Fire And Ice And Somerset Gin

Things have been busy at the Summerhouse lately, which is a good thing when it comes to writing and blogging, but not when two bungalows directly behind your newly purchased house go up in flames late one night, perilously close to your mother’s annex.  That kind of busy isn’t good.  Mercifully nobody was hurt and we coped with the scare in our usual British way by keeping calm and drinking tea.  It works, it really does.

Only a few days before, I had taken my youngest for lunch at the Goose Farm.  There weren’t a lot of geese around, but we noticed these two seemed quite keen on waddling around this caravan.  Probably thinking about their summer holidays.

Big Enough For Two
(c) Sherri Matthews

I would like to think about a summer holiday after our long winter.  On March 1st, ‘The Beast from the East’ met ‘Storm Emma’ sending a deluge of snow drifts, blizzards, freezing rain, ice and bitterly cold temperatures to the South West.

The day the storm hit, I was due to attend the funeral of a dear friend, tragically gone too soon.   Hubby took the day off to be with me, and we hoped to get home before the worst of the storm hit in the afternoon.

Eerily deserted at first, as we took things slowly on this major Dorset road…

Trying to Get Home
(c) Sherri Matthews

But minutes later, we joined the tail end of a traffic congestion that was going nowhere fast.  We must be a laughing-stock to the parts of the world used to snow for months on end, but when snow hits in the UK, all it takes is for one vehicle to come a cropper on the first slightest incline, and that’s it for the rest of us. No snow tyres or chains, and no ploughs or gritters able to get through.

With all roads linking to Somerset blocked, we turned around.  Just as well, as the BBC news next morning announced that hundreds ended up stranded overnight in their cars on those very roads.

We inched our way slowly along the now treacherously icy roads to a pub we know called the Baker’s Arms.  It took us three hours to travel a few miles, back to where we started.  Hubby dashed inside to ask the owner if he knew where we might find overnight accommodation, while I stayed in the car listening to freezing rain pelt our car like a hail of bullets…

View Through The Frozen Windshield
(c) Sherri Matthews

Thanks to the kindness of strangers at such times,  a member of staff called around for us, finding a local B&B with one room left, thanks to a cancellation.  And so we added to the group of stragglers gathered there, all strangers brought together by happenstance, inspiring one man to mutter something about an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery, as he climbed the stairs to his room.

A layer of ice which had formed on top of the snow, cracked beneath my boots as I walked across the car park, like the way the caramel topping of a crème brûlée snaps beneath the spoon and sinks into the creamy pudding beneath.  Except this was no desert and it ruined my suede boots.

The next morning we set off for home, but with ice warnings still in place.

A thick layer of ice on our car formed overnight, this is the view through the passenger side wing mirror
(c) Sherri Matthews

The snow drifts grew deeper as we got closer to Somerset…

Dorchester Road
(c) Sherri Matthews

We passed too many cars to count left stranded overnight…


Just a couple of the many stranded cars
(c)Sherri Matthews

The main road into town was not cleared as we had hoped, making it a challenge to find the best way home.

Deserted Somerset Town (c) Sherri Matthews

First stop, the supermarket for supplies, only to discover that the place had obviously fallen prey to a zombie invasion.  How else to explain the stripped bare shelves and no milk or bread or veggies or fruit or meat?

A scene from The Walking Dead in Winter? No, just a Somerset Supermarket Car Park                   (c) Sherri Matthews

And finally, we made it home.  Snow is beautiful – from the inside of a warm and cosy house with a fire blazing.

We thought that was it for our snow adventures for this year at least, but yesterday snowfall greeted us once again, a beautiful gift for our 12th wedding anniversary.  Happy to stay home with a glass or three of bubbly by the fire, what better way to celebrate? And of course, yet more snow photos…

(c) Sherri Matthews (not a real robin btw)

(c) Sherri Matthews

Poor snow laden Daffodils…hopefully they’ll recover (c) Sherri Matthews

Eddie wasn’t sure at all about the snow at first, having only experienced it a few times in his twelve years…

No…not at all sure. (c)Sherri Matthews

Hmmm..what is this white stuff anyway?
(c) Sherri Matthews

Okay, think I’m feeling a bit braver this time…
(c) Sherri Matthews

This isn’t too bad after all! Little Snow Panther on the prowl…
(c) Sherri Matthews

Knowing of the upcoming snow and our plans to stay home for our anniversary,  on Friday evening, hubby surprised me with a visit to a beautifully restored Jacobean Manor, Newton House.  Newton House is a bespoke Gin House, their speciality Newton House Gin distilled on the grounds using their homegrown botanicals and fresh spring water supply.  Usually only open for their periodic Gin & Jazz evenings, hubby contacted the lovely owner who reserved a table for two by the fire in the bar.

