Neil White: This cold, snowy weather reminds me of days gone by
LUCKILY, I belong to the first generation in British history which hasn't got war stories to tell.
That's not to say I'm schtum when it comes to tales from the past, however.
Around the fire on a cold night, I tell the young people who have never heard of the word condensation, some good old-fashioned anecdotes of wintry hardship.
You see, I remember the days when schools didn't close because of snow and when footballers skated around the pitch with an orange ball.
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My first recollection of bad snow was in the late 1960s when I was trudging home at the end of a school day.
I guess I must have been about five or six years old and the white stuff came up just below my knees.
Indeed, because we had to wear short trousers at school until the age of 11, it was slipping inside my tiny wellies.
My spindly little legs were blue and the pain of the cold literally brought tears to my eyes.
Winter at home meant Dad trying a myriad of different ways to beat the condensation.
I remember him putting Cellophane up against the windows in a brave attempt to recreate the double glazing which the posh people had.
Of course, it didn't work – the sheets started to curl up within 24 hours and getting them to stick on cold windows was, in any case, a fool's errand.
Then there were the special strips which supposedly sucked up the water from the panes.
They just ended looking bedraggled in a pool at the bottom of the window.
Mind you, being at home snuggled up with an electric blanket (do you remember those TV adverts which gave dire warning about them being a potential fire hazard?) was infinitely better than being a student in the awful winter of 1981-82.
Our student house was in an old-fashioned terrace. It had a bathroom downstairs next to the kitchen with a toilet, a bath and no shower.
The windows were of the lift-up-to-open style.
The trouble is that once they were open they were terribly difficult to close, particularly when ice had gummed them up.
Thus, when snow caught us by surprise one day, it had crept in the window's gap and made a wintry layer, literally on the bed of one of my housemates.
This prompted her to shriek as loudly as she would have done if she had discovered a huge taran-tula.
But what made her cry and pack her bags for home was when our toilet actually iced over.
I never dared ask at which point she found that out.
My Hillman Imp failed to start so many times during that winter that I became personal friends with the man from the AA.
My mate had a more reliable Mini but even he couldn't get his car going when snow found its way past his bonnet and encased his engine.
To this day, I can't work out how that happened.
I am writing this column as flakes fall outside.
It's a sight which I don't welcome – my children are way too old to be bothered about snowmen and the like.
And I am old enough to hope that I don't have any snow stories to add to my repertoire.