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Story Notes:
Originally posted as a 'Secret Santa' drabble for Lottie, December 2010
She opened the stiff white envelope with some puzzlement. It wasn’t her birthday, it was a bit early for Christmas cards, and they weren’t usually as large as this. A soft shimmer of glitter fell into her lap as she drew out … an Advent Calendar!

‘What a strange thing to send me,’ she thought. She looked at the snowy scene with its little numbered doors waiting to be opened and thought about Austria, those early years…

... the snow came, and with it the winter. All that day and the next it snowed, a huge whirling blizzard, and the clouds were so heavy with it that they seemed to be lying on the mountain-tops, and still the snow fell. On the Thursday there as a lull which lasted for two hours,, and the girls, well wrapped up, played about the Chalet during the whole time … they would have to take advantage of fine weather when they could. So from ten o’clock until twelve they rushed about in the dry, powdery white, which was so unlike English snow, and had a glorious time. Just before twelve the great flakes began drifting down again, and they had to go in, and then once more everything was veiled in whirling white, and the blizzard raged until the Sunday.
When the girls got up in the morning the wind had gone down, the snow had ceased to fall, and it was freezing hard … Mountains, path, and level grass were thickly covered with a white mantle against which the lake lay, still and black beneath its veiling of thin ice. Overhead was a leaden sky, giving promise of yet more snow, and the whole world seemed to be wrapped in a mantle of stillness...

She started awake as the stiff card began to slip from her hands. ‘This won’t do,’ she thought. Time for a nightcap and bed. Tomorrow was the first of December; she would be able to open door number one.

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