Thursday, December 06, 2012

Prima Nix

It was a bit of a surprise to wake up yesterday morning to a clouds with that brown tinge that always denotes snow. More of a surprise still to leave a couple of hours later for the station only to find the trains had been cancelled - which meant I missed my dental appointment. It was only a check-up so no real inconvenience for me although I had to reschedule an appointment with someone in London later that afternoon to today. 

When I was at seminary the Gregorian University observed 'prima nix' - on the first day snow fell in Rome each year all lectures were cancelled. I didn't know this in my first year and, having spent New Year with a family in Padua, was on my way back to the College when the snow fell. The train moved at a snail's pace. An eight hour journey became seventeen with people getting more and more jittery until eventually the driver gave up and we were disgorged into buses at Settebagni for the last leg of the journey. I got in just before Morning Prayer on the Monday morning, the first day of term, and headed straight to the Chapel congratulating myself on not being late only to find it completely empty. Somewhat puzzled I waited for a while before heading up stairs where I found an announcement on the noticeboard: "Prima Nix - No School Tomorrow".

I was reminded of this today when I visited a diocesan school to help with confessions. There was a great concern to ensure we were all signed in. When I asked why I was told it was because the day before one of the pupils, upset at not being given the day off when it snowed, activated the fire alarm. While disapproving of what he did, I have to admit to being somewhat sympathetic to the expectation!

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