Saturday, January 09, 2010

In the Snow of Long Ago

Olli and Gareth spent some time in the early hours of this morning sliding - with some friends - down an icy slope in York.

They didn't have a sledge so decided to use Gareth, who didn't seem to mind slithering down the slope with a couple of people sitting on him.

They came to our house eventually and this morning Gareth got up early with the idea of building a basic sledge out of some of the pieces of wood which are to be found in our garage and cellar (because the Communist loved bits of old wood and was always making things out of them, and there are plenty left.)

However, I pointed out that there were some bits of wood in the cellar which already were made into a sledge. My old sledge.

So Gareth found the old sledge and cleaned it up a bit:

And there it was, ready to go.

I always think of it as the new sledge, even though we bought it in - I'd guess - about 1964. Before that I had a little red wooden one, and I loved it but I grew out of it.

This one was much bigger, and two of us could ride on it together.

We would all go: my parents, my brother and I. Off to Roundhay Park as soon as there was a decent covering of snow. Scarves, gloves, hats, boots, thick jumpers, coats. In the mid-sixties those ski pants with a strap under the foot were fashionable - they were great for sledging in too.

We would take it in turns to have goes in twos - my mother and my brother. My mother and me. Me and my brother. The Communist and my brother. The Communist and me. My mother and the Communist. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

It was great. I loved it, whizzing down the slope to the Arena at the bottom, dodging the trees, dodging the other sledges. There's be dozens of us. Sometimes hundreds.

I would have loved to have gone on my front on the sledge but never could because of my glasses. I was worried about crashing and breaking them - but without them couldn't have seen well enough to see where I was going.

But that was my only regret. Otherwise, I loved every moment.

We'd stay until we couldn't feel our hands and feet and then we'd trudge back to the car park, exhilarated, and go home for some hot food, hoping the snow would stay until the next weekend.

I would have expected to go sledging with any children of mine. I just expected it to happen.

But it never did. The snows of the Sixties and Seventies melted away. After Olli was born, in 1989, substantial snowfall happened only rarely. My parents took Olli a couple of times - I think I must have been working. I always thought there'd be more opportunities - - but there weren't.

I regret it a lot now, though it's great to see the grown-up Olli and Gareth enjoying the snow.

These days, I just don't like snow. I suppose it's a sign of me getting older, and I don't like that either. Snow is cold and it's slippery and I keep worrying about my mother with her nearly-mended shoulder. She keeps sneaking out of the house whenever I'm not looking, because she really wants to build a snowman.

But given the choice between the blazing heat in Rome last summer, and the pretty snow in England this winter - - oh, bring on the heat!

I loved the sledge. I expected those sledging trips to the park to go on for ever. When things are good, I always expect them to go on for ever. And then I'm always surprised when they don't. It was such fun, in the snow of long ago.


Anonymous ruth said...

If only the good things could go on forever. I used to be an optimist but your words made me cry:

"When things are good, I always expect them to go on for ever. And then I'm always surprised when they don't."

I miss my optimistic days of being surprised when the good things end. Snow holds many fears for me, particularly now, but I am so glad recently to have experienced the childlike joy it can bring too. I recommend you make a snowman, throw a snowball. Embrace the snow (then bask in the heat on holiday).

8:40 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:38 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Daphne quote: "There's be dozens of us. Sometimes hundreds."
How come you are turning all "Treasure Island"/Somerset on us?

12:39 am  
Blogger Grumpy Old Ken said...

What a smashing blog. Who needs great drama in life when we have snow plus family.

1:24 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

I agree...bring on the heat.

I don't care if I never, ever, see snow again! It was fun when I was a kid.

I have the memories I can think when I'm all snuggy warm.

I'm glad G & O got to play!

2:28 am  
Anonymous Michael Communistson said...

Ah, yes, whizzing downhill with the Communist, with wellies full of snow! And then I when I was older I graduated to the much steeper slope of Hill 60 on the opposite side, which was frankly suicidal but lots of fun.

I too would love to share that sledging experience with Daisy & Flo, who are just the right age. And now we’ve got the snow for it too. Unfortunately, there’s just one other ingredient for sledging we’re missing here in the Netherlands…

3:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have the same problem - no hills... or at least the only one is so far away it would be inaccessible in snowy conditions. One of life's little ironies.

10:10 pm  

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