Posted by: Jenny | Monday, 2 February 2009

Let it snow

I recall another snowy season, as if it were yesterday – in fact it is 27 years ago. At the very end of 1981, my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a few days. We went out for a day exploring the Stroud valley, where she had spent her first few months in England in 1938, working as a governess for the Barnett family in Chalford. She was delighted to visit the area again, but unable to be sure which house she and her parents had lived in.

The sky threatened snow, and we were thankful that she was able to get her train home before the snow started. Back home, after putting our two young children to bed, we set to work decorating our bedroom. We listened to the local radio station; the weather reports brought the snow closer and closer to us as the night wore on. Around one in the morning, we looked out and saw that snow had indeed started to fall.

Next day I ventured into town to see about ordering a new carpet. To give our eleven-month-old an airing, I took him in the baby carrier. Most of the shops were closed, but one resourceful small shopkeeper was open for business. He got our order, of course. Walking into and back from town in the snow was exhilarating – and memorable, as I have not done this before or since.

Two days later, the school term started. My teacher husband decided that he could make it into school on his bike. For several days, my usual social round of playgroup, mother and toddler groups, shopping, meeting up with friends was suspended, and I found myself dependent on my own resources. In fact it was liberating. With the children wrapped up in layers of clothing, we would toddle out into the snow for a few minutes until, cold and wet, they clamoured to come in again. We read, played and watched TV. I knitted two pairs of gloves. I felt a sense of peace and self-reliance.


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