We all know how handsome our great city is, we see it every day. But for the last week we’ve been able to marvel at its majesty under a blanket of snow.
Canterbury Ghost Tour guide and Journal food critic John Hippisley, an accomplished photographer, has captured its beauty with a series of stunning photographs.
While we are all familiar with the locations, the snow has the power to render the familiar unfamiliar.
Take, for example, John’s picture looking down the River Stour from The Friars (above). Intricate and detailed, the scene somehow comes to life, myriad colours offset by the whiteness of the snow.
Elsewhere, John’s river scene looking in the other direction down the river we find green and brown competing with white for dominance – and yet none manage to prevail.
As we walk around the snow-covered city centre, we can feel like we have transplanted to another place, so rare is snow in these here parts these days.
Indeed, it’s almost as if we are in another time.
Those cobbled streets and tightly packed rows of shops in places like Sun Street, Mercery Lane and Butchery Lane are pieces of glorious history which somehow escaped the German bomb.
To walk along them we might suddenly feel like extras in a Victorian period drama, not surprised to come across Mr Scrooge admonishing his underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit for wanting the day off to celebrate Christmas.
Charles Dickens himself is even known to have stayed in lodgings at Sun Street.
We may well moan at times about the snow and its power to grind life in the United Kingdom to a halt. But its austere beauty is something to behold.
“Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality,” the British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy once said.
He’s right. So make the most of it today, as it’s forecast to disappear over the weekend.
The Met Office predicts temperatures in the city will rise to 4C tomorrow (Saturday), up to 8C on Sunday and then higher in the week.
Who knows when the snow will return, almost certainly not this year. At least there’s summer to look forward to.
And that, too, is a joy in Canterbury.