Work, realising that I have enough to do at home to justify my paltry pay check has suspended email bombardment but I know I have to get out there and suffer, well the cat has to eat (I can pretend to be that Oates character who wandered away from Scott) and rosemary and basil roll ups don’t have quite the same kick as a Silk Cut.
Apologies, to anti smokers, reformed smokers, non smokers and anyone else who feels like judging my lifestyle. From my view of the glass house I certainly wouldn’t throw stones.
Determined to share this adventure, I decide the car will be my happy travelling companion. Never having experienced snow before, I am confident she will be supportive and embrace the exercise with enthusiasm. Wrong! Car is worse than a reluctant teenager facing SATS, refusing point blank to start and when eventually cajoled into to life does so with as much huffing and puffing as a seasoned emphysema sufferer. Her tyres have no handle on anything, except perhaps our combined fear, sending us in every direction bar the one we are intent on (do you think I could send her back under the Trade Descriptions Act? Aren’t cars supposed to work in all weathers?)
Eventually we make the high street and park. Not on a yellow line. Actually almost certainly on a double but as nothing bar the black gunge known as sludge is visible on the road, I think I would have a pretty good case in court even if there was a traffic warden vindictive enough to be out in it.
The wind is icy. Teenagers are out on the pavement throwing snowballs, turning the high street into a war zone and little children with frozen smiles grin through gritted teeth, their pushchairs offering little protection from the noxious blast.
First stop the dry cleaners. My bargain white winter coat has proved to be not quite the anticipated buy of the year as the dry cleaning bills have now overtaken the sale price tag and once again it more closely resembles the colour of sludge than snow.
Dry cleaners is closed.
Not daft that man.
Next stop, supermarket, Open of course, nothing could deter the profits of stock exchange quoted commerce. Cat food - yes, milk - yes, two packets of triple chocolate finest cookies, definitely yes.
Having once been the proud owner of a shop in the village and therefore known to a few of the locals, a shopping trip to the supermarket is not without hazards, most involving some kind of social intercourse.
Kate, the artist, bags me at the cigarette counter.
‘Isn’t it mesmerisingly beautiful?’ she breathes.
Unconvinced that ‘mesmerisngly’ is a word found in the Oxford English dictionary but nevertheless impressed by her literary creativity and unsure as to whether she is referring to the layout of the cigarettes or the placement of the lottery machine, I remain smilingly silent.
‘It’s such a shame that the wind is so strong’ she continues ‘you can’t just stand and appreciate the beauty.’
Stand and appreciate the beauty?
So far on this unwanted trip, I have managed to avoid death by snowball, had my eyes almost forced from their sockets by a frozen blast of icicle shards and discovered that the Dry cleaner is of a vastly superior intellect to I, and she wants me to stand and appreciate the beauty?
Why because it’s white do we find it so attractive?
In the desert when the wind whips up a storm do they say…
‘Oh let’s make some sand balls and throw them at each other!’
Would we find it amusing if a friend turned on the hose in sub zero temperatures and cried…
‘Got you! Got you!’
I think not. Perhaps I am ‘Bah Humbug’, but for now I shall enjoy the decadence of the triple chocolate chip cookies and attempt to hibernate until spring.