Snow – My first experience and why I love it.

I love it. Always have, which is odd because my first real recollection of it was probably at the late age of nine or ten. Going away with my parents, I want to say to the South Island of New Zealand, though it’s foggy. What I do recollect is pulling up to a snow-covered bank and pulling out the cars’ floor mats or something similar to slide on with my brother. That was it. It was another nine or ten years before I made it down to Ruapehu in the North Island with a girlfriend that was a fan. We were in a Piper’s bus that took six hours to make the four hour journey. I was on skis and couldn’t claim any real talent for it. It was another three years before snowboards were invented and from that date onwards, I was sold. I chased snow to Canada, did a season there, spent time in Japan and have buried myself in snow on a plethora of mountains ever since.

I’m one of the few that love Winter. I say few because I live in Auckland, there’s not much snow up here, only rain though I enjoy that too. It’s what I look for in a movie or a book. Anything with trees and torrential rain, or fields of snow draw me in. Think of the Coen brothers and their black comedy Fargo; the rain on the Parisian streets of Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris; the snow and the water in Leonardo’s Oscar winning performance in the Revenant. Child 44 is a book by Tom Rob Smith. It too starts in snow, is set in the harsh Russian landscape post WWII under Stalin’s rule. Smiths’ writing is smooth, tense and unpredictable. His characters are clear which makes for easy reading. He uses regular references to Russian meals and other idiosyncrasies that give you a strong sense of the lives of the Russian people, how they suffer and eek out an existence while being held to account in a culture of paranoia. The secret service doing what they can to stamp out any threat to their country as well as their own existence. The book is a killer. I’d say a little bit predictable at the end with only one slightly impossible feat, though you’re easily guided to its end by the author and are not left wanting. It was released as a film last year with a stellar cast, though I understand it didn’t come close to the book. Read it instead.

A dream of mine is to write a book beside a North American lake in a wood-panelled study, camped at a large wooden desk in front of a roaring fire. The log cabin I’m in would be surrounded by pillows of snow. The obligatory decanter with a selection of spirits at the ready, waiting for the moon to rise and cast its twin over what you’d expect to be almost frozen water. Wolves howling in forests that stretch beyond anything I could see. Chances are if I found myself in it, I’d probably end up riding instead of writing, though whose to say you can’t have a bit of both?