Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Snow, stuck, stick

Monday: snow. About to get son up for breakfast when I thought I had better check the school website to see if school is open. Surprise, surprise. The headmaster had decided to close the school.

Some of our staff and families do have a long way to come. Just as well I had cancelled my eye appointment, knowing that it would be snowing.

Son was happy to stay at home but wanted to follow the school timetable. Sure. So we started with prayers. Then 'Maths' on a website. Then spelling. Then it went to pot.

Meanwhile husband had trudged off to work at 6.45am as usual. Son rang him at about 8am to say 'school's closed'. He was stuck down the road, north of Wembley. At about 9am he rang to say he's at Baker Street but could go no further and was heading home.


Tuesday: no new snow but school only opening at 10am. Very sensible. They had taken care to clear the snow and gritted where it matters. Unfortunately the public roads and pavements were not gritted at all. I did the school run with a walking stick "to triangulate", I explained.

The chances of falling over are lower when your legs and the walking stick form a tripod. As the arthritis in my spine means I should avoid any trauma to it, I was not keen to fall on the snow.

I had to take a few parcels to the post office and opted to walk instead of drive. Probably a mistake. Met a few young boys with snowballs in their arms. Obviously their school was not opened. I think they were throwing snowballs randomly at strangers. But they saw my stick.

No, they didn't dare, because I would have thwacked with my stick.

Half an hour in the Post Office queue. Thankfully I had my stick to rest on.

The worse bit was having a young girl behind me making boring, banal conversations on her mobile. Really, I have no intention of knowing what Aaron should be doing and what this other person on the phone would do should she decide to get married, etc. etc. She kept edging up close to me every time the queue moved. I used my stick to put some distance between herself and me but it did not always work. She bumped into it twice.

To have someone making meaningless one-sided conversation down your neck -- literally -- is intolerable. After about 20 minutes I heard a voice telling her, "Please don't come so close. I'm tired of listening to your conversation!"

It probably shocked all those other people behind and around, but I could not stand it any longer! Thankfully she did not say a word and simply complied. Then she stopped.

I don't mind people using their mobiles for emergencies. But to talk at length on matters of little/no consequence in close proximity to strangers is surely one of the most understated irritants of our time.

Wednesday: pavements today even worse then yesterday. Whereas it was slushy where it was sunny, it is just icy and slippery today. I must have nearly slipped about seven times. Had it not been for my stick.

Bins not emptied. Roads and pavements not gritted. Treacherous. The Council is just going to let the elements clear the snow, it seems. Must complain. What do I pay my Council Tax for?

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