Winter has arrived

The view from my front door on Tuesday 12th January © Ricky Yates



As I explained in this post, the winter of 2019-2020 was remarkably mild. However, the winter we are currently experiencing is bearing a much greater similarity to my first two winters living here in Stará Oleška and a week ago, winter arrived with a vengeance.


Before Christmas, we had a dusting of snow on a few occasions, but it soon melted. On 26th December, Boxing Day, we had a further light snowfall but which again, mostly melted in the following twenty-four hours. But overnight Friday 8th – Saturday 9th January, snow fell once again and didn’t melt. And since then, snow has fallen, snow on snow!




The view from my front door on Saturday 9th January © Ricky Yates

This was the scene that greeted me when I got up on the morning of Saturday 9th January.

Olešský rybník on Saturday 9th January © Ricky Yates

Later that day, I went for a walk to Olešský rybník, the lake at the other end of the village. As you can see it was almost totally frozen at the surface with snow lying on top of the ice.

Stará Oleška 44 © Ricky Yates

The photo at the beginning of this post was the view from my front door on Tuesday 12th January, before I cleared my front path. And above is a view of my house from outside of my front gates, taken the same day.

My back garden © Ricky Yates

The new path across my back garden, from the rear steps to the woodshed, has very much proved its worth during the current weather. You can just about make it out in this photo, taken before I cleared it of snow. But being smooth and even, it is relatively easy to scrape snow off it.

A few days ago, my Czech friend Kát’a, who has helped me with language issues in recent months, saw one of my snowy photos and said she would like to make a snowman. She lives in Decín, which although being only 11km from my home, is 135m above sea level, whereas Stará Oleška is nearly 300m above sea level. Therefore what falls as snow here, often only falls as rain in Decín.

Snowman & snow woman © Kát’a Burešová

Therefore yesterday, ironically when Decín did get some snow, I picked her up and brought her to my house and together, we made a snowman and a snow woman 🙂 The snow woman was Kát’a’s idea and her creation 🙂

My back garden, Friday 15th January © Ricky Yates

Today we have had yet more snow. Once more, I cleared the path to the woodshed, past the snow people 😉 ,  in order to split some more logs and bring them into the house and keep the wood-burning stove going. But as you can see, within an hour it was once more being covered in snow.

4 comments to Winter has arrived

  • Sean McCann

    Hi Ricky,
    Glad to see you posting here again, great photographs as always. That path through your garden to the woodshed has definitely saved you misery this winter. You are, like Good King Wenceslas, looking out on deep, crisp and even snow even if it isn’t the Feast of Stephen (just to continue your carol reference) 😉
    We have had some snow here at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois but more on the scale of your ‘9th January’ photograph; it lasted a couple of days and was accompanied by a severe frost. Our local roads were quite icy in places and driving was an adventure sport for those who had to travel. However the usual Irish winter weather has returned with wind, rain and overcast skies as I type – perfectly normal, just rotten!
    I hope all is well for you, your family and friends as we enter 2021; and that the scourge of Covid hasn’t, and will not touch any of you in any way. Thankfully our family has so far escaped it’s ravages; and with continued care and attention to distancing, hygiene and health regulations we hope to continue our ‘lucky streak’
    Thankfully the evenings are just starting to grow noticeably longer and there is a feeling of hope coming with the lengthening day -it is slight and tender as yet but hope springs eternal.
    Take care of yourself Ricky and continued health and happiness

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,
      Thank you once again for being such a faithful visitor and commenter.

      As I wrote in this post, the new path across the back garden has certainly proved its worth in recent days. It is quite a quick and easy task to clear it of snow and then have something smooth and solid on which to walk whilst carrying a basket of logs. As I presume you realise, your Christmas carol analogy is highly appropriate as Wenceslas is Svatý Václav, Patron Saint of the Czech Republic. Last night, ‘the frost was cruel’ with the temperature down to -6° meaning that this morning, the bolt on the woodshed door was completely frozen. It took some boiling water from my hot water jug to free it up!

      Please forgive the geographer in me speaking but the sea, which completely surrounds the island of Ireland, has a moderating effect on your weather, meaning your winters are usually relatively mild with very little snow, but your summers are normally never that hot. Here we are a long way from the sea meaning we have much colder winters and warmer summers. A continental rather than maritime climate. Because snow and ice are expected in winter, the authorities here are well prepared for it. Through all of this snow, the road through the village has been kept relatively clear. The gritting lorry went though again a short while ago as I was writing this reply.

      So far, I have been kept free from the scourge of COVID-19. Living in relative isolation has been beneficial though at times, a little lonely. With various vaccines now being rolled out, let us hope that things slowly start to improve in 2021. Being over 65 & with a pre-existing health condition, I am fairly near the top of the list here so will hopefully be vaccinated by the end of March. Like you, I’m appreciating the increasing hours of daylight each day. Many thanks for your good wishes.

  • Robert Doolittle

    Ricky: Thanks for the lovely snow photos. Snow is lovely if one does not have to shovel it. I grew up in New England and shovelled plenty of snow. I also enjoyed sledding on it and skating on the ice we had on numerous ponds and playing hockey as long as there was daylight with feet like blocks of ice.

    The snow people are terrific. The weather has been quite cold here, nowhere as cold as yours, close to freezing, but of course no snow. I still like the looks of it.

    • Ricky

      Bob: Thank you for both of your comments which I have combined into one to make it easier for me to reply to you. I knew you liked snow photos so I am pleased to be able to provide you with some 🙂

      I agree with you that having to shovel snow to clear paths & driveways is the one downside of snowy weather. My front path is quite long & then there is the wider area in front of the carport which also has to be cleared if I want to get my car out. In the past 24 hours, the temperature has gone above freezing so some of the snow is beginning to melt, together with large quantities sliding off roofs!