollis: Writing As Winter Retreats and Spring Advances...
By Philip Halling

They say other countries have climate, while England has weather. When you visit, you soon find out why we’re all obsessed by it.  English weather is always playing tricks of one sort or another. For instance, I’ve never known such a long-drawn out winter. On 14th April, the temperature here struggled into double figures for the first time since September last year.  That’s good, but the wind is still cold and blustery. It's more of a trial than a pleasure to spend much time outside. 

It’s been a terrible twelve months for both wildlife and farm livestock. A short burst of bright and dry weather got everything going very early in 2012. Then we had a big, long freeze, and all the chicks, lambs and young shoots were chilled. After that, it started to rain - and forgot how to stop.  The deluge eased several times, but everywhere was wet for at least eight months, and many places were under water for much of that time. In December, the rain turned to snow. Although here in Gloucestershire we didn’t suffer as badly as many places, for three weeks the last half-mile of country lane between our house and the main road was blocked by both snow and ice. 

Philip Halling [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsHTML
By Philip Halling
The terrain here is like an Escher staircase - a one in three slope, cut into a series of ninety-degree turns. The only way to get in, or out, was by walking.  We live in the middle of the countryside because we like solitude, and boy, did we have it this winter! At least I could do plenty of writing, while the temptations of the town were out-of-bounds.  It’s lovely to be snuggled up in front of  a  crackling log fire with bowls of hot soup, but by the beginning of March the novelty had worn off. I was worried about my bees, too. I didn’t harvest any honey in 2012 as it was such a poor summer, and I wanted to leave them with plenty of stores over winter. Even so, I still had to feed them additional food. Despite taking every precaution to help them get through, I lost 75% of my hives purely because of the terrible conditions.  

English: Pussy willow, Crawfordsburn Pussy willow catkins growing in Crawfordsburn Country Park. Date 17 April 2008 Source From Author Albert Bridge
By Albert Bridge
Thank goodness we seem to have turned a corner. As I write there’s a haze of golden pussy willow in the wood, and I heard the cuckoo for the first time this morning. Summer must be on its way.

The whole of the UK is in desperate need of some sunshine. Have you got any to spare? 

Christina Hollis is an award-winning writer whose work includes best-selling fiction for Harlequin Mills and Boon. You can find her latest title, Lady Rascal, here. Christina loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her via her blog, website or email 


Mary Preston said...

You may not want to hear this, but it's Autumn here in Australia right now & it is glorious. Cool nights & warm sunny days. I'm making the most of it before the Winter winds descend. They come up from the Antarctic & baby does it get cold here then.

Christina Hollis said...

You must be enjoying the "lull before the storm", Mary - it sounds lovely. I've seen film of the Southern Ocean on TV and can't imagine any good weather comes in from that direction.
Thanks for commenting, and I hope you've had a lovely weekend!

Connie said...

Bless you, Christina! I live in southwest Florida and we are into full summertime weather here now. I would love to share some of this warmth with you. Therefore, I am closing my eyes and blowing really hard in your direction. Hopefully, some warmth and sunshine will come your way. Hang in there - or better yet - come and visit our beautiful area! :-)

Mary Kirkland said...

I have a few friends in Canada and the UK and they have been telling me about the snow. We've had to turn the air conditioner on here. It's been in the 90's F here. You can take a bunch of our sunshine and I'll take some of that snow since we don't get snow here in Las Vegas.

Pat Cochran said...

We have been having the weirdest weather!
G-daughter Ash was home for Spring Break
in March, we were experiencing 80 degree
temps in Houston when she left us. The next
day in Indiana (where she goes to college)
it was snowing! Go figure! We underwent a
severe drought over the past two years(with
triple digit temps)and we are still not free
of its effects. You are welcome to all the
sunshine we can get over to you!!!

Lory Lee said...

It's summer in our country! You'll enjoy plenty of sunshine plus it's great to stay at the beach. :)

Christina Hollis said...

That's a lovely comment, Connie, and your magic must have worked. There's a glorious sunrise outside my office window as I type this, and looks like It's going to be a good day. Thanks!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Mary - thanks for commenting. It's not fair that some places suffer with excessive cold and others with too much heat. I moan about it here in England, but despite that I don't really think I'd want to move anywhere else in the world.

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks for commenting, Pat - it's amazing how long the effects of extreme weather last. All the reservoirs in England had been at their lowest levels for years when it began to rain so we needed the moisture - but that didn't make coping any easier. Those triple-digit temperatures of yours must be horrendous: thank goodness for air-con.

Christina Hollis said...

Lory, it's been so many months since the beaches here have been anything but cold, bleak and windswept, we've almost forgotten what it feels like to get sand between our toes. Can't wait - thanks for commenting!