Chapter One - Snow
Soft light idly played through a gap in the green, cord curtains, bathing the room in the warm glow of a grey, winter dawn. The room itself was small and cosy, with a small open hearth dominating the centre. A marble mantelpiece offered a light hint of decadence, although the photographs of people and places that decorated the cold, stone surface indicated the owner of the room cared deeply for those they held dear. They are evidently a traditionalist as the rest of the room contained old oak furniture, that could have been made several hundred years ago. A matching set of furnishings including a large wardrobe, a small chest of drawers, a bedside table, a writing desk, a chair and a double bed made up the rest of the room. The room was tidy, clean and plain, with cream wallpaper, a few oak beams on the ceiling and green curtains, carpet and bedding woven together to create a homely look. Everything seemed to have a place and the only thing that looked out of place is the presence of a small man asleep on the large, oak, four poster bed. He laid on his side, his eyes closed lightly in rest with his large, fuzzy eyebrows furrowed slightly from a gentle dream. A mop of unruly blonde hair formed a halo of gold on the green pillow beneath his head, giving the man an angelic appearance. The scene was tranquil, peaceful and quiet.
The man stirred lightly and his long, blonde eyelashes fluttered open to reveal pools of deep, green, as old and mysterious as an ancient forest. He yawned loudly and rubbed at his eyes sleepily before he slowly pulled himself out of bed. He stood up, stretched his arms, cricked his back and bent down to pull his blue slippers out from under the bed and slip them on his dainty feet. Quietly, he padded over to his oak wardrobe and opened one of the large doors before reaching inside to pull a matching blue dressing gown off a wooden hanger and slip it over his green pyjamas. He tied the cord tightly around his slender waist and then moved to exit the room, trotting down the corridor to freshen himself up in the bathroom.
Evidently the man is going through the motions, following a routine honed through years of habit. He makes his way down the small flight of stairs to the quaint kitchen which was filled with traditional appliances and questionable smells. After briefly pausing to yawn again, the man picked up an old, black, steel kettle and filled it with water before setting it to boil on the gas lit stove top. He pulled out a frying pan and began to fill it with an assortment of goods - bacon, eggs, sausage and black pudding while he shoved half a tin of baked beans in another pan. Absently, he began humming the tune to "Land of Hope and Glory" as he stirred his breakfast and prepared a teapot for the near boiled water.
It did not take long before he was sat at a small oak kitchen table, tucking into his delicious(?) full English breakfast and sipping his perfectly brewed mug of tea. In his head, he planned the day ahead meticulously while he ate: paperwork from eight until ten, meeting with the prime minister at half ten until twelve, lunch twelve until one then a conference call with a couple of businessmen for half an hour before heading down to the conference centre for a world meeting to begin at three on the dot. He sighed in between mouthfuls of bacon and tea, the world meeting could go on the rest of the day or be over in a chaotic half an hour. Either way he knew he would end the day with headache tablets, a cup of tea and a darkened room. Finishing his breakfast quickly, he took the time to wash and dry the pots before he moved over to open the kitchen curtains, having found it advisable to take stock of the unpredictable English weather before choosing what to wear for the day.
"Bloody flippin' Nora!" He exclaimed in abject shock and surprise as he gawped at the outside world. The beautiful back garden was covered with nearly three inches of snow and the grey, looming clouds overhead threatened more to come. It was picture perfect, fresh and even graced with the presence of a small robin who hoped across the lawn.
He stumbled back in shock, slumping down onto a chair and blinking dizzily as though the overwhelmed by the sight of the soft whiteness outside. Stressed, he ran his hand over his face for a moment before quickly rising to his feet and trotting into the living room. Picking up the remote, he flicked the television on and changed the channel to the BBC news. There a serious faced reporter spoke,
"In an unexpected turn of events, the country has been beset by several inches of snow. More is forecast on the way. Trains and flights have been cancelled. Drivers are advised not to travel if they can avoid it. Schools across the country have been closed." The reported droned on for a few moments before flicking to a correspondent who began to discuss some of the implications of the snow.
The man watched in horror before bolting up the stairs, deciding that action was needed. All plans went out the window and he hurriedly made a few phone calls to cancel everything but the world meeting - it was too late for that but if he headed out now (half seven) he might just make the mid afternoon start. He opened his wardrobe door again and stared before eventually settling on an outfit. He started with three layers of thermals, before layering up with smart, black trousers and a white shirt. Then he grabbed first one, then two, then five green jumpers and forced them over his head. Finally, he slipped on a jacket he had bought whilst skiing and layered up with seven pairs of walking socks and a pair of walking boots. He grabbed his brief case before slipping on his hand made, matching scarf, hat and gloves.
Satisfied, the man made his way to the door, venturing into the outside world. The cold hit his exposed face and a bitter wind momentarily took his breath away. He glanced up at the sky and was met with an overcast, grey wall, an instant forecast of more snow to come. Trudging out, he walked down the path to his blue mini and peered at the car. Hesitantly he unlocked it and sat himself down in the driving seat before cautiously turning the engine on. He swallowed nervously and pressed into the clutch, slipping it into first before slowly crawling along at about ten miles per hour. Eventually, he got brave enough to put it into second and the vehicle crept up to a whole twenty miles per hour. He decided for fear of his life he could not risk third and cruised along slowly, the tires leaving tracks in the snow.
After some time of travel, he began to settle into driving a little more, his knuckles no longer white with gripping the steering wheel. He even braved humming to himself a little - a Vera Lynn song to keep his spirits up. Engrossed in driving, he jumped somewhat when his mobile phone rang through onto the cars system. He hesitated only a moment before pressing the button on his car handset to patch him through.
"Hello, England speaking?" He spoke clearly, eyes and attention focussed on the road.
"Iggy! It's America! Like what's going on at your place? Are you okay? I'll be a hero if not! Just tell me where the bad guys are and I'll get them!" A loud, American voice blasted out breathlessly through the cars speakers. "They've grounded loads of flights to your place. I'm stuck in Heathrow trying to get to the meeting. Are there bad guys holding all your planes hostage? I'll get them!"
England sighed, turning the volume down on his speakers and waiting for the exuberant nation to calm down before replying, "America, I appreciate the concern but I dare say you need to calm down. I am quite alright. It's just..." He trailed off.
"Just what? Iggy what's going on?" America sounded concerned now, an unusual trait in the man who could never sense the mood.
"It's just we have had some snow. I'm sorry America." The grief in his voice was clear and it had taken a lot for the reserved man to confess this to his friend.
"..." Silence on the other end and then..."What the hell Iggs? All this fuss over some snow? I already knew it was snowing! It's like a couple of inches tops? Don't tell me you ground half your flights over that?" The American was obviously trying not to laugh, probably from a mixture of relief and disbelief.
The Brit frowned and mumbled something incoherent in reply, before making an excuse and hanging up the phone. This was not a joke! It was serious! The snow would ruin everything and the British people would be more miserable than ever while it lasted. As though to epitomise his mood, a fresh few flakes drifted down as the snow started once more. The man sighed for the upteenth time and flicked his wipers on, continuing on until his journeys end.