Newton House Gin with Fever Tree Tonic, fresh mint, capers, lime and lots of ice. Divine!
(c) Sherri Matthews

That’s the Spirit! Distilled in Somerset
(c) Sherri Matthews

Telling news was something I once did in a handwritten letter, as I did for years when I lived in California, long before we had email and blogs.  My friend, now sadly gone, would have loved the snow stories, but would have told me off for venturing out.  We kept in touch by letter through all the years I lived in America, her friendship never wavering, and now I have some of her letters to keep and remember her by.

Handwriting is on my mind, with Learning to Write as the subject of Irene’s Times Past Challenge last month.  Belonging to the tail-end Baby Boomer generation growing up in rural Suffolk, England,  cursive handwriting class was a weekly, standard lesson at my small village school, and my favourite.

I couldn’t wait to practice my looped letters and words with my prized Parker fountain pen with dark blue ink flowing through its fine, pointed nib.  Although each wooden desk had ink wells (and lots of carved graffiti from years gone by), they stayed dry, the ink in my fountain pen coming from small, plastic ink cartridges.  Saturday trips into town included a visit to WH Smiths to buy a box or two so that I wouldn’t run out.

Learning cursive handwriting, practising on lines in an exercise book, meant that for a time my handwriting was incredibly neat and legible, something I once took great pride in.  But not any more.  Like so many, I bemoan the modern state of my handwriting, so reliant now on typing.

I wonder if handwriting lessons helped improve my storytelling as well as my writing? This was my first ever ‘put together’ short story. A would be murder mystery of all things…
(c) Sherri Matthews

My only problem was as a leftie, I ended up with smudged ink along the left side of my hand and wrist no matter how hard I tried to avoid it. Then again, as I’ve often said, I was always the kid at the party with chocolate on my face…

Many years later, I don’t think learning to write by hand was a high priority in my children’s schools. When Eldest Son was in Junior High in California, we received a letter from the school advising that we should buy a computer for his schoolwork.  All parents received the same letter, stating that handwritten homework would no longer be acceptable, because most was illegible.

Shame the school didn’t offer to pay for said computer.

Or handwriting lessons.

We did get a computer, at great cost we could little afford. and shared it between all the family.  And so broke out war.   But that’s another story for the Summerhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

While writing to publication of her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', Sherri has been published in national magazines, websites and four anthologies in memoir, essays, articles, poetry and flash fiction. Sherri raised her children in California, and today lives in England with her husband, Aspie youngest and their pet menagerie fondly called ‘Animal Farm’. As well as writing, Sherri keeps out of trouble gardening, walking, and taking endless photographs, a few of the better ones she shares on her blog A View From My Summerhouse.
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110 Responses to Fire And Ice And Somerset Gin

  1. You had the snow a lot worse down there in Somerset and Dorset than we had here in Kent, Sherri. It was bad enough here, but looking at your pics, it seems pretty scary. I have to admit that I got my husband to take me to and from work as I did not fancy driving on the ice that had settled on top of the snow! I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend, and not being able to get to her funeral, but I am sure she would have appreciated the determined effort you made to at least try in those horrendous conditions. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Genny says:

    Hi Sherri! So glad you made it safely through the fire and the snow. How scary! Love your pictures of Eddie and your first short story. You might be interested to know that now our school district only teaches cursive for a couple weeks but sends the kids home with mini laptops starting in 6th grade! Also Happy Anniversary!!! Lots of Love, Genny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Genny, how lovely to hear from you! Thank you so much for your anniversary wishes and lovely message 🙂 Yes it was pretty scary! At one point, I did seriously think we would end up stuck in our car…yikes! Aww…sweet Eddie…he was brave, if not cold! Oh that is amazing about schools there now – wow, mini laptops in 6th grade, provided by the school? How things have changed! I guess cursive has all but disappeared too! It must seem like the dark ages when we lived there! Lots of love to you Genny! ❤

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  3. Sue says:

