.....today we ventured back into the real world..........the world that exists over the sea,beyond this tiny island I call home! Me & my little ones had last left the island last Monday before we were sent a small Mc-flurry of snow,however,it was not the snow that kept had us housebound but ice-our winding country style roads simply do not like it & the gritters save their grit for the more substantial roads. At times like these those much maligned,burly beasts-4x4 monster trucks come into their own & those of us sans 'Chelsea Tractor' must sit it out! School was shut for a week,the children were blessed,having only just emerged from the Christmas break,parents awaiting that back to school bliss,were less enchanted by it all! We had our day in the snow,then spent day after day,the 3 of us in the one room-the room with the fire lit-sure Country Living is all a bed of roses in Kirsty All-slops world,but in reality the idyllic country abode in winter can be as harsh as the snow queens palace! All draughty windows & doors & as for that rustic slate floor it simply transforms itself into floor level refrigeration,perfect for keeping ones feet on ice,3 pairs of socks & 1 pair of slippers (upgraded with sheepskin insoles) are no match for a chill which penetrates the bones! The woodburner was doing overtime providing us with 24 hr glow-wolfing down coal & logs,I provided my 3 hungry birds with homebaked crumbs from the kitchen-baking to keep warm,until the cupboards were bare,Mr M took on the role of hunter-gatherer venturing out to forage for food & rescue my mama from her hilltop home! Our enforced confinement took on a surreal & timeless quality,island life out of season is always secluded,in contrast to the months when we are just another stop on the tourist trail,but this was something else! Of course we are never really that cut off from the world in these days of virtual communication are we,as I type on my laptop-whilst watching TV with my mobile at my side....no-one is ever far away. Just before Christmas I started a book about the lives of the Brontes-a gripping read,that had me longing for bedtime & sneaking little reads at every opportunity. I chanced upon the book in Oxfam when I was on a desperate search for reading matter having just finished a book,reading is an insatiable hunger is it not,whilst absorbed in one I like to have another lined up ready to be devoured-after a respectable pause of course! Having conquered Wuthering Heights earlier in the year,I was hungry for more Bronte & when I saw on page 1 of this dog eared paperback that their mother Maria Branwell was born in my own home town of Penzance,I knew this was my next conquest.Oh, what lives they led up on that bleak Yorkshire moor,at the mercy of the elements with little to comfort body or mind,all of them virtually blind & suffering the pains of illness & heartbreak-not a cheery read-yet still they had a passion to write as though their life depended on it & it did. So in the days of this recent cold snap I was eeking out the final chapters as the Bronte sisters were eeking out their final days-racked with consumption,consumed by unrequited love,isolated & without hope & suddenly my own discomforts seemed so slight. When the end came,the last page,the final word,I was as always bereft-especially as the weather meant that my new book from Amazon had not arrived,I was like Charlotte longing for the postman,alas I waited in vain.....then yesterday it arrived... 'The Collected Works of the Bronte Sisters' oh goodness it is a tome 1,475 pages! I am not even sure I will be able to read it in bed,it is worthy of a lecturn......obviously it will keep me well fed for quite some time.......& I am secretly wishing for more snow!