It has to be said that winter, real snowy icy cold winter, has not featured very much in my life. Ironic, because I was born in a freak South Manchester snowstorm and the next day, when I made grand entrance into a cul-de-sac in Sale (then Cheshire, now Greater Manchester) where my mother still lives, my father and Grand Dad had to shovel snow to allow the transport access.
There was 1979 where the snow actually lay on the ground, for several days! This coincided with the oil tanker drivers' strike rendering my school closed for extra time after Xmas. Wins for Infant 1 to Junior 3; Junior 4s had to go to into a cold school for several mornings. This was to prepare for the twin ridiculousnesses that were the 11+. 11+ ridiculous, because how exactly do you prepare for verbal and numerical reading tests; confirmation - how ridiculous at 11 - daren't leave it until people are actually able to think for themselves in case some may actually abandon their soul to the devil and decide that they don't want to be any part of the Catholic Church. Guess what, it made no difference.
Ranting aside, I didn't really see significant snow again until I was at University and first learnt how snow can cause a standstill irrespective of widespread industrial action. Campus was covered, people even ski-ed, and Radio Trent were announcing the last buses out of town along Derby Road soon after 5pm.
I also had some bad experiences in the wrong type of snow in 1991; my plane being diverted to Bournemouth, then having to get a coach to Heathrow, and the realise there were no trains to Southend. Nice.
I experienced the one true snow-day earlier this year but have otherwise escaped.
I have heard several stories about the winter of 1963 and understand that it was very cold. Someone told me a story about how his mother dropped the backdoor key in the snow, locking them out until his father came home from work, and she had to take him for a rare treat to the cinema; it was another three months before the key was retrieved from the melted snow. That was in Southend, too.
1963 just got mentioned on BBC News Channel, moment before I read this on a catch up of blog-reading:
My old school is a turning off and my memories of the Avenue are mixed – in the dire endless winter of 1963, when our playing fields in Regent's Park were still under snow, we were forced to run up and down the entire hill each week supposedly improving on our ‘times’, and how relieved we were when the thaw finally arrived.
My Grandad was a lorry driver in 1947, which was, reportedly, worse than 1963. He ended up stranded and had to spend the night at a girl's boarding school. Also in Essex, I believe.
Both my nephews seem to be having great fun in the snow, in the part of Greater Manchester that used to be Lancashire, and in West Yorkshire, but I'm rather glad I live in boring over-heated South London. A SnowDay is nice once in a while, but I don't want it to become a habit.