The children had been waiting and hoping for snow. As the thermometer dipped, the weather forecasts were watched with a rare intensity. Then, Anna came home in fevered excitement: ‘The school is gritting everywhere.’

This was a wise precaution. Two years ago, the school was closed for the first time in living memory. This time, much to the pupils’ annoyance and parents’ gratitude, the headmaster was taking no chances. But what Anna knew and he didn’t was that our new house is perched on top of one of the highest spots in Hampshire. If there was ever a place in the county that was going to be snowed in, it’s here.

We woke up to a white covering. Anna rushed out into the garden, but returned disappointed. ‘It’s not enough is it Dad?’ It wasn’t.

The trains, however, were brought to a virtual standstill by the light powdering of snow. Even by 7pm that night, less than half of the South West Trains network was running. Repeated apologies were broadcast of how the company had been caught out by the weather. To all of us, it seemed pathetic that a few flakes of snow had thrown the network into chaos. Perhaps Anna’s headmaster should be running the railways?