“It can’t go on much longer,” said Sophia to James. They were sitting together at the kitchen table, the children having long been in bed. They had both lost track of time and had no desire to sleep after being cooped up in the house for some days. Even Freddie had left them to it and gone to his room, shutting the door behind him so that James and Sophia could talk without disturbing him.
“No, I hope not,” replied James. “We have no way to know how widespread this snow has fallen. But I daresay there will be a great many losses of animals in the area, and livelihoods will be in danger if it goes on much longer.”
“Even if it stops snowing and things warm up. It is going to take many days for the frozen snow to melt,” said Sophia.
“I am growing a little concerned about the melt water too,” replied James. “Imagine all this snow melting into the rivers. There will be flooding, that’s for sure.”
Sophia stood to fetch the teapot and topped up both their mugs. She was worried for James. He wasn’t getting any younger and even though he had a good team of workers, she knew he would want to be out there helping to rescue his animals. They had both been through all sorts of ups and downs in the years since they moved into the basin, but she was beginning to feel like this could be one of their biggest tests.
“Hark,” said James suddenly. “The wind has come up. That means it will warm up and maybe start to rain again.”
He had hardly spoken those words when they could hear water coursing from every surface, and it wasn’t long before the increasingly heavy rain had started to shift huge chunks of snow off the roof. James ventured to open the front door and got a drenching for his action, but they could see by the dim light of the lantern that the snow was already being washed away in channels.
“This will wake the children,” said Sophia as there came yet another crash of snow slithering down the roof and hitting the ground.
It had indeed woken Freddie who came out of his bedroom rubbing his eyes and wearing only his pyjamas. “I can’t sleep for the sound of that stupid tree hitting the roof,” he complained.
Sophia pulled a knitted blanket from the back of her chair and wrapped it round her son’s shoulders. “Here, put this round you and I’ll pour you some tea,” she said.