As I write this, working from home, I’m looking out at what remains of that most magical substance which fell from the sky for most of yesterday.
Having grown up near the coast my experience with snow was limited. If an inch fell once every 5 years or so we thought ourselves lucky. Every minute of the ‘snow day’ we had at school is still fresh in my memory, simply because it was the only one I ever had.
And then I moved to Derbyshire and my love for ‘the white stuff’ blossomed.
Admittedly, I might grumble a little when its adversely affects my ability to undertake those everyday tasks. Moving house on the day the ‘Beast from the East’ hit Derbyshire wasn’t that much fun. However, that stress was eased a little when I saw a neighbour, I’ll say of more mature years, hurtling down a not insignificant hill on a vintage wooden sledge. The joy which snow can bring is not just for the kids.
I can only presume the hills on the far side of the valley are still pure white as they remain hidden by the freezing fog which refuses to lift. It is a cold day. But before I filled my second hot water bottle of the morning I immersed myself in the latest chapter of Mark Gwynne Jones’s Voices From The Peak, an ‘audio artwork’.
The project which is funded by Arts Council England, features the magical soundscapes, music and hidden narratives of the Peak District, with contributors spanning from Peakland hill farmers and miners, to poets, astronomers and even renowned musician Ashley Hutchings of Fairport Convention. Mark says “During 2020, the peaks and great outdoors have been more valuable than ever, so I hope these recordings will bring the magic of the Peak District to those who may not be able to visit.”
Chapter 2 is all about…snow.
I never tire of reading the accounts of extreme weather which we have in the Record Office collection and can easily get lost looking through the many images of a snowy Derbyshire which we hold. If you too love anything weather related, particularly snow, then I’d urge you to make a nice hot drink and listen to the latest chapter in Mark Gwynne Jones’s ‘audio odyssey’, a project celebrating the diverse sounds and stories of the Peak District.
Chapter 2: Snow! was released on 13 January and you can listen online at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/voicesfromthepeak. Hear first-hand accounts of people’s experiences of snow punctuated by poetry and the beautifully atmospheric soundtrack – it actually brought a chill just listening to it. I will now forever refer to a biting wind as ‘lazy wind’, the type that “doesn’t bother to go around you.”
And if you want to know when it will snow again, just ask a sheep.