Days of snow. Firs crushed, stooping low with the weight of ice, impenetrable darkness; Fimbulvinter. Time to hole up in Hoddmímis holt, wrap knees in brushed cotton blankets and hibernate. To travel through a blizzard, at night, road obscured by drifts, would be foolhardy, moich. But I did.
Something dark and unruly must have provoked this snowstorm - a short story of mine was being performed at Pitlochry's Winter Words Festival and I would risk a cold, treacherous journey north to see it. What a strange, magical, experience - the deep intonations of the actor, the darkness beyond, sparkle of snow outside and hushed silence.
But so bitterly cold! The only remedy was to order a malibu and lemonade to feign sunshine whilst wearing a brown fur hat.
The other evening was Burns Nicht. Candlelight, family, an indulgent supper of Arbroath smokie pate, haggis neeps & tatties and trifle (or cranachan!) Singing folk songs, Burns ballads and taking charge of wild cousins. My sister drew a knight on horseback for them. It reminded me of a time when my head and heart could accept nothing that was not roan chargers, renegade knights, eldritch prophesies, Tintagel or Tennyson. I was, and forever am, the child who answers only to 'Prince Valiant.'