It’s a grumpy adult who does not share some child like sense of fun at the possibilities of play in the snow. When I had young children at home we looked forward to the snow, to make Snowmen, hurl snowballs, and see if there was a local slope that you could slide down.
I also seem to remember we did all that before going to school and work in the morning, or when we got home, or at the week-end. This week we have seen two interlocking phenomena – adults enjoying play with their children, which is a good thing, and people deciding that snow provides an excuse not to do anything, which is not such a good thing.
On Monday when many decided not to go to work I had my easiest journey for years to get to the office. Yesterday I had to be in Wokingham for a short meeting in the morning, followed by a visit to a local school, and then emails and letters to do at home. I was booked for a meeting in Oxford at 4, had to be in Henley at 6.30, and turn up to speak at a dinner wearing a DJ in Aldershot at 7.45pm before going back home. The bus and train timetables confirmed the usual – even if they had all been working there wasn’t a prayer of doing that by public transport, let alone carrying the change of clothes round with me all day.
I heard that it would be unwise to venture onto the roads. However, I found to my pleasant surprise that cautious driving was quite possible. I made all the appointments, with just fifteen minutes delay by the end at Aldershot. I discovered during the course of the morning that the school which had invited me was closed. The other things I was doing were not public sector and they all went ahead as normal, without anyone coming to grief.
This week the UK and London have looked absurd to the outside world. A heavily indebted country gripped by recession and in the midst of a big balance of payments crisis found it difficult to deal with a few inches of snow. We need to prove we have the time to enjoy the natural world and export to the four corners of the globe as well. We need to show some grit in our response to adverse weather. After all, with all this global warming, we should be ready for the unexpected.