There’s something about snow that brings out the child in a person.
I see them sledging. Snowballing. Cavorting like puppies.
Not me. Not any more.
Something about snow now brings out my inner grandmother.
Each flake and flurry cranks up my maternal overdrive notch upon notch. I feel compelled to round everyone up, in the style of a farmer’s elderly female collie.
Every last sheep of mine that might possibly get lost out there, or lose its footing and end up freezing to death, has to be accounted for and issued Useful Snow Advice.
Heck, I’m better than Radio Sheffield.
Drivers in the family have been urged to stay off the roads. If they resisted, I’ve verbally mapped out routes that circumnavigate all hills and country lanes and chivvied them to put a bag of sand and a shovel, a thermos and a sleeping bag in the boot.
I’ve called the parents and told them not to venture out, not even to the bin.
The chickens have been given extra bedding and hot porridge for breakfast (I found some in the cupboard with added weevils; right up their street).
Boy, now 23 and back at home (it’s temporary, we hope) has been my biggest worry.
He sees a snowy world as one huge adventure playground.
Every single one of my premonitions of doom has been tossed aside like I’m some ridiculously risk-aversive loon.
Friday night, white stuff is falling and instead of doing what he does most nights (strip to boxers and a T-shirt and get stuck into some stupid Playstation3 game, then start moaning that he’s chilly), he deliberately plans a night out in Rotherham with his mates.
It’ll be more fun queueing for a doner in the snow, apparently.
Experience has taught him not to allow his chums to congregate round at ours. (Honestly, I thought I was being helpful when I told one of his friends how nice his V-shaped chest looked in his clingy sweater prior to their night on the pull, but the lad’s nickname has been The Perfect V ever since and I’m now typecast as some scary Yootha Joyce type).
As Boy departs I rush into the hall to find my worst fears realised; he’s going out in slippy shoes without a proper coat.
I realise that, if he were a girl, he would also be minus a pair of tights and any coat at all, but that is cold comfort.
Anything could happen to him; anything. I attempt to funnel him into a duffel and some welly-bobs like I did when he was six, and fail miserably.
“I don’t NEED them mother; I’m going out in the car. I’ve got to pick up my mates,” he says, like that makes everything all right instead of a million times worse.
He snakes off down the drive Gran Turismo-style, whooping for joy at the wheel, leaving me to whittle and worry and wish I’d never, ever said that thing about Jamie’s jumper.