    Goodness, glad you didn’t get stuck on that road overnight…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness what a time you had of it Sherri ! I’m glad you didn’t have to endure a night in your car – how does one stay warm in such circumstances? Your hubby is quite the man and knows just what to do to keep his lady safe and warm and happy. Isn’t that wonderful! Congrats on your wedding anniversary too ❤ As to the loss of handwriting it is a global affair I think – education was taken over by the politicians and being 'job ready' became the priority above 'life ready'. What they didn't realise is that when you take life skills out of job skills, you don't have too much to offer. So many skills have been lost that I wonder if humanity will survive the global disaster that ensues when the great www goes down…… Goodness, this is very bleak for so early in the day – just as well I also believe that somehow everyone will sort it out and life will go on better and wiser than now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yikes…I know…how? We did pack an overnight bag and took a few small supplies including a blanket and a pillow, but still…it was frigid!!! Aww…thank you Pauline, hubby is a good and lovely man and I’m going to tell him what you said 🙂 ❤ As for those politicians, you said it perfectly. A sobering thought indeed, but I have wondered the same. Interesting, for instance, that despite the rise of the Kindle, and they do have their place, so many still prefer the feel of an actual book, me included and I know you do! And as for those handwritten letters…I do believe that good quality stationery is making a comeback along with a love of 'vintage'. Although vintage means when we grew up now, but hey, at least we're still here to remember it! If only we could learn to write properly again…sigh. We can but hope my friend, we can but hope…love to you Pauline 🙂 ❤

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  5. Juliet says:

    Hi Sherri,
    Ooooh that snow looks awful. As you say it can only be admired from the inside of a warm home in front of a roaring fire.
    I loved your piece. I can hear myself speaking through some of your words. I too drank lots of bubbly yesterday for my 52nd birthday and my two 12 year old cats (Vanille and Pistache – they are wee Frenchies remember) don’t go out at all even if it’s just raining. But the snow is coming here again tonight. Drat and double drat!
    Take care, stay warm and keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy belated birthday Juliet, and belated bubbly cheers to you! I hope you had a wonderful day, the 18th of March being rather special to us both 😉 And with your darling kitties the same age as my boy…and love their names too! Ha…Eddie is such a wimp in the rain and wind is the worst. I was amazed he went out in the snow, but it was brief. He shot back inside and didn’t venture forth for the rest of the day. Thank you so much for your lovely comment..;it’s still cold here but the snow almost gone. Hope you’re all keeping warm and snuggled 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Juliet says:

        Thanks Sherri, it was a lovely day. For you too, I hope. It’s freezing here today but the snow never came, yahoo. Back home now after the late shift at work and the house is lovely and warm and snuggly. Spring certainly hasn’t sprung yet. Brave Eddie out in the snow, wee pet. Btw I’m very much looking forward to reading your book when it comes out. Your blurb is fab.
        See you soon somewhere, Sherri. Ninight. 😌

        Liked by 1 person

        • So glad Juliet, and yes, for us too thanks! Glad you didn’t get the snow and how lovely to return to a lovely snuggly home…ahhhh, sheer bliss 🙂 The snow has all gone here now and it’s warming up, so perhaps we will both see signs of spring soon. Your comment about my blurb has made my day…thank you so much! I need to crack on with the rewrites…you’ve spurred me on! Have a lovely evening and see you soon for sure Juliet, great chatting with you this week! 🙂 xxx

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike M says:

    Like scenes from Fargo – thank heavens for the gin bar!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love creme boule, hate it when suede boots get ruined in the snow, and your husband is a keeper, Sherri. He is very romantic and thoughtful. Happy anniversary! – Molly

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice post and look at your lovely new home x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Heyjude says:

