Last night water started gushing out through the back of the boiler shortly after l heard it emit a slow texan whine. We turned it off and contacted British gas. We joined the queue of people waiting and waiting in a not very patient, stiff and starchy British way, for a service engineer, our slot is booked for tomorrow. With modern insulation, the house has maintained it warmth over night. As it had been switched to constant for three days and like most people in this country after a rare 2 weeks of snow it too has been beaten into submission. Schools are closed. Shops shut. Motorways decorated with empty cars and lorries. And boilers fut! Don't even get me started on the issue of GRIT!
The house is now freezing. Outside it is an ice rink again. More snow is forecast. I haven't seen the grass here since Matewala, (sorry old family joke) which means forever!
In the late 60's I lived in Pointe Claire, Montreal, Quebec and boy did we experience real winters. BUT we were prepared! Chains on the tyres, roads ploughed. We still got to school daily. People got to work, by car, train bus. Life did not stop as we knew it. I do remember our fish froze in their bowl though! The frozen St. Lawrence river had car races on it. Or was that a dream? We walked the sidewalks with snow piled up high to our heads either side. We fell about into its soft drifts. All sounds dampened by the deep snow. You knew where you were in Canada, with the weather. In fact in most things. The brave and the free. I recall it all fondly. Hot summer, a week or four of Autumn, then winter bit. Spring lasted but a short while then into heady summers. Loved it. Really! I experienced the same thing in upstate New York. Life just cracked onwards.
Earlier l was on the phone complaining I was cold and would be better off at work, (on so many levels). She commented I should go and make a snowman to warm up and have some fun. Then it dawned on me hard. The kids haven't made one this year! Shown no intent, no interest, just happy and no school. I asked them, shall we go and make a snowman? They both looked up only with their eyes, through their long lashes and half scowling half with mockery, said in unison 'Nah Mum!'...like as if, WTF was l thinking. Another moment of childhood. Gone.
It must be cold. I am always hot. In the sense that I am always flushing. It's my age. I've just changed into warmer clothing. I'm wearing thick jeans, a cashmere long baggy jumper, a cashmere cardi and a large pashmina. Uggs on my now warm toots! Sitting in front of the one gas fire. Everyone else is in their own room, in bed, under their duvet, online. The modern family unit, apart and together!
Not a snowman in sight.
The year the sea froze
THE BIG FREEZE UK
1963 Hampton, Herne Bay
my dog Butch on the far left
Me & my Dad (JP) 1963
Herne Bay, Kent