The Beast from the East has barged into East Lancashire and it’s bloody freezing. I’m really glad I don’t live in one of those countries where the only water is in icicle form, your feet freeze to the pavement and you have to go outside and chop up sticks to feed the fire that keeps you just the right side of death.
This morning, a woman walked past my house pulling a small child on a sledge. The sledge was the traditional kind, wooden slatted top with curved metal runners, same as the one I got for Christmas as a six year old. Mine had blue painted runners and a rope for steering. That was the idea anyway, more often than not I’d end up in the bushes or wrapped round some other kid on a sledge.
Watching the kid being pulled along earlier, didn’t just evoke visual memories. The feelings came back. That sudden sense of weightlessness, of sliding away downhill and the unforgiving bumps to the bones under the buttocks, shooting up the back, jarring it, dodgem style. It’s an unlikely combination – the smooth sliding and unpredictable bumping.
More sledgy feelings: watering eyes, fingers and toes numb yet smarting; the tops of your ears stinging as though they’ve been sliced off. A bitter assault on the nose as the cruel wind causes the hairs in your nasal passages to crackle like splinters of ice. Creeping wetness from snow which has sneaked inside the folds of your scarf, down the tops of your boots and into your gloves. Continue reading