Jonathan: The max-min thermometer outside recorded -5degC last night (and that in the relative shelter of the woodstore and near the house, so probably a couple of degrees colder). That’s a record low since we moved here eight years ago. Also the cold continuing day-on-day for nearly two weeks now. The night frost sparkles with starlight, and in the morning the cars are covered with the distinctive graffiti of Jack Frost. Now, at mid-morning, the sun shines wanly out of clear pale blue sky, but behind glass it has yet the power to warm and enliven. But in the shadows – and at this time of year and at this latititude the shadows are very long! – the ice lingers on.
Jonathan: The weather changed during the night, with rain carried in from the south-west on a mild wind having mostly melted the snow, but falling on frozen blacktop had resulted in black ice. The coldest it’s been in the past week has been -4degC a couple of mornings ago, but for the most part its just hovered between 0 and +4 – ie just cold enough to stop the little snow we had from melting. Compared to the mainland Scotland and north east England it has been positively balmy here! By the time I’d fed the hens and geese and sheep the rain had cleared and it was a fine morning with a light breeze. This cow – munching grass by the roadside near the croft – seemed quite happy!
Denise: A problem with the water supply somewhere: pressure so low the electric shower wouldn’t fire up, and the washing machines were beeping and flashing and eventually had to be turned off. House is certainly cold, but not enough to freeze pipes inside. Buried pipes here in Uist are often just below the surface, as frosts are rarely more than light or short-lived: but J says the temperature outside is only just a fraction below zero, so perhaps its nothing to do with the cold.
Jonathan: A couple of inches of snow fell last night which is unusual enough, but having – as usual – started to melt immediately, the skies cleared in the early morning and it re-froze as ice. The roads don’t appear to have been salted either, so getting to the croft and back was a bit tricky. The drive up to Aird on Benbecula for the dry stane dyking course didn’t attract either – 65 mile round trip of ice snow and single-track road: I doubt I’d have been the only one not to turn up! But a lovely bright day all the same.
Denise: Today the wind has shifted to the north, and that always means clear skies and a stream of air that is razor sharp – cold, but also so clear that the sun can be dazzling bright, even in winter. Yesterday, when the sun was at its highest (admittedly not very high!) we were both out in the garden, me second-digging to find remaining potatoes, J working on new fences. These will run across the garden from the front corners of the house, so as to create two realms: a front ‘public’ garden and a private back garden. The back will also become more sheltered, and we should be able to confine Tilly when we need to! J stayed out until it started to get dusky and cold – although he did spend a good while talking with our neighbour Domhnall Iain! – but by then I was glad to get indoors to the warm and press on with some spinning and knitting.