Monday, 2 February 2009


Today when I woke and drew back my curtains the back garden was there in full white glory. It is rare to have snow in London and the sight and feel and smell and sound of it still captivate me.

It was definitely beckoning those first few footsteps. I knew that I wanted to tread each one with care and attention. Not to rush out and trample over it, but to be mindful of each step. A white wash of possibility.

It was quite breathtaking stepping outside. I felt the chill on my legs as I was still only in my fine Pajamas, but it was a tingling and prickling chill that felt alive-making.

The garden here is magical at the best of times, but in the snow that magic makes it truly enchanting. I visited my favourite places.

Right at the back of the garden, hidden against the wall, down a narrow pathway, is a Goddess, or that is what I call her. She looked majestic in the snow.

I made a wish at her feet and then turned back to just stand and take in the awe-inspiring virgin whiteness. Untouched, a clean slate, a cleansing, and one that as the snow still fell, felt both soft and unrelenting. It wasn't a glistening snow, it was, it is, a heavy, deep, all-covering, thick snow. There is something very comforting about that.

There is of course nothing comforting about sitting on these chairs just now! ( unless you needed to cool down a toasty and smarting pink bottom ).

It was the stillness that struck me the most. Like everything was being packed in by the snow so it had to stay still. Not trapped. But held. Asking us to contemplate. And I think we will be here for a while, the sky had traces of blue this morning, just faint ones.

But it is a light grey again now, almost a reflection of the ground, and the snow keeps falling. I think I'm going to be staying still in my attic for a little while. There is only one thing right now that I wish the snow would allow for....but the warmth of a sore bottom is unlikely to come until there is warmth to melt the snow away, and actually I'll be sad to see it go.

                                          That is a view of the attic from the back of the garden. 


Mark said...

Lovely pictures, Olivia. Maybe a visit from the scarlet rosefinch to offset the pale expanse of white would make the picture complete?
PS ~ Goddess might need rescuing tomorrow if the weather reports are to be believed, but events like these should be enjoyed while they last ~ it'll probably all be gone by friday.

M:e said...

What a gorgeous garden! It looks like somewhere you could lose yourself in quiet contemplation for hours. I particularly liked the 'Goddess'....she looks like she might have many secrets.

Enjoy the snow while it lasts.....and stay warm.

love and hugs xxx

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics; Hampstead Heath looked just the same this afternoon, magical.


Greenwoman said...

Simply beautiful Olivia. *smiles*

Mr.C. said...

You are very artistic Olivia,

I like the last two photographs in

I spent a lot of last night listening to Hayley Westenra, smoking my pipe, and watching the snow falling. Most of all I thought about Constance and how very fortunate I am.

Some things bring tranquility don't they?

Anonymous said...

Dear Olivia,
Thanks for posting your beautiful pics. We had a snow like that last week. I agree, it is comforting and quiet.

Pandora said...

Beautiful photos I thought it was ironic that the snowfall happened on Imbolc, just after I'd started to sense the first taste of spring, but it sounds like you made the most of it. I failed to - my attempted snow adventure wore me out so much I hid at home for the rest of the day, and didn't do anything special to mark the quickening of the year.

The goddess looks lovely in the snow, like an ice queen. You are very lucky to have her in your garden :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Olivia:
Your pictures are gorgeous. It truly looks like a winter wonderland. I especially loved how u did not want to rush out, but wanted to be mindful of each step. That is a beautiful concept.
So many things to think about here, stillness, mindfulness, cleansing, all so important for me to think about today.
Thank you Olivia
Take care

The Headmaster said...

What a very fine garden. And such a lot of snow!

selkie said...

beautiful pictures .. but alas, when you see that EVERY DAY between October and April it loses its appeal LOL

I totally LOVE your garden though ...

OliviaManners said...


I do like referring to you as Mark rather than Boxa :-)
A scarlet rosefinch in the garden would be a delight however I've not seen many birds these last few days, only fox footprints in the snow.
It seems * more* snow is now arriving on Friday, and the Goddess is standing strong.

I hope you are keeping warm in London too.



It is a lovely garden, I am very lucky...I only rent the attic of the big Georgian house but am lucky to have full access to the garden, which is only used by the 3 of us.
I think the Goddess is sometimes a little shocked by some of the secrets I tell her ;-)
And I am very warm thank you.

Hugs to you too.


I can imagine Hampstead looked magical, I hope you didn't attempt to swim in the pond there though :-)

Thank you for stopping by.



* Smiles * back to you.
And a hug too.



Thank you for your compliment.

You are a very very fortunate man indeed - Constance is a rare gem ;-)
I liked the image of you smoking a pipe. I couldn't help wondering if you were wearing slippers at the same time, and if said slipper had ever been used on Constance's bottom. I hope not. Slippers are especially nasty although there is something quite endearing about being disciplined with your loved ones * actual* slipper!

I did also listen to Hayley Westenra as tat is the kind of curious girl I am. Lovely.

And yes, tranquil.



I am hoping it is going to snow again on Friday.
Lovely to hear from you and I will come and visit you at the weekend!



I must confess it wasn't just the once that day that I'd imagined you back here with us doing some outdoor shooting - I think we could have made some beautiful snowy pics with crimson shades of bottoms dancing around? I'm sorry your shoot that day didn't go as you had planned.

I'll take you to see the Goddess next time ;-)



I'm glad if it sparked thoughts in you that were relevant to your day. Your posting that I've read just now did exactly the same for me today.
Mindfulness is a lovely concept, we were taught a lot about that on my Positive Psychology MSc.

Take care too,



The man of many words!
A lot of snow indeed, but it is slowly melting away :-(



Lovely to see you here. I know that snow would loose its novelty if I saw it quite as much as you do, but I am particularly drawn to snow, as I am water...and I never tire of that!

I love my garden too ;-)
I just wish it was by the sea!


selkie said...


the sea if my passion - I have lived beside at various times in my life, but not at all recently and I PINE for it....


OliviaManners said...


My ex partner of 8 years used to call me her mermaid, and I was swimming from the age of 2....I know one day I will live by the sea, and I imagine when I do I will feel very much at home.
When I am by the sea the perspective I have on life is at its most balanced.