Snow chance

OUTSIDE the sun shone, flowers bloomed and birds sang, but weathermen tell us we are hours away from another blast of winter Armageddon which is threatening snow for many areas.

Other countries have streamlined operations involving ploughs and special equipment, tyres suited to snow driving and a host of other modern nick nacks to cope with snow and ice.

In England we also have a tried and trusted method of dealing with wintry conditions. We do nothing and hope for the best.

For all our attempts to look modern with systems such as Ice Alert, its doesn’t take much more than two flakes of snow and an icicle to bring the entire country to its knees.

Europe and Scandinavia cope comfortably with metres of the white stuff and temperatures so low it would make a freezer green with envy, but good old England seems to court winter disaster.

Headlines about “The Big Freeze” involve dire warnings and pages of pictures about a snow fall barely enough to cover pavements which is gone within hours.

When we do finally get a few decent inches of snow then television news reports cheerfully warn that the end of all life as we know it is upon us.

People panic and rush out in weird woollen headgear tied under their chin to buy a year’s supply of pot noodles or extra stocks of fire lighters….and they’re the ones with gas fires and central heating!

Others adopt even more bizarre behaviour as if the cold has made them take leave of their senses.

Sun shields are used to keep snow off windscreens in a blissfully blind action ignoring the fact that it’s no good being able to see ahead if you can’t go anywhere on roads clogged by traffic doing three miles an hour.

Shoppers leave supermarket shelves empty by buying enough food to stock up until the next Ice Age “just in case”.

Just in case what? Just in case it last more than 24 hours? If it does, do we all really only keep enough food in our homes to avoid starvation until tomorrow?

People’s reaction to snow is like watching lemmings run off a cliff.

Children set a far better example for adults to follow by simply adapting to the conditions and enjoying them….until Mum and Dad tell them to come indoors “before you freeze to death”!

They aren’t going to freeze to death and the stern warning has only been given because parents would love to be out there making a carrot nose for the snowman but they have to “be sensible”.

And their fears have been stoked by weather forecasts dwelling gruesomely on windchill figures which show it might actually be just above freezing but it is going to feel like minus 20 “so wrap up warm”!

Ye Gods! We aren’t stupid and you’d have to have a death wish to go out in a T-shirt anytime in winter, so why delight in stressing the obvious?

It’s all part of the great British love affair with the weather. If it’s hot then it’s a heatwave and we’re all in drought conditions and if it’s wet then we’re all going to get flooded out of house and home.

So it is perhaps inevitable that we get “Brrrrrrrrrr!!” and  “Whiteout” headlines as well as other cutting edge news that Justin Bieber swears it’s “******* cold!”….or just that he swears!

So as we all start chopping up the furniture in a desperate attempt to stay warm perhaps we should try to keep a tiny grip on reality and remember that this time last year we were all in shorts enjoying scorching sunshine. What goes around comes around.


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