Friday, February 09, 2007

Snow Joke...

Snow Joke...
Tee-hee, I love the old puns.

I love this country when it snows, especially in the south of England.
The UK doesn't do snow anymore, not with global warming, we've had the warmest January that I can remember in my 50 years on this planet, the temperature has barely dropped below 8c for the whole of the month and most of the trees and shrubs in my rolling acres have shoots and buds on them at least three months earlier than they should have - one of them had new buds on in November even before it had got rid of last years leaves.

So when the temperature drops below zero for a few days we all panic, and as a few flakes of snow start to fall everyone runs home from work and hides in their houses, peeking out at the cold outdoors and wondering if enough has fallen to cover the ground yet.

TV News crews were out all along the south of the country on Wednesday warning of a day of armageddon on Thursday as the heaviest snow fall in 100 years was on its way. When it arrived yesterday it barely covered the ground and yesterdays news bullitens were full of reporters standing on roadsides trying to pretend that the thin layer of white stuff behind them was actually several feet deep. BBC News Report here

And of course every school in the south of England closed "for Health and Safety reasons" because we can't have our precious little lambs playing in the snow in school playgrounds, slipping and sliding and throwing snowballs at each other can we ?

Not that its always been this way of course ....

(computer screen goes all wavy and we're spinning through a vortex until we land, bump, in 1968, at cookridge county primary school where a young jerrychicken trudges up the hill through 4 foot snow drifts)

When ah wor nobbut a lad "snow days" off from school were unheard of, we were expected to get to school by whatever means were available on even the heaviest of snow days, and I'm talking seriously of falls up to four feet in depth here.

The best school days of my life have been spent on the school playing field engaging in mass brawls in the snow, one year against another, two or three hundred kids intent on murdering another two or three hundred kids with snow as the excuse, year long pent up grievences given a free hand to reap vengance, many noses were blooded, several kids were buried in drifts not to be discovered until the thaw came several days later, bones were broken (especially Stuart Ackroyds collar bone) and when the bell went for lessons hardly a scrap of snow would remain on the playing fields for it would all be stuffed down the necks of victims or rammed hard inside your wellingtons.

But the overwhelming memory of snow days at school was the smell in the classroom afterwards - the caretaker would have turned up the heating full blast and those kids who normally sat next to the window and hence a radiator would be bombarded with requests to "put my gloves on the radiator" or "put my socks on the radiator", "put my wellies onthe radiator" or even "put my underpants on the radiator" from the strange boy who normally sat at the back of the class playing with himself.

By dinnertime the teacher would hardly be able to see most of us so dense was the layer of cloud in the classroom and the stench of scorched wool and scorched rubber would be impregnated into every fabric in the room, for months afterwards you would still smell that smell every time the caretaker turned the heating up.

And in the evening we would congregate on the road that ran up the steepest hill in cookridge as by coincidence it was also the last road in cookridge and on one side of it the countryside commenced, hence the pavement on that side was never used by pedestrians - for several weeks during the winter this side of the road would be sheet ice, crushed and compacted by a thousand kids sledges, impossible to walk up but faster than any olympic bobsleigh run that you care to name.

Here we risked life and limb every evening, right through the dark of night, sledging with torches, an dhere it was that I had a terrible accident on my sledge, a home-made, black painted sledge with silver go-faster stripes and its name spelled out in silver paint, "the black knight", here on one terrific downhill run with Stuart Ackroyd as my passenger we broke the downhill speed record easily until we veered off the course, hit the grassy area to the left and cartwheeled down the rest of the course in a haze of snow, ice, gasps and screams - end result, Stuart Ackroyd broke his collar bone again.

I was fine though.

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