January 19, 2013


Snow at last, though only a little compared to what the rest of the country seems to have had. Still, it's enough to make the world patchily white and my bedroom brighter and quieter on first waking, and enough to make my dog skitter around in joyful circles in the garden.

I know how she feels. I've always found snow exciting, and when I was a 'proper employee' would always take a day off sick so that I could get outside and enjoy it. That's harder when it means losing a day's pay, but I've been lucky enough, over the last few years, to have been on a writing week when most of the 'snow events' hit – so it's only been my productivity that's suffered, and not my bank balance.

The cover of my book, Clay, features snow, and the scenes in which the little boy, TC, uses it to track animals were among the first I wrote. When I was a child I loved looking at the prints that animals and birds had left during the night and imagining their secret lives; loved, too, knowing that small creatures like mice and voles ran about under its surface in tunnels which a slow melt would occasionally reveal.

My dog knows all about each night's comings and goings anyway, but the snow seems to help, trapping smells and preserving them for longer so that the white world is rich with information. She'll follow the neat line of a fox's pads on the pavement, pushing her nose deep into each print and inhaling, before sneezing and trotting on.