We'd sent an ambulance round to a wee old lady who had fallen. I called back later to see how she was faring.

"I'm fine now hen," she said with a crumbly giggle. "What happened was, I fell into my Christmas tree."


"There's needles and tinsel everywhere. Will you come over and help me put it back up?"

The back shift always goes on forever. It gets dark so early, so I sit there hoping they will go to bed or at least stay very still. But they don't, so Saturday night I was bellowing Are you okay Mr McWrinkly over the roar of the Pop Idol final on their televisions.

And then it started to snow. Slowly slowly it wafted down, not looking like much at first. A few hours later I took a break from rescuing geezers and stared out the window in amazement. It was as though a crack team of CWA ladies had been out, coating the world in marzipan. It looked surreal, almost fake. I couldn't stop babbling, Dude, it's my first snow! My Canadian colleague told me that I should try living in Calgary if I wanted proper snow. But this was my first time, and even as she shoved a snowball down my shirt I couldn't stop grinning.

Right up to that point I'd believed I was still living in Australia, just in some remote pocket where people talked funny and ate a lot of lard. After my shift I got the bus back into town, along the same road we'd come in from the airport nine months ago. Only now, gawking at snow-coated cars, did it finally sink in that I was in Scotland.

A familiar face got on at the Edinburgh Zoo stop. Memories of Paris flooded back — I could never forget those watery, bulging eyes; those freakish spectacles! It was Afghan Hound Woman! I couldn't believe it. What was she doing out at 11 o'clock on a snowy night? She clung to her handbag, looking as terrified of the world as ever. Her wobbly eyes were glued to a bunch of scruffy kids clattering down the stairs, punching each other and yelling, Look at the fuckin' snoooow!

It took me half an hour to get home from Haymarket, shuffling through the sludge. My shoes were drenched, my legs were frozen. I smiled at people going by as they stabbed at greasy chips in polystyrene boxes.

I stopped on the canal bridge with the shivering ducks and stomped around a bit. It was like a thousand Lemonade IcyPoles crunching underfoot. It had stopped snowing and now the sky was soggy and pale.

It felt so fanbloodytastic to be there, under the watery streetlight. To have reached a point of familiarity in this town where you know someone on a bus, yet there's still enough unfamiliar left that a new day can knock you off your feet.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for October 2021.

16 thoughts on “Marzipanish

  1. Well it is 31 degrees here in Melbourne – but with our weater you never know, it could be snowing by tomorrow..
    Merry Scottish Christmas Shauna. Thanks for another year of great writing.

  2. Yes, m’dear, merry Christmas. And I’m glad you’ve some snow there–everyone deserves to see at least one real snow in this world.

  3. The ability to run in a field of freshly fallen snow is a wonderful experience. Even after years of being used to snow, it holds magical qualities that I just can’t describe. Especially at night when it’s so bright and surreal to see the light of the stars shining off of the ground. Glad you got to enjoy some of that there in Edinburgh! Hope everything’s going great for you and your sister!

  4. Hi Shauna! I loved this entry (plus all your others!). Merry Christmas, we have a forecast of 39 degrees here in western nsw tomorrow! Crunch a few icypoles for me!

  5. shauny, i experienced my first real snow when i was in europe last year and it was so exciting.

    i kept on wanting to tell everyone that the snowflakes were indeed all different.

    i hope that you had a great christmas!

  6. Mattay and I did some packing today. It’s extremely hard to think about what to pack for snowy weather when it’s in the 30’s outside.

    (I totally missed this entry. There’s some weird caching thing going on with our puter and your site. That, and I suck. Good lord, we’ll see you tomorrow. Well, tomorrow in two days. But still. Panic!)

  7. Hey Shauny!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Having grown up in S California, I well know what a miracle it is to watch snow fall. (But after nine years in Philadelphia, I got over it.) Glad you’re continuing to enjoy yourself, and I hope the little lady who fell into her tree got it straightened out.

  8. Shauny,

    Your post brings back a lot of memories. Like you, we chose Edinburgh as our working holiday destination.

    The first time my girlfriend and I saw snow was when we were walking up the Royal Mile on our way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Perfect timing. In fact, if it happened in a movie you wouldn’t believe it.

    Edinburgh’s a beautiful city at the best of times but after some snow … wow.

    If you get a chance, borrow someone’s toboggan and hit the lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat when there’s a bit of snow on the ground.

  9. Happy New Year Shauny.

    Thank you for continuing to give us such a great read. You are a star och aye!

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