Sunday, 20 January 2013

La neige

This week has been very uneventful which is why we haven't posted. Although very busy, mundania ruled. The weather turned cold as it did in most of western Europe, but we didn't get any of the snow many other places were experiencing. On UK TV we watched the usual chaos a few centimetres of snow can cause various transport systems. On French TV too the snow issue cropped up during the week with, sadly, on Friday night, the report of a very serious accident in our dept. as a result of rain which iced up the A10 autoroute.
Sunday morning: view out the front door looking east
Last night it started to snow properly here and today we've woken up to about 10cm of snow. In fact flurries are still coming down and I can't see the other side of the valley from my study as I write.
Landing gear out ready for 'atterrissage'
All day yesterday we had very low temperatures with mizzling rain which was a horrible combination, especially as we were having an additional tranche of 5 stere of wood delivered just before noon. We decided not to stack it, but to tarp it where it was offloaded and it is safely tucked up--we may need it wth this cold snap. Thankfully, the ground wasn't so cold that the rain froze as it fell, or we would have been slipping and sliding all over the place. It was just freezing wet and miserable!
And we're off again!
We've experienced that icing rain several times in the Netherlands, and it is lethal. Once the freezing rain came down long and heavily enough that it coated the frozen earth in such a thick layer of clear ice that people were skating on the roads. It all looked gorgeous but the additional weight caused quite a bit of damage especially to trees as their branches broke under the strain.
Queueing up!
Though the light is very flat here are a few photos taken earlier this morning of the usual wee thugs at the bird table and feeder. The snowdrops, which I spotted on Friday just about ready to open are now buried, so no photo of them as was planned. But they are out there!

just click on the photos if you want to enlarge them

16 comments:

Perpetua said...

So you've got the snow too. I'm glad the ground wasn't icy before it fell, just as it wasn't here, though since then it's frozen quite considerably. Lovely photos of the birds, who need all the help we can give them.

Vera said...

No snow down here in the SW, just gallons of rain. Hope you are keeping warm, and those photos are sure pretty!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
Fortunately, just snow and chilly temperatures here in Budapest not the freezing rain that you write of and which we can recall happening here in the past. It is a lethal combination as you say. We very much prefer the blanket of white stuff, although we have to say that we have not had nearly enough snow for our liking just yet!!!!

Hoping that you are keeping warm. Take care!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - They do indeed. This year we're predominantly seeing great tits. Far fewer blue tits in evidence; the numbers of chaffinches and green finches are right down and no gold finches. Dunnocks seem to be about the same as last year. Must be the impact of the terrible spring/summer we had.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera- our woodburner is working hard :-) and it is toasty warm in the most of the house. Just the most far flung rooms are chilly [house is a longere so rambles a bit].
When it gets really cold like last year we do supplement with central heating as we have an Antargaz citerne. However, in the main we try and just use the woodburner.
It looks to be pretty wintry all of the coming week.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - we love snow and a good blanket of the stuff is great! And thankfully, so far, we have missed the freezing rain.

MorningAJ said...

I hate snow and ice. It terrifies me. We had about four inches at home on Friday afternoon. The main roads were OK but once I got onto country roads it was a bit 'sideways'. I live on the side of quite a steep hill and getting my car home was a bit of a challenge!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@AJ- I've lived in northen countries like Norway and Canada where they get lots of snow so I have some experience of driving in it. But ice always remains something to be very wary of.
We have a 4x4; and just as well as we live in the country and the house is at the end of a lane with a couple of bends which is metaled but not tarmaced as such.

the fly in the web said...

Good of you to think of the birds..and well rewarded by that photograph of the landing gear.

Tim said...

All the Goldfinches are here... or in those fields of unharvested Tournesol... as are most of the chaffinch and greenfinch community... there are some very big flocks of LBJs around at the moment.

LBJs = Little Brown Jobs.... birder speak for unidentifiable small passerines.... at this time of the year, they fly around in large mixed flocks... often with less seen species like Brambling and Siskin.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - we always put seed and suet balls out for the birds, and it is fun to watch them.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim- LOL they must prefer your 'restaurant' then!
We had bramblings the 1st winter as well as the odd hawfinch. Last year zillions of greenfinches and plenty of goldfinches.

Tim said...

Never had Hawfinches... never really had a clear sight of one either... only ever sighting... glimpses through branches at Sir Alec Douglas Hume's pad at Coldstream [where you can get some amazing Salmon skin products - jewellery and the like]

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

We had a repas in the local village on Sunday, had to walk there!! The rain tho' now has washed it all away. Keep warm Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - It didn't hang around long did it? Now the ground is super saturated and there's plenty of standing water. It will take a while to absorb.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - well we saw 2 the 1st year, one just once or twice last year, and so far this year nada.....