    I was surprised that we got a dumping of snow even this far west – not quite as bad as yours though and I didn’t even attempt to venture out for days. Luckily I bake my pwn bread and we always have enough milk. If that runs out we can walk to the nearby dairy! Glad you are settling in to your new house and I am sure it will soon feel like home, and thanks for the E. Will keep in touch 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did wonder Jude, it must have looked so beautiful though tucked up safely indoors. It was so lovely to be home the second time around, but it was quite scary driving out in it. I was surprised at how many people didn’t take the red alert warning seriously. If not for the funeral, no way would we have ventured out. You are very wise! I have wanted to make my own bread for so long and really need to get on with it. How wonderful you can walk to a dairy…you really are in the West Country there! We did have just about enough milk, so it was okay, but it was quite unsettling seeing all those empty shelves, and they were like it for days! Thank you Jude, glad to be in touch and no rush with the E. Will be over to your pad this week 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve left us with a cliff hanger there Sherri. I can’t imagine a family now with only one computer to share – it would indeed mean war.From here, looking at your pictures, it just looks beautiful but I imagine to be out in it was truly terrifying. I love the idea of all of you ending up at the B&B, thrown together because of a storm but glad no murder occurred to add more interest to the night. Thank you for your contribution to Times Past. How wonderful you have kept your first book. I had one early one of mine but fear it didn’t survive the last move. Perhaps I’ll find it in the next move. Thos plastic tubes for ink were wonderful. We didn’t have them at school but my prized Parker pen did. For a left hander I imagine biros were a joy so you didn’t get that smudging. It makes me wonder if that was the reason they were so keen to change left handers to right which happened when I went to school. Yes I don’t think they teach writing now and I do believe that perhaps it is a dying form. I know I can’t write now – not even I can understand what I have written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Irene, the stories I could tell! It would be several blog posts I think! I can’t imagine it either – and to think, it was when we only had dial up, with time restrictions…can you imagine? I get chills just thinking of it! So glad you enjoyed reading, I will get back to keeping your Times Past posts as more concise from now on. I’ve done more posts lately than I’ve done in the past 18 months I think and am enjoying it 🙂 Yes…glad no murders either. It was all quite surreal. Oh I’m sorry to hear that about your early book, maybe it is still packed away somewhere? That is the only book I have, my mother kept it for me (other than a book with butterfly drawings I did when I was about 5, it’s cover cut out of wallpaper). I was always fascinated by those plastic ink tubes. Yes,. the biro helped but somehow I still ended up with ink splodges all over me, probably because I was a bit of a fidget-bottom as we used to say 🙂 I was fortunate that I was never forced to change writing hands, although I forced myself to do the ironing and potato peeling right handed because it was easier to position both that way. I converted my brain so much that I can not possibly do them left handed now. Weird isn’t it? Suich a shame about handwriting isn’t it? Same with me, I made a list recently for M and not only could he not read it, but neither could I. Thanks again Irene for a great prompt and great to walk and talk again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fantastic that you have done a few posts (I have even managed to keep up with them which is a minor miracle for me these days) and I have been glad to see them. Most importantly – you are enjoying them. Keep it like that. It is a shame re book – I can’t imagine that I chucked it. I had illustrated it but sometimes things have to be culled. I’m amazed that you managed to change your hand to that extent. Doesn’t left hand go with creativity or something – am I imagining that? I wonder if changing hand changed how your brain functioned. Yes – I think computers are here to stay and I have to stay I don’t think I could bear doing a manuscript edit and having to rewrite the lot by hand. Can you imagine. Lovely to walk with you sherri.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love that we’re both blogging at the same time at the moment. I remember the early days how we were back and forth between all our posts, it was so much fun, but I can’t believe I used to blog regularly three or four times a week! No way could I do that now! That is the key though isn’t it, enjoying them, and I really have been and you’ve always encouraged me to keep it that way. Oh that is a shame about your book, but it’s not easy with so many moves holding on to everything. We still have things in storage, I don’t know when it will be that we are finally sorted out. I try not to think about it… I do think forcing myself to do those tasks right handed did literally change my brain function. Would love to know more about it. I have read that lefties are supposed to be creative…but so are lots of righties! Yes, a manual edit and rewrite would be awful. I do handwrite some notes sometimes, but my writing descends the more I get into it so I can barely read it. How times have changed since our school days! Great prompt Irene, looking forward to posting for your next one. Walking with you is wonderful 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Tina Frisco says:

    Fire, snow, alcohol and ink, computers, anniversary, Eddie and geese… Where to begin? I think I won’t, and say I did! Just know I’m SO glad you survived all you’ve endured this past year, Sher. Condolences on the loss of your dear friend. And I’ll add that I adore the photos of Eddie 🙂 Much love and many hugs, my sweet friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL!! Thank you so much Tina…I did put a lot into this post, got the urge to update and update I did lol! Aww…I thought of you with the pics of Eddie, knowing how much you adore kitties 🙂 Love hearing from you sweet friend…much love and big hugs right back ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Liz H says:

    Snow is one thing, but ice that entombs one’s car…THAT’S nasty. I remember from years ago cracking the ice with my car brush to get in and move the auto to a patch of sunshine to loosen things up. Hours later, it was mostly free.

