There's nothing like a week of snow confinement to prolong that wayward Domestic Goddess Thermal and time to work the regular kitchen miracle.
To get to either end of the house all traffic must pass through the kitchen, it really is the heart of the home, the main arterial route and most traffic deposits detritus in transit. Eventually someone just has to leg it all around in the general direction of its owner and this is far quicker than waiting for the owner to return and collect, and it's often me.
But Agas also seem to create dust and so there are always shelves to wipe and yes, I love the open plate racks, they look perfect but have you tried to clean them? Then we have a heady mix of Delabole slate, granite and maple surfaces which all benefit from some tender loving care now and again.
So no matter what needs doing things begin with a big sink of hot soapy water and the view from the sink is of a lovely little shelf and window that used to look out onto garden but now looks out onto jars of marmalade and more kitchen (my north facing ice-cold larder is also in there) leading to more house, but it's a perfect little spot for contemplative pondering and the shelf always houses a bookstand with book and some 'nice' things to look at.
This year I have returned to Poem for the Day for the bookstand. We've done both volumes several times over on this shelf so to help decide between Volume One or Volume Two I decided I'd look for a sign, a message from within.
I turned to February 7th in both, Volume One was stirring stuff
' This royal throne, this sceptered isle.
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-Paradise;
This fortress built by nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world...
and I was convinced I had a winner, John of Gaunt, Richard II, surely nothing could eclipse this?
But then I turned to Volume Two and there it was, The Bee's Last Journey to the Rose by Brian Patten
'I came first through the warm grass
Humming with Spring,
and now swim through the evening's sunlight gone cold.
I'm old in this green ocean,
Going a final time to the rose...'
I can't imagine anyone anywhere wants to see another single picture of UK snow because the world must be sick of hearing how we don't cope, but it does make everything look so perfect I'm afraid I couldn't resist. These pictures are the dregs of everyone else's snow so not that deep, but still a generous amount for the normally temperate Tamar Valley, but then of course the next night we had the first pickings, snow of our own which we then generously sent on to the rest of the nation.
Yes, the West Devon heap big blizzard took everyone by surprise mainly because, having huddled around the local TV weather forecast to be assured that we would be having slushy rain and the snow would only affect the Eastern side of the county, everyone went about their travelling business as normal and had to be rescued, except us, we stayed indoors and ate marmalade...oh yes and we fed the birds who were in a terrible panic over their buried table.
As for the sight that will be most unusally welcome this week?
Well our love-hate relationship with the Calor Gas tanker continues, that great big lorry that blocks the lane and splurges hundreds of pound coins into our big underground tank (well that's what it feels like, I can never bear to watch), this week the love-hate thing takes a new turn, I may have to hug the driver when he finally shows up because very soon we'll be heating water, the Aga and us on fumes alone.