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Today’s topic is How do you stay entertained when you are snowed in?

This one will not suit everybody. It would not suit my dad, for example, who headed off to Lanzarote on November 1st and will not be back until the end of March (the topic ’How do you keep yourself entertained when you hear that your sons are snowed in at home?’ would suit him perfectly, although his post (“Laugh loudly for four months”) would be fairly short).

It is not terribly suitable for us stuck here in Ireland either. We are supposedly known for our gift of the gab (though I suggest we’re better known for Bono, having a St Patrick’s Day parade in your city whether you want one or not, and for destroying the world’s economy), and basically what we have gabbed about since last February is last winter, how it was the worst for 30 years, isn’t it lucky we don’t get winters like that every year, well at least everyone knows that a bad winter like that is always followed by a good summer, don’t worry, it will start any day now, ok so it’s October already, maybe we’ll have a late summer.

Then November came, and we are beginning to realise what a real winter is like – it doesn’t just last a week, you can hear wolves howling on the hill behind your house, and the ice that you didn’t get time to clear off your driveway has just slid down the road in one massive sheet, dropped into Greystones harbour and drifted out to sea, right into the path of the Titanic.

And for the first time ever you have been really, genuinely snowed in. And, as today’s topic says, you’ve to keep yourself entertained. Since we are not yet experts at this, a typical day is like this:

  • Stare in childlike delight out the window at your snow-covered garden, remarking at how beautiful it looks.
  • Watch the delightful birds pecking away at the nuts in the bird feeder.
  • Take photos of said garden.
  • Write a blog post about how beautiful the snow is, including photos of said said garden.
  • Suggest building a snowman to the teenage Tinkids, who look at you as if you are mental. This hurts, even if you are.
  • Decide you will do it yourself. Work enthusiastically at it until the chattering of your teeth is audible from across the street, ie, about two minutes. Stick two stones and a carrot into it and race back indoors.
  • Lie on the couch with your fists hugged to your stomach, almost weeping at the astonishing pain as the feeling comes back into your fingers.
  • Go and look at your snowman. You appear to have built a white cowpat, with a face.
  • As today’s paper is in the shop, and therefore might as well be on Mars, you find an old paper under a sofa cushion and read that. Apparently Ireland’s growth will not be as high next year as this, but we are in for something called a ‘soft landing’. For some reason the cowpat in your back garden comes into your mind.
  • Turn on the TV. Just how many channels show Friends at the same time?
  • Finally find a strange programme. The man in it appears to have had sex with his wife’s sister, even though they are all first cousins. Everyone shouts at each other, the wife cries, and several people have to be held back at various stages to prevent them from thumping each other. If you’d known Eastenders was this interesting you’d have started watching it years ago.
  • A string of programmes follow in which people are ordered to lose weight, tidy their house, bring their children up better, move to a sunny location, eat healthier, look good naked (it’s not that easy, I’ve tried it) and study their poo. It’s like being at boot-camp, with occasional breaks for ads from Ocean Finance.
  • Stare in adultlike gloom out the window at your snow-covered garden, remarking at how dreary it looks.
  • Glare angrily at the bloody birds nibbling away at your nuts.
  • Resolve to come back and re-word that sentence later.
  • Reflect that you’ve just thought of another way of getting rid of Brussels sprouts, wondering if you could hit one of the birds with one through the open window.
  • Remind your readers that this is just a story, and assure them that no birds were harmed during the making of this post.
  • Because you’re a really bad shot.

Go to bed at 7.15, realising that Captain Oates didn’t really go out into the snow to avoid holding up the others.

He’d just been really, really bored.

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