Its back again. After a three week break where it decided to take a few days off and deprive us of a true white Christmas this year. While most of the UK collectively tucks its head back under the duvet once the first snowflake hits, here in the village its time to dig.
The snow shovel is an essential part of village life, even apartment dwellers are not spared the onerous task of snow clearing duties, the rota usually posted on the communal notice board. The village also has the village snow plough, in this case, lovingly cared for by Mr Hermanek from the Village Hall.
First of all, let me say that Mr Hermanek is a popular and genial resident of the village, that is until the snow plough comes into operation. As the village rush hour (it is rumoured amongst the village elders that in days gone by five cars once went past the Church one after the other) is between 6.00 and 7.00 a.m then Mr Hermanek springs into action early, usually around 5.00 to 5.30 a.m. You can hear the roar (more of a chesty cough really) of the tractor, as with snow plough attached he studiously prowls the village sweeping snow from side to side, so the good residents can go about their daily tasks.
And therein lies the problem...............
You see, the snow has to go somewhere and usually it is straight back down the path or the drive that has just been cleared. Early morning peace and quiet is often shattered by numerous insults (and the odd snowball) hurled in the direction of the departing Mr Hermanek, sat high in his tractor, as yet another frustrated resident hurls their snow shovel into the ground at the sight of their efforts going to waste. Of course, the residents could wait until after Mr Hermanek has been and gone but there have been days when, for one reason or another no snowplough has materialised. The excuse of "Sorry I am late/not coming to work because Mr Hermanek and his snow plough didn't turn up" would only meet with derision from Czech employers (and colleagues) in a land where only the truly dumb do not have winter tyres.
And what of Mr Hermanek? The device attached to the tractor usually determines his facial expression. No snow plough usually means a pleasant smile, a nod of the head and a wave. A snow plough attached results in a steely expression, reminiscent of the one that Bruce Willis has when driving a blazing tanker through a police blockade, ignoring all insults as he pushes the snow straight back down an unsuspecting residents driveway.
Mission accomplished, Mr Hermanek.