It is a fact well established that one spends all winter praying for a snow day and then when one finally arrives, the reality never quite lives up to its powdery promise.
“Let’s go to a coffee shop!” I said. “We’ll go to a coffee shop, in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY! And do our marking! All that marking we never get done, it will be done, in a coffee shop, with LATTES AND SCINTILLATING CONVERSATION!”
I have visions of it right now; the latte, the almond croissant, the marking, all laid out on the table in front of me, right there on a Thursday afternoon when under normal circumstances one would be teaching Year 10. And then the snow comes, and we are sent home, and realising that we have an approximately thirty second window in which to travel before all public transport is suspended and the roads become impassable, we reluctantly go home, leaving dreams of coffee shops to remain just dreams.
Then the snow starts coming down, I mean really coming down, and I am trapped in Narnia in cul-de-sac form, trying to convince a small boy that it really is just like Narnia, which he has never heard of, or The Snowman, which he has probably seen but paid scant attention to, and on top of realising that I am raising my child in the kind of cultural desert where he has reached the age of three and a half without having read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I realise that I have also somehow birthed one whose attitude to snow sits somewhere between mild disinterest and outright loathing. He doesn’t even want to go outside and make a snowman! What is this outrage?
With the snow reaching its peak, we step outside. “Let’s go for a walk!” I cry, “In the snow!” I add, “It’ll be fun!” I say. And it is fun, if one finds dragging an unwilling toddler up an enormous hill in an Arctic blizzard whilst watching other children being gleefully towed along on sledges by rosy-cheeked parents, fun.
How have all the other parents got children that like snow? I wonder. Why is my child demanding to be carried lest he sully his dainty feet on the monstrous snow? Why did I not realise that carrying a child with snowy boots will result in a large wet patch on my trousers in an unfortunate position? WHY HAS EVERYONE ELSE GOT SLEDGES AND WHERE DO YOU EVEN BUY SLEDGES AND KEEP THEM WHEN WE ONLY GET SNOW ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS???????
I think about buying a sledge, and then decide I cannot justify spending actual cash money on something that will only ever be used once that isn’t even a designer accessory. I go into a shop and look around for sledges. There are none. Didn’t anyone even think to look at the weather forecast and take a punt on a sudden universal need for sledges? Not only are there no sledges in the shops, but there is no milk anywhere to be seen. Resolve to become vegan, and prepare speech in head to my mother, extolling the virtues of breastfeeding in such times of national crisis.
I start wondering if the local cafe has any milk, or is even open, but before we can get there the Toddler starts crying, having been buffeted by sudden icy gales that seem to have come out of nowhere and are whipping up snow in a manner not seen since they set up that giant snow globe in Clifton Down Shopping Centre.
“Do you want to go home?” I ask, finally prepared to admit defeat and accept that a) unless you’ve stocked up on milk and sledges and are in fact an extra at Christmas dinner around the big Alpine table in the Wham! video for Last Christmas, snow days aren’t all they’re cracked up to be; and b) my child is never going to be the next Amundsen, Shackleton, or even Scott, and in the words of the latter’s ill-fated comrade, going outside may result in being quite some time and end with certain death from frostbite.
We go home, and watch from the safety of the bedroom window as everyone else’s children make snowmen. Roll on the next Snow Day, but then, he’ll probably be an adult by then and the magic will be gone.