There’s a flurry of snowflakes outside, swirling with every blustery gale as I’m writing this. I’m perched by the window, the warmth of the fire in the room, my legs stretched over the radiator for extra heat. Some of the flakes have settled on top of the rosebush in the garden, with its pink flowers blooming in time for spring. Snow in March is almost paradoxical, here in England anyway. What usually greets us around this time of year has been replaced by a delayed winter scene and I can’t quite decide if I like it or not. This time around it seems less extreme, the snow more dainty and less intrusive. Not content with admiring it from indoors, we decided to brave the cold and explore around the forest nearby.
Castle Top in Burley is hidden around the back of quaint New Forest cottages, looming splendidly over the village below. The winding path leads up to some breathtaking views, visible even on a misty day like today. The scenes are like paintings, heathland and greenery blending into one another. We spotted some horses grazing in the distance, patiently waiting their turn in single file for one particular bush. The world below seemed tiny and distant with all its problems. By the time we reached the top, the snowflakes had calmed, now gently twirling in the air. It was too warm for the snow to actually settle so each one fell gracefully to the ground, only to fade upon landing.
Aside from crossing paths with a group of hikers, we had the whole of Castle Top to ourselves, adding to the atmosphere of tranquility up there. With weekdays spent interacting with others, it felt refreshing to only have each other and nature for company. Soon, the cold turned from fun to bitter and the initial excitement of snow started to wear off with every fading snowflake. All we could think about was the warm fire at home and the prospect of a hot chocolate as we made our way down the winding path. Noses red from the cold, we marched home, thankful that somehow the journey back was a fraction of the walk there.
Upon returning, we threw our hats and coats over the radiator to dry and started on the log burner. Tinder, bits of newspaper and a few logs later, we had a roaring fire to warm up next to. We spent the next hour or so huddled in front of it, watching the flames and reflecting excitedly about our adventure. Living in the south of England, we don’t often get extreme weather so even a few snowflakes feels like a novelty. Little did we know that the next morning we would wake up to a thick blanket of snow covering the New Forest…
How have you spent the snowy weekend?