Great glee on Monday: snow closed the boys’ schools. It had started on Sunday evening, and got sufficiently deep to merit a snowball fight. I slithered the car into a resident’s parking space, unsure of whether inability to distinguish yellow lines would invalidate a parking ticket.

The next morning, only wardens in snow-shoes could have made their rounds. On our normally Mediterranean roof terrace, snow made piles on the spikes of the Furcraea bedinghausii and sat like a block of ice cream on the garden chair.

‘Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing; Lazily and incessantly floating down and down: Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing; Hiding difference, making unevenness even, Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.’ Robert Bridges’ poem London Snow is as appropriate now as when he wrote it in 1890. Only snow was more common then.

We gave up on the late Sabbath dash to get homework finished in time for Monday, realising that this is the first time any of the children had seen the ‘crystal manna’ in serious quantity on home streets. It doesn’t look as though it will hurry away either. Never mind. Marmalade making has begun, filling our nostrils with a memory of the warm south.