I drift up the foothills of awareness to dozy wakefulness. Nick and I exchange a few words then I poke my nose above the coverlet and from my vantage point I can see out of the window and spy a winter wonderland. It is a beautifully still view of trees laden with snow and the wispiest of flakes drifting down. Leaping out of bed (relatively speaking) I can peer down onto the pristine whiteness carpeting the ground around the house and into the wooded slopes beyond the lawn and immediate confines of the house grounds.
Everyone is really excited. There’s lots of looking out of windows and enjoyment of good fortune. Last year we arrived to week-old snow which only allowed us a couple of days of winter sports before a thaw really set in. We had resigned ourselves to a snow-less holiday this year. Instead we have a fresh consignment of top grade snow delivered to our door. Various children drift in and out of my room as I gaze in wonder.
To cap it all I am offered the ultimate treat: a breakfast in bed cooked by Daniel. A boiled egg with a side order of bacon and grilled tomato on toast is presented to me by Sam. Above-mentioned smalls get tastes before they are encouraged to leave Granny in peace.
Nick has dressed quickly and is outside shovelling snow from around the cars, and clearing a way down the drive. We will need to go into Aviemore for supplies. The cleared snow later serves to enable the creation of a snowlady whose head is topped with the blonde curly wig I tucked in my bag for Maria. Before the children get togged up to go outside, I step out of the front door and teeter about in my fake Ugg slippers to take a few photos of snow, whose surface is pockmarked only by pheasant footprints.
The children spend the rest of the morning doing fun in the snow. Emma and I take Ruby in the backpack for a walk down to the river and along the bend where the rapids are. The toboggans are again pressed into service until bit by bit cold wet children come indoors holding out hands on the margins of frostbite! Good job there is a huge vat of spicy parsnip soup made by Emma and my homemade soda bread rolls at lunchtime.
As for the swede, clearly the snow has put the kibbosh on Star Wars, unless we take one snowy scene from the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Thoughts are pooled and eventually it is decided to swede The Thing. This 1982 John Carpenter cult movie is highly regarded by Dan and his contemporaries. It was my late nephew Max’s favourite movie. In it, scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills. The beauty of the movie is the suspenseful power of the unseen horror. Dan seems to think he can film a series of sequences which will engage the children without exposing them to the stuff of nightmares. Filming has begun in earnest.
By coincidence we have brought an upmarket remote-controlled toy helicopter with us. This was given to Dan for Christmas, got broken a few hours later and has been repaired by Nick and brought to Inshriach to hand over. It is probably the one requirement for filming that we could not have improvised or found at Inshriach. Amazingly, Walter produces just about every other prop that is needed, or the materials to manufacture what we need. We only need to buy a few things in Aviemore, the Sue Ryder charity shop provides for the wardrobe mistress, and Tesco has a variety of jellies and sweets to make the entrails. Let the fun begin…….