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Family Stories of Snow

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It is snowing. Big fat flakes of cotton wool.

I have idyllic memories of sledging in the snow as a child. Is my memory dulled by years of Pinot Grigio or did it snow a lot more in the 1970s?!

There was a park at the top of our street which had an enormous hill (or at least it seemed enormous to my brother and our friends at the time). There was always good news and bad news about this. Oh, and very bad news too. The good news was that the hill was very long and very steep, so getting up a head of steam for some serious hurtling was never an issue. The bad news was that it was a darned long walk back to the top with a sledge in tow. The really bad news was that, once you had got up a nice hurtle speed, you tended to remember that there was both a stream at the bottom of the hill, and that it was surrounded by large, immovable trees. I do seem to remember my older brother coming a bit of a cropper, but then again, I may be fantasising about that in the same way as the snow!

Last year we had the best snow that I can remember since those halcyon days. I was trying to encourage my eldest boy (10) to drink it all in and enjoy every second of it, since he may well be as ancient as me the next time he would see snow like this. He shrugged. So, I decided to capture the event.

We bought a new sledge – if you can describe it as a sledge – it was a plastic circular disc. Hmmm. Back in the day, we used to slide about on a home-made wooden monstrosity. It was crafted by my dad I think. A two-man hefty best of a sledge with aluminum strips nailed on to the cutting blade edges of the runners, for extra speed and slip. There was a bit of rope attached to the front and my brother would always insist on sitting at the front, yanking the rope in a vain attempt to steer us away from the stream! I would cling like a limpet to his back, cowering and afraid to look, but thrilled by the fear of it all, and desperate for another go.

The kids in the street used to create black ice on the driveways by sliding backwards and forwards across the snow until it was a treacherous death trap. Terrible really, but we meant no harm, of course. The thrill was in seeing who could survive a full skid across a whole driveway without falling ‘arse-over-tip’ as we would say. I was a Girl and therefore also a Loser, inevitably.

Ah, happy days! Hopefully these pictures will evoke similar memories for our kids when they are old and nostalgic . . .

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