“I’M just going outside and I may be some time,” Captain Oates said to Captain Scott as he walked off into a blizzard never to return again.
I’ve been reminded of those famous words every time I’ve left the house this past week. With all this snow, just a walk to the newsagents for a pint of milk has become like an Antarctic expedition.
It has already taken me an hour to prepare for the journey to work – piling on the layers and trying to find that elusive missing glove – only to step outside and immediately sink knee-deep into the crunchy snow which melts and trickles down the inside of my boots.
The picture-perfect Christmas card scene I saw from my window has been shattered by cars sliding through slush.
Our elderly next-door neighbour is out already. He has been perpetually shovelling snow from his drive these past few days scattering grit which has become as coveted as gold.
My socks are already soggy as I reach the railway station. But despite annual reminders (such as autumn), winter has again come as a surprise to our national rail service. Shivering commuters are left standing on icy platforms as the trains grind to a halt.
On the roads drivers peer solemnly over their steering wheels through frosted windows, wondering at what point they should give up, abandon their cars and go home to bed.
Later at the office, looking out of the window has become like hanging around the water cooler.
“Is it snowing? Was it snowing? When will it snow? When did it last snow? Is it settling? It looks pretty deep. It’s stopped now. It’s off again,” people say with their noses pressed up against the glass.
Suddenly everyone is an amateur meteorologist who lives in their own little micro-climate of Huddersfield where the snow is “at least waist high.”
It’s like a game of snow Top Trumps to see who has battled the hardest through the elements to get to work.
Parents wonder what to do with the little ones as schools close their doors.
The excited youngsters have already divided into two distinct camps depending on their age – the younger snowman builders and the older snowman–kickers.
And, as if by magic everyone in Huddersfield under the age of 16 has a sledge. Has someone been stock-piling them all year?
I wonder why the trucks carrying the sledges never get stuck in the snow?
As I arrive home that evening the white stuff is still falling and my boyfriend is looking for his house keys which he dropped in the sparkling blanket of snow that now covers our garden.
Our neighbour is out clearing his drive again.
Back in the warmth of the house my friend Joanne calls me up from London excited about the capital’s first flake.
“Is it bad there?” she asks.
“We’re literally up to our necks in it.” I reply dourly.
“It’s just a bit of snow though – we northerners are used to it.”