I'm dreaming of a White winter

I don't know if it can be put down to global warming or to natural fluctuations in climate, but this is the second winter in a row where it is well into January and the themometer outside my porch has not yet dropped below freezing (minimum temperature so far: 0°C, 32°F).

Interestingly, Gilbert White's diary entries for 20th January in various years in the late Eighteenth Century nearly all mention the cold weather and snow. Here's my favourite:

January 20, 1775

Mr Hool's man says that he caught this day in a lane near Hackwood-park, many rooks, which attempting to fly fell from the trees with their wings frozen together by the sleet, that froze as it fell. There were, he affirms, many dozens so disabled! It is certain that Mr H's man did bring home many rooks & give them to the poor neighbours.

I assume the rooks were for the poor neighbours' cooking pots.

White was writing a couple of hundred miles south of (and 800 feet lower down than) my home. If crows were falling from the sky in temperate Selborne, I can't imagine what it must have been like up here in the Yorkshire Pennines on this day in 1775. Today, however, there's just a tepid drizzle.

Just like yesterday.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

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