IT’S SNOWING!!!!!! Ok well it’s not any more obviously, it’s probably just bloody raining again, but this winter it did, twice. Like many others in the UK, we woke up one Sunday morning close to Christmas to a hundred facebook statuses declaring the bloody obvious and the sort of ethereal but eery silence outside that comes with a substantial snowfall. When I was a kid, heavy snowfall had the energy-invoking effect of Christmas morning covered in Coco Pops – a frantic and competitive snowman building session would be followed by sledging on the golf course, with lots of repeated hoiking up of the 2 extra pairs of tights I had put on underneath my trousers. Then we would come home soaked through, numb and exhausted.
My two snot goblins, similarly enchanted but less practical, before I could stop them, were out the back door in just their pyjamas and while I reheated my tea in the microwave, I watched them merrily make brown/white snowballs (the brown was almost definitely probably not dog poo).
I knew that sledging would not be on the menu and hoped they wouldn’t ask. (There is no way we would get SA across a field in this). I noted with some apathy that they were both wearing their school shoes, I should probably intervene. But I was getting eyeball ache off of the glaring, white lawn and my reheated tea tasted like drains, I could just leave them. Besides, wasn’t I actually being a good parent in allowing them to make a bad decision without interfering? Like the times when they were babies and I would sit back and observe without intervention, the dog meticulously licking the snot clean from their faces or allowing either child to chew /suck on a table leg in the pub. Back then I could justify my inaction with the firm conviction that they were forging a robust immune system.
And similarly, this time, watching them whooping and rosy in the snow-covered garden I knew that in 10 minutes time when they regretted their decision to not dress appropriately (or, in fact, at all), they would re-enter the house and stoically bear full responsibility. They would not blame me for their frostbite but would instead put it down to experience . . . Maybe I wouldn’t hang around to find out.
Outside the front of our house, there had been a gradual decline in the amount of honking, swearing and tailgating going on, which suggested that the launderette next door was getting less busy. As the snow persisted, its Sunday customers had started to withdraw or chosen to stay at home. A glance out onto the road confirmed that some cars had now been abandoned, some were getting stuck up the hill and that the only people out and about unencumbered, were the smug 4×4 drivers.
We had plans, longstanding plans to meet friends down the local pub and I was fairly certain that snow and wheelchairs hadn’t been designed with each other in mind. Should we cancel and be beaten once again by one of God’s lousy decisions? Not likely. Should we go and just leave Daddy at home? (Dylan’s suggestion). Hm, worthy of consideration . . .
No, we are The Davis’s and after short discussion, we stubbornly decided to tackle the problem head on even though SA had never been out in the snow. In fact it was probably because SA had never been out in he snow that we thought we could do it. What we lacked in common sense, we made up for with a sense of adventure. As SA often remarks “I didn’t get where I am today by being careful”.
We also were fortunate at this time to have with us a young, spritely PA who was a) not afraid of snow or graft and b) does enough wiggling around the house to possess a very firm and strong set of glutes . So those firm Slavic thighs came in extremely handy as she shoved/slid SA in his wheelchair down the snow thickened lane towards the pub.
But it was taking so long, the snow was only getting thicker and the poor PA was getting pinker. SA to his own admission was f’ing useless, having no grip to be able to push and he just sat shouting encouragement, a human plough shovelling an ever growing pile of snow with his foot plate. You may be wondering what I was doing at this point, well I was covering a couple of bases. I was trying to supervise our two children who were now like a couple of ferrets that had been let loose on a blank canvas of fresh snow. I was also using my substantially less Amazonian thighs to help with the shoving and using my (now soaked) feet as shovels, scooping away the snow in front to try and make the way clearer for the (now puce) PA. I tried making the odd suggestion, like that we try a different method, or that we place a snowboard under each wheel? I could go back for a shovel, or we could even, dare I say it, give up completely. All of my suggestions were met with a “hush woman, we’re almost there”. I didn’t particularly want to turn back, after all we’d come this far, what would be gained by giving up? We’d just be back where we started only now, severely in the red in terms of energy and enthusiasm.
I was so cold I would have happily climbed inside a dead tonton (Star Wars reference). But I didn’t have to because we eventually made it to the pub, a relatively short distance having taken 4 times as long as it should. We were rewarded with an open fire and hearth which we promptly decorated with wet boots and gloves. Our friends had had less distance to cover (and fully functioning limbs) so had been there a while and found our trials hilarious. It was only when I got up to go to the ladies a little while later and stood up in a puddle that I realised that since we had arrived, SA had been slowly melting. The chunks of ice and snow that he had collected under his wheelchair on the way there had melted and had run under the table where there was now a huge puddle. Oh well, at least we had something to account for the plopping sounds that had been coming from SA’s direction.
Once it was time to leave, it was dark, I had wet feet from standing in the puddle and the enthusiasm I’d had 2 hours previously had not been rediscovered quite as I had hoped, at the bottom of a large Burgundy glass. We’ll get a cab home.
When is it Spring?