Thursday, 8 February 2007


I hate snow. It brings out the Mrs Grimly in me. I think it all started with an unpleasant experience in a snowball fight between some local kids when I was aged about eight. Some revolting little git called Rob threw a snowball at me with a stone at its heart. The impact raised a lump on my head the size of a golf ball. I lost enthusiasm for the snowball fight then, but I made sure I threw a few rocks in Rob's direction after that. I didn't bother with the snow, either.

Then all the horrors of this violence dressed up as harmless fun came back to visit me as an adult. For some crazy, unfathomable set of reasons, I was teaching in a school from hell where I had to cross the playground to use the staff loo. Not likely. It would have been certain death out there in that battleground. When it snowed the kids lined up like some reenactment from the somme.

And the kids round here aren't much better. Last year the snowballs were crashing round the house thanks to some local teenagers taking pot shots at the kitchen windows. A few years ago they scored jackpot and smashed one. So I don't play nice back. Last year when the snowballs started I called the police. They suggested keeping the kitchen lights off and calling again to avoid the confrontation or the blood that might follow if I asked the youths to stop throwing snowballs at the house.

Shark, Tiger and Squirrel adore it all, of course. With a garden like Narnia they're up, dressed and out in five minutes after waking. For them, it's all excitement and delight, and lots of play in the back garden where it's safe, and it's 'let's make snow unicorns'. The snow unicorns have to lie down because the snow's not good for fat unicorn bellies hanging between unicorn legs. I have to coax everyone in for breakfast. Immediately they're back out again. By lunchtime they've made giant snowballs, grown red toes and red noses, gone through six pairs of gloves, and found umpteen things to stick in the snow like lollypop sticks, pipecleaners, coal, carrots and beads. Watching them, they almost persuade me, by their intense work with this pure and perfect modelling stuff, free from the sky, that it is all wonderful and beautiful, and a perfect and lovely experience.

It must have got to me. I'm even indulgent with the disorder of their play that slowly builds up around me. I have another snowman's head in the freezer and Squirrel has taken to building snow unicorns in the bath because her fingers are cold. Tiger has packed a tray with snow and brought it to the bedroom floor to examine it. Shark has piled up an enormous mound of the stuff on the doorstep, so we can barely get in and out.

After hours of happy, safe, unicorn play I get lulled into a false sense of security and potter off out of the front garden gate to see how deep the snow is around the car. I'm scraping the snow gently off the windscreen and it's dry and clean, bouncing off into the road like thousands of soundless polystrene bubbles, when I'm conscious that above my head there's a precisely aimed snowball, growing bigger, coming slowly and silently down at me from the sky. I'm holding an empty wine box, don't ask why, so I raise it up like a shield and stop this thing blasting apart on my head. Then I see some revolting kid legging it down the road. Local kid. Not my kid.

That's it. That's the end of the snow fun. I can hear Mrs Grimly inside me threatening the police and wanting to shake her fist. Now I'm reminded I'll be back on kitchen guard duty until this wretched stuff melts. And I can't tell Shark, Tiger and Squirrel why I can't join in again. Is it any wonder I hate the stuff.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Piccies! I like piccies although you write so well you don't need them.