This recent cold snap has brought back some memories of long ago at Bolam Lake.
In the 1980s, when our children were young and we had proper winters, Bolam Lake would freeze over, enough to skate on, for about a week most years.
My husband, an experienced skater, would monitor the ice and when he considered it safe enough, would tie our sledge, a homemade go-cart and a couple of milk crates together in a long line so that he could tow our children and their friends around the Lake.
This was a popular sport because he would get up some considerable momentum.
On the corners, the milk crate at the end of the line went fastest. Exciting fun was had whizzing round and round to cries of, “faster, faster, Daddy!”
All of a sudden the milk crate at the end of the line hit a lump of frozen goose poo, stopping it abruptly, spilling our son, still travelling at speed, sprawling across the ice, to the merriment of all the children.
On another occasion, when the ice was particularly clear and thick, we decided to have an impromptu barbecue.
We phoned round lots of friends who met us at Bolam Lake armed with wine and pop, snacks and sausages to cook over a small open fire.
We hung jam jars with tea lights in the trees around us and set out more candles in jars in a wide sweep around the lake, forming a boundary of safe ice.
With a full moon rising in a sky filled with stars, the smell of sausages sizzling over the glowing embers, the magical circle of lights, and the sound of children’s laughter in the darkness, left a vivid impression which has stayed with me for almost 40 years.