14 December 2007


For the last three mornings, caring little for the environmental impact, I have gone out to my car and started it so that the windscreens are clear and the vehicle cosy and warm - while I step back inside for a cup of tea and a slice of toast. It can be damned dangerous setting out on frosty mornings as the windscreens refreeze and you can't see a thing.

On Wednesday morning I had to be at work early because I had a key role to play in the whole day interview process for an AST (Advanced Skills Teacher) in Language Development. So there I was approaching the fourth set of traffic lights on Penistone Road when I saw an ambulance zooming towards me - lights flashing, sirens wailing. Although my light went green, I slowed to a halt to let the ambulance through and then - yeah - you guessed it - thud/crunch - some pillock drove into me from behind! We advanced to the bus lay-by just ahead and exchanged details. Fortunately, both cars remained operable and he sort of admitted his fault. Years back I might have raged at the guy but on Wednesday I found myself saying, "Oh it's just one of those things mate".

At the interviews, one of the candidates said she just loved English but seemed to have little idea what an AST might do. The other floundered when I quizzed her about the key things she thought she had achieved in her current literacy co-ordinator's role. In the end, we didn't appoint anyone but I had lost three non-contact periods and a rear bumper. Such is life.

I love the way the frost sparkles on our decking and the way it so delicately coats every blade of grass, every privet leaf. The thermometer reads minus three and I think of all those bugs and slugs and creepy crawlies surrendering to nature's cleansing power.

Christmas cards drop on our mat and we busy ourselves with present-buying expeditions and card writing duty. For me it has always been a happy time of year - at home with the family, mince pies and brussel sprouts, foil wrapping paper, a big fat turkey thawing, shelling chestnuts, sleeping till ten and magical frost patterns appearing opaquely in the corners of our windows.


  1. Many years ago, during another life time, I came out here to Texas to spend some time with my parents. Running away from my husband and like a fool I went back however that's not the object of this story. On the drive back with my Dad and my brother we ran into an ice storm about 20 miles from home. By the time we got home our car doors were literally frozen shut.
    That year thousands of people were without power for about a week in Dallas and surrounding areas. We were not but the icicles hanging off the roof of my dad's shop, now my studio, were over a foot long.
    For over a week my dad and I chopped up downed trees for people.
    I can't say that I was even worried about the people in Dallas. That they were with out power didn't seem to bother me at all. I was so in love with the ice and frost.
    It is a rare thing here to have such cold. Only once since we've come to live here, six and a half years ago, have we had that kind of weather again. We could practically skate on the gravel drive way.

  2. OH sorry about the car. Ice is a nasty road companion

  3. Wow, that was really gracious of you in dealing with the guy plowing into you. It probably helped matters that you weren't hurt.

    Do you know the song, "Jack Frost was in the garden?"

    Jack Frost was in the garden;
    I saw him there at dawn;
    He was dancing round the bushes
    And prancing on the lawn.
    He had a cloak of silver,
    A hat all shimm'ring white,
    A wand of glittering star-dust,
    And shoes of sunbeam light.

    Of course, I can't see you prancing on the lawn, amusing though that would be.


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