Snowy winter in Poole – A photo essay

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Almost for my entire life I lived in a country where winter meant -20 degrees, at least 1 meter of snow and many months of being cold. Because at -20 degrees, even with the heating inside the house, it is cold. I remember how during my childhood I would spend the winter holidays with my grandma, and each evening would find us sitting next to the terracotta wooden burner in her room. Later, as I grew up, the wood got replaced with gas, but I still have fond memories of how I would keep my feet up on it, watching TV with my grandma and our cat, sipping from a mug of hot chocolate.

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The winter when she died was the worst… I remember how it started to snow right after the funeral. Big, beautiful snowflakes were falling off what until then was a sunny blue sky, onto the graveyard. I returned to an empty house, all by myself. The next days were torture… the snow wouldn’t stop. I would wake up every morning at 5 am only to shovel the snow for two hours, to make a path through the yard to the front gate. And then another hour, trying to get the gate to open so I can go to work. It was so cold that inside the house, the heater was useless. I had to sleep with my winter jacket on, hat and gloves (as you can’t leave gas heaters on during the night).

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Now don’t get me wrong, but back then we didn’t have modern heating solutions, and my grandma would have never afforded to install a central heating system for her entire house, with the 200 euros a month pension she would get from the government. Only the gas bill would be 150 each month, in winter! But my grandma was an amazing woman, with a huge heart. She would invite the postman or the meter readers inside for a cup of hot coffee in winter or a cold glass of water in summer, because she felt sorry for them walking all day in the cold or in the heat. So the gas lady would always put less kw on her bill in winter, and catch up in summer, when there was almost no usage.

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When I moved the England, one of my reliefs was that in the South is almost never snows. I have been living here for five years and I have seen a few snowflakes once only. Even when I heard the news about the arriving of “the beast from the East”, I didn’t worry, because “it never snows in Poole”. So imagine my surprise when I woke up to a white scenery yesterday morning.  I spent the entire day inside, with the heater turned on fully. As the day went by, more and more snow would set on the ground, to the point where the entire main road passing in front of my building got impossible to drive on. The buses got cancelled, there was almost no car on the road either. The brave drivers who dared to get out were having a hard time to keep their cars from skidding. I have seen so many cars going sideways just because their drivers were unable to control them. This part of the country doesn’t see snow, so no car has winter tires.

Towards the evening I decided to go out and face the storm and take some photos in the same time. I sealed my camera inside a zip-lock bag, with only the lens out, put my boots on and stepped out. The snow was a few fingers deep in my parking lot and there were no parked cars to be seen anymore. I guess everyone in the nearby office buildings saw this coming and went home before it was too late.

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The town was pretty much ghosted. I’ve only met just a few other passers-by during my stroll through the snow, mostly dog owners walking their pets. It was cold, very cold. My fingers were frozen on the shutter and I wish I would have taken my gloves with me. But I still managed to take a few nice photos on my town. I hope you like them! 🙂

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