Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Snowed in ...ish

The first snow of the winter season arrived for us on 28th October, which is much earlier than it normally would do. I think last year it didn't turn up until late November. Perhaps this is a sign of the forthcoming apocalypse in December this year? Or maybe it was just a bit colder than usual, turning a passing cloud's downpour into snow instead of rain. I'll let you be the judge of which is the most likely cause.

In our little corner of Switzerland - Bussigny - we are fairly low-lying, at an altitude of only 400 metres or so above sea level. That might sound quite high up to some people, but compared to some other places in the Lausanne area, such as Epalinges which peaks at a lofty 850 metres above sea level, it looks positively subterranean. Being at such a low altitude means most other location in Switzerland, like the aforementioned Epalinges, get snow before we do. Not this time.

The snow seemed to fall all over the Canton of Vaud this weekend, leaving a white dusting everywhere. Snow always makes me feel Christmassy. I don't really know why that is, given that I have never actually experienced a White Christmas that I can remember. Christmas in England in 2009 was the closest I ever came in England, with my brother's snowman still standing in the garden from snowfall several days before, although it didn't actually snow on Christmas Day. In Switzerland 2008, we went in search of snow by driving from Lausanne to Les Paccots, which is a bit higher up and therefore more prone to snow when it gets a bit chilly.

The snowy view from
our balcony
Despite these close calls, I have never personally witnessed snow on Christmas Day. I could be forgiven, therefore, for allowing our early blast of white gold to get my hopes up that this year's Big Day will finally buck the trend. It's not like we had a huge deluge of snow; as you can see in the photo, it was only a light dusting of around 1-2 cm.

In any case, it gave me that warm, Christmassy feeling that brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.

The warm feeling didn't last that long. My heart, and the rest of my body, were quickly cooled down when I went outside in the snow. It was seriously cold, with a blisteringly chilly wind blowing right in my face as soon as I stepped away from the entrance to our building.

World's Smallest Snowman?
I had decided to take Lydia out for a walk that day to give her an early glimpse of snow, so she could play with it and have fun throwing it around, or enjoy the feeling of it crunching under her footsteps. As mentioned above, there wasn't a lot of snow, so I wasn't expecting to be able to build a 6 foot tall snowman and have enough snow left over to make a similar sized snowlady and snowbaby.

All the same, I helped Lydia to make her very first snowman (see photo).

OK, so it isn't the biggest snowman in the world. It doesn't even have any eyes. It was more symbolic really, showing Lydia that you can do stuff with snow other than tread on it. By this time she had already given me quite a few puzzled looks as she tried to walk on it, and at the odd feeling of having these freezing droplets landing on her cheeks.

It's hard to say if she enjoyed the experience, partly because I had to cut it short due to the fact that it was so darn cold. It must have been very odd for Lydia to step outside and see white everywhere. She had plenty of snow experience last winter, even going tobogganing down hills at Chalet à Gobet, but she won't remember that now. I know in the years to come she won't remember this winter either, but my aim is to show her that she should enjoy it while it lasts.

...which will basically be until she is grown up and endures the frustration of traffic jams and flights cancellations caused by snow, or has to dig her car out from under a couple of feet of a substance she once thought of as fun.

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