Monday, 11 February 2013

Wishing for snow

In spite of looking forward to spring, I'm also hoping we get some more snow this year. I've always loved it. Especially when you're out walking and it's coming down in thick flakes, giving the world a feeling of things not being quite real. I even have a favourite place for a snowy walk: the disused railway line between Stubbins and Irwell Vale which became a footpath in the 1980s. The trees grow on either side and their branches meet above. Being there when the world turns white, with woods on one side and fields on the other, gives you a very surreal feeling.

One of my favourite books is The Snow Queen. I have a cloth-bound Everyman copy of it with illustrations by Alfred A Knopf. I'll read it to Joe when he's older.

European and Russian fairy tales have fascinated me since I was little, and I had a jigsaw called The Arrival of the Snow Queen. It was irridescent, covered in a foil-like material, and when I'd finally completed it (which took a long time - partly due to the cat stealing pieces and chewing on them), it was hung in my room.

The jigsaw is long since gone but after a bit of research I found the actual painting was by two sisters, Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. They were twins and prolific illustrators of children's books during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In fact, they illustrated many of the hardback Enid Blyton books I've got boxed up in the attic.

I loved The Arrival of the Snow Queen. I used to wish I was the girl in the red boots:

Maybe that's when I unwittingly became a fan of silver hoop earrings.

And being a typical pony-mad girl, I would stare dreamily at the white horses and wish I could ride one. Or at least sit in the sleigh, regardless of the Snow Queen's evil intentions.

So if (fingers crossed) we get snow again, I'll be escaping into it - and taking Joe with me.

Photo of the Grahame Johnstone sisters from Dean &Son Ltd, via Wikipedia

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