PONDER this phrase for a few moments:

‘Take for granted’ — to fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity. For example: “the comforts that people take for granted”

In our modern world that is true of many things. We expect the light to go on when we flick a switch, connection to the internet through wi-fi or a mobile phone network, even food on the shelves of the supermarket when we need to stock up.

It has been many years since we have had to rely on our own initiative, ingenuity and resilience to provide light, warmth and sustenance for ourselves and our families.

We have also come to expect and depend upon the freedom to travel wherever and whenever we want and by whatever means we choose.

The past week or so however has put that freedom firmly to the test and in some cases nigh on impossible.

It seems that as a nation it takes a single snowflake falling for the whole of the UK to go into a tailspin about the weather.

We become obsessed with the inconvenience it could cause and then debate and discuss what should and shouldn’t be done and where we think it is going wrong.

But I think we very much take for granted the efforts and dedication of the people who work so hard to keep our roads and transport network moving during these periods of extreme and severe weather.

Largely unseen and often unappreciated they are all-too readily criticised when people’s expectations exceed the practical reality of the weather situation — which they invariably do.

It brings to mind the legend of King Canute, King of Denmark, England and Norway — known as the North Sea Empire — from 1028 to 1035.

Canute — so the story goes — set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Continuing to rise as usual, the tide dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person.

The King said: “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws.”

We have a dedicated team of people who are on a winter-weather footing from October to the end of March every year.

They work around the clock gritting roads and clearing pavements to keep Inverclyde moving when the snow falls and the temperature plummets.

Trying to stay one step ahead of the weather where conditions can change in a matter of minutes is no easy task and inevitably nature will prevail in places.

But by and large we have to recognise —  and not take for granted — that without them Inverclyde would grind or even slide to a standstill when the weather bites.

I for one, thank them.