It fell slowly at first, as a fine drizzle of tiny brittle crystals of ice.  Then, overnight, it got whipped up in a wind-storm of gusts and more snow.  This winter wonderland turned my paternity leave into something more magical than simply painting the little lady’s room and being a willing slave to the lovely Sharon.

IMG_20130118_160703

first snow of the year

Snow days were declared, by myself, and the little man was kept away from nursery.  We played for hours in the snow, we sledged, we built a small army of snowmen, and we threw ourselves repeatedly in deep drifts of powder.

IMG_20130118_181537

tethered to the little man

IMG_20130119_164514

hibernating bees tethered to their stores

For several days a rhythm was set up; a rhythm of warming inside the house , eating and playing cars vs dinosaurs by the wood-stove, then outside for sledging and snowmen.  At one point the little man caught me at my chores.  I was spotted sledging the bins down the lane.  This observation sent the little man into a frenzy of jealousy, demanding “welly boots! WELLY BOOTS!”  An extra hour or so of winter play was needed that day to make sure that the little man knew I loved him more than the recycling.

IMG_20130120_170035

My paternity leave also gave me a chance to be mildly man-ly, a chance to cut firewood and a chance to fix things around the cottage.

IMG_20130117_153520

Unfortunately one of the things I had to fix was something I broke.  After clearing the lane of drifted snow, I decided to find out if I had cleared enough out of the way.  I took the lovely Sharon’s car up and down the lane and broke it.

IMG_20130119_120436

clearing snow drifts on the lane

It turns out that reversing in snow is not good for the plastic bits under cars.  The big bit under the engine peeled off and ripped.  The clips that held the plastic in place popped off and are lost somewhere in the snow, still waiting to be revealed by the thaw.

IMG_20130122_172813

IMG_20130122_172652

This big bit of plastic is not actually necessary for the car.  It helps protect the engine from splashes, it reduces engine noise, and it makes the car mildly more fuel efficient.  That said, it was not my car and throwing it away was not an option I wanted to consider.

After some enquiries I found out that my options of getting a replacement were limited, and my best price for the plastic thing under the car was over two hundred pounds.  In addition to this the replacement catches were one pound and fifty pence each!

image001

I humbly asked the lovely Sharon if a repair would be sufficient.  I’m glad to say she agreed.  Some steel strips, epoxy resin, and new catches (twenty pence each off ebay) was all that was needed. Frozen hands, a tiny amount of knuckle blood, and a couple of swear words were also thrown in for good measure.

IMG_20130124_194315
On one of these winter nights an aspect of parenting crept up on me. The little lady and the little man were fast asleep, the moon was nearly full and glowing on the frozen snow.  I was relaxing in a lava hot bath and reading a book by candlelight (I’m not ashamed to admit it). I slowly let the heat soak into my bones and was pondering what I was reading when I suddenly realised that I was sharing my bath with dinosaurs.  I smiled. This was one of life’s strange but precious moments.

IMG_20130120_221421

Advertisements