Our house is at the foot of a hill. Last week we were snowed in for 6 days. I say ‘we’. I was snowed in with 2 small children for 4 of them. Maude soldiered up the hill and went to teach the few damp stragglers who turned up to learn from her.
Each time the snow began afresh Aurora stood at the window and exclaimed ‘It’s Christmas Daddy!’
I found it hard to share her enthusiasm.
On the morning of Day 3 I heard on the news that the police had issued a warning to revellers in Newcastle. The warning went something like: ‘no matter how tough you are, how much money you’ve spent on your new weekend outfit and how much warming alcohol you plan to drink, wear some clothes or you may well die in the sub-zero temperatures.’
‘Those Geordies’ I sighed. As I encouraged Aurora to eat her croissant, I could see that she was preoccupied.
‘Daddy. Am I a Geordie?’
‘No, no, no dear. The Geordies aren’t as tall as we are.’
‘OK. They say ‘I done’ and ‘I seen’ too. Don’t they?’
‘That’s right poppet.’
Aurora went about her business of drawing more brightly coloured images of pigs with chicken pox with her ‘smooth pens’ (felt tips). Jocasta giggled and did lengths of the kitchen on her walker.
As the snow began to fall again I took to the window seat and wondered how long we would be stuck in this situation. Just how long would I be kept away from the glamour of Sunderland?
I made the mistake of picking up my Blackberry and opening another ‘URGENT – ACTION REQUIRED’ email from Morag.
I pressed ‘delete’.
I then noticed a figure on Desmond’s drive next door. Maude had mentioned that Desmond’s son Bobby had acquired a girlfriend, but this was the first time I had seen her. Against explicit police advice, Bobby’s friend was dressed in a light dressing gown over pyjamas and fluffy slippers. Celia clearly had quite a strict rule about smoking in the house, but the young woman was not to be deterred. She dragged on her cigarette with relish and used her hand to shield the flame. Her hair and shoulders carried a significant dusting of snow – I suspected that she was smoking her second or third cigarette.
I felt a small presence at my elbow.
‘That’s a Geordie isn’t it Daddy?’