Gerda and Kay

Out to Cardiff today to find accommodation for January. A comfortable glide by Intercity train through still-white countryside from Oxfordshire to South Wales.

Some vistas dominated by fields of pure unbroken white: thick firm icing on a Christmas cake. The six cooling towers of the power station at Didcot clustered like a tray of scaled-up carafes, lording it over the landscape for miles and miles. Nearby and at a distance, bare trees feathery and black against the skydrop.

Bleak if not for the certainty that Spring will come. Rhythm and flux. Rhythms inside rhythms. This deep white winter belongs to a rhythm you have unconsciously craved for years.

At bedtime you read The Snow Queen for the tots from an illustrated book given by Nana. This telling is relatively benign but you detect a quiver of that icy chill planted in you centuries ago by the Hans Christian Andersen version: the doomed innocence of Gerda and Kay, the splinter of ice in the eye, the nightmare of frozen imprisonment in the Snow Queen’s ice castle.  


Dumbfoundingly large

those cooling towers that dominate

the landscape

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