Reid ParkFire and Ice

Wild West Yorkshire, Tuesday 30 November 2010

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park fenceReid ParksledgeFOUR HUNDRED schools in West and South Yorkshire have closed because of the snow and this morning small groups schoolboys are heading for the woods with their sledges - mainly the round ones the size of dustbin lids that get you to the bottom of the slope and whirl you around simultaneously.

I set off with hiking boots and walking pole. Having read one of Michael Smith's books about Antarctic exploration recently, a bit of soft snow doesn't seem like too much of an obstacle.

My chance to draw a snow scene comes when I have to wait five minutes for my car which has been suffering from the winter blues and needed to be brought back to life with a new battery, oil, spark plugs and of course a shot of antifreeze. Beyond this row of trees, Reid Park, Horbury Bridge, has a more open aspect now that they've demolished the long derelict brick-built pavilion.

My encounter with fire comes at when I'm preparing my lunchtime favourite sardine bake and the plastic spatula slips from the trivet then its handle twists under the frying pan and when I pick it up it splashes molten plastic down the side of my hand. I flick it into the sink to cool down but I can't scrape the spatters of plastic off my hand immediately and later, after I've scraped it off and run my hand under cold water, blisters start to form. At least the stinging soon went away!

Richard Bell, illustrator

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