Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snow Joke

Whether it's climate change (can't say global warming as the mediterranean climate my school teachers predicted hasn't arrived in Bedfordshire!) or a natural cycle of bad winters we're getting hard winters at the momment and we just don't seem to cope with them.

I admit to being woefully unprepared as an individual. I don't own wellies (I have some gorgeous high heeled boots which I tend to wear in lieu of wellies!) and my kids are often without gloves and hats. But, I would expect the local authorites to be able to keep things moving, cities like Toronto, New York, Moscow do not come to a complete stand still when it snows. The other thing we need to do is be more community minded. My neighbours know I am home alone with Ciaran and have offered to pick up bits from Tesco for me when they walk there and I would happily return the favour if I could get our lightweight summer stroller through the snow!

Maybe the problem is our infrastructure was not designed for harsh winters, buses don't have snow tyres, trains aren't specially equipped to handle snow and ice and our road surfaces can't take sudden freeze and thaw cycles without developing huge potholes. If this is part of climate change and is likely to continue then I guess the government needs to think about whether the capital cost of winter proofing the country will be recouped by less disruption.

My husband and son are due to fly back from Belfast today to Luton. Currently both airports are open and operational (with delays). I can't get to the airport but I've arranged for a local taxi firm to collect Ben's car seat before collecting them and hopefully they will be home and tucked up in bed before 7. My parents are in Costa Rica and are hoping to fly back om Wednesday. Before they left my Mum was worried that hte snow earlier in the month would affect her flight out, and jokingly said she didn't care if it snowed once she was on holiday - never expecting that she could end up stranded this close to Christmas.

So please.... would the airports and government do all they can to get the people I love back to me safely.

Home alone with Ciaran.

Every year Chris (my husband) travels back to Belfast to visit his family and see his old town before Christmas. I am normally left with Ben and Ciaran for a long weekend, which (if my parent's haven't disappeared off on a tropical winter break) I spend with the boys and my family, sometimes we even sleep over at my parent's house to make it a bit more of a treat for the boys. This year Chris took Ben to Belfast.

I admit I was concerned about how Chris would cope with a tempermental toddler. It could go two ways, either he would scream for Mummy the whole weekend and be a devil, or he would be fine. They flew out on Thursday morning. Chris had been awake all night with a bad dose of man flu, and considered calling the whole thing off as he felt too ill to travel alone, and certainly too ill to supervise Ben. After a good breakfast, sweet tea and combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen he felt well enough to sit upright. I waved thehm off at Luton airport after paying to fast track them theough security (it took two of us to entertain Ben in the check in queue, the idea of Chris in a zombie like state amusing Ben while they queued for security was laughable) and left with my eldest sons cries ringing in my ears.

Such an upsetting scene (I left the airport after kissing them and before I could start to cry or give Ben another hug, and another one etc...) needed McDonalds. I parked up in Luton and decided that retail therapy and fast food would restore me - and it did. Once they landed in Belfast I had the all important phne call to set my mind at rest.
1. Ben cried for less than five minutes and then stopped asking for me;
2. Ben loved looking at airplanes and had a big sandwich in the departure lounge, he was also given chocolate as a reward for good behaviour;
3. Ben didn't want to wee or poo until they were waiting to Board. He held on long enough to be the first person in the airplane toilet.
4. Ben loved flying - he particularly enjoyed unlatching and playing with the fold down tray in front of him. Eventually the family in front put their little boy by the window so that he could be jerked around by Ben playing with the tray and could turn around and play with Ben.
5. Ben loved seeing his Ninny Sue and Grandad Eddie

Mind at rest I went to the Nursery to get little Ciaran. This was his last day in the baby class, from January I need to take him to the little boy class (I hope I remember!). We got home and Ciaran looked suspiciously at the nice toys laid out in the lounge, played with the farm and asked "Daddy? Beeez?" I explained that Daddy and Ben were on holiday and would be back in a few days. Big kisses and cuddles for my little boy who seemed a little confused at being the sole object of my attention.

On Friday Ciaran was feverish and snotty (damm man and baby flu) so I decided not to go into town with him and we sat at home keeping warm and made a sausage and cabbage hash (it was more of a casserole really, little man cleverly found and ate all the sausage and potato and left the cabbage and leeks). We had a little panic as Belfast City airport shut due to heavy snow and wondered if Daddy and Ben would come home on Sunday.

On Saturday my nose was blocked and the bone aches started (damm man, woman and baby flu). We got ourselves up and ready. Once wrapped up I decided to brave the cold and take Ciaran to the library to return my books.

Ciaran was wearing a vest, T-Shirt, fleece, wellies and Ben's old coat with a little hat to keep his ears warm. He sat happily as the first few flakes of snow drifted down. On the way back we walked past Tesco, it looked busy in there so I decided that I could always walk down later with Ciaran to get some cheese, milk and a card. Ciaran had fallen asleep and it was nearly lunchtime so we pressed on to get home. The snow started to get a little heavy and was settling. Ciaran had performed the Heaney boy trick of losing a welly but I wasn't going to retrace my steps all the way back to the library in the snow.
GLASTONBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 18: Mist forms across fields as the sun sets over the snow covered Somerset Levels near Glastonbury on December 18, 2010 in Somerset, England. The United Kingdom is continuing to suffer heavy snowfall causing delays at many airports and closure of major roads. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

By the time I had reheated the sausage hash / casserole there was a couple of inches outside. After Ciaran's nap we went next door in the now thick snow to make gingerbread biscuits and have a gossip. After a few hours playing we went home through the 4-5 inches to a dinner of beef casserole for Ciaran (pearl barley casserole with a few scraps of beef may be a more accurate description) and a cheeky lamb kofta kebab for me (the neighbours were getting kebabs and offered to get one for me too!!). Bed for both of us.

Today we've both been very snotty and miserable with our colds and the cold weather. So we've gone for trashy food to restore ourselves. Cranberry Drop Scones for breakfast and I am cooking a coke ham for our lunch (made more festive and medicinal with cinnamon, cloves, garlic and star anise). Hosework has been a doddle with one child to supervise instead of two and I have had more cuddles from my little boy than I get in a month normally but I will be happy to have chaos restored.