    And I have to mention my delight at this:
    “And so we added to the group of stragglers gathered there, all strangers brought together by happenstance, inspiring one man to mutter something about an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery, as he climbed the stairs to his room.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That ice was something else, as you obviously well know! Frozen rain pellets fell all night on top of snow already covered in ice. It was unbelievable.
      And thank you so much Liz! Glad you enjoyed that part of the story…it was all quite surreal!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. mvschulze says:

    Hi Sherri. We don’t often ponder snow in your environs. But I can’t think of a better way to deal with it, or enjoy the beauty is bestows, than with a sojourn to the Newton House Gin House to relax and reflect. We could have used some here this past month, (the gin I mean) expecting our 4th Nor-easter packed with snow and wind this month,as I write this. All in all we lost power for 6 days, as a cute little bonus. But tomorrow brings springtime, with all its hope and anticipation of some civil weather.
    Oh, and interesting about the cursive, as my wife, a former school teacher, told me recently that it’s alphabet no longer adorns the high edge of the elementary school walls. Apparently it’s time has come and gone. M 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Marty, how lovely to hear from you! Ha…yes, I know from your posts you have more than enough experience with snow. We get thrown into convulsions here with a few inches, but we’re just not geared for it. The main roads get gritted but none of the side roads and as you can see from the pics, not even some towns!!! It was a miracle we got back to our village at all. Newton House gin certainly helped – a lot! Wish I could send you a crate, sounds like you really do need it with four storms this month – and I thought two were bad, yikes! So sorry for your power loss, that’s hard to deal with . We had that for 5 days a few years ago during a snow storm and it was not pleasant. Think we’re both ready for spring! Oh that is so sad about cursive. That’s progress I guess… I’ll catch up with you shortly Marty, great chatting again…and hopefully no more power cuts!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. dgkaye says:

    Wow Sher. I know you told me about your adventure through the snow but these pictures look like they belong where I live lol. Glad you were safe and made the best out of the situation. Now stay warm and snuggled at home til this weatherfest is done! ❤ (It's me talking from sunny skies and 90 degrees LOL ) ❤ xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deb, how lovely to see you at the Summerhouse! I thought of all this snow and ice would frighten you away lol!!! I bet you’re so glad to be right where you are right now! I think things are going to improve now, but then again, on Friday it was like spring and then bam, back to mid winter. To have two snowstorms in Somerset in March is so unusual. I’ll take your good advice my friend…LOL…love it! Can you send some of that 90 degree sunny sky weather here? I think my Vitamin D must be non existant!!! Thank you soooo much for taking the time to visit and comment when your enjoying your hols Deb…means so much to me. Now you go and get back to your deck chair before someone else nabs it LOL LOL LOL!! 😀 ❤ 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Jools says:

    I don’t know if you realised, Sherri, but I’m a leftie too. But my experience of learning to write was… terrifying, supervised as it was by the most psychotic headmaster and ‘Penmanship’ teacher in the known universe. To say Mr Rudge left his psychological scars on me is an understatement – I have never been so terrified of a man in my life, not before, not since. The peril of the leftie with the inkwell/pen is those ‘pings’ of ink which are inevitable when pushing, rather than pulling, the pen. And to see a furious scarlet-faced man bearing down on you, literally spitting with inner rage, readying to snatch your inky book from your equally inky fingers, is a memory I will never forget. I too blogged about it, back in 2015: https://julielawford.com/2015/04/26/leftwrite-on-being-a-southpaw/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Julie, what an awful experience for you, I’m so sorry. And no, I didn’t realise you are a leftie too! I do remember having a bottle of Quink and using that lever you describe on the back of one of my fountain pens, but that was at home. I can’t even bear to think of the terrible mess I would have got in at school, bad enough with those cartridges…what an absolute nightmare for you. I will head over to your post…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Norah says:

