At approximately 7.32am this morning, if you were listening carefully, a chorus of gleeful whoops filled the air as many Orcadian children learned that their school had been closed by snow.
Today, these wee skivers will be able to hurl snowballs at each other whilst whizzing about on sledges and sculpting grotesque caricatures of their teachers in snow. And all without reparation.
If it had been 1888, however, they would have perhaps owed the school a day's toil. The Birsay school log book entry for 27th January 1888 reads:
" A very stormy day and so few present that they were dismissed before the usual time of marking the Registers. The school will be opened on a subsequent Saturday when the attendances will be marked under this date." The horror...
On 1st February 1895, the school was closed due to heavy snow-fall but no mention was made of a further catch-up Saturday. Perhaps it was an unpopular idea.
The poor teacher was left virtually alone again on the 31st of January 1896 but, this time, weather was not to blame. A steamer had been wrecked not far from the coast and the pupils of the school spent the day down on the beach scavenging for cargo.
Information taken from log book CO5/42/1