We were gathered in the school playground, rather surprised to finally be there after the world’s longest Christmas holiday. We compared notes about how we’d made it through the Great Snow.
‘Sledging’, said Pells Boy. ‘Took ‘em sledging every day. Morning till night.’
‘Didn’t they get cold?’ we asked.
‘Yep. Too cold to moan or bicker. By the time we got in each evening, all they wanted was be tucked up in a warm bed.’ Genius.
Hoxton Mum looked disapproving. ‘We did do snow play, of course. We made some beautiful sculptures. Django did a scale copy of Rodin’s ‘the Kiss’. Took him all morning, then when we went inside for warming babycinos, some yobboes came and kicked it down. He was inconsolable.’
Pells Boy turned away to cough, and to attend to the Beast, who had wrapped her scarf rather tightly round Django’s neck.
‘The rest of the time’, Hoxton Mum went on, ‘We just used our imagination , didn’t we, Django? We wrote stories about the snow, and made collages, and played creative games about being Inuit people living in igloos.’
Absent-Minded Mum and I looked at each other guiltily. ‘Telly was useful, wasn’t it?’ she said quietly.
‘Still’, said Hoxton Mum, and we were nearly all in agreement, ‘It’s nice to get back to normal.’
‘I couldn’t afford to take any more time off work’, Pells Boy said. ‘Already lost several days’ pay.’
‘You should have said’, cried Hoxie, ‘Django would have invited your guys over for a play date, wouldn’t you, darling?’ Django pulled his hood over his head and began performing what could have been a traditional Inuit wailing song.
Eco-Dad shook his head. ‘Well, I’m disappointed that the snow’s melting’, he said. ‘It was a great opportunity for us to see how we cope with climate change.’
‘Not very well, in my case’, said Cycle Girl. ‘Come the ice-caps shifting, I’ll be buried under a pile of non-biodegradable Star Wars figurines, unable to move to higher ground.’
‘We really learned to rely on each other’, said Eco-Dad, gently testing the youngest Eco-Baby’s bottom for dampness. They don’t use nappies in the Eco-household. ‘We got in plenty of supplies of good local organic produce, and then we hunkered down. With blankets at all the windows we were snug as bugs, hardly needed to have the heating on. Ate delicious jam I made from foraged bilberries.’
There was a silence, as we all wondered what it must be like to live such a well-rounded, low-carbon life. The quiet was broken suddenly by a sound like a tap being turned on, and Thing Two yelling as fluid poured onto his foot.
‘What a waste’, sighed Eco-Dad as he held his dripping baby at arms length. ‘We’re trying to save our urine for when the water runs out.’
The school bell rang at last, just as the first few flakes of a new snowstorm began to fall.
Beth Miller, 13th January 2010. Published in VivaLewes.com. Photo by John McGowan