    So sorry for the loss of your friend, Sherri, and what a memorable day to farewell her. So pleased your have her handwritten letters to treasure. You had such a lucky escape that night going home. It’s a good thing you were able to turn around and find the last room in the inn. Much nicer to be back home looking out at the snow from your warm and cozy rooms. For someone totally unused to snow, the pictures look amazing. I can’t imagine living somewhere so cold. I complain about our summer heat, but I think I’d complain about the winter’s cold even more. It would be difficult to be confined indoors.
    I enjoyed hearing about your handwriting experience. I can’t say I was ever neat. I try to handwrite with flair on cards and things like that now, but my style usually changes a few times in just the few words I write. And I make spelling – really handwriting – errors, which is so frustrating. The brain and hand get unused to working in unison in this way and the hand doesn’t keep up. Word processing is much better – I can fix all those spelling errors. If I see them. 🙂
    I hope spring is on its way to bring sunshine to your garden soon and brighten your days in your Summerhouse. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Norah. My friend would have enjoyed hearing all about my snow adventures, but would have been cross that I ventured out 🙂 I can imagine it must be very strange for you thinking of all this snow. For me, I can’t get my head around your Christmas being bbq weather! II imagine your spelling is excellent Norah. I used to win spelling bees but now…like my handwriting, it’s nose-dived. And I know what you mean about handwriting errors and the hand not keeping up; I jump ahead to the point that I wonder sometimes if I’m dyslexic! I do the same typing though, frequently transposing letters. Either the hand or the brain…one or the other not keeping up 😉 I remember in my first job in America, I was thrilled to graduate from a manual typewriter to an electric one with correcting ribbon…and then word processors, oh joy! Spring for the Summerhouse and Autumn for the Classroom…we will share the seasons together and that will brighten any day 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Charli Mills says:

    So much to live in this post, but first, my heart goes out to you on the loss of a dear and longtime friend. Despite the snow, I’m glad you made it to her funeral.

    But what a snowy adventure! It’s so strange because the weather that created the Beast, caused a warming tend up in the Arctic. I love the passage about the I’ve comparing it to create brulee, and then lamenting the ruined suede. Sharp writing!

    It’s good to visit the Summerhouse even in winter. Eddie looks dapper in the snow. Cheers to you and the Hubby! And thanks to you I tried my first gin — Hendrix. Now I knowb why you can stay calm and drink tea! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Oh those memories, I had a parker with cartridges and I won prizes for my handwriting, which is totally illegible now. Sorry to read of your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I won a prize once too thinking about it Gilly…thanks for reminding me! I was so proud of my writing then…isn’t it a shame we don’t write like that now? Thank you so much for your kind words … ❤

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  19. Ste J says:

    You weren’t kidding about the snow, what an ordeal! Although gin and fires make everything alright. I prefer the snow when inside, it’s all a bit too much for me with the threat of ice. I like the Agatha Christie reference, that would have made the night more eventful haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Glad you got home safely Sherri. Goodness sounds like you’ve had your fair share of unwelcome excitement what with the fire and the snow. We’ve had snow here in Cambridge but its not been too bad. Amused by the photos of your cat’s reaction to the snow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Marje! Yes, we’ve had a few adventuers lately, and so it continues, ha! Glad you haven’t had it too bad in your neck of the woods. Eddie got quite brave in the end, but I think he’s much happier now the snow’s all gone 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  21. TanGental says:

    quite some fun you had there…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Europe had it pretty bad this winter. But those photos, aw…
    Love your cat!
    Happy Anniversary! So you celebrated twice 🙂
    Although I only drink wine, these cocktails sound tasty.
    Also, I LOVE your backyard. Hope your flowers and plants won’t be hurt by the cold and the weight of the snow.
    Happy Spring to you, Sherri!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the photos Evelyne, always good for posterity. I was especially glad to get those shots of Eddie in the snow 🙂 Yes, two celebrations, which can’t be bad, thank you! I am not surprised you only drink wine…I imagine you know a thing or two about the best ones 🙂 The snow has gone now and the flowers have all rebounded as if it was never there. Nature never fails to amaze does it? Hopefully spring is well on the way for us both. I hear you are getting some much needed rain in California…I hope it is just the right amount and no mudslides. Happy spring to you too Evelyne, lovely to see you as always 🙂

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  23. Pingback: Did you have a Parker? – Lucid Gypsy

  24. restlessjo says:

