I know it is winter because not a day has passed this week without me wearing my ‘big’ coat. I am a massive fan of a decent coat. One that you can actually close up the front and is long enough to cover your bum.
You need a decent coat when it’s blowing a hoolie straight off the sea. The North East Scottish unrelenting icy wind can cut you in half if you don’t have your big coat to show it who’s boss. And that is why I love my big coat. NOT just because my Mum would have wanted me to wear one.
On the rare childhood occasion we had a hallowed snow day it was sledges out and off to the local golf course. There were no mobile phones to arrange it all, everyone just intrinsically knew which hill to head to and it felt like the whole village was there and everyone knew the moves. Like a scene from the Blues Brothers. The high school kids rocking up in their jeans, a hoodie and a pair of trainers. Effortlessly cool. Meanwhile, my brother and I arrived late, moving a lot more slowly as a result of tights pulled up to our kidneys, three pairs of socks, wellies, salopettes, ski jackets, polo necks, hats, scarves and gloves. Short of our eyeballs, not an inch of us was exposed.
I’m yet to come to a decisive conclusion if this was to protect us from the cold or our blatant disregard for personal safety as we threw ourselves down the slopes. Self-preservation skills were not something we possessed and due to my mother’s refusal to personally attend the slopes of Ranfurly Golf Course, she put all her trust in C&A winter gear and blind faith instead.
The magic of snow
Was snow better in the 1980s? I feel like it was.
Maybe it was just the magical aspect of being a child and having the time to appreciate the snow for simply what it was. A soft, clean blanket of loveliness which meant the school bus couldn’t get up the hill. Once we pretended to make an attempt at walking to school; in our defence the school was five miles away, the day ahead was our very own.
Side note – this was also the exact same distance for the annual Christmas Eve trek to the pub which, somehow, was easily doable.
The weather might have been brutal and the trek up the steepest hill in the world (fact) a killer in heels, but the Christmas Eve traditional booze up didn’t faze us.
Snow days now mean something different.
Working in the emergency services means no such thing as not getting into work for himself. Being self-employed brings different worries, including staff safety. Having children catapulted me into the realms of panic over what is suitable ‘big hill’ attire and if and when one of them arrives home with a bone sticking out, how am I going to get them to our local A&E. Does the Mum-bus have a go-go gadget snow mobile button? And, most importantly, are they going to be warm enough?
I believe the overwhelming need to ensure one’s offspring are suitably warm enough switches on at some stage during the birth of a first child. Without you even noticing.
It starts at birth…
If you look in the Midwifery for Dummies instruction manual, page 23 will instruct you how to twist the expectant mother’s belly button 16 times to the left for this function to be installed. Eldest daughter was born during the sweltering summer of 2003. I took her home in a fluffy, white duck snow suit. Because, you know, the midwife did that twisty navel thing.
These days, the magic of a frosty, wintery day makes me want to be less busy. To whip up a vat of homemade soup in time to welcome them back in from the cold.
Each day I demand the layering of clothing and ask where their coats are before they leave the house. Do they feel the cold? No! Apparently my children are coated with some kind of youth-associated Teflon. I continue to maintain converse and hoodies are not sledge-appropriate attire.
Mary Doll would be proud and no doubt wonder aloud when I got so sensible?