Livewire - January 23, 2013

Str Annes snow pix. . The Square.
Str Annes snow pix. . The Square.

By Edith Procter of Clifton Drive

I managed to get out of my flat the other day, alone and unaided, along with my shopping trolley to stock up on provisions to tide me over.

There is no one to provide me with a free breakfast if I neglect to look after my own health. I dare say I could phone a specialist supplier but I prize my independence. I have a computer but draw the line at doing my day to day shopping that way. My computer is my means of contact with my grown up children living and working in Australia.

Snow has never frightened me. It’s slipping on ice that frightens me. I broke my arm doing just that in my 60s when far more active than today and don’t intend to follow up with my hip. At my time of life a broken hip could lead to rest home particularly with the likelihood of rehabilitation hospitals closing locally, according to Coun Henry Mitchell in The Gazette.

I am 78 and use a four wheeled trolley for extra stability. I wear proper boots not silly fashion accessories with slippery soles.

I use chains for the ice which you can buy anywhere these days. I bought mine years ago on a walking trip in the Lake District and they never let me down. You put them on the bottom of your shoes or boots and you can walk safely on icy surfaces. They are marvellous. They mean that pensioners don’t have to be held prisoner in their homes at winter time.

But what I can’t understand is why we mollycoddle children so much these days. In my day snow meant snowmen and sledging although we used pieces of cardboard or old prams. We sometimes got hurt, grazed knees or elbows or even hit our heads if we tumbled off but it was part of growing up. The only way to learn limits is to test them before setting them.

And I can’t remember schools closing in my childhood in East Lancashire where winters can be as bad as they come. I remember classrooms being so cold we kept our hats and scarves and mittens on for lessons. Our mothers had the sense to send us to school well wrapped up, and we trudged through snow and our teachers did the same. Very few drove to school. I worked in similar conditions in factories – wearing gloves, with cut out fingers for the finer work. I took the bus there. If it was snowy or icy it dropped us at the end of a long road and we walked the rest of the way.

So why do schools keep closing on health and safety grounds because of snow and ice?

If children are likely to slip or fall on the way to and from school aren’t they just as likely to do so at home while out playing – particularly if they’re unsupervised most of the time? We are wrapping the adults of tomorrow’s world in cotton wool today.

l To contribute to livewire email jacqui.morley@jpress.co.uk