true tales from the gates of the underworld

The white stuff
January 18, 2013, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve noticed a trend on social networking sites recently. When it comes to snow, there appear to be threw factions: one posts pictures of themselves and their children having fun in the snow. One complains about the snow (and might back this up with pictures of a few inches of snow outside), and the third complains about the people complaining about snow.
People in the third group might also belong to the first, and sometimes to the second. People in the second sometimes start out in the first, then get bored or realise how badly equipped the UK are in general when it comes to dealing with snow.

Snow Crisis

I would love some snow, the boys got very excited when it first started snowing this morning, but our proximity to the sea means we rarely get more than a couple of inches, and currently there is nothing more than a bit of semi solid water.
But by the way everyone is acting around here you would think it was snowing heavily. Shops and post office are closed, the roads deserted in the afternoon. It’s almost like the zombie apocalypse – you see the odd person walking slowly, seemingly aimlessly, sometimes muttering to themselves.
I grew up in a place in Europe where snow is the norm during wintertime, and people adjust. A bit of grit and winter tyres (I was told today by a villagers that winter tyres don’t stand a chance on a standard car here – what does he think everyone in Europe is driving??), a clearing vehicle for the main roads if the driving cars don’t solve that by themselves (mostly they do, people aren’t so easily stopped by an inch of snow), or even a spade and a plough. I’ve seen main roads covered in thick ice crusts and nobody struggled. I’ve seen snow up both sides of roads, taller than a man. And I’ve seen so much snow fall in half an hour in the middle of October that you could go from beautiful autumn to deepest winter in that time. And yet, I never had a single day off school due to snow.
One winter, temperatures were about -15 degrees Celsius during the day and we had a good foot of snow, public transport went on strike. The school made it known that any absences would be regarded as unauthorized. Not a single child was missing from our class that week.

England vs Canada

I’ve been in the UK for more than 8 years now. 8 winters where I have witnessed the chaos that comes with snow, and the never ceasing excuse “but we are just not used to it here”. Old habits die hard, but I do find it difficult to sympathise.


January 3, 2013, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , ,

While I am feeding you to sleep, I remember all the times I have hoped for you to fall asleep quickly. I remember all the times I got frustrated with your boundless energy, and your chatter when it was so clearly bedtime.
I remember the times I got annoyed with you for bouncing around the bed rather than laying next to me, quietly drinking and drifting off to sleep the way your brother used to.
I remember all of this as you plant a sloppy wet kiss on my chin, one on my cheek and another on my eye, then throw your arms around my neck and say “Awww, cuuggles”… and I realise that these are our private moments. Nobody else gets to share these with us. Not your daddy, or your brother. Not your grandparents or nursery workers. This is our time. I do not wish it away, you won’t always be small, and you won’t always want me to hold you while you play, crawl, laugh and bounce yourself to sleep.
In the moments when you rest and take a break on my chest, little hands playing with whatever they can find, I breathe in your smell and try to commit it to memory, the way I try to remember every little thing you do and say, every cheeky grin, every sloppy kiss. I realise these moments will soon be nothing more than memories.. so after you fall asleep, I spend a few minutes or a few hours every night just watching you sleep, calm for the first time of the day. I listen to your breathing, your sighs as you dream. I admire the curly brown hair on the back of your head that is so unlike your brother’s.
Sometimes I even gently stroke your back, careful not to wake you.

I don’t wish this time away, I wish I could save it forever. I wish you would stay like this forever, but I look at you and your brother, and I take pride in how you have grown and learned.
I will just have to make the most of the time that is given to us.