When I was a child there was a field behind my house. Colloquially, this field was known as "The Field". The field was bisected into two half-fields by a hill (on the upper field: a small grey concrete path, a children’s play area, a bin) (the lower field was a law unto itself: a more-or-less flat area where we played football and, twice a summer, a council mower would come and shave it all down to dirt), and this is what we sledged down when snow fell.
Children with plastic sledges, six children crammed onto one sliding blue tarpaulin. Children snowballing and making thin, weak little snowmen with the few centimetres that had managed to stick. And then me, on my proud little sledge: my dad had made it out of offshoots of wood, and a little cutoff piece of carpet to pad the seat, and, as blades, two excess carpet rails. It was a very handsome sledge I vividly recall mindlessly throwing into a skip some years later, after a house clear-up, the thin rope handle skidding in the wind. But: "Dad," I asked him, one day, amongst the snow. "If we pour cold water on my sledge blades overnight, will it freeze into ice and go faster down the hill tomorrow?" And in soft tones he explained: no, son, my sweet idiot boy. But if we pour hot water on the sledge, it will, through the magic of science, freeze faster. And I remember waking up early that day, carefully boiling a pan of water on the hob, and pouring it over my upended sledge, ready for a full day of skidding down a hill on my arse.
Was that the best day of my life? I don’t know, but maybe: the air steaming out of my lungs like a train, the cold tight on my ruddy little face, that freeing feeling of falling and accelerating all at once, tipping and the ground coming up to meet me, faster that I could ever go on my own. Home in my mittens to chug down a Hot Ribena. I mean, maybe it was the peak of my life and everything has been sledging down a metaphorical hill ever since. Maybe that snow day really was as good as it gets, and I'll never get a day as pure and good as that back.
No. Wrong. Look outside, idiots. It’s snowing. And thus begins the greatest day of my life, anew: The Adult Snow Day, Where I Can Go And Buy Hot Chocolate From Chain Cafés All I Want And Nobody Can Say Shit About It
WHY SNOW + COLD IS COMPLETELY EXCELLENT AND GOOD, A FULL AND EXHAUSTIVE LIST
IT IS STILL A VERY THRILLING THING TO WAKE UP TO
Obviously the most piss-yourself exciting thing beyond Actual Christmas Day for me as a child was a snow day, of tweaking those curtains on a cold winter morning and looking out at a world, white and transformed, docile and peaceful, a crisp layer of snow ready to be stomped on, thrown, sculpted and skidded down, a pure day of frolicking without the concerns of work or school. Is there anything better, really, than that first welly-step out into virgin snow, that first imprint you and you alone make on it, a dusting of pure angelic white stomped and moulded by a five-year-old you? No. There is not. Not even heroin, I’m guessing.
Obviously things are different now – the first thing I did this morning was groaningly checked train delays and messed around under my bed, trying to find my boots so I don’t end up trying to skid my way to a train station in Classics again (there is a particular shade of green-purple your arse goes when you fall on it hard while skidding on snow in Classics, and it takes about five entire weeks to fade) (don’t! ask! how! I! know! this!), and then doing that thing where you have to kind of edge your way to the end of the bed to grab a dressing gown and put it on before you get out of bed, so the adrenalin-shock of stepping out into the cold doesn’t stop your heart dead in your chest, but still: making my way out of the door this morning, pure-press snow beneath my feet, cars calmly and silently greying down the roads and fresh powder falling from the sky around me, I was filled with a sense of childlike wonder, peace and glee. YOU DON’T GET THAT FROM HAIL, DO YOU.
THERE’S NO BETTER SELFIE LIGHT IN HISTORY
I don’t need to tell you right now that your Instagram feed is made up of two photos: i. the morning view from someone’s flat (or in some cases high-storey office), which is a photo of the snow falling and a photo of the rooftops and gardens around them looking all pure and white, and there is some ironic caption about how basic and obvious it is to do a snow picture when it has snowed, which I personally hate because just embrace it, mate; it’s snow, stop pretending you don’t love it. And ii. photos of people looking absolutely bang-gorgeous while wearing a knitted hat in a park somewhere.
What is it about snow that makes selfies amongst it so flattering? It’s because the daylight out there is studio quality, so it makes everyone out there walking around in scarves and mittens look amazing. Look, here’s VICE photographer Chris Bethell explaining better than I could: "Snow is great for the selfie taker as nature has decided to be your photographic assistant for the day. For one day only, nature is holding the world's largest reflector for you – bouncing light from every direction into your wrinkles and wiping away the bags under your eyes. Your selfies will look like you were trapped in purgatory ten years ago." SCIENCE.
THERE IS SOMETHING UNIQUELY SATISFYING ABOUT MAKING YOURSELF COSY
Right now I am wearing a roll neck jumper and, in a bit, I might put a scarf on indoors. When I go out to get my lunch I’m going to wear a coat that is essentially a large green duvet with some elastic chords running through it that make it into the vague shape of some sleeves. Got my thermal T-shirt tucked in and my thickest socks on under my boots. When I get home later? In bed by ten with an extra blanket on, beans on toast for dinner. All I need is a roaring fire and a large sturdy dog to go on a walk with and come back from, ruddy-cheeked and exhausted, to someone making me a hot toddy in a farmhouse kitchen, and that’s me: maximum cosy, the cosiest man alive.
