The Frozen North

We returned today from a long weekend in Crinan, the home of our retirement project. In light of the sub zero temperatures predicted by the weather forecast we set off with neither hope nor optimisim for conditions suitable for painting and varnishing. However, with a meeting scheduled with the lady who is going to reupholster the saloon cabin it was still important that we made the trip.

Our pessimism as to the temperature was requited when, reaching Loch Fyne, it was apparent that the fresh water cascading from the streams was forming frozen ice floes on the surface of the seawater. Nor were we surprised when arriving at the converted barn in Crinan where we have stayed regularly this year and despite turning the heating on full blast, it was at least two hours before I ventured to remove my coat and even then I was still clutching two hot water bottles. Call it nostalgia but all those memories of  childhood winter evenings huddled in front of a fireplace, came flooding back.

 It could not of course have been as cold indoors as during many of those winters endured as children, for we awoke next morning relieved to find that not only had we not needed to don bedsocks but also that there was no ice on the inside of the windows. Modern window frames and insulation (there is neither central heating nor double glazing in the barn) have certainly improved the lot of modern man. Mind I quickly understood why, in times gone by, bathing was not undertaken in the winter months for nothing short of a rapid rise in temperature could have induced me to step into the shower during our visit. After all being denied the opportunity to pamper oneself doesn't mean you have to submit to the other extreme and be punished. I have no expectations of luxury in retirement but by the same token I prefer not to suffer unduly. Some might call it a lack of fortitude; I'd rather think of it as a survival instinct.

Although the daylight hours were short, we were treated to sunshine and a hoar frost so crisp you could have been forgiven for mistaking it for snow. Whilst Mister E was toiling against the elements on board our laid up vessel, I took full advantage to stroll around the shoreline and canal, weighed down only by the numerous layers I was wearing. With the canal frozen over and the area deserted by tourists, there was hardly anybody about. If I had expected to see St Andrew's Day revellers en masse, I was doomed to disappointment when and on both days I passed no more than two or three dog walkers. The scenery was, however, as beautiful as ever and for the most part, it was all my very own.


  1. Gosh what a stunning place! And talking of "days gone by", I have vivid memories of my mom walking round each window and wiping the condensation off the inside window sills - and even snow coming under the back door a few times. It certainly made us hardy but no, I wouldn't want to go back to living like that!

    1. Oh yes, snow coming under the back door (never the front); I’d forgotten that one!

  2. Frozen milk bottles on the doorstep with smug looking blue tits (the birds!) who'd managed to eat the pushed-up cream layer without having to peck through the foil!
    Your photos here do look gorgeous. I'd love to wake up to scenes like that, but would want a good wood stove installed first

    1. Again, another memory (including of birds that did peck through those foil tops) that gets buried and you've just resurrected with affection


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