Winter is really here, at last. the temperature was minus 17 when we headed off to school this morning and now, at 10 am it has climbed to a balmy minus 14 degrees. The sky is blue. The day is unbelievably beautiful, but it is cold. Snow has two redeeming features. It is slippery, which means it is fun. And it is white which gives everything a feeling of clean-ness, of purity, of stark, simple beauty.

But the cold is palpable. My face was painful as I walked back from the shop just now. My legs were just cold, but the exposed skin of my cheeks and chin were aching. Coldness is not something I have felt much of in my life. Not real cold. It is a refreshing feeling at the same time as being uncomfortable. Makes me want to run, makes me want to get out on skis.

We bought skis for Samuel and me a few days back. Having chosen skis, boots and poles I was a little confused when the shop attendant started pulling out all the accessories. Four different types of hard wax for different temperatures and conditions, as well as something called Universal Klister, which I have since discovered is for when the snow gets wet and claggy, a few containers of glide wax, a rough block to smooth the hard wax once applied, a scraper to remove wax buildup, and a spray-can of ski cleaner: all were laid on the bench in front of my bewildered eyes. That should get me started, he said. There were a lot of other products I could get if I really got into skiing.

So with my bag of goodies we headed home and yesterday I found myself staring at them all wondering where to start. In the end I resorted to the internet, and soon I had some idea of what to do. When the kids got home from school Samuel and I went out in the dim afternoon light, equipped with our newly waxed skis, to slip and slide our way along the forest track that circumnavigates Brickebacken. We didn’t go far, but it was a start…


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