Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring
Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers
Comes autumn with his apples scattering;
Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.
     (A. E. Housman’s translation of Horace Odes 4.7)


As a boy in Bradford, I lived just 100 yards down the street to the left. I seem to remember the trams kept running in the great snow of 1947. I delighted in walking to school on the top of the piles of snow formed by the road clearance and remember making something like an igloo on the road outside our house and having a ledge for a candle inside it.

Researching the pages of a 1959 copy of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus at the British Library Newspaper Library in Colindale today, I spotted a letter of support for the snow shovelers who had obviously been vilified in the readers’ views column. It ran: ‘Try turning up at 7 a.m. with a cup of tea and a slice of dripping and bread inside you and holes in your socks and shoes that take water … and £1.13.6 (about £1.60 today) at the end of the day for your trouble.’

I suppose a wool warehouseman like my father – the lowest-paid wool workers – would get, at most, £7 a week then. A modern tiled fireplace was being advertised in the same paper for £8.17.6; I suppose the instalment would be at least a pound extra.

These additional ping-pong balls will remind us of what is yet to come!

2 thoughts on “DEEP AND CRISP AND EVEN”
  • Christine

    I am in awe of the ornaments you made from ping pong balls. Individual, evocative of the seasons and quite beautiful. They remind me of the people my grandmother conjured from styrofoam balls. I suspect yours are both more environmentally friendly and more durable. But she made hers with sequins and pins. No markers required.

  • jentay61

    Ah trams with their clanking and swaying, and memories,in the 60s, of tramping over the fields to my secondary school because the snow finally was too deep for the buses to go any further. It really did have to be coming over the tops of our wellingtons to justify closing school. Thankyou for the pictures which are very seasonal but not run-of-the-mill. How clever you are. Like Christine I stand in awe!

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