It didn’t get above freezing here yesterday. The car was frozen solid and we couldn’t get into it. When we did get into it the brakes were frozen on, all metal parts clunked alarmingly as we forced them into action and icicles hang like decorations along the bottom.
Today it’s snowing again. Fresh flurries reupholster everything I’d cleared. The birds sit like puffballs hoping for crumbs and I’m wondering how long it will be before the bathroom drain pipes freeze and we can’t get water away from the house.
Still, there’s a teenager to get to the bus – no hope of any gritters out here, and apparently they haven’t even gritted the main road yet – the bin to put out, although I doubt they’ll make it down here, and coal to fetch in. I nip out with the dog, if only briefly in the biting chill and only just get back before the next downfall starts.
Yet while I’m out I see a row of men in the field cutting veg in freezing temperatures. I see the lorry slither its way to the farm to collect the produce to get it to the shops. And I see the dustbin lorry grind its way up the icy lane to our outlying houses. Ours is the last in line down the end of a road that’s little more than a track which they have to back the truck down as there’s no room to turn. The men gingerly crunch across the snow and ice to collect our rubbish, climb back in the cab and slowly drive the lorry back out again.
And do you know what I’m thinking about? I’m thinking about these valiant workers having to endure these gruelling conditions to get our food to us and our waste away and what incredibly valuable work that is. Yet all we ever seem to focus on at the moment as the only thing that’s important is people sitting in cosy Unis studying for degrees. As if that was the only valuable work a person could be doing. It seems to me that we have got this wildly out of proportion!