‘Want to go and make a snowman?’ I asked my 24-year-old son yesterday, fully expecting the answer ‘Nah’ or a reminder that he was no longer six years old. Instead I got a thumbs-up, so fully hatted and scarved we went out into a day as brilliant white as Dulux ceiling paint and started to shovel snow. We made a heap with a smaller heap on top but didn’t have time to shape it properly; I was trying to recall how I used to make snowmen as a child but could only remember the winter of ’63 when my Dad shovelled a pile of snow for me which froze and stayed frozen for weeks before abruptly thawing. After 1947, the winter of ’63 was the coldest on record; we had deep snow in central London and that hardly happens now. The Son declined to engage in a snowball fight but instead invented a game of snow-baseball using a shovel as a bat and splatting the snowballs into a million pieces. I also scooped up the snow on the garden table and made it into a crowd of little people like Easter Island statues (with a great deal of imagination) which reminded me of a Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy makes a lot of snow people and then says, ‘I expect you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here today.’ I can’t find that one, so here’s another:
That was fun, and I went back indoors feeling as invigorated as if I’d been for a run. Probably more so.
I also wrote a snow poem which began as a descriptive piece (see yesterday’s post) but ended up as polemic about people who use the term ‘snowflake’ as an insult. This is one of my pet hates.
So all in all a good day. We’ve still got plenty of snow here, have you? If not, do you want some of ours?
Last night we watched Who Do You Think You Are? a programme which explores the family history of famous people. I don’t often bother with it but this one features Daniel Radcliffe so I was interested. It’s a fascinating watch; he comes from Jewish ancestry and there were letters from his great-great-grandparents, some of whom were killed in the war, and a touching suicide note from someone facing bankruptcy. In those days it was deeply shameful to be a bankrupt and his widow changed her name shortly afterwards; the letter referred to suicide as ‘the coward’s way out’ which is how they used to think of it. So that was interesting and I was also, as ever, impressed by Daniel Radcliffe’s ordinariness and lack of vanity.
And that was yesterday.