Winter Is Coming

The air is still, there’s no breeze. Expectation hangs dumbly like a first-grader trying to cut in at the school disco. Everything waits.

The scene is set; bare branches beseech leaden skies, that familiar crunch of salt on concrete is underfoot, black rims signal vehicles readied with snow-tires and chassis bear the crust of salt and grit like war-paint. (More on snow tires and our slippery Sunday in my November column for Expat Focus.)


Winter is coming…


…and we are ready.


This week is full-on crazy. Bone-snapping windchill means layers, snow pants and all the accompanying shizzle. Frost protection gloves were pulled out, micro-fleece neckwarmers, snow boots and balaclavas. We’re back to taking just as long to get dressed as we do to reach our destination. The days when water and sunglasses were all I grabbed before heading out the door are long gone. If I don’t wrap up properly (and most of the time even when I do) I suffer the consequences of Raynaud’s Syndrome. Yep, that bloodless icecube defrosting in the corner would be me…


Raynauds Phenomenon


With K working late all this week, a highly concentrated dose of super-organisation is the only thing standing between me and a solo-parent blow-out on the weekday expressway of school runs, packed lunches, Taekwondo classes and Tiny Tutu’s so, uncharacteristically, every hour is scheduled and I have to take my fun where I can get it. Afternoon school pick-up is a break from the computer and a chance to slip into a lower gear (and take some snaps). The slightest hint of snow and everyone’s a little wired – like cats on a windy day, but so far the weather’s just toying with us.

Back at home, with the kids at the kitchen table doing homework, I got on with putting together a homemade Shepherd’s Pie (recipe here) to chase away the cold. It’s my favourite meal from childhood, although remembering its uniformly corrugated appearance my mother’s was probably shop-bought.

Later, when we stagger through the door after walking back from the gym (into the -15 degree blasting wind), the oven pings and I know with a deep-seated contentedness that the mad rush earlier was worth it. Sitting in a warm kitchen together, at a candlelit table (because who doesn’t love blowing candles out?) we stare out into the darkness and crow,

“Come on snow!!!”




By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. Great post which I really enjoyed reading. Your poor poor hands though BBBbbrrrrr.
    Well done on getting through the solo parenting frazzle.
    The Shepherd’s Pie sounds delish – hey maybe your Mum was just very precise with her potato grooving 😉
    Liska x

    1. Happens all the time – but I always come back to life. I’m hoping it has a stasis-effect and I’ll look way younger than all of you who haven’t been cryogenically preserved 😉
      Potato grooving – sounds like a dance…
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Mmm shepherds pie!

    As someone with poor circulation I can sympathise to some degree – I already have 8 toes with chill blains on – all that from getting in to one too hot bath! I feel about 80 years old 😉

    Love your photos x

Fewer than 1% of visitors leave a comment - be different, be heard, be someone with an opinion.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.