about writing and life and God

Cold-weather medicine

on January 19, 2013

Some people have never seen snow. I am reliably informed that there’s a rather beautiful Siamese cat somewhere in Rome who has never seen snow. And my cousin’s South African wife is currently experiencing snow for the first time.

Which brings me to my sister, in the far north of Scotland, which has no snow. That’s right. None.

Digital Image

Has someone turned the UK upside down when I was asleep?

I’m down here in England, south of the line (this is an old joke: north of the line is the North of England, south of the line is the South of England, and you draw the line where it won’t offend whoever you’re talking to. Husband No. 1 was a Brummie so the line was always drawn just below Birmingham. Draw it where you please but wherever, currently, I’m south of it) which means it should be warmer than the rest of the country. And it’s not.

How come Wick has no snow?


It all seems to be a bit of a movable feast with weather forecasts hedging their bets. We were told to expect a blizzard on Friday. Not got. We’re told to expect another on Sunday. Should we wait with bated breath? Cancel everything? Stock up and stay home?

Snow divides people:

A) those who are familiar with snow; and B) those who have never seen it.

A) those who like snow; and B) those who dislike it.

A) those who are willing, even happy, to go out in it and build snowmen and suchlike; and B) those who do not.

You know who you are. I score 2 As and a B.

When I was an undergraduate at Aberdeen University, my then-boyfriend who was a bit of an outdoorsy type (no wonder it didn’t last) persuaded me to join (of all things) the Skiing Society. In due course, there was enough snow and off we went to collect our skis, I bought a fetching outfit (from C&As: those were the days!) and we headed off on the coach at break of dawn one Saturday morning.

I make no bones about this: I hated it. I do not like to be cold, and I especially do not like to be cold and wet. That Saturday I spent being both. Even the apres-ski consisting mainly of hot toddy couldn’t thaw me out. That was the last time I took to the slopes.

Just as I am a fair-weather gardener (because I don’t like to be cold and wet – at least I’m consistent!), so I am the equivalent when it comes to snow. I love looking at it through the double-glazed windows of my centrally-heated home. I’ll even venture out, suitably (Michelin-man) attired if the sun is shining (as it was on Thursday). But show me a grey day with a leaden sky and the damp chill almost visible to the naked eye and I’m curled up with cat and book and coffee for the duration.

She moved...

She moved…

And that’s when my stomach starts to remember home cooking. All those delicious meals my mother cooked to fuel and warm her hungry daughters on cold winter days. And there was always a hot pudding. No way was a chilly yogurt appropriate for a snowy day. So my mind turned to what was in my larder and what I could produce.

It’s a long time since I baked. I wasn’t even sure the oven was up to the task! But by early afternoon, there was banana tea bread cooling on one wire rack and a tray of flapjacks on the other.

On the One Show last night, there was a doctor with some intrepid experience on an Arctic or Antarctic expedition. He declared that what we need in cold weather to keep us warm is… FAT. Eat sausages, he said, and other such fatty things.

Both my recipes today began with melting 6 ounces of butter in a saucepan before adding the other ingredients. I think that counts.

Flapjacks and banana tea bread as cold-weather medicine? Oh yes!


4 responses to “Cold-weather medicine

  1. Pat says:

    I score one A and two B’s. Horrible horrible horrible stuff! And at the moment I am all too familiar with it!

  2. That’s me that’s me!!! I score an A and two Bs! I really want to see snow! It’s cold but sunny here. The humans think your recipes for flapjack and banana bread sound delicious =^.^=

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