WELL, thank goodness for that. The snow’s gone and, with a bit of luck, it won’t come back any time soon – because, quite frankly, I’m knackered.

In an earlier column, following a heavy fall of snow in January, I complained about having to pull my four-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, up and down the hill on her sledge while her Daddy took it easy building a snowman at the top.

Well, I’m sorry to have to report that it got a good deal worse when the white stuff returned with a vengeance a month later…

My wife and I had been called up for a spot of child-minding duty while Chloe’s Mummy and Daddy were working and, naturally, the little one wanted to get back out sledging. However, this time, the hardship kicked in earlier because I had to be “a husky” while we were making our way to the sledging hill in our village.

Yes, Chloe got herself comfortable in the sledge, while yours truly pulled her across the field. “Faster, Gandalf! Faster!” she shouted. Had she been equipped with a whip, I very much doubt she’d have used it sparingly.

I have no idea how old the average working husky is when it reaches retirement age in Siberia, but I’ll soon be 59, and it’s important to put that into context. According to Google, the first year of a medium-sized dog's life represents 15 years of a human's life. The second year of a dog's life equals about nine years for a human. And after that, every human year equals approximately four years for a dog. Now, maths has never been my strong point, but I reckon that makes me 248 in dog years.

Despite that, I was expected to run at a steady pace for ages, en route to what is known to all sledgers in Hurworth-on-Tees as “The Ring Field”. Meanwhile, my wife had to trot behind in a bid to keep up – well, at least for the first 100 yards before she decided she’d had enough.

“You get in the sledge with me, Ganma!” shouted Chloe, looking behind her, and taking pity on the greying woman, running along in her slipstream.

Like me, you might have expected Ganma to decline the invitation out of respect – and concern – for her gasping husband. Instead, she readily climbed into the sledge, positioned Chloe between her legs, and sat back for the ride.

It is one thing being a husky for a four-year-old little girl. Let me assure you, it is a different challenge altogether, trying to pull a granddaughter and a grandma at the same time.

To put it into some kind of perspective, the topweight in the Grand National is only set to carry 11 stone 10lbs.

MEANWHILE, I’m proud to say that own mother is still proving to be remarkably resilient despite being in her 90th year.

With the snow still laying in a thick carpet, I drove to her house to deliver some supplies, only to discover that she’d been outside for an hour, clearing her path with a shovel and a brush.

“I didn’t want you to slip,” she explained.

I may be a mere 58, but I’m clearly very vulnerable in her eyes.


“DADDY, can I have some jelly,” Chloe asked before pausing and adding in a quieter, even more persuasive voice “and a pet hamster?”

CHLOE, who is planning to be a ‘heart sturgeon’, had built a hospital out of Lego and her Daddy asked for a tour: “Ok, Daddy, this is the bedrooms, this is the room for babies, this is the room for mummies and daddies, and this is the toilet.”

She then pointed to a room where there was a Lego man in two halves, adding: “And this is the room where they fix people.”