    What a wonderful collection of memories you hoard, Sherri (and what a wonderful, thoughtful hubbie 🙂 ). We missed the worst of the snow while we were in the Algarve, but had a drama or two of our own. They always make good stories, don’t they, though not always so great at the time. The fire must have been a nightmare! Fire and ice indeed! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the ride Jo, one extreme to the other! The fire was very frightening, just so relieved it wasn’t worse. Sorry to hear you had your drama too…hope all is well now. You did well to avoid the worst of the bad weather in your beautiful – and sunny! – Algarve. I feel as if I am all but depleted of Vitamin D! Thanks so much for popping over, always a pleasure to hang out with you Jo 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve had this post open for a couple of days trying to get back to reading. Now that my “project” is complete, I could finally take a few minutes and catch up with you. This is very late in the year for that much snow. You were inundated with it. It’s the ice that makes it so dangerous. We had that 2 December’s ago but this year, skated through with very little. How very wise of your hubby to turn around and go back to find a safe spot for the night. And what a lovely anniversary celebration. Congratulations ! You two seem very good together. As for handwriting, they don’t know yet what they have lost. I agree so much with what Pauline said. Given that cursive writing is an art form and helps us distinguish our personalities through it, we have lost the connection from hand to brain that you can’t get with a computer. I will often write a letter on the computer and rewrite it into a card. Just to make sure I’m getting my words in order. My niece was never taught to write in cursive and in her first year of college seems not to miss it. All notes written are in block letter form. As I’ve aged, my handwriting has deteriorated somewhat but I keep writing those cards and letters to make someone else know they are thought about often. Hoping things have warmed up a bit for you there. Spring is here, cold and wet…for now. 🙂 Hugs. M

    Liked by 1 person

    • So lovely of you to take the time to read my long post Marlene, thank you so much. I was overdue with a catch up, but will keep things short and sweet for a while as I return to my memoir rewrites. I’ve really enjoyed this blogging spree, but reminds me that I can’t get anything else done if I am to keep blogging at such lengths! And yes, totally agree with you and Pauline about cursive. I have read in a few comments here about cursive now becoming a dying art and now yours about your niece having never been taught it at all. It’s wonderful you still handwrite your cards and notes, they mean so much to those on the receiving end. I do the same, and oh how my hand aches at Christmas time, even with just a few! But I know how much a handwritten letter from family and friends means…let’s hope that enough of us can keep it going as the years go by… As for the weather, it has warmed up to quite spring like, but there is a rumour that snow is on the way for Easter…that isn’t too unusual for some years, but after 2 snowstorms in March, that is really pushing it! Wishing you lovely spring sunshine my friend – just like the kind you bring to me with your lovely messages. Big hugs back… ❤

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  26. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. And then I’m heartened to hear that your snowy, icy travels ended well. From the pictures you shared, things didn’t look too bad by Canadian standards, but it’s all a matter of what you’re used to and equipped for. Regardless of how bad the situation is by anyone’s standards, that feeling when your fingers are wrapped around the steering wheel like a vice and you’re afraid of sliding into a ditch is no fun at all. Here’s to spring!

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    • Thank you so much Marlene, I appreciate your kind thoughts. Ha, yes, our snow compared to yours must look like a mere sprinkling, but as you say, not being geared for it since it’s a much less common event here makes a big difference. I had never even heard of tyre chains until I lived in California and took our car up to the mountains to see the snow. But still, there too, that sliding into a ditch feeling prevailed. Here’s to spring indeed, although we might be in for some more snow at Easter, so we’re hearing. Not so unusual, as we can get hard frosts up until the end of May, but after two signifcant snow falls? Now that is definitely not usual! Lovely to hear from you Marlene 🙂

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  27. purpleslob says:

    Like Judy, I thought you didn’t make it to the funeral. Glad you were able to!
    Happy 12th Wedding! Anniversary!
    So glad you’re safe and sound!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Denise says:

    Just catching up with things over the Easter break… how like you to think on the positive side and take in the beauty of life even when things get really quite hairy… what an adventure! I’m glad you were able to find somewhere to stay. I remember my husband describing an ill attempted snowy crossing over a ridge up North somewhere and me asking why he didn’t stop and find somewhere to stay, and he said, “There wasn’t anywhere! There’s nothing up there!” And me thinking well, actually, I’d meant he could have stopped a long time before it got really bad, but I think that was just our two different outlooks on life.
    Your hubby is wonderful for thinking up such a treat for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha…yes, those two different outlooks make for very different stories! Lovely to hear from you as always Denise, thanks for reading and hope you and your LD’s had a wonderful Easter. Just catching up here after a little getaway with hubby to London watch Classic FM at the Royal Albert Hall, which was magnificent. And no snow this time…nice to have an adventure without it being so hairy! Have a lovely weekend 🙂 xxx

