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Manners are all about context. They are not about set rules that must always be followed. Etiquette changes depending on where you are and who you are with."

And the wonderful thing about heavy snow, says Fanshawe, is that it creates a "situation like Twelfth Night". "Twelfth Night is all about the 'night of misrule', where the servants become the masters and the masters become the servants. When snow covers Britain, something similar happens: children who would normally avoid even speaking to adults suddenly feel it is okay to throw projectiles at us.

"Snow temporarily undermines the normal structure of authority, which means it is perfectly acceptable for children to throw snowballs at strangers."

If a child were to throw something like a shoe or pencil case at a passing man or woman on a normal, non-snowy Monday morning, that would be bad manners, says Fanshawe, since it would "disrupt normal activity". But when it snows heavily, "normal activity" is disrupted anyway, and the "rules change".