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There was ice on our windows this morning. Nothing strange about that, you might think: it’s been bloody cold of late and there’s ice everywhere. Except there was ice on the inside of our windows this morning. And that’s why, despite having got up around 7.30am, Milo and I both stayed in bed until gone 9am, and attempted to get dressed under the duvet (we were surprisingly successful).

This week we have been in the grip of the worst winter in 30 years. Newspaper headlines scream of ‘ice land’ (i.e. the whole of the UK covered in snow), ‘snow storm’ (council bosses narked that teachers have been off, and schools closed, all week) and ‘the big freeze’ (motorways jammed by jack-knifed lorries).

But the big news for us this week centres on snowmen. Tuesday morning arrives and it soon transpires that no one is going anywhere. Our car is snowed in, the buses aren’t running and we can’t push the pushchair through the drifts, so Simon, Milo and I decide to stay at home, as does half our street.

Out front, our neighbours build a snow family: a mum and dad, two kids and then, in a final flourish, a dog and a cat. They sit proudly on the pavement, the sunlight glinting on their icy forms. I take a snap on the way back from the pub that evening (schools and offices may have been shut but it’s amazing how pubs and shops manage to stay open for business).

Something terrible occurs that evening, some time between getting home and getting up in the morning: the snow family are attacked, their hats and scarves stolen. Even the dog and cat get it: all six shapes have had their heads knocked off during the night.

Thing is, it’s not a one-off. We built a snowman in our front garden just before Christmas, sticking him on our garden wall. We woke up the next day and he’d gone. Not just his head or his scarf but the whole shebang: someone had stolen our snowman.

Milo took the news surprisingly well. Simon just shrugged and said, ‘People will nick anything,’ but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. I mean, who on earth would steal a snowman?

And other snowmen on other roads don’t appear to suffer the same fate: I’ve had plenty of time, as I’ve hefted and dragged the pushchair back from the childminder’s, to look at other people’s snowmen, and they’ve remained unmolested. No, what’s appears to be happening on our road is far more sinister. Our road, it seems, is in the midst of some sort of snow war.

Snowmen, snow families and snow animals: if you go down to our road today, you’d better go in disguise.

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