Remember when it snowed when you were a kid and you got super excited and sat by the window to make sure you didn’t miss any of it? I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I never grew out of that. This is mainly because it never snowed enough where I grew up in England; if we were lucky we got two to three days of snow a year and some winters we wouldn’t have any at all. Snow is magical and completely changes the landscape making everything feel still and look pristine and nothing makes me feel more Christmassy. On Friday night we had the first snowfall of the season where we live and I sat by the window for an hour watching it fall and gently cover the rooftops. My wife was pretty amused. For my part I found it kind of ironic that the first white morning of the winter happened on Black Friday.
People in southern England are notoriously bad at dealing with snow, three inches of the white stuff and schools would close, people would stay home from work and tabloid newspapers would predict an imminent death from frostbite for the entire country. I used to love those days; snowball fights with random strangers, building snowmen and the warm feeling that weather other than rainfall was happening. In my new home in Massachusetts, snow happens pretty regularly from November through to April and by the end of the winter people are pretty sick of it. The good news is that they are so used to it that they know how to live with it and when it snows my Facebook newsfeed isn’t full of people bloody posting about it (except me). I’m fairly sure that a number of New Englanders that I’ve spoken to are waiting with interest to see how long snow remains a novelty for me.
On Saturday we headed up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for some shopping. The weather was bitterly cold but it was sunny and New Hampshire had seen a lot more snowfall than Boston, making a beautiful contrast with the blue sky as we drove north. Portsmouth is much smaller than Boston but an attractive city with plenty of small independent businesses. In addition to Christmas decorations there was an awful band playing Christmas songs and I’m not sure whether someone suggested to the trumpet player that he put his trumpet where the sun doesn’t shine but I’m pretty sure it would’ve improved the music. There is a movement to encourage spending at small independent stores the day after Black Friday called Small Business Saturday and we were pleased to take part. I do not approve of the rampant commercialism of Black Friday and big stores making their employees work as soon as 6 PM on Thanksgiving so spending money at small independent stores instead seemed like a perfect riposte. Screw you Walmart!
On the topic of Thanksgiving in case you were wondering after my last post my first one in the US was really enjoyable. My sister in law and her husband were great hosts and the food was delicious. The extra sleep on Thursday morning was appreciated too! It was a really interesting experience for me and nice to spend time with my wife’s family. I found the food pretty similar to a British Christmas dinner with the exception of a delicious pumpkin pie for dessert. Now it’s time to get ready for Christmas and if I don’t post for a while its because I’m busy getting ready for my trip back to England or looking out of the window hoping for snow! 🙂