A couple of days ago, the buses and cars that roll down the new road stopped. The new road has been here since the Victorian era. Things are accepted slowly around here, when they closed the Standedge canal tunnel in 1944 there was a furor that no one had told people around here that it had opened in the first place. They would have stopped it. Down with that sort of thing. We live on the old road, which is basically a lane and still has someone collecting tolls at the junction. This means when we get snow we get the old fashioned snow, not the new fangled new road snow, that kind of new snow stops new cars and people with new kinds of jobs who trudge across our fields to knock on our doors asking for new kinds of help, like using a phone. Down with that sort of thing. The snow is here. The snow is melting. The snow run off will cause new kinds of chaos for all those stranded new cars. Trust us, there will be a canal there by next month and then some bugger will close it down and tell us all seventy years later just after we have accepted the new road.
The snow blocks the world out and the stranded cars vanish beneath a white cloud, snow comes down in a sideways shuffle and there is peace in the world. At times like this, not even someone on the new road would want to tackle a whited out landscape. We become a forgotten hamlet locked in time.
On these days, you could choose to struggle into work and if you are a doctor we're grateful for that struggle but if all you do as a job is cold call old people to sell them tat they don't want, don't need and will never use, shame on you. That has nothing to do with snow, just shame on you. Sometimes though you have to realise you shouldn't be travelling, you shouldn't be getting behind a wheel because wheels have a tendency to spin, that's basic physics. Spinning things with no traction have a tendency to spin faster and in any direction that has the least opposing force. On snowy roads that can be anywhere and the only thing that will stop you is another car, a wall or a brand new canal just opened by a Z-list celebrity. Let's face a simple fact your life is more important than that meeting with Robert in HR. Good chance when you get there that Robert will have phoned in to apologise that he couldn't get there. So, either way you'll have a pointless trip. Stay home and sledge!
Don't underestimate the power and fun of the sledge. It's a perfect excuse to drink hot chocolate and eat cake when you get home. You will see huddles of bus drivers gathered at the bottom of hills and they will tell you tales of wolves coming with the snow, they will warn you how they wake in the middle of the night replying to their baying howls. Even the giants in the hills are digging their way out. Yes, the urban drivers have arrived in the countryside, you can smell their fear and see the patterns of it in the fresh snow.
But why do we insist on going to work when it snows? Let's face facts, we have never coped well with snow. It was okay when we worked around the corner but the daily average commute now exceeds more than twenty miles, and that's a shitty twenty miles in the snow. In the past, it was a mere trudge over the hill, a barking of feet on stone floors to shift excess snow, red cheeks and the promise of a warm fire. Occasionally, this was followed by pneumonia but we'll brush over that. Nowadays, it's a miserable twenty miles listening to a radio DJ that we yell at to shut up so we can hear the song and no-we-do-not-want-to-hear-about-their-new-TV-show-or-wife-or-kid-or-car-or-hairdo. It's the kind of soul crawling journey that is spent skidding sideways into on coming traffic over crushed snow turned to ice before sliding backwards into the staff car park to find the whole bloody building locked up because they all went home twenty seconds ago due to health and safety. No, the British do not do snow well. So why do we bother? Capitalism will still be there on Monday morning. It may be wobbly by Wednesday and destroyed by the weekend but that's economics for you.
Yet, as the snow stops and the grey world turns white and then slips back into the blue skies, those waking giants huddle back down into the landscape and we whizz by those stuck cars on our sledge as they mutter on about the importance of work over family.