The Museum in winter

I quite like the cold which is just as well because there is no central heating in our offices in Abbots Hall. Big jumpers are the order of the day. Most of the museum is closed during the winter months which allows the landscape to regenerate. Without the public and with the snow muffling the sounds of the town and working farmland nearby there is a wonderful stillness in the air. There are no tractors in the fields and even the children in Abbot’s Hall primary school have been sent home because their teachers can’t get into work.

Our animals rather like the cold too. Our Soay and Hebredian sheep were bred for this weather and are thriving. Major, the Suffolk Punch and our Red Poll cows have grown the thickest russet red coats I’ve known since I began here in 2005. With so many mild winters in recent years it’s as though they’ve remembered at last how to prepare for the cold. In previous years the snowdrops have peeped through the ground in early January, this year there’s no sign of them

The snow has caused problems for Dave who runs his hurdle making business from the museum. His  willow withies are not drying out. If they are wet all winter, when it comes to splitting them in the Spring they’ll just snap.  Dave spent most last night in his enclosure with a smouldering fire trying to evapourate the damp.

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