Finding Hope in the Snowdrops

The snowdrops are here. Time to step AWAY from Christmas and the disappointing debris of sherry, stuffing and cold potatoes.

The sparkly anticipation of Christmas eve is replaced by scenes like this.

We are reeling from mutant virus fallout and sudden restrictions on annoying family gatherings. But still the Snowdrops, a symbol of hope, are sprinkled all over this garden. You have to look for the glimmers of hope wherever they may be.  Here are the ones I found this week.


Last week the lorries stacked up in Dover while my friend Collette, who is 83, came up with tales of wartime France. There was no food, they ate swede for dinner and her mother was just six stone by the end of the occupation. Back to the present day and supermarkets were muttering about food shortages. I went straight to the vegetable patch to assess the situation and Make Plans.  

How to have hope? Decide to take life into your own hands and grow vegetables properly.

Why? Because there is land here and it is good land and things can grow in it.

Why not?  Because we need lettuce every week. Not just 1000 lettuce in June or 500 courgettes on July 5th.  I ignored the inner negative demon and seized the day.

This patch was abandoned in autumn, but I found things. 

Leeks in winter veg patch

Leeks. Or are they spring onions?  Decided they might be leeks so weeded and spread them out to grow into big leeks.

Beetroot in winter veg patch

Beetroot.  Not sure if they have in fact turned to solid wood but decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and weeded them as well.

Tomatoes and some kind of green just looking after themselves. Which was good of them because it was getting cold and boring.

So that was the gardening done then.  Hope for a plentiful supply of vegetables turned into half an hour of weeding and realising that it is quite important that the national food supply chain works.  Even if I do grow veg it is not going to be enough for everybody. But it was fun while it lasted.


The chickens watched helpfully from their tiny new cage. On top of everything we have Avian bird flu in the UK, so all domestic fowl must be locked away. There is a huge difference between a chicken racing across the lawn, to catch a butterfly or chase the cat, and one that is caged.

But they still have hope.  I can see it in their eyes when they press up against the wire, as if they could only melt through it somehow, inspired by the chance to get to me. I felt guilty that they couldn’t be out digging up flowerbeds and gave them a Christmas treat. Look at the joy on that little face.

Chicken with a Christmas treat

Take a leaf out of the chicken’s books. They never give up hope.

Or a cat. 

Cat in wrapping paper

Only a cat can find true joy in becoming sole occupant of a pile of old wrapping paper.  Be more like a cat.


The ancestors left us a full Christmas kit, including a crib.  This was not the year for getting it all out. What was the point? There was nobody here to enjoy an entire miniature wooden scene, including manger and assorted broken angels. But Lo. On Christmas Eve, another crib was made. The message of the new messiah in our house went out across the world via WhatsApp. All was right with the world.

Robot nativity scene

Suddenly I have a Clarinet. Oh the anticipation of the funky jazz I will play. For starters, I can now play half way through Alouette, gentille alouette.  Here is a link, in case you want to hear for yourself. Listen and then see how often it pops into your ear over the next couple of days.  Every time it does you will think of this blog, and feel hope. 


The virus has grown the power to fly further in its little aerosol, so I feel more hostile in the shop. Especially if anybody is too close, or a mask is low. Too English to say a thing, I stand cross and silent, preferring die of coronavirus than suggest they step back and pull their mask up. As the months roll by are we getting less friendly?

Apparently not. Walking back from the shop I stop three times for heartfelt conversations on anything from ‘Is the garage open?’ to ‘Should we be starting a revolution?’ with distant neighbours. These days we snatch chances for conversation greedily and it’s heart-warming to see people lingering on street corners where they once would hardly have said hello. It is happening everywhere.

And at the community centre hundreds of people are collecting, cooking and distributing food. This week I got the highly coveted job of delivering a few meals, and deep thanks, from sheltering people, as if I had made it all myself.  How amazing that this happens and that I have the chance to get all the glory and go around collecting smiles on doorsteps.


It gets lighter by 1 or 2 minutes per day.  Hope is looking at the light, knowing there will be a little bit more tomorrow and that the vitamin D will start trickling in again. Or spotting the moon at dusk and realising it is guaranteed to be full in a couple of days. There is safety in certainty.

Moon at dusk over winter trees

The darkest days are here, but the ground is sprinkled with little white flowers, as if the earth saying ‘It’s ok, good times are coming, just you wait and see’.

8 thoughts on “Finding Hope in the Snowdrops”

  1. I was in the post office and made sure that I was 2 meters away from the person in front me. Then another person came up behind me too close and I let him past. But then the Viking had enough and when next person came close, my hand came out and I clearly said “Stop, 2 Meters!” And they listened. I guess that will mean that I still have not learned the rules of the English, even after having been here longer than I was in Norway. Love your musings and your writing.;-)

    1. I am going to try that next time I am in the shop. Somebody bought me Nordic walking poles for Christmas so I will take them for extra Viking effect.

  2. Great, made me giggle aloud. Feeling very guilty about my veg patch now though. Can you eat dandelions? I heard once you could.

  3. just perfect. I am getting depressed at the thought it is darker for 2 minutes everyday now. even though summer has not come. I am sure it will soon. you can plant garlic now and gather up cow poo from the meadows to make compost.

    1. Trotting down to the meadows today to get the cow poo. They are under water so it might be hard to get at but I will give it a go.

    1. Ha. The playing has a long way to go yet. Perhaps I should make it a weekly feature so that you can see how I am getting on. See if stick at it.

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