A Weather-related Snippet and Another End of an Era

Right in the middle of the rainstorm and microburst we had on Wednesday, I started a weather-related snippet thread on the forum. Here is the excerpt I posted:

[Three] days after they had parted from the knights, when they were well into the mountains, the snow fell. Arcturus had expected this, and bidden them each to carry an extra faggot or two of wood, in case they could not readily find dry wood to burn or any form of shelter from the wind. As they were skirting the villages, they were not provisioned with donkeys or fur cloaks or any other supplies with which those crossing the mountains might normally be equipped.

Rose, in fact, had never seen snow before in her life. As the grey skies lowered upon them day after day, she had expected fog and rain, with all the dampness that was in the air soaking beneath her clothing, so that she was chilled even as she walked. But, though Arcturus and Uncle Levi had talked of snow, and kept shooting wary looks at the banks of clouds about their heads, she was taken by surprise when the first flakes brushed past her nose.
Suddenly the ground was covered and the wind was rushing sideways, pelting snow into her ears and billowing up her cloak.

Arcturus bade them halt in the first shelter they came across, an overhanging rock that made a miniature cave they could all huddle into, away from the gusting wind. There was barely space left in which to attempt a fire. Rose squeezed in next to Tante Rita and rubbed her hands up and down her arms, watching the whiteness drive past the mouth of their shelter. As if it couldn’t make up its mind, the snow blew first this way then that, in thick chunks and small flakes, falling now like a hard rain, now drifting along like laden bees.

No one spoke, except when Uncle Levi remarked that it seemed early in the year for snow, that he’d never seen a storm like this in [September], and that he’d wager there was worse to come before they were off the mountain. No one replied. Rose remembered the morning she had woken to find herself at the foot of another mountain, covered in mud. If I’m separated from everyone for a second time, I’ll never travel anywhere ever again, she thought. Eyes still on the snow, she envisioned finding herself in a mountain village, taken in by kindly strangers, living there for the rest of her life, with no news of her family, or Uncle San – Father – or her aunts and uncles. She’d marry, have children. The villagers would always refer to her as ‘the stranger’, but she would never leave.

Arcturus would come looking for her, she realised, and it was comforting to be certain of that fact. Would that she was as certain of Joseph’s intentions!

Yet another reason to clutch my head and moan that England isn't what it used to be and therefore, by definition, the world is going to hell in a handbasket: All Souls College, Oxford, is abolishing the one-word admissions exam. "The exam was simple yet devilish, consisting of a single noun (“water,” for instance, or “bias”) that applicants had three hours somehow to spin into a coherent essay. An admissions requirement for All Souls College here, it was meant to test intellectual agility... Past words, chosen by the fellows, included 'style,' 'censorship,' 'charity,' 'reproduction,' 'novelty,' 'chaos' and 'mercy.'" says the New York Times.

(PS - Here's Stephen Fry's latest, wherein he comments on the poisonous lower-body comment trails of YouTube videos and the like.)

(PPS - Today's drop cap reminds me of Beverly Cleary's Ramona stories, specifically Ramona in kindergarten, pulling Susan's curls and going "Boing!")


Talli Roland said…
England certainly isn't what it used to be - they let me in! :)

Enjoyed your weather-related extract.

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