I wouldn’t blame you for cursing the weather this week. The snow and ice disrupted the journey to work and thanks to today’s health and safety regulations schools were closed. It’s not safe for children to be in school but it’s fine for them to go home and hurtle lemming-like down the nearest icy slope on a tea tray.

The snow in the Dales gave a welcome reminder to winters past; we need long periods of cold to kill of certain animal diseases, too, and some Dales farmers will be hoping to see the end of blue tongue with a hard winter.

I took the chance to make an early morning trip to Bolton Abbey, prompted not just by a possible Christmas card scene but also by an old book I’ve been reading. Edmund Bogg in his A Thousand Miles of Wharfedale paints a typical Victorian romantic picture of the abbey: ‘Visions of olden days steal o’er us; the noble Abbey stands replete in all its grandeur. Slowly passing along its aisles are the dim figures of monks and choristers chanting in Latin… ‘. He continues poetically:

Bolton in olden time, a glorious pile,
Ancient and of architecture rare,
With turrets high, and fretted roof and aisle,
And wassail hall, and chapels raised for prayer;
Chambers with fair-wrought tapestry hung round,
And secret treasure-rooms of gathered gold,
And lonely cells and dungeons underground,
Where peace was prayed for oft and penance told.

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