Ice by Charlotte Bennie

The Ice is Coming Down 

Every winter, one of my Senior Aunts would announce, “Aye, it’s jist weans and daft folk who like the snaw.” As one of the afore mentioned weans, I took this as further proof grown ups were a strange breed indeed. To me, snow meant scrambling over the kirkyard wall and heading across the field to Numerston Loch, where we could slide, skreich and skate; and, once we were off to the secondary school, 18 miles away, snow brought the chance of the odd day or three  of unofficial holiday. Winter, snow and ice meant fun. Not now. Not so much because I’m now a Senior Aunt, but because, being unable to see my feet clearly makes a shopping trip on a frosty morning into, well, more trip than shopping. Recently, the ice came down with a vengeance , and just sat there. Weather forecasts became priority listening, not because I was indulging in winter Munro bagging, but so I could plan expeditions down into the town. I don’t know about elsewhere, but our Cooncil never grits the streets leading to the town centre, so getting anywhere vital becomes a challenge. Especially as I live up a steep hill, and I mean steep as in Scotland, not Essex. So, like Eliza Doolittle, Miss Pupkin and I travel by taxi. Someone will now be sniffing derisively. Why don’t I use those chain things which slip over the soles of shoes? Much cheaper and very effective. Yes, when outside. But lethal indoors. Apart from sending the wearer skidding across the Co op, past the fruit and veg and into the sandwich stand, they will leave nasty furrows in the vinyl. I can’t be bothered sitting on my front door step, wrestling the things into place. Or worse, hopping about outside a shop, wriggling the things off. hoping I haven’t stood on something disgusting. Then, it’s the same palaver before setting off to the next shop. Great, if you’re just going visiting, but shopping? Nae chance. So, a morning of hard frost and sharp, clear air will find Miss Pupkin and me teetering gingerly where our gravel scatters out into the slippy, slithery street. Miss Pupkin her usual, tasteful golden fox. Me wrapped in my Big Coat, the one which gives me the bahoochie of the Michelin Man; swathed in several scarves; the whole ensemble topped off with a tasteful bunnet. Well, I need something to detract attention away from that bahoochie, don’t I?  However, there is one problem with taxis on frosty days. Everybody else is using them too. Another point, clutching the I Phone in a cold paw isn’t easy; nor is it practical to be holding a glove in my mouth whilst trying to explain to the taxi office exactly where on the main street I am. The other morning, we had stationed ourselves between Boots and the Royal Bank, and waited. And more waited. Although cold, we were in the sun. Various folk stopped for a chat, including a cheery, wee chap who explained, in great detail, the best places in which to catch pheasants with a dog. Somehow, I don’t think GDBA would approve! Usually, this is a good spot if waiting for a taxi, as the street is always coned off, so no one can park. Not that morning. Something large and rumbling drew in at the bank. I peered and squinted at the silhouette. What was it? From the din, it sounded like one of those dragons from “Game of Thrones”, you know, the ones belonging to the wee wifie with the silver hair. Oh, the power of audio description! As it continued to grumble and snort, the men currently renovating the Toon Clock began chucking stuff about. No idea what but it sounded large and clunky, dropping from a great height. However, as no crowd had gathered, nor was anyone shouting, I decided whatever they were doing, it must be legal. Minutes passed. Several people tickled Miss Pupkin’s ears. No one tickled mine, but then, I was wearing that bunnet.  The dragon, or perhaps, a delivery van, left. Eventually, from the depths of my bag, I heard a faint chirping. Voiceover announcing a text. At last, my taxi en route. Within minutes, we were negotiating, very carefully, up the gravel to the front door. Home with shopping completed and intact;  and no damage to either dignity or bahoochie. Roll on springtime!

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