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Winter 1947

The snowman my granddad built for me lasted for weeks. He had coke for eyes, a row of coal for a mouth and a carrot for a nose.


1947 was the worst winter in my living memory. Deep, deep snow stayed for weeks and weeks. People were cut off and little could move on the roads. The railways were at a standstill.

It was difficult to get coal and most houses were heated by a coal fire then. There was a great demand because of the cold but, because the roads were so bad, the coalmen couldn’t deliver. There used to be great coal heaps, often at railway stations, where the coalmen filled up their wagons. They then put the coal in sacks and delivered it to homes, usually by tipping it down the cellar grate.

Because the weather was so bad, some of the power stations ran out of coal and electricity was turned off several times a day. “Not another power-cut,” said my mum. Farmers could not plough their fields, so the next year’s harvest was poor and remember this was just after the end of the war.

I loved to play in the snow, and used to come home after hours outside, soaked through, snow down my wellies but happy and rosy-cheeked.

The snowman my granddad built for me lasted for weeks. I remember him well. He had cokes for eyes, a row of coal for a mouth, and a carrot for a nose. My gran knitted him a scarf from old wool but, when the thaw came, it got really soggy and so it got thrown away.

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