Sure, the roads were passable. The school buses were running. Even the elderly were toddling down the street outside my house.
But to have to go to school when there’s four inches of snow on the ground nevertheless somehow didn’t seem fair. My 12-year old had been waiting for a snow day all winter and now here it was. “Surely Dad? Surely?”
What made it worse was that her brothers’ school was closed. And so were two or three other schools in the locality. School closures have been all over the news. But at Highworth Grammar School in Ashford, the website stubbornly announced that the school was very much open.
So she fretted and grumbled and headed off reluctantly to the bus stop.
And missed the bus.
The precise facts about how the bus was missed are still not very clear – but four shining faces appeared at my door 20 minutes after they should have left. “We missed the bus,” they said, not quite managing to hide their smiles.
And so, after a complete failure to persuade four pre-teenage girls (three of whom do not belong to me) that they “really should be at school”, they made their way to a house belonging to working parents (and therefore empty), and had a ‘snow day’.
The precise details of this snow day are still not very clear. It seems that they did have lunch (bought from the local shop). They went sledging and exercised a dog. And they bumped into lots of children while on the hillside – 8 other local boys and girls from three other schools my daughter told me, many of whom they hadn’t properly seen since primary school.
It’s rather hard to be angry or disapproving about this.
Snow is a great leveller – something that we can all enjoy and also delight in watching other people enjoy. It’s also an unexpected occasion for communities, not just to toboggan and build snowmen, but to rally round, clear paths, care for their elderly and stare with a collective longing at the sky?
To me snow days should be compulsory – especially for the first real snow of the winter.
In fact, given our generally atrocious weather, maybe we should think about compulsory “hot sunny days” as well?