Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Fun

As it is the last day before the general return to work/school/study - no waiting until 12th night which falls on a Wednesday this year - we spent the first part of the morning taking down the Christmas tree and cards and stowing all the baubles in the loft until next year. We were quite shocked at how quickly Christmas had come round again this year, and no doubt we will be expressing the same sort of thoughts twelve months hence. Once everything was all clean and tidied away it was actually quite pleasant to have that bit of extra space and the feeling that the coming week represents a 'fresh start' in many ways. Once that was out of the way, all four of us went up and over Siward's How, the southerly ridge that obscures the low winter sunlight from our house, to the steepish hill that drops away onto Fulford Moor. This is excellent sledging terrain: the Husband and the Bright-Eyed Boy did some reconnaissance yesterday and ended up having two hours of snow-based fun. They couldn't wait to go back again today, and daughter #3 and I needed little persuading. The piste itself is reasonably uniform in profile (with some more challenging sections) that has been polished over the past couple of days to a glassy sheen, ensuring a fast and rather exciting trip. The run-out area at the bottom of the hill starts where the longer weeds and grass poke through the snow as a natural break. I suppose the entire run from top to bottom is about a couple of hundred feet or so, and you can reach a fair old speed. The trickiest bit is avoiding other sledgers, especially as the steering is a bit erratic, and a good loud shouting voice is essential! There were a lot of families there, lots of Dads imparting advice to their children and a lot of parents doing stuff that is going to mean aching joints and stiff muscles tomorrow (myself included - one particularly spectacular wipeout left me with some colourful abrasions on my leg).
But was most noticeable was the sound, a sound of pure joy, people of all ages laughing and having wonderful fun together that didn't rely on expensive gadgets or complicated preparations, and it struck me how unusual that was -an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie, strangers chatting to one another, all their defences down.

Gradually the sun became veiled by cloud and large flakes of snow started to fall silently. Having had the best fun we'd had for ages, we headed home for soup and hot buttered toast, making a wholehearted resolution that this year we would - as a family -try to have much more fun!

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