02 February, 2009

Of snow and fine travel writing

One of thousands of 'gardens in the snow' pictures that will appear on blogs today. No one ever accused me of being original.

Watching cars struggling vainly to get going in the snow reminded me of an incident from Rebecca West's incredible Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Her party was driving through rural Croatia at a time when cars were a rare sight (1930s). Everywhere they went, local people came to the roadside to see the tourists roaring by. However, at one point the car plunged into deep snow and became hopelessly stuck. The local peasants rushed out to help them move the stricken car, while expressing undisguised delight at seeing "the machine make a fool of itself". West recounts how they were quickly helped out of their fix and that the villagers returned to their homes "doubtless to cheer up a horse by telling it what had happened."

Has there ever been more intelligent, more insightful, more beautifully written travel writing (although it's much more than a travelogue) than West's?

(Aargh, I think it was mud, not snow. Anyway...)


  1. I live in the Peak District, and am looking out on acres of snow. We've got a drift that's about seven feet deep, and another that's yards long: I don't think we'll be going out today!

  2. Jane,

    Nice to hear from you; well done for resisting the urge to post a photo.

    Best wishes

  3. I might post one today--we've got even more snow, and it took me three hours to make a round-trip of about five miles this morning.

    I'm staying home until next week, it's far too nasty outside for me today!