“I need to get back to Uni.”
Just 18, he passed his test in July and already, of course, he’s a far better driver than his mum. Never mind that the car is buried under a 3 ft blanket of snow and hasn’t moved since the weekend. Don’t worry that all the roads are single track and covered in slush, with cars abandonned all over the place, and as soon as the plough goes through and clears the path new snow fills it in again. So what if the AA has had 18,000 breakdown call outs and that the temperature is predicted to drop to record lows tonight? Even the buses are struggling to reach the village.
The Forth Road Bridge was closed by snow for the first time in its life. The schools have been off all week and it doesn’t look hopeful for Monday. All the Christmas brass band engagements for the weekend have been cancelled. Swimming’s off. We can’t go running, even though Thursday night running happens in all weather and carried on through last winter’s big freeze. There are avalanches crashing off our roof onto the pavement, threatening shoppers at the store next door. The store has had no bread or milk all week; no deliveries.
There is a hush outside, despite the chattering of the starlings in the back garden. I put out bread for the birds but the snow covers it. The rumble of cars has been replaced by people talking, all those people who should be in offices in town but instead are wandering down the the village street in wellies, a shovel under one arm, shopping bags in the other. That’s why the shelves in the store are bare; no one can get to the out-of-town shopping centres. There are sledges lying across the shop door instead of bikes.
Some things don’t change of course.
I can still get to work. I just wander down the corridor from my kitchen and there I am. I’d love an excuse to go and play in the snow but have pre-Christmas deadlines.
I overheard a conversation in a shop between a teacher and a parent. The schools, of course, are closed but teachers are expected to show up at the nearest school if they can get there. “It’s ridiculous! If it’s not safe for the children, it’s not safe for us!” Parent agrees vigorously. Uhh? I don’t follow your logic, m’dears. And have you so completely missed the point? I’m sure the teachers expect other council employees to be at their desks keeping the county running, or in their vehicles clearing the streets. But maybe that teacher was a special case.
It would be good, though, if they could open up the schools for the 5th and 6th years who have exams looming. “Our maths teacher is going to go mad!” says GP2, who is loving an extra week’s holiday but nervous about the coursework not yet covered. But I’ve just spotted that work is starting to go up on line on the lovely new-and-at-long-last school website. Excellent! I think; hmmph thinks teenager, despite knowing they can’t afford yet more holiday.
The teenagers might put on hats and gloves but they still won’t wear coats. They still know best.
And he still wants to drive round the bypass to the University.