With the snow this morning came joy - for a time.
By seven thirty we knew that both schools attended by the young cubs were closed for the day; something unheard of when I was young! I work from home, and the girls mother was off today anyhow, so everything was rather well timed. By just past eight, they were out on the green, rolling ever growing snowballs towards the plan for the morning - a snow man!
I stood there for a moment. I had work to do this morning, mixing a jingle for someone's radio commercial. But the temptation was far too great! The client could wait a little, and I donned hat and gloves and set out to take charge!
It took us an hour of hard work, but then the fruit of our labours stood proudly in the middle of the green; a five and a half foot snowman - complete with arms, smile, round tummy and short stocky legs. Raymond Briggs would have been impressed. Work beckoned me back and I left the girls to play. What a wonderful start to a day!
A little later, news filtered up to my office that someone had knocked off the head. Then I heard that the girls had been building a snow wall, but some local teenagers had kicked it down. Then I saw the local young thugs walking out onto the green. Since the girls were still down there I wandered down too. Inevitably I ended up confronting this group of 13 to 15 year olds. Intelligent lot - all they could come up with was telling me I smelled. I turned away and left, realising how pathetic they were. When I came back they had destroyed the snowman completely - grinding its winter good wishes into the dirt.
I am powerless to do anything. If I had clipped the little brats round the ear I would have been hauled off and imprisoned for child abuse. They knew that and just gathered round trying to intimidate me. I am a little too long in the tooth to get intimidated that easily, but it was depressing.
What has become of our society that we have let it become thus? This is not the governments fault, this is not the fault of poverty or deprived backgrounds (these kids come from normal everyday families), it is our fault - us as a society. We have got ourselves into this positions by hiding behind closed doors, from tripping ourselves up with our own rules and regulations, by removing our support from people like the police.
When I was young, if someone caused trouble and the police turned up, the local mothers would point at the villain and tell the police "He did it!" And the police could then do something. Now, we keep quiet, we run away, we even blame the police, the government, immigration, the EU, Iraq, the man in the moon - everyone we can think of rather than blame the people who are truly at fault. Us.
There is a saying "The people get the government they deserve." This is ill-observed. It should be "The people will get the society they deserve." I don't know the answer, I wish I did. But I do know that the answer lies with us, nowhere else.
And in the meantime, the snow will melt, this little crime will be washed away, and another set of selfish brats will think they are kings of their very small world. I can only hope that they will never amount to anything and never make any mark whatsoever on their own or anyone else's life. They have not earned that.
We have photographed our snowman - for a very short time, he was a very brave snowman!