Liveline’s on the telly. It must be a national emergency.
We are on the cusp of a blizzard, you see. A snow blizzard. And while some might label this predicament as ‘being Canadian’, here in Ireland it’s weather alert time of the highest order – RED – and at 4pm the majority of the country will hunker down in their homes and wait out the greatest show storm to hit Ireland – queue scary music. Well, since 1982 anyway.
For the uninitiated, Liveline is a daily, national radio show driven by the people for the people. Joe Duffy opens up the airwaves to the disillusioned, the disenfranchised – and sometimes the disoriented – to talk about the real issues effecting the people of Ireland. Don’t underestimate it! I often think if you want to know what’s irking the Irish don’t listen to the news – listen to Joe. (As I type there’s a woman giving out a recipe for porridge bread. Crucial, given we’re in the grip of what will become known as the Sliced Pan Crisis of ’18).
(Joe has just indicated that we are ’60 minutes from the country shutting down’. Ominous talk. I love it!)
Yup! It’s officially snowy
Half the enjoyment now is in the forecasting of the crisis – the anticipation, the doomsday outlook. I suppose in the past it just happened and you dealt with it. We grew up on a small country road surrounded by fantastic, elderly people. One story went that Jackie Shea, who enjoyed a drop of whiskey now and then, was caught in some bad snow en route home after a few jars in the village. Having not returned to his two brothers that night, there was a search party sent out the next morning. He was found in a sleepy heap, covered in snow, in what we called the Rock – a shortcut between Carrig and the Bog Road. What do we learn from this? Never underestimate the powers of Powers, the Sheas were built of hardy stuff and, well, hopefully such incidents can be forever now avoided with the implementation of red weather snow alert warnings.
There are few things that bind like a crisis – and a weather crisis, given our nation’s obsession with all things meteorological, has camaraderie levels at an all-time high. Kind texts and exchanges ping on phones between neighbours & friends and everyone’s pal, An Taoiseach, Leo, is on the telly and the lunchtime news telling everyone to ‘be careful’ like a kind, Mao-like uncle. All efforts, from the Council lads gritting the roads to the genuine bravery of the on-standby emergency services, would make you proud to be Irish as we literally and metaphorically get frozen in a cuddly sense of ‘in this together’.
As long as you’re not ill or infirm or in a hurry, there’s something really lovely about snow – especially when you’re small. It’s pure fun and made for play. Well – maybe for the over fours… I took my two out this morning and I won’t lie, twenty minutes did them. They’re little – they don’t know how to play in it, it’s cold and the constant falling (and therefore crying (by them) and carrying (by weary me)) wore us all out a bit, but I challenge you to get twenty minutes of straight enjoyment from toddlers in any situation. You’d be doing well to get it in Disney Land before their fickle, tetchy minds turned on you demanding ‘uppies’ or ‘juice’ with tiny, accusatory, pointing fingers – their little brows furrowed in annoyance that you, yet again, failed to realise they have an attention span of seven minutes. Maximum. How and ever. As I was saying, for many children this will be their first real experience of snow and it will be a precious, precious day. Childhood memories are made of this.
Twenty minutes worth of magic memories
As with everything, it won’t be perfect. House-bound, with no water (yup – that’s us) and with biscuit supplies quickly diminishing, Mammy’s and Daddy’s patience will no doubt be unravelling. The emotional and physical effort required to dress kids for the snow, then be told that the toilet is required before everyone having enough of the outdoors after half an hour and returning to the house to create puddles of dirty water in the hall will be immense. But some kind of snowman will be constructed, a decent picture may well be taken and these moments will become a memory. A great memory of the time the country closed down because of all the snow and no-one went to work and we all stayed home from school. Hooray!
Stay safe. Stay warm. Let the kids have their fun. Oh – and eat the biscuits. The shops will be open for business again tomorrow.
Rocco officially had the most fun