COLD WEATHER CUISINE IS THE BEST CUISINE
Ah yeah, big thing of stew in a big red bowl? Yes please. £3 box of soup w/ an entire sliced and buttered baguette on the side? Absolutely. Four hot chocolates in one day? Yeah. Just, like, eating marshmallows? Standing up? Yes. Pint of Guinness by a roaring pub fire. Thing of whisky in an armchair while resting your feet on a rug. And, perhaps the best cold weather food of all: making a Domino’s pizza delivery boy bring you a Pepperoni Passion and not really tipping him that much.
I AM CANCELLING EVERY PLAN I HAD WITH YOU SORRY BUT I DON’T CARE NOW
Main thing about adult life is it's very exhausting because to know people is to do things with them, and to do things is to plan things, and what I’m saying is I thought I had "quite a quiet week" ahead of me, but then I checked and I’m actually doing something every night from now until Wednesday. Or at least I was, before the snow fell out of the sky, and now everyone I know is getting a text about how I’m "snowed in" and "absolutely can’t make it mate: can we rearrange?" and "let’s raincheck… OR SHOULD I SAY SNOWCHECK, AHA!" and they are all fine with it because they just want to go home, kick snow and eat warmed-through tinned food too.
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE EXTREMELY LATE TO WORK AND NOBODY CAN SAY SHIT
I waltzed in 40 minutes late today and came in holding a hot chocolate, get on my level.
YOU CAN JUSTIFY UBERS WHEREVER YOU WANT
I mean it’s 2.8x surge – those fuckers know how to get their pound of flesh off us, don’t they – but if I have to walk in this snow I will, as aforementioned, bash my arse into a month-long green-purple bruisefest, so I’m getting an Uber to Nando’s for lunch and that's completely fine.
SPOONING IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IS ESPECIALLY GOOD – I DON’T WANT TO GET TOO HORNY ABOUT IT, THIS IS A FAMILY WEBSITE – BUT YEAH, IT IS
Sorry if you’re pathologically lonely or alone right now, because very truly negative temperatures are the best time to take all your clothes off and clench close to another naked body. But then I suppose the flip-side of it is that Tinder et al is absolutely popping off right now as everyone desperately clamours for someone warm to hold them close as the storm sets in. Proper "day before Valentine’s Day" vibes. "Christmas Eve in your hometown" realness. Enjoy the sexual war zone.
EVEN YOUR TIGHTEST HOUSEMATE WILL ALLOW YOU TO BLAST THE HEATING ALL DAY
There are two kinds of people in this world – and I’m not going to pretend the distinction doesn’t form along a rough north–south divide, nor isn’t informed by economic restraints – but there are two kinds of people in this world and they all, seemingly, are magnetically attracted to living together in an uneasy house-share situation in south-east London.
There are people who have absolutely no qualms about putting the heating on when it’s cold because that’s what it’s there for, and there are people who go absolutely al dente when the temperature of the house creeps anything past 20 degrees, and start storming around and clanking with the boiler and saying "DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THIS COSTS? PUT A JUMPER ON", and then they make their own porridge with water not milk for breakfast. And what I am saying is even your tightest housemate – the one who nominated themselves "in charge of the bills" and sends you that curious pass-agg email at 12:01 precisely on the first day of the month asking you for the exact amount, to the penny, you owe for bills – even that housemate is like: yeah, alright, put the heating on. Let’s all get our duvets and make a big sort of tent-den in the front room.
ABSOLUTELY NO WAY YOU WON’T SEE AT LEAST ONE CAR SKID QUIETLY INTO A CRASH BARRIER OR WATCH ONE PERSON FALL OVER AND SHATTER IN THIS SNOW
Am I too old to get excited by snowfall? No, absolutely not, never. Am I too old to find people falling over in the snow and really, really hurting their arse and arms about it funny? Also no.
IF YOU’RE HAVING A PARTY YOU CAN CHILL BEER OUTSIDE
Closest I’ve ever got to feeling the warm glow of a life hack is filling a bucket with water and leaving it outside, filled with Foster's, at a New Year’s Eve party once, and I don’t even particularly want to get pissed tonight but I might just do this trick again anyway because: how often do you get to, you know? How often, truly, does nature provide you with an all-natural fridge? Just feels foolish not to take advantage.
IT’S REALLY FUN DRAWING DICKS ON CARS DO NOT @ ME
That truly is the benefit of snow: if you get up early enough you can pencil out, with one outstretched finger, a perfect jizzing cock shape on an entire row of parked cars. I used to know a guy – you know one too, one of those lads who is Really Into His Car – who always went absolutely ballistic when anyone drew a frosty dick on his windscreen, because he was convinced the friction of cold and snow and ice, when pushed into the glass beneath it, would irreparably scratch and etch a cock permanently into his car.
I can tell you that nothing motivated me to draw cocks on cars more than that fact. It’s like telling someone they can eat ice cream while having sex. A thing I enjoy (drawing cocks on cars) results in another thing I enjoy (winding people up so much they have a heart attack)? Thank you for this gift, Based Snowfall.