Our small village was built in a valley. One winter I remember the snow being so deep that we were completely snowed in. I woke up early as usual and ran to my bedroom window. Inches of snow lay on the branches of the ancient pear tree outside.. Everything was covered in a blanket of pristine, crunchy, white, snow. I put on my slippers and ran downstairs.
Grandad and Nanny were already up making mug's of hot tea for everyone. The front and back door would not open, snow blocked our way. My Uncle Darrell had to climb out of the window and dig us out. He took about an hour to clear the front doorway and path. Then he came back inside and removed his boots and warmed his toes by the fire. Time for another mug of tea.
All the roads out of Belton were under such a thick layer of snow it was impossible for mum to cycle to work. The church and the little village school remained closed.Everyone stayed inside in the warm. For this reason everyone was home from work. Even if mum was able to get to the river, the water was frozen, so there was no ferry to take her accross to the factory on the other side..
It was like Christmas. The house was full of voices talking, laughing. Best of all mum was awake and sat at the table eating breakfast with us. All the coal and log fires in the house were burning. Nanny was already baking bread, the smell of which always reminds me of that day.
My aunt who usually worked at the hospital in Great Yarmouth was home and she was such fun. She told me stories of her life in Ireland, which seemed such a magical far away place. She talked of Leprechauns, Irish "little people." Tiny old men, with firey red hair, dressed all in green. They spent their time making mischief but if caught, they could grant you three wishes. Of course I never found any. They were supposed to live in the forest , where they hid a huge pot of gold under a rainbow. I never found that either.
In the afternoon nanny played the piano in our best "front room", which we usually kept for special occasions, that never came. I knew some of the songs and we all sang along. Nanny played the piano so beautifully. She called it "the old Joanna", I never asked her why. She always said she played a little, as we were taught not to "blow our own trumpets", and be modest. If I hear those songs now on the radio or television I always cry.
All day I had my family around me. The people I loved most in the world. I remember wanting those three wishes so badly. I wanted that day, with it's roaring fires and layers of bright white snow, and most of all the people I loved... to last forever.