IT almost seemed strange to be going back to work this week after all the excitement of last week’s disruption.

Shuffling as I do, between London and Salisbury, I seemed to avoid the worst of it and just managed to get back to Salisbury on Friday morning, carefully avoiding cars abandoned the night before on Pepperbox Hill, in time to spend the afternoon tobogganing with my son and his friends.

While the economists estimated the loss to the economy, my son (and almost certainly, his teachers) were counting the benefit of ‘snow days’.

Toboggans were unearthed from the back of sheds (probably six years since we used ours…) and Salisbury, man, woman, boy and girl headed for the slopes, despite, living as we do in a valley of five rivers, slopes being few and far between.

They felt like ‘extra’ days – unexpected, unplanned and there to enjoy.

I know I’m lucky. Working flexibly means that I’m able to trade off spending money for spending a bit more time with my son while he’s growing up. But I noticed that last week, quite a few parents found themselves in the same position.

A few years ago I helped to set up The Good Childhood Enquiry with The Children’s Society – a wide ranging quasi ‘public enquiry’ into the state of childhood in Britain in the 21st Century.

The enquiry canvassed the views of thousands of children of all ages from all around the country and took evidence from a wide range of experts. Its aims being to renew society’s understanding of modern childhood and to inform, improve and inspire all our relationships with children.

The report, published in 2009, included recommendations to parents, teachers, the government, the media and society in general.

I had just become a dad when the report was commissioned, so I scoured the evidence and devoured its research avidly – searching for clues in my own personal quest to become ‘The Good Dad’.

One thing that struck me (and one of which I was forcibly reminded by a well-placed snowball on the back of the neck) was that one of the things that children love the most is when adults descend (literally, as appropriate) to their level and play games of their choosing.

Last week’s ‘snow days’ provided the perfect opportunity for many parents to do just that – and maybe relive their childhood at the same time.

The economists may have frowned and for many people the Beast from the East was indeed an ill wind.

But for those of us lucky enough to be able to indulge in parenthood, it provided a breath of fresh air, albeit a rather chilly one…