Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Big Snow

So it's finally happened ... The predictions of the weather forecasters were right and we do actually have big snow. And there was me hoping for them to be wrong.
Particularly as the schools in their wisdom decided yesterday that they were ... probably, but not certainly ... going to close in case the staff couldn't get in. Two weeks ago when it snowed, no one knew what to expect, plus there was a major incident on the M25 so all the roads round here were choc a bloc, so when we arrived at school only four teachers were there. On that occasion enough of them eventually pitched up to stop school closures.

Yesterday the letter that came back said that because last time the path was a bit slippery (puh-lease!! I walked four children a mile to school in the snow and they all had a ball and not one of them fell over) and due to the difficulty of staff getting in school might be closed. They couldn't tell us this till 8.30 (inconveniently after Spouse has left with the kids).

I'm not unsympathetic to the difficulties of getting about in the snow. And I appreciate this is the worst we've had in ten years. But, really. Do these people have no backbone? They are after all meant to be providing a public service. Spouse does too, and he's made it in. As have most of his patients. Mil attended a chiropodist's appointment this morning. At NINE o'clock, and her chiropodist had managed to get in.

I do think the message it's sending the kids is wrong. As soon as we have a little difficulty, we just give up. No. No. We bloody well don't. We do our best to get to where we have to be and fulfil the expectations that other people have of us.

As it happens I don't go out to work, but if I did, and my livelihood relied on not letting people down I'd have been in a hell of a fix this morning.

Sooo. When we looked out this morning and saw the weather, I knew that school was going to be in all probability shut, but sent them anyway. I did ring at 8am but no one could give me a definitive answer. I could have not bothered and kept them away, but I wanted to teach my children, even if their bloody schools don't, that you always make an effort whatever the circumstances.

Lest you think I'm totally unsympathetic, I say this as one who has at time taken three hours to get to work as a result of snow/strikes/bomb scares. I think it is utterly pathetic that as soon as we have a bit of snow the country stops. They seem to manage across the continent ok. Why the hell can't we?

I admit I am mainly peeved as having lost three days in the last week to fluey children, I now have another lost day and it's half term next week.

But... on the upside, the kids wouldn't be allowed to enjoy the snow if they were at school (last time they were made to stay inside EVERY playtime), so at least at home they can indulge in dangerous things like snowball fights - and if I have my way and the weather permits, we might even go for a bit of sledging on the downs later - plus I get a legitimate reason to join in too. So it's not all bad news...


Cathy said...

Like you I work mainly from home. Just as well. No special needs transport to school today....but anyway he had a dodgy tummy so couldn't really have gone. School is going to close tomorrow as so few got in today. Half term next week followed by three inset days ...oh what joy !

liz fenwick said...

I hope you had fun. Did you make snow angels? Here the snow was a waste of time. Too wet to work with and to slushy under foot. Noe-the-less my heart lifted when I saw it this morning.

Sue said...

I am working on a temporary contract at the moment, and having always been a bit precious about getting to work in any circumstance, took a different viewpoint today.

I didn't feel too good last night and the fact that all local schools were shut gave me enough incentive (after being persuaded by hubby too) not to go in.

I am so glad I didn't. I have had a lot of fun with the children, one of whom has never seen so much snow.

It's times like this that good memories are made and far outweighs trying to get into work feeling yuk.

We too, in the past, have got our children to school only to find they are closed. Now I have wised up and tune into every radio station going. In fact the school gave us a list yesterday just in case!

Nic said...

Hear hear re public servants!

I just left early to make sure I had enough time - andd consequently arrived very early since there was naff all snow in the North West that early on.
K who works at our place tells me a horrendous story of a time, several years ago when she lived an hour's drive away from Widnes. After a bad forecast, she left for work at 4.30 am, and arrived at school at 7.30 am, nearly shredded by the experience of driving in the heavy snow. The Head at that time shut the school, because several local staff (and I mean so local that they lived less than a mile and a half away) were not able to make it.

Obviously they had not heard of boots...

Jane Henry said...

I'm not against snow, I'm not - just think the response to it has been craven.

I can remember walking home for three miles in the dark in the snow when I was thirteen.

I also think there is a point for secondary school kids about loco parentis - what happens if they get to school and its shut and they go home, but the parents are at work? Nic,do you know?

Many sympathies re your friend -that is so annoying. I once got into work all the way from the sticks to discover that people who travelled in on the tube (which correct me if I'm wrong goes underground! - ok I know some of it is above groudn, but still!) stayed off.

Nic said...

I'm not against snow either, I'm against the way this country grinds to a halt after half an inch. I was in Philadelphia during the storms of February '03, when the snow was up to our knees. Some museums were closed, but not all, and the speed with which they cleared raoads was astonishing. Re: secondary and sending children home again - I'm honestly not sure. Around my Mum's way, it was only the primaries that were closed. Part of that may be they are all relatively younfg staff and the price of housing is such that no-one can afford to live within a 15 mile radius (don't get me started again!) where new youndg staff in the sceondary school live on site in the old boarding house. Also, I think Elf and Safety has a lot to do with it. To stop them slipping we grit the yard. Consequently, if we were to go out, any snowballs would be full of grit. We can take the children out a class at a time to explore it, but not en-masse at playtimes. Breaks my heart (and the heart of the young Nigerian boy who had never seen snow before and was desperate to get out in it. Try explaining that to a highly logical 5 year old. "But I would not slip, I would be sensible...")