The sledge and the volcano


It is not the clock but words that wake. Naoise sniffles and snuffles and squeaks in his sleep. I wrap him up in the duvet and the heavy wool blanket. Creep downstairs.

The snow falls and falls. Last night was the coldest of the winter, temperatures down to minus 9 in the highlands of Scotland. Mum and Dad are planning their return trip back up to their house on the north coast, it will not be the electricity but the cold that raises my concerns this time around. How relationships turn, I hope to be adventurous as them in my older years.

Momentum increases as you lift your feet onto the plastic of the sledge. The weight of your own body propels you forward, and down. Slowly slowly then sliding quickens. Over the first bump things are in your control, the second is totally random even if you do angle and position and calculate. The sleigh and you glide down the slope and occasionally make jumps over tufts of bog grass. Then as quick as you begin a sudden stop at the end. Back again dragging to the top.

I squeal and feel the muscles in my cheeks reaching far to a huge grin. It is equally as rewarding to watch others. My friends are here with me on the Pexwood Road slopes. I smile and smile at their appreciation of the snow. A joyous time. Female company. Patrick builds a snowman with the boys. It is a large man with one beach tree leaf sticking out at the top as a hat. Naoise seems to want to punch the snow out of its body. He loves the sledging. He loves to lie down in the snow and just lie and feel the cold on his back.

I share some of mums christmas cake and some whiskey liquor. It is good to celebrate the dark difficult days that the new year brings. I eat a tiny winy mince pie that C has bought with her. Its so sweet. I have been cutting right down on sugar so its sweetness is so welcome in my mouth.

I talk to S about the snow. Strange how it settles in some fields and not others. Is it the wind that drives it to different slopes and nooks and crannies or the type of soil that decides its thickness of fall in the field. We laugh, S sounds like an expert on snow fall. I am glad that we did not walk to the Pike as planned. You cannot see Stoodly Pike, the pointy peace monument that proudly sits on the highest hill. It is swathed in white and grey clouds. As we sledge the snow falls, thick spaced apart flakes. We play until our bottoms are soaked and our hands are cold and the children want to go home.

We walk around past the big trees and houses on the ridge of the hill. We slide through the two sheep fields that lead down to the road. We slide through the stone walled gaps where wooden gates should be, our control of the sledges has improved. Using both the weight of the body and the strings and heals dug into the snow to break. I delight at ending my run just a foot from the heron pond.

We warm our selves in the local pub. We talk and we laugh and we drink and eat crisps and play music on the duke box for the children. Naoise recognises Teenage Kicks by the Undertones and does a freaking dance. He spins and jumps and shakes to show his appreciation. Me and Patrick smile at our punk boy.


His joyous movements fizz as did his delight at playing kitchen science volcanoes. Mixing corn flour, vinegar, washing up liquid and red food colouring together creates a magnificent explosion. Again and again and again he mixes the ingredients together and watches the foam rise over the rather naff plastic representation of a volcano.


I marvel too at the red of the liquid oozing and bubbling and enjoy Naoise absorption in messing and exploring the experiment. He paints and I watch. I read a little more of The Winter Book. I wish to absorb Toves simple and clear way with words. Her words are calm, and cool and neatly ordered poetry.

The buzzer sounds on the cooker.


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