Wednesday, February 1, 2012


It’s snowing in the centre of Athens, it’s snowing in Corfu, temperatures are in the minus range, and like excited children, many of us here in Corfu are planning a trip this afternoon to show our kids the white stuff as it really is! In Britain, at the first flurry, the authorities warn people to stay home, stay warm and get their heads down. In Greece, we leap into our cars and head for the nearest high ground to play snowballs!
Mind you, today it is snowing down at sea level, let alone on the hills.

photo by star tv greece

 Village of Petalia Corfu

I have never lost my childhood passion for snow. As a very little girl I lived in a part of Surrey known as Little Switzerland, for its pine-clad hills and valleys filled with beech trees. The bright colours of heather and gorse, ferns and bracken, would all give way, in winter, to paler monotones as snow blanketed those hills and enveloped those valleys.
I have photos of myself, smiling with happiness, feet firmly planted in the snow and wearing a marvellously practical, hooded, all-in-one garment called a ‘siren-suit’. Nothing to do with the sirens that used to lure travellers such as Odysseus with their fatal attractions – this outfit was popularized by Winston Churchill, who designed it himself and had it made up by gentleman’s outfitters Austin Reed. With plenty of pockets and made up in a warm fabric, it was ideal for the Great Man’s trips around war-ravaged Britain and was quickly adopted for wear by both sexes and all ages.
His suit looked like this,

And mine looked just like this

It must have snowed more regularly back then, in England. I remember looking out of the windows of our suburban Essex home on Christmas Eve, to see the Salvation Army band performing carols under the light of a street lamp, with snow falling on them and their instruments.

My love of snow took me to live for a winter at an Austrian ski-school – that and my love of a certain ski-instructor…. I stayed in a marvellous wooden chalet where the beds were tucked inside cupboards and made up with billowing feather duvets. Being snowed up in such a setting was just an excuse for the continuous consumption of schnapps and comfort food as only the Austrians know how.

In London, I was marooned by excessive amounts of snow one January, unable to return to my home in Corfu. Along with two other Greek colleagues, also marooned, and the company’s accountant who could not even get back to her home in Kent, we were invited by the owner of the company we worked for to stay in his London flat. That was no hardship – good address, all mod cons, the
Kings Road
within walking distance - as long as you had snowshoes on - the men wasted no time in appointing me resident cook and demanded Greek food and coffee non-stop, while they spent the wintry weekend glued to sport on TV. It felt just like being a Greek wife again.

Those who do not know Greece as it can be in winter can probably not imagine it under snow.
But here we are today, the first of Feb, phoning and Facebooking each other with hews of the snow.
Here in my cozy computer corner, it is beginning to feel really chilly and I am wearing the wonderful mittens my daughter-in-law made for me.

As soon as my grandson gets out of school, we shall go, en famille, to play with magic.
Some people never grow up.

1 comment:

  1. Love it Ange! I just wished it stayed on the ground a bit longer... We are hoping to go to Bansko at the end of the month, this has spurred me on to make a booking!


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