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      • Denise says:

        Just been out for cocktails with daughter in Lewes. She goes back next week. You don’t Instagram, do you? I spend more time there these days than WordPress or FB. You’d be good on Insta, with the fab pictures you take.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lovely! So glad to hear you’re enjoying life in Lewes. It really is such a great place. We must meet up again… 🙂 No, I have thought about Instagram but have resisted as just more social media to keep up with, but I will take a proper look. I might find it better to use than FB and I do enjoy sharing pics. No clue how it works, but let’s see… thanks for the vote of confidence Denise! 🙂

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  29. Congrats on your twelve years together, Sherri. I had to smile about the Agatha Christie murder mystery comment from your fellow guest. I think it would have quite unnerved me in that situation. 😯 Eddie looks so sweet, peering out at the snow. I would feel the same. Enjoyed reading your post and all the snowy pictures, as I sit here in warm, sunny Florida in my shorts and flip-flops. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Sylvia! Ha, yes, it was definitely a very surreal time. Sweet Eddie…it was quite something he went out in it in the end, as he refuses to in the rain, and even more if it’s windy! Ahh…seems a long time since I wore flip flops and shorts…I need a trip to Florida!!! 🙂 xxx

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  30. Mabel Kwong says:

    It does sound like you have been occupied, Sherri. So sorry to hear what happened to your neighbours right behind your place. It must have been a nightmare and hope everyone is getting back up okay. It is lovely to hear of locals coming round to you when the storm hit. Sometimes you just can’t predict these things and you have to go slow. Your photos are lovely and speak of serenity. The snow-covered roads must have been lovely to look at…but the journey reminded you to be compassionate to others 🙂 Happy 12th wedding anniversary. How lovely to be together with someone for so long and knowing you can make it through so many moments together. Very nice of your hubby for the dinner treat and you must have felt like one lucky lady. I still remember those penmanship writing lessons in school…cursive was never my forte so I really hoped my writing was legible. Then again, my teachers always loved reading my handwritten essays for English class. Hope the Summerhouse is well. Stay safe and take care ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Mabel, the last 12 years have flown by, that’s for sure. Glad you enjoyed the photos, snow makes for a very peaceful and beautiful setting, but can also make driving quite treacherous, so it was with great relief that we made it home safe and sound and cosy back inside 🙂 I would say your cursive must have been excellent and your essays too…oh for the days! Lovely to see you at the Summerhouse again my friend. Your smiles melt away the chill and bring the warmth of friendship from the other side of the world. See you soon and take care Mabel 🙂 ❤

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  31. Nearly a month later, and Minnesota today looks like these photos of Somerset. Ugh, it feels like winter will never end!!

    Schools here tried to cancel handwriting classes recently, but the parents overruled that notion. It’s a very conservative, slow-to-change enclave.

    I’m sorry you’ve lost your friend. I think we Americans often underestimate the importance of friendship and how painful it is to lose a good friend. I don’t know how it is in Britain — here it’s like people expect you to quickly get over it because, after all, it wasn’t a family member.

    I lost a friend to cancer four years ago and although we hadn’t recently been often in touch, I keep thinking of her at the oddest times, especially now that I’m back in Minnesota and near where she lived again. I always thought we’d have a chance to catch up, but we didn’t.

    I guess that lesson is teaching me to cherish the important people who are here, now, and make sure that we stay “caught up.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tracy, apologies for my late reply, I haven’t been on WP most of this week. I hope by now your snow has all gone and spring is well on its way to you. We’re having a heatwave of all things here now, crazy weather! Back to cool and wet next week though, so we take what we can get and will be out in the garden this weekend making the most of it!
      Thank you Tracy for your kind words about the loss of my friend, and I am so sorry to hear about yours too. My friend died suddenly and unexpectedly, I was due to see her in February and visited her several times a year (she couldn’t drive due to having rheumatoid arthritis since her mid twenties), and now, everytime it gets to the time of year when I would be making plans to visit her, like now, there is just an empty hole left behind. But in the UK, it is the same expectation to get over it. There are no cards to say ‘so sorry for the loss of your dear friend’. I still can’t believe she’s gone and that I’ll never see her again, and it is really painful to accept that and not really talked about. Each friend is special and unique, a different relationship with each, and there is no replacement when we lose one. Cherishing the time with our loved ones is vital… hugs Tracy ❤

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