I walk to work in the mornings. Takes me about 20 minutes usually, which is great. With the snow of late, it’s taken me five minutes more or so. No great trauma. Thankfully, Newcastle has had a thaw earlier in the week and it’s a lovely stroll again. But this morning I opened my front door and it had snowed again through the night. Well I’m not at my best in the morning so I grumped a bit, wrapped myself in a scarf I got as a Christmas gift from a cousin and set off trying hard to avoid slippy bits. About 15 minutes into my walk, I reached a little stretch of street that was inevitably ice rink-like. I sighed, pulled my scarf tighter, got distracted by how soft it felt – Marks and Spencers do lovely scarves – and then staggered slowly on with huge amounts of concentration.
I slipped, skidded, slid, and slammed hard onto my backside in a style I like to think was reminiscent of Buster Keaton at his best, but was probably closer to that drunk bloke who hangs around outside your off-license at his worst. It hurt. A lot. For a moment, I thought I’d broken my bum-bone. Luckily, it was too ungodly an hour to have any students around to laugh at me. Well, I immediately and rightly launched into a rant about the LibDem run council which developed into a soliloquy on the crapness of LibDems in general and Nick Clegg’s need to be in the press more often than he merits. Once I got that out of my system, I stood up. It was all going a bit numb. My trousers had a little tear in them, so I moaned about the quality of clothing not bought from Marks and Spencers, got distracted by the idea of trousers made from a load of M and S scarves stitched together, then trundled to work. I arrived late, spilt a cup of coffee (mostly on myself), and decided my life was rubbish and thought about how hard I had it. Cold, wet, stained, and with a sore bum-bone. I sat at my desk, put my scarf carefully on the radiator, made another cup of coffee, and switched on my PC. I was having a bad day.
Then I saw the news. The people of Haiti have no homes, no clothes, no food, no clean water. Their families are missing or dead, their lives are changed forever. I felt a bit silly for being so selfish when I have a great life. Spare trousers at home, central heating in my office, a Pret to get all the food and drink I need just up the road, my family are all warm, safe, and healthy, and I have a lovely scarf from Marks and Spencers. So I made a donation to DEC. You should too. Now.
http://www.dec.org.uk/ or call 